Simple Tools for Effective Communication

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

Peter Drucker

Effective communication requires effective listening. You can’t have one without the other. Unfortunately for most of us, active listening skills don’t come naturally.

If you are like me, you like to be understood. You like it when people hear and understand your perspective on things. And you probably will find yourself defending your point of view when people challenge your position on important topics.

ONE-WAY COMMUNICATION

listen_up_and_develop_more_effective_communication_skillsWe are all accustomed to one-way communication where our objective is to be understood by those we are talking to. The problem with one-way communication is that there is typically no room for dialogue. It’s just two people talking at each other rather than to each other.

You see this play out in relationships and home and at work a lot. People can get caught up talking at each other, and it usually causes friction in the relationship. Usually both parties walk away from the conversation frustrated and are not as willing to engage in future conversations. After all…what’s the point! They won’t listen anyway!

TRY TO UNDERSTAND FIRST

As we work on our communication skills, it is important to realize that the failure to understand will result in a failure to be understood.

If we put more attention on what the person is trying to tell us, they will also be more inclined to hear our perspective as well. You will also discover that you will be able to unpack more of their thoughts and feelings when they know you truly care about what they have to say.

Remember what Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in the heart of a man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

Using these simple tools for effective communication will help you draw out the hidden thoughts and feelings of those you communicate with.

  1. Questioning. Asking open-ended questions can be a powerful way to help the person you are talking to unpack more of their thoughts and feelings. You will be amazing with how effective a simple question can be in helping a person articulate how they really feel. Asking questions also communicates genuine interest in what they have to say, rather than being focused on what you want to say to the person.
  2. Encouraging. Sometimes people need to know that it’s safe to share how they really feel. Encouraging someone to be honest and open reiterates your genuine concern and interest in what they have to say.
  3. Paraphrasing. Paraphrasing their statements is a great way to make sure you are hearing their intended message rather than your interpreted message. Paraphrasing requires you to use their words and phrases as you recap what they just said. This allows them to clarify themselves if necessary and keeps both of you on the same page.
  4. Reflection of feeling. Reflecting the feeling of someone is a wonderful tool to engage and connect with someone. Imagine if someone just got bad news about a loved one and they are grieving. Acknowledging their feeling, and being present with their feeling at the time allows them to know you really care. Think of a time where you were extremely excited about something and you wanted to share it with someone, but they seemed uninterested. Didn’t it make you feel disconnected from that person? Reflecting the persons feelings, whether they are happy or sad, will allow you to engage in an effective way.
  5. Summarize. At the conclusion of your conversation it’s always a great idea summarize what you believe was said. Much like paraphrasing during the conversation, summarizing allows you to share what you understood, and for them to give you more clarity in case you misunderstood something.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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Why Every Man Must Learn to Show Empathy

“Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.”

Daniel H. Pink

If you want to have a successful marriage, enjoy a great relationship with your children, and be a respected leader in the community, you must learn how to develop empathy.

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This tends to be a problem for most men.

If you are like me, you were raised to think emotions are irrelevant, and showing emotions would be a sign of weakness. I always thought that the harder and non-emotional I was, the more of a leader I was showing myself to be. Especially on the football field!

What horrible advice to give someone! Conditioning myself to turn off my emotions is actually what cripples my ability to lead effectively.

Why?

It’s because if I’m conditioned to ignore my feelings, I will also be conditioned to ignore the feelings of others.

6e1Meet the Jones’

My wife and I had a chance to meet with a couple that needed some counseling and marriage coaching. The wife was drowning in despair and was on the verge of filing for divorce. She felt as though her husband didn’t care about her, and what she said was important to him. The kicker was that fact that the husband didn’t even know the extent of her frustration!

As they talked, she immediately began to cry as she expressed how she was feeling. To my surprise, the husband never acknowledged her emotions or tears. He seemed numb to her pain, as if it didn’t exist. He chalked it up to, “She’s just being emotional right now. This is a logical decision we need to make, not an emotional one.”

Wow! Your wife is sobbing and in tears because of your decision. And you aren’t even going to acknowledge her pain?

This is the case for too many men. We tend to stay logical while trying to lead, and forget that the most important aspect of leadership is being able to connect with those you lead. People won’t be able to follow the lead of someone that they feel you can't relate to them.

Here are 3 ways to develop empathy.

Know your emotions. According to recent studies, 80% of people are not aware of their emotions throughout the day. The first step in being able to show empathy to others is to be aware of your own emotions. One easy way to do this is to make a journal of your emotions throughout the day. How many emotions do you think you experience daily?

Look for meaning engagement. Look for opportunities to make a meaningful connection with your family daily. This can be done by making sure you create uninterrupted times to check-in. Having a conversation while being distracted by TV or your phone gives a nonverbal message that what’s on the TV or phone is more important than the person. It also keeps you from seeing their body language, or the expression in their eyes that can give you clues to how they are really feeling.

Be vulnerable and transparent. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is a sign of strength for a leader. Vulnerability allows for your family to see that you have felt what they are feeling, which allows them to know you understand what they are going through. Taking a moment to share a story of how you have experienced the same emotion that they are experiencing puts you on their level, and makes it easier to know you truly care.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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How to Measure Success

“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.”

Arnold H. Glasow

Why does it matter how I measure success?

Your measure of success determines EVERYTHING! Your measure of success determines what you do, why you do it, and how long you will do it for.

I saw how important this was when I saw the difference in two of the football teams I played for.

paterno_wide-560509ddad3d3937df9d1804dd1243cec6c20ca4-s900-c85At Penn State, Coach Paterno had a goal of wanting to win a national championship, and graduating every player. Every class, practice, workout, and meeting was all geared toward helping us to be prepared to have us ready for the ultimate goal.

As a result, behaviors like loafing in practice, being late or inattentive in meetings, or not working out with maximum effort was not tolerated. We even had mandatory breakfast every morning by 8 AM and Coach Paterno sent staff around campus to ensure everyone went to class and had good grades in class, otherwise you would not be allowed to play in games.

Our goal set the tone of what is expected of us everyday. It created the accountability necessary for everyone on staff and on the team to understand their role towards the goal.

When I arrived in the NFL, I noticed a different measure of success was in place. The Falcons weren’t focused on winning the Super Bowl. After all, we were in the same division as the San Francisco 49ers who was loaded with future Hall of Famer’s like Jerry Rice, and Steve Young. They dominated our division during that time and beating them was not the focus. We had a goal of simply playing “respectable” against them.

Being “respectable” impacted everything! I immediately noticed a difference in the tone and intensity of practice, meetings, and workouts. It was easier to focus on individual goals rather than team goals. And it was easier to accept defeat when confronted with adversity.

Your measure of success will determine when you are willing to accept failure.

Here are 2 warnings and 3 important questions to ask yourself to determine how you will measure success.

In today’s world that is starving for instant and shallow fame through social media, and filled with people willing to do almost anything to gain affirmation or acceptance from other people. It’s important to ask yourself the question, “How will I measure success?”

It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about your role in your home as a husband or father, or your role in the community as a coach or CEO. If you have a wrong measure of success you will find it difficult to make the necessary sacrifices to succeed.

Warning #1: Your personal life is shot, but people still want you for things.

“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” Mark 8:36

Never allow the thirst of the approval of others become more important than your ability to love and respect yourself. People may think you are wonderful, but if your personal life is in shambles, then you need to forget about winning the approval of others, and focus on having healthy relationships with God, yourself and then your family.

Warning #2: Don’t try to prove something to people who don’t matter anyway.

We have found that people who tend to bend over backwards in an effort to try to please people who never acknowledge what they do will find themselves spinning their wheels like a hamster in the wheel. Don’t waste your time setting goals to please others. Your goals should first please God, and then bring satisfaction to who you are as a person.

Question #1: Do you want to be busy or effective?

The answer to that question should help you prioritize your time to accomplish your goals. Too many people confuse being busy with being effective. How much of your day is spent moving closer to your goals?

Question #2: What is something of significance that you can accomplish?

The answer to this question unlocks the vision of what you truly are called to impact or change. Many times the clues to the answer to this question is found by looking at how strong your emotions are for or against something. Your emotions are a wonderful indicator of something going on inside you that is important for you to address.

Question #3: What are you willing to sacrifice, and for how long?

Some people forget to think about the process of accomplishing their goals. Within your journey, there will be things that you will need to sacrifice in order to gain what you really want. What are you willing to let go of, and how long are you willing to do it? You can tell how bad you want something based on what you are willing to give up to accomplish it.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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5 Ways to Embrace Obstacles as Opportunities

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

Booker T. Washington

There are few guarantees in life. But one thing that we know we are guaranteed to experience is the need to overcome obstacles.

Jesus even makes mention of the reality obstacles when he said, “In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The question is not if you will face adversity and obstacles. The question is when will you face adversity, and which one will you deal with today!

013014-fsf-NFL-ray-lewis-superbowl-OB-G11.vadapt.664.high.52On October 15, 2012, during his farewell season, Hall of Fame Linebacker Ray Lewis tears his right triceps making a routine tackle in a home game against the Cowboys. It was a play he made countless times throughout his career. However, this time the tackle tore his right triceps and the initial thought was it was a career ending injury.

At the time, the Baltimore Ravens were on the hunt to earn a playoff birth to make one final push for the Super Bowl for their inspirational leader. After having such a successful career, having his career end with an injury was something that he would not accept.

When he asked if anyone has ever returned and played with this injury, the training staff answered him honestly and said, “No.” The answer was irrelevant to Ray. According to his interview on America’s Game, Ray tells the trainers that he will be the first, and will lead his team on one "last ride" in the playoffs.

Ray didn’t allow the injury or the situation to define the future possibilities. And 3 months later, Ray found himself leading his team to win Super Bowl XLVII. Something no one thought he would be physically capable of doing.

What has been the biggest obstacle that you have overcome in your life? What obstacles are on your path and blocking you from your opportunities and goals? Who has told you that you can’t do something that you accepted as your reality?

Here are 5 ways “to embrace obstacles as opportunities from my friend Dr. John Townsend.

  1. Don’t be surprised. “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” 1 Peter 4:12. The first step to overcoming obstacles is to stop being surprised by them. It would be like playing football and acting like there isn’t a defense on the field that is trying to hit you. Because you know there is a defense, you can develop a strategy to limit their effectiveness against you. Prepare for the unexpected and learn to be more adaptable to handle unexpected challenges.
  2. Validate it, don’t minimize it. Some people make the mistake of acting like the problem isn’t there. Avoidance and denial will never remove an obstacle. Validate the problem. Look at it. Start to problem solve on how you can overcome the problem, rather than just walking away from it entirely.
  3. Plug in to the right people. Your support structure is vital if you want to overcome obstacles. Who is breathing life into you? Who is around you that have similar experiences, and has experience in what you are dealing with. I love what my friend Michael Smith says, “Sometimes it’s easier to let someone else’s rear lights, be your headlights.”
  4. Learn the lesson. Sometimes we find ourselves dealing with the same problems over and over again. It’s important to assess whether there is a pattern or habit that is getting you in trouble. Figure out the lesson, and learn from it!
  5. Swing the bat again. Have you ever seen the kid that gets upset that things didn’t go their way, so they get up and take their toys away? That’s what some people do in life. When things don’t go the way they expect, they stop trying. Just because it didn’t work out last time, doesn’t mean it won’t work this time. Especially if you do steps 1 – 4!

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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6 Essential Keys of Being a Leader People Want to Follow

“You know you’re a good leader when people follow you out of curiosity.”

Colin Powell

Being a leader today is not so much about the title you have, but rather the influence you earn. Everyday people make a decision to submit to your leadership. It doesn’t matter whether you are husband or father, a CEO, or manager the reality is that your title alone only gets you so far.

In order for you to maximize your potential as a leader, you will have to earn voluntary buy-in beyond your marriage vows, or their paycheck.

BN-LW576_NYGIAN_J_20151228183850I love the story of transformation of two-time Super Bowl winning coach, Tom Coughlin. In his early years as a coach, he had more of a dictator style of leadership that focused on driving the team as hard as he could. He focused on being firm, fair, honest, and demanding.

This model allowed him to achieve moderate success, but he never won a Super Bowl. He found himself on the hot seat in New York, with fans calling for him to be fired. It was during this point he made a decision that changed the course of his career and how he would be remembered forever.

In a recent interview on America’s Game, he shared how he added one other guiding principle to how he would lead his team. And it was: caring.

In all his time coaching, he never showed his players that he cared for them. He never let his players see that side of him. The side that makes his wife and children adore him, or the side that comes alive when he is with his grandchildren.

This one thing transformed his relationships with his players, and caused them to have a deeper bond of trust that allowed them to ultimately win two Super Bowls.

Do you want to develop your influence?

Here are 6 keys to being a leader that people want to follow from my friend Dr. John Townsend:

  1. Observable Execution: This is a principle many college coaches use in recruiting. There is a difference in a recruiting call from coaches like Geno Auriemma, Mike Krzyzewski, or Nick Saban. There is a clear track record of success that is appealing for a potential recruit. People need to see you successful in the area that you are leading them. The people you lead find confidence when they can see the fruit of your life. Your previous execution builds credibility and a belief that if you’ve done it before, you can do it again.
  2. Personal Warmth. This is what Tom Coughlin discovered at the end of his career. People need to know that you are approachable. Research has shown that people prefer to follow Clark Kent, rather than Superman. People like to know that they can identify with you, and can understand what they are going through.
  3. Failure to clearly set expectations, and define roles and responsibilities is a common mistake of leaders. If a person doesn’t understand what they are expected to do, then it’s impossible for them to stay connected to that leader. They may begin excited in the beginning, but the lack of clarity will cause their zeal and excitement to fade over time, and they will be drawn to something that gives them more certainty of knowing how they can help.
  4. Buy in to the vision. Leaders must give people an opportunity to buy in to the vision by making it a shared vision, rather than just the leaders vision. Creating a common vision requires asking people their thoughts, ideas, and feelings about your vision to find a common ground. Once people see themselves in the vision, it’s easier for them to take ownership of making it happen.
  5. Attraction and Frustration. Leadership is a lot like a game of tug of war. It requires a leader to be able to give and take at the proper amount to accomplish the goal. Understanding whether a person needs to be affirmed or challenged is the key to getting people to stay connected. High performers will need to be challenged with goals and objectives to do. Low performers will need to be encouraged and supported through the process. Treating a high performer like a low performer will cause them to be bored and check out. While treating a low performer like a high performer will push them out of their comfort zone, and they will not be effective.
  6. Reality Test. The final key to being a leader people want to follow is to have a firm grasp of reality. It is great to dream and have a vision of where you want to go, but you must also balance that with where you really are now, and how you plan on moving forward with where you really are, and where your people really are. Some leaders fail to acknowledge where things really are. Failure to not address reality causes people to feel as though the leader has their head in the clouds, and doesn’t see where they really are, and what they really need today.

References:

“You have faith; I have deeds…I will show you my faith by my deeds.” James 2:18.

“For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about his work in the community.

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This weeks focus: Why leaders fail

This month I will be writing a series of articles on leadership from a few different perspectives to help you in your pursuit of maximizing your influence with those you lead. All of us are leaders. All of us have influence. The question that we must ask ourselves is, “How will I use my influence today?”

Over the next few weeks I will address some common issues of why leaders fail, how to change your perspective, and the importance of knowing your weakness as a leader.

Let’s get started!

I love what my good friend, and current Detroit Lions Head Coach says about character,

“There is a high cost for low living!”

You may say, I thought you were talking about leadership? Why are you discussing character? Because you can’t have a great leader without great character, and without great character you will never maximize your potential for leadership.

Leadership has a very broad definition. But at its core, leadership is about the impact you have on those around you, and being able to lead a group of people to perform at a higher level than they thought they could.

Leadership is not just about what you know, your competence in doing something, or the title you carry. Leadership is about people being willing to follow your lead because they believe in you as a person before they believe in your vision.

Your character will be the reason why people will trust what you say, because they can look at your life and see a person who is honest with themselves, and with those around them.

So what is character?

Recently, the tabloids have been filled with people who we thought had character, only to find out that they had secret lives, or had major issues that forced them out of their role, their job, or out of the public spotlight. These were all people that at some point were believed to have great character. But that’s because we were looking at the wrong thing to define character.

Character is not what people can see.

IcebergThink of character like an iceberg. Only 10% of the iceberg can be seen, the other 90% of the iceberg is under water. What people see is really only 10% of who you are. It is the part of you that you are intentional about showing other people. It is the part of you that decides how you want people to think of you.

The other 90% reveals your true character. It reveals what you would really like to watch on TV or see on various websites. It reveals the types of things you search for on the internet. Your character reveals your relationships, which will be the reason why you are successful, or they are the reason why you won’t be successful.

I like what Dr. John Townsend says about character,

“Character is that set of capacities to deal with the demands of reality.”

In other words, when the demands of life show up, your character also shows up. The “moment of weakness” is really a part of the 90% that if unchecked, will reveal itself at some point in your life.

So how do I deal with the 90%, and not allow my character to impact my leadership?

Here are 4 things you can do to cultivate your character:

  1. Be honest with yourself. Realize that you must own the fact that you are not perfect, and need to continue to grow as a person and a leader.
  2. Be vulnerable. In order to work on your 90%, you must find a pastor, coach, mentor, or colleague that can be trusted for you to be vulnerable with. This allows you to not have the pressure of carrying the burden alone. It also allows for someone to have permission to help you in an area that you’ve identified as a need. It’s ok to wade into this process slowly, and allow people to prove they can be trusted with “little things” before revealing the deep stuff.
  3. Be transparent. Acknowledge to those that you lead that you are not perfect, and a work in progress. Research shows that people would prefer to follow the leadership of Clark Kent, and not Superman. They want someone that they can identify with.
  4. Build your integrity. Find ways everyday to honor your personal integrity. Whether it’s through how you use social media and internet, or taking that second lustful look at someone, or having a relationship with someone you shouldn’t. Don’t give yourself permission to justify not maintaining your personal integrity. What you do should not change based on who is around you.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about M46 Project.

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This week’s focus: Poise Under Pressure

Have you ever found yourself amazed with how much someone can get under your skin? Especially when it’s the person you love or care about! Keeping our poise under the pressure of an argument isn’t the easiest thing.

Think about the answers to the following questions:

  • What is it about that person that pushes your buttons so easily?
  • When we push each others’ buttons, why do we resort to WWE “No Holds Barred” rules for our ‘intense fellowships’ (aka…arguments)?
  • Whose responsibility is it to keep their poise, resolve the conflict and make things right?

poiseAs we talk about relationships, and being leaders in our homes and community, let’s focus on the issues reflected in the last question: accountability and poise. Notice what you hear good coaches’ say after the team loses a game. Usually the good coaches say, “I’ve got to do a better job coaching, and preparing my team to win.” Or, if a player made a mistake or missed the game winning kick you may hear, “The game wasn’t lost on that play. We could have done more to keep ourselves out of the situation.”

Even in an emotionally charged environment, the most important thing a leader can do is to keep their poise and take ownership of his role in an argument. Regardless of how big or small their part of it is. Even though the coach didn’t throw the ball, drop the pass, or miss the kick, he will still take the responsibility for the outcome. Recently retired New York Giants Coach, Tom Coughlin said it this way, “When we win…the team wins. When we lose…I lost the game for my team.”

Keeping Your Cool

Proverbs 15:18 says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”

Great leaders have the capacity to stay under control emotionally to be able to guide a conversation to resolution. They don’t allow the situation or the emotions of those around them to dictate their response.

I like what Colon Powell said about this,

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

If you want to be more effective in guiding conversations in conflict, we must understand some basic keys to allow us to stay under control, and lead effectively.

This week let’s focus on 4 keys to keeping your poise under pressure which can help you build a deeper bond with those you love.

Here are 4 Keys to keeping your poise:

  1. Remember how much they mean to you. Remember who you are talking to. In the heat of the moment things can be said or done that can really damage a relationship. Take a moment and think about how much that person means to you before you begin the conversation.
  2. Know your tendency. People tend to fall into two categories in confrontation: confronters or avoiders. Both “types” have advantages and major disadvantages. If you tend to be a confronter, remember that you don’t have the right to be a bulldozer. And if your tendency is to avoid confrontation, remember that as a leader you need to be able to address issues in a timely manner. Avoiding a problem doesn’t make it go away.
  3. Own your part. 99% of all issues involves more than one person. It doesn’t matter how much or how little your role was…OWN IT! Find something to own in the conversation, “I wasn’t clear in sharing this…”, “I avoided this…”, or “I didn’t nip this in the bud in the beginning.” Realize that if a person feel it is 100% their problem, it will tend to cause people to push back and get defensive.
  4. Listen for what isn’t said. Everyone needs to know you care about their feelings. In the heat of the moment, listen not only for what they are saying, but also for what they are feeling. If you connect to their emotion, you will connect with them.

 

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about M46 Project.

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This week’s focus: Confrontation

Learning to master the skill of handling conflict is essential for anyone who desires to be an effective leader. In life confrontation is inevitable. Addressing conflict within relationships, and organizations will allow for issues to be addressed in a timely manner and save time, misunderstanding, and the health of the relationship.

Why is confrontation so important?

confrontation

Confrontation is important because it reflects how important something is to you. God placed the signal to confront is an indicator that something has happened to someone or something that you care about.

The problem is most people don’t know how to deal with conflict constructively! When most people see the word “confront”, they tend to see it through the lens of their past experiences of how they saw other people handle conflict.

The biggest influence in how people confront is what they see in their family of origin. If a talk about money turned into a verbal assassination of character, then most likely that person will find themselves doing one of two things: using the same tactics when confronting or being confronted, or they will avoid confrontation by any means necessary.

Think about that for a minute.

How comfortable do you feel confronting an issue with someone? If you are like most people, you may find some discomfort in it because you may not want to turn a conversation about “Who left the lights on?” into a fight.

So what’s the solution? Should we avoid confrontation because it’s uncomfortable, and the conversation could turn into something that we really don’t want?

Let’s think of the consequences. What could happen if you don’t confront a situation? Will you be happy? How long will walking around the pink elephant be productive in the relationship? What could be lost or damaged if you don’t confront the issue?

This week let’s focus on 8 steps to handling confrontation which can help you build a deeper bond with those you love.

Here are 8 elements of dealing with confrontation from my friend Dr. John Townsend:

  1. Take the “for stance”. Remember grace should always come before truth. This is especially needed when you are building the bond of trust with someone. They need to know that you are “for” them, and the reason why you are addressing the issue is because you truly care for them, and your relationship.
  2. State the problem. If you can, write down the specific issues with and refer to dates and times. This allows the conversation to stay on track, and it not turn into a “That’s your opinion” argument.
  3. Own your part. 99% of all issues involves more than one person. It doesn’t matter how much or how little your role was…OWN IT! Find something to own in the conversation, “I wasn’t clear in sharing this…”, “I avoided this…”, or “I didn’t nip this in the bud in the beginning.” Realize that if a person feel it is 100% their problem, it will tend to cause people to push back and get defensive.
  4. Hear their side/deal with diversion. Everyone needs their day in court. Take a moment and ask them, “Let me hear your side in this.” There may be information that you need to know. It is during this step that people can start taking you down a rabbit trail to get off topic, and blaming the world for their issue. If this happens, Dr. Townsend recommends that you listen for 3 minutes and then say these 5 words, “Now let’s get back to…” That gives them a chance to speak, but you are able to stay on track with the addressing the issue.
  5. Ask for the necessary behavior change and ask to check in within 30 days to see how things are going.
  6. Consequences (if needed). Consequences should only be considered if the person appears unwilling to make a change. If the person truly values the relationship, consequences shouldn’t be needed.
  7. Reiterate the “for” stance. Tell them again that you are “for” them, and want things to work and get better. It reiterates you heart and the reason why you had the conversation in the first place.
  8. Check back in 1-24 hours. Probable the most important step is to check back in afterwards. This allows you the opportunity to see how they are doing, and if you are on the same page. Ask the how it went for them, and if they need anything.

 

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about M46 Project.

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This week’s focus: What can I give

I hope you are having a wonderful day, and are encouraged by the journey of becoming the best version of yourself that you can be! This week we want to talk about maintaining healthy relationships by focusing on what you can give.

Martin Luther once said,

“Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.”

giveWow! What if every relationship had this as its norm! This quote highlights a key characteristic that is found in most healthy relationships. This characteristic is so important, that not having it is usually the starting point for resentment, frustration, and can even lead to divorce.

The characteristic that must be the focus of each person in the relationship is focusing on answering this one question: "What can I give the person I love?" Rather than, "What am I getting from the person I love?"

When people are focused on what they are getting in the relationship rather than what they can give, things become transactional. “I will do this IF you do this”, “You didn’t do this, so I’m not doing this.” When relationships develop a culture of being transactional, and people only do things when the other person makes them happy, it can quickly turn into manipulation, rather than a relationship of unconditional love.

1 Corinthians 13:5 reminds us that love “doesn’t seek her own, is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil” towards the other person. By focusing solely on what I can give the person I love, rather than focusing on what I am getting from that person, I put myself in position to no longer need their actions, or words to initiate my love towards them.

This is much easier said than done. But it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. It requires focus and intentionality.

Here are 3 keys to help you stay in the giving mindset in your relationship:

  1. Key #1 – “Remind yourself of how much they mean to you.”

In life we can tend to forget how much people really mean to us. We can tend to allow our familiarity with the person to cloud our ability to remember just how much of a vital role they play in our lives. Taking a moment to remember how much someone means to you allows you to pause, take a step back, and remember the love you have. And why you decided to start a relationship with them in the first place! It shouldn’t take long to remember just how special they are to you. This is where you find the love, passion, and fuel to be creative in finding ways to love.

  1. Question #2 – “What can happen when I love them unconditionally?”

The reason why most people fail to love unconditionally is because of a fear of rejection. The thought of “What will happen if I love them, and they don’t love me in return?” “What if I give them what they need, and they never give me what I need?” See, those are fear-based positions thinking of only the negative of the person, and of only a negative outcome.

Now take a minute to reverse that. Scripture also says “Love NEVER fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:8). What would happen to the culture of your relationship if you set the tone and showered your spouse with love? How would that make them feel? Don’t you think that when someone knows that they are being loved unconditionally, and without a hidden agenda that they will respond? When you give someone a love that says, “I am for you, and I will always be here for you.” They will naturally want to reciprocate that love.

If they are struggling with reciprocation, then you may need to be mindful of this last key.

  1. Question #3 – “What needs do they have that I need to be mindful and supportive of?”

Everyone has a story. Some of our stories are wonderful, while many of us have experienced tremendous adversity and challenges. Knowing the story of the one you love will help you understand their capacity to receive and reciprocate love. If a person has a past that includes abandonment, rejection, or abuse, it may be more of a challenge to get them to a place of health to trust the intent of your love for them because they are processing your love through the lens of their past experience.

This is something we all do. If we have been hurt in the past, we tend to put safeguards up to ensure we never experience that pain again. Taking the time to understand the past of your spouse will let you know that you will also need to be patient in this process to allow them to be healed from past wounds. Your consistent, unconditional love will be the very thing they need to heal from the adversity from their past!

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about M46 Project.

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This week’s focus: Why resolutions fail

Every year people assess where they are in their personal life, relationships, and their careers. Based on that assessment most people will create resolutions to accomplish throughout the year. And though you may start out well intended, you may find yourself not seeing the results that you intended when you initially started.

There are numerous things that factor into whether or not you will be able to be successful at accomplishing your resolutions, which I addressed in my series New Year, New You on freddiescott.org. But there is one major thing that people tend to forget that I want to talk about today. The one thing is 'the reason why most resolutions fail'…and it’s because you don’t incorporate a change of behavior with it.

resolutionsThe decision alone isn’t enough to make a change. For some of you, the things that you want changed are things that have been an embedded behavior for years. The culture of your marriage and relationships, habits of how you spend your free time that take away from time with family, working out and losing weight, or starting that new business all requires time dedicated to it.

Until you master changing the behavior that got you where you are today, and incorporating new behaviors that will take in the direction of where you really want to go, you will not see the success with your resolution.

Behavior is so important that research indicates that 80% of information that you receive will be forgotten if it’s not acted on in some way within 30-60 days. When I say forgotten, I don’t mean it’s a distant memory. Research shows that the information is wiped from the hard drive of your brain and erased completely!

If you want to accomplish your goals, you must find a way to change what you are doing.

Here are 3 Keys to change your behavior:

Key #1: Be intentional. Scripture encourages us to let our “yes be yes, and our no be no” (James 5:12). If you are going to make a change in your behavior you have to commit to it 100%! Anything less than that shows that the goal you set is something that would be nice if it happened, but not a goal that you have made the decision to make happen.

If you want a marriage that’s full of love and support, be intentional in modeling that and only saying and doing things that reflect the decision, not the current culture. If you want to lose weight and be more active, ask yourself “How bad do I really want this?” If your goal isn’t important enough to integrate intentionality, then it’s really not that important to you. The more important a goal is to you, the more likely you will be to initiate a behavior change.

Key #2: Set reminders and triggers. Because some of the issues we want results in are a part of either a lifetime of habits that we have, or a part of a dysfunctional culture that we may be a part of, setting reminders and triggers are a great way to bring your goal to mind. In life, we all have a rhythm or pattern to what we do and how we do it. Whether it’s which side of the bed you sleep on, how you brush your teeth, your route to go to work, or how you organize your closet, we all have a pattern.

In order to accomplish your goals, you may need to set reminders or create triggers in order to help you break any patterns that will make it difficult for you to accomplish your goal. If you like to stop at your favorite fast food restaurant after work to treat yourself after a hard day at work, but you have a goal of losing weight, you will need to create a new trigger to reward yourself. If you tend to get in the doghouse for not giving yourself enough time to make your wife’s birthday, or anniversary special, you may need to set a trigger in your calendar to remind you to make a reservation at her favorite restaurant a couple months ahead of time.

Walking through the front door of your house could serve as a trigger for you! Be creative in setting reminders and creating triggers so you give yourself the best chance of accomplishing your goals.

Key #3: Establish accountability. It’s been said that accountability is the “actions toward or involving others that reflect the integrity of the person you want to be.” If you are really serious about accomplishing your goals, you will ask someone to hold you accountable for the goals that you have set. People that aren’t willing to ask people to hold them accountable are most likely not serious about accomplishing the task.

The reason why accountability is so important is because at some point you will need help, support, and forgiveness. Your accountability partner will help to keep you on track and moving forward. You will need someone who is for you, believes in you, and will tell you the truth to help you on your path to accomplish your goal. Without the support of others, you are less likely to be successful.

VISIT www.freddiescott.org to connect with Freddie and find out more about M46 Project.

SPEAK UP: Share your thoughts on the post and tips to share with the M46 community here or on your Facebook page.

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