Category Archives: Marriage
“You don’t listen to me!”
“What are you talking about, I’m right here in front of you … “
Sonika and I did a presentation this week for a group of couples and singles in Sacramento. We played out a typical interaction between partners. One of the couples in the group said, “We literally had that exact same fight this week. Have you guys been in our house?”
We hadn’t been in their house:) But we have been inside their relationship, and thousands of other relationships.
The conversation went something like this:
“You don’t listen to me!”
“What are you talking about, I’m right here in front of you … “
“That’s not the point. Look at you, with your arms crossed, all stiff, you’re not really listening”
“Want me to repeat every word you just said?”
“No! You’re being all defensive, can you just listen for once?”
“So I’m not doing it right, is that it? It doesn’t matter what I do, it’s not right for you!”
“See, you’re doing it again! Making it all about you when I’m trying to tell you something about me”
“Well, if you actually cared about what I think … “
From here, you can imagine how the rest of the interaction goes. More arguing back and forth, more disconnection as each one tries to get their point across.
A simple argument like this illustrates what pretty much every person in this world does to problem solve their relationship:
They bring up an issue they think needs to change, in this example, “You don’t listen to me”.
When I’m the one bringing up an issue, I think I’m just presenting an obvious problem, in a calm and reasonable manner.
But in the ears and eyes of the recipient, “bringing up an issue” like this sounds like nothing but complaining, blaming, and criticizing.
Why do I bring up an issue? In the hopes it’ll improve our relationship. In the hopes that you’ll get my point, agree with me, and change your behavior (to one I like better).
We call this strategy Complaining For Change.
Everyone uses this strategy in every relationship. With spouses, dates, ex’s, co-workers, employees, family members, you name it.
It’s like a bad movement that went viral long before anyone heard of Facebook.
It’s the #1 default strategy we use to improve our relationships. And it consequently, always, no-exceptions-ever, backfires.
The whole strategy rests upon a fantasy. The fantasy is, if you say, “You don’t listen” to your partner, that he’ll go, “Really! OMG, I’m so sorry I haven’t been listening you to. I’m such a doofus. You deserve to be listened to all the time, and every word you speak is gold to me. I promise it will never happen again, I’m really sorry about that, I love you, baby! Tell me again, what did you want me to hear?”
But has that ever happened in real life?
We use the example of “You don’t listen”, but you can insert any other topic or issue.
“Am I the only one cleaning up around here?”
“Do you really have to spend that much money on clothes?”
“We really need to talk about the stuff in the garage!”
“Why don’t you want have sex anymore?”
“You’re going out with your friends again!?”
Or with our kids, we say things like, “Your room is a mess”, with the fantasy that they’ll go, “Oh, I’m sorry, dad, I’ll get it cleaned up right now, thanks for telling me”.
What actually does happen when someone tells you, “You never listen to me”? Do you want to listen more? Or less? What actually happens when you tell your kids, “Your room is a mess”? Defensiveness, resistance, more arguing.
When we complain for change, we make things worse.
As a matter of fact, we end up with less of the very thing we were trying to get more of. It produces the exact opposite of what we were hoping for.
“You never listen” produces less listening.
“Why don’t we ever have sex anymore?” produces less sex (Think about it, are you more or less attracted to your partner when he/she says that?)
Complaining For Change is basically a relationship tragedy.
It’s meant to make our relationships better, with more love, connection, and friendship. But instead it grinds down our love, patience, and good will and produces more of the problems we’re trying to solve.
So what to do instead?
We recommend two simple tips (granted, not always so simple to practice).
1. Quit Complaining For Change
2. Find and deliver specific appreciations
We mean #1 very literally. Just quit it. Knock if off. Don’t ever do it again.
Next time you catch yourself complaining, you’re better off zipping it and not saying another word.
Because everything you say after that point is only taking your further down a negative rabbit hole. You already know you’re not going to like where it’s taking you, so stop going in that direction.
As to #2, find and deliver specific appreciations, it’s the fastest and most effective antidote to Complaining For Change. It’s like kryptonite.
Sure, it’s not meant to fix all your relationship issues, nor are we recommending that you don’t deal with your legitimate challenges. But until you have a better method than complaining, you’re better off not talking about your problems and making things worse.
Whether it’s your spouse, date, brother, sister, anyone, find something to appreciate about that person and tell them.
Appreciations are to human beings like water and sun is to a plant. Without them, we wilt. With appreciations, we puff up and shine. Delivering appreciations uplifts the other person and supports them to be and bring out their best.
More importantly, it forces your mind to look for something you like in your life. It gets your focus off of what you don’t like. Every time you find something specific to appreciate, you’re reminding yourself that you actually have some of what you want in your life and relationships, that it is not all crap, and that uplifts YOU.
Every appreciation feeds BOTH of you, and you actually begin to create an upward spiral of positivity in your relationship.
This appreciation practice will disappear a good bunch of your problems. Most breakdowns stem from one or both of you not feeling seen, loved, valued and appreciated. As for the rest of your issues, your head and heart will be in a much better place to deal with … anything. With love and appreciation as the frame, it is more possible to work on your challenges together or by yourself.
Try it. Many couples have saved their marriages from implementing these two steps alone. Parents have had breakthroughs with their children. Co-workers have had miraculous shifts in their relationships at work.
And then get help for effectively dealing with the genuine conflicts and problems that inevitably show up in every relationship. So you can use them to bring you closer to one another, instead of farther apart!
For that purpose, consider attending our two-day Give Yourself to Love training. It offers powerful cutting-edge paradigm shifts and practical tools for improving relationships that stay with you for the rest of your relationship life!
You can save $700 per ticket in October!
More here: loveworksforyou.com/gytl
For many people in relationship, fights about how much quality time to spend together or apart is commonplace. Usually one partner is arguing for more time together, while the other is arguing for more time to him or herself.
Watch our video here, and/or read the full article below the video.
There are two sides to this intimacy-freedom spectrum: there is a preference for intimacy or freedom, and there is a resistance to the other side. In other words, if I prefer intimacy and connection, I generally resist space and freedom – for myself AND my partner.
This is complicated even further by the fact that our needs and desires are constantly in flux. Even if one partner has a preference for more connection or space than the other, personal space and connection needs can vary from day to day. For example, I may want more connection today, but more space tomorrow and the next day.
This dilemma has a positive side. I just feel SO GOOD when we are together (or apart), that I want more of it. I want that feeling to stay and never leave. I want to hang on to that particular experience!
But sometimes this dilemma is fueled by fear. I don’t want you to go away because I am afraid if you leave you will never come back.
The more couples fight about this, the more they solidify their own position and preference and the more they resist their partner’s need. This pattern, in the end, only keeps the arguments and dissatisfaction going.
Given that there is an intimacy-freedom spectrum, it is inevitable for couples to find themselves having differing needs for connection and space. Rarely do couples hit the balance point where they both want the same exact amount of time together and apart.
So, what to do when you find yourself at odds with your partner’s preference?
For starters, explore. Where are you on the spectrum?
Do you find yourself preferring connection and dreading separation? Do you resist or pout or make a scene when your partner needs space or pulls away emotionally? Do you forget to take care of yourself because you are so focused on being with your partner?
Or do you prefer being alone and dread too much time together? Do you make plans away from the relationship without consulting your partner? Do you stay up late to avoid going to bed at the same time? Do you resist intimacy or sexual overtures?
So, explore your general preference.
Both space and togetherness are essential for love’s continued expansion. It is essential for any expansion and growth.
Think about it.
Your heart muscle opens and closes.
Your lungs expand and contract.
Your muscles tense and relax.
The seasons come and go.
The moon waxes and wanes as the earth shifts.
The waves and tides come in and go out.
There is a natural ebb and flow to the ever-changing energies of life that keep things moving, evolving, growing …
The same is true in relationship.
Relationship needs to breathe. It needs to move. It needs the space to grow and change. It needs an out-breath and an in-breath. It needs togetherness and separateness. It needs freedom AND connection. That is why this issue is so present for most couples in relationship – because both aspects are so essential to mature, healthy love.
Think of it this way …
When you get attached to connection, and you resist taking space or allowing your partner to take space, is a bit like trying to not breathe out. It is impossible, for one, and if you do happen to be successful, you will die. The same is true of relationship. Your relationship will die without breath, without movement. It will die if you ONLY have togetherness or you ONLY have space.
Or here is another useful image.
When you get attached to space and freedom, and you resist coming together in complete union with your partner, it is a bit like trying to keep a wave from coming onto your shores. Sure, you can build a wall to keep the water at bay with a lot of effort, but that wave is going to keep banging up against your wall over and over again for as long as you’re with this partner.
Imagine how it would be if you allowed for and celebrated both aspects. You come together and experience delightful bliss in deep intimacy and sex AND you go out and experience the richness of your time alone with yourself or others. You enjoy the exhale, and you allow the inhale. Both aspects give, both are nourishing and both contribute to your expansion as individuals AND as a couple.
How that looks in relationship is not resisting or arguing for one or the other of these states.
If you are the “connecting one” in the relationship, instead of pulling for your partner to come back when he emotionally withdraws, remind yourself that the wave is going out to sea. The wave is going back out to its source and will return invigorated with new vibrancy to add into the relationship. He is going out to sea FOR the health of the relationship. Remind yourself that he will be back – stronger, clearer, and more available for connection when he returns.
And if you are the “space one” in the relationship, instead of snubbing your partner’s overtures for connection, freely step in with your appreciation for your partner’s open heart. Reward her love and desire for you by meeting her with your openness and availability.
When you do this, a wonderful alchemy emerges. Your togetherness builds and reinforces your freedom. Your closeness infuses your solitude with confidence, love and presence. And vice versa. Your time alone is this nourishing opportunity to refuel your connection with yourself and spirit, so that you are more available and open for love and intimacy when it comes to you.
So don’t try to hang onto that wave or breath – no matter how good it feels. It will kill you and the relationship. Let the wave have its way. Trust that whatever you prefer will come back around, and enjoy the ride along the way.
FOR A LOT OF GUYS, intimate relationships are hard work!
It’s uncomfortable, way too emotional, and you’d rather just not deal with it at all, and hope it’ll work itself out. After all, she normally returns to her senses after a while. Right?
Even when deep down, you know you have some problems in your marriage or relationship, you might be saying what my friend said right after he found out his wife had fallen in love with another guy: “I knew we had some problems, I just figured we’d get to it some day”.
But here’s the great news.
It really isn’t meant to be that difficult, and it’s absolutely attainable to make it smooth and easy.
And if you’re being totally honest, wouldn’t it be worth a lot to feel admired, loved, and appreciated by her? Doesn’t it make you feel taller when she thinks you’re the best guy ever?
You just need to know some key points, and then do your best to practice them. By doing so, you can actually make it easy for her to see you as the man she fell in love with.
- She’s not like you. Never will be. Isn’t supposed to be. So don’t try to convince her to stop being “so emotional”. Simply accept that she has a different “operating system” installed than you do. Accept that her emotional way of processing information is as valid as your logical way of doing it. Just different.
- The #1 thing she’s looking for is trustworthiness and reliability in you. Why? So she can feel safe and relax. When she feels safe and relaxed, it’s really easy for you to relax and enjoy life.
- Face your own discomfort with her intense emotions and conflicts in general. You cannot make emotions or conflicts go away, period, so you might as well make friends with them. How? Own your discomfort about it, admit it out loud.
- Pay attention to her. Be an attentive mate, just like you were when you were first courting her. Chivalry never goes out of fashion. So notice how she dresses, notice when she comes and goes, hold her hand, touch her cheek … BE there in a way that she can feel. Don’t just be the silent brooder in the corner.
- Find your own power. Say yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no. Don’t pretend to listen for 10 minutes while thinking, “blablabla, she’ll be done soon”. Be honest if it doesn’t work for you to be talking with her right now. Stand up for what’s important to you, in a firm, but non-aggressive manner. Let her feel you have a spine, and don’t just along with anything she says so you can avoid a conflict. She’ll respect the man you are when you do that.
Now, sure, there’s a lot more to the equation of having a great marriage. But if you can keep these five in mind, and use them as a starting point, you’ll be ahead of the game, and might even produce some serious breakthroughs and sexy action!
Divorce statistics hover between 50% and 73% (from first to third marriages).
But, did you know that women are more likely than men to initiate divorce?
Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, examined data from Stanford’s 2009-2015 “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” project, a nationally representative longitudinal study of relationships and breakups. * While breakups between unmarried couples were gender neutral — men were just as likely as women to initiate them — when it came to divorce, Rosenfeld found that wives initiated 69 percent of splits, compared to 31 percent of men. **
This matches my professional experience in the relationship field as well.
I was invited once to a women’s group as a guest. There were six of us. We had gathered to support each other. After hugs and snacks, we arranged ourselves in a circle.
As we checked in, it turned out that every woman except me was in the process of divorce. They were leaving their men. They were fed up.
They had heard for too long that they were too emotional and needy.
Their desire for affection and attention and intimacy had been missing for too long.
They had been lied to, ignored, taken for granted, yelled at and not talked to or touched, in some cases, for years.
Their requests to work together on the relationship had been declined. Their men said working on relationship was too hard and took too much time.
They talked about how their men didn’t take responsibility, were defensive, blaming and critical. They said their men were resistant to looking at themselves, to growing and learning anything new. They said their men were cut off from their emotions and unavailable for deep connection. They agreed that their men did not take their concerns seriously and were not interested in creating solutions.
Each woman in turn said they felt powerless to affect change. They were unhappy in their relationships, and married to men who weren’t willing to work to improve their marriage.
So, what to do?
These women did what many self-respecting, dissatisfied, frustrated women do. They left their men in search of connection and intimacy elsewhere.
Huffington Post printed an article on August 3, 2016, by Brittany Wong, a divorce editor, detailing six reasons why women leave their marriages.
1. Women feel taken for granted and overly responsible for the relationship.
2. They keep having the same argument with their partner.
3. They’re not satisfied with their sex lives.
4. They don’t talk and emotionally connect with their husband like they used to.
5. They’ve outgrown their partners.
6. They get to the point where divorce is the only way to put themselves first again.
Women don’t start with divorce. They start with complaints about a lack of communication, intimacy or fulfilling sex. They make requests to go to therapy or take a relationship workshop or communication course to get support. They ask for more quality time with their mates.
But many men miss the clues that their wife is unhappy and on the verge of calling it quits. A friend of ours, Machen, shared his experience, “I didn’t realize my marriage was in trouble until my wife said, ‘You are moving out – today!!’ In retrospect, I could see that she had tried to tell me many times that she was unhappy, but I hadn’t been listening.”
Luckily for Machen, he and his wife worked on their marriage after they separated, attended our LoveWorks trainings, and reunited.
Most men are not that fortunate. They reach out for relationship support when it is too late, when their wife is already out the door and unwilling to work on their marriage.
Our message to you?
Don’t wait to get help!
Rekindle the love and passion in your relationship now before it is too late!
Here are some warning signs that your relationship or marriage is in trouble:
1. You feel annoyed by your wife’s requests or demands for relationship help
2. You don’t have much intimacy in your relationship
3. Your sex is non-existent, predictable or boring
4. You fight about the same things over and over again
5. Your wife doesn’t talk to you about herself and her life
6. You don’t make time, or look forward to spending time, together
Now we know that men are not intentionally inconsiderate and selfish. And it is not that they don’t care about their marriages and relationships! They just never learned about women, about how to treat a woman and how to make a woman happy.
In fact, most men, if you talk to them and really listen, are working REALLY HARD to make women happy, and feel like they just can’t win no matter what they do! Sadly, they end up working their butts off at all the wrong things, doing what their partner actually needs.
This quote sums it up:
To prove his love for her, he climbed the highest mountain, swam the deepest ocean and crossed the widest desert. But she left him – he was never home.
Here is the kicker …
It is EASY to satisfy a woman. If a man treats a woman right, he gets all the freedom, sex, appreciation and love he wants. And when she is happy, when she is filled up emotionally, she ain’t going anywhere!!
Most men just don’t take the time to learn…
If you aren’t having sex, if you are fighting all the time, if you are living in silence, or you are living like roommates dealing with logistics …
You have a BIG problem.
Men, don’t wait until your woman is fed up and walking out the door. Take the time to learn how to make your relationship hum like a well-oiled machine. You will be amazed at how easy it is…
And women, don’t assume he knows how unhappy you are. He might be like Machen and simply not know.
We can help. We can share with you our life-changing tips, and tell you what to do that has saved and improved lots of marriages and relationships.
Call for a free consult or visit us at one of our free introductory presentations. Or jump into our two-day relationship training, Give Yourself to Love, that has saved many a marriage!
In the meantime, a few tips for you men:
• Express appreciation for what she does
• Ask her what you can do for her to please her
• Make eye contact and really listen to her when she talks
• Tell her she’s beautiful
• Ask her if she is happy in the marriage or if she ever wonders if the two of you would benefit from relationship support?
• Better still, YOU initiate something for your relationship. Buy a book, sign you up for a course. Show her, don’t just tell her, that you care about your relationship.
And a few tips for you women:
• Tell him how wonderful you feel when he gives you attention
• Express appreciation for what he does that really works for you
• Notice where he works hard to provide for you, the home, and family and thank him for that
• Ask him what he would need from you to be willing to work on the relationship together? To attend a relationship training or coaching session?
• Be affectionate, touch, have sex. In short, love him.
There’s a lot you can do to mend your love and make your marriage sing!
I love you, you drive me crazy!
You know that glorious in-love feeling at the start of relationship?
When you feel driven crazy, but in a good way? You can’t wait to see your partner again, to smell them and touch them and love them in twenty different ways!
As time goes on, however, after you have been with someone for a year or two or thirty, your partner starts to drive you crazy in a different way. He or she doesn’t put their clothes away, forgets to keep their promise to run an errand, misses an important anniversary or says something that hurts you to your core.
No matter how similar and well matched we are to begin with, there are ALWAYS areas where we are not.
Christian and I are no exception. Here are a few examples …
• He is disciplined and linearly focused and I am much more free flowing and emotional.
• He likes his chef’s knives to be arranged in order of size on the knife magnet and cared for a certain way. I couldn’t care less about them.
• I like to have pillows evenly and perfectly placed on the beds and couch for looks, and he’d like to throw them out, because, as he says, “they have no purpose!”
• He likes to hit the snooze button three times before getting up and I like to wake up on my own.
• He likes having an extra hour to prepare for going anywhere in the morning and I like to sleep as long as possible.
• Christian keeps the car A/C at a constant 69F. I like it set somewhere between 75 and 89F.
• I like going shopping, and browsing for the next new thing. Christian goes shopping like a search-and-rescue team, in and out as fast as possible.
Do you think we ever have conflicts about any of this stuff? You think we go crazy sometimes by these differences?
Of course we do!
And …. (this a very big AND) … We have learned to enjoy and have fun with these differences as much as possible. We have worked diligently to create win/win solutions to our differing preferences. For example, I take care of the knives for him, and he puts the pillows on the bed for me. Sometimes, he puts the heart pillow on the bed upside down on purpose, and sometimes I threaten to put his knives in the dishwasher, just so we can have a laugh about our quirks together.
You don’t HAVE to be driven crazy by each other. In fact, it is often those things that drive you crazy that you’ll miss most when your loved one is gone.
So here’s a simple strategy to try out:
Think about something that drives you crazy about your partner (or a friend, or your ex). Maybe your partner squeezes the toothpaste or puts the toilet paper roll on backwards.
Next time you see the toilet paper roll or the toothpaste tube, think to yourself, “Someone I love is near!”
And then … this is the fun part … do it for them!
That’s right. So, if I know Christian loves his knives all ordered on the magnet, I’ll do it for him (perhaps leaving one of them out of order, just so he knows I was there :).
Try it out. See what happens.
Now, granted, sometimes the “thing” they do that drives you nuts seems to big or scary to have fun with it like this.
We’ll give you a new way to think about the things that REALLY drive you crazy, and a simple tool to use.
Until next, reach out and love somebody…
Sonika & Christian
I’m a clean freak … (Sonika speaking).
There is nothing I like more than looking around and seeing everything neatly in its place. I feel free. Like there is nothing in my environment telling me to what to do. I can relax and follow my inspiration.
I am one of those people who will clean up your glass and put it away before you are finished drinking from it. Just the other day, Christian and I were hanging out in the kitchen. Christian turned around and said, “Where’s my tea cup?” You guessed it. I’d already put it in the dishwasher.
Needless to say, my clean streak can drive other people crazy.
Some people are not so clean and tidy. They leave things out and undone. They may have piles of paper and projects out and about, clothes on chairs or floors, counters full of stuff.
These people tend to drive neat freaks crazy.
Clean or messy – what side of the scale are you on?
This topic is one of several debates that can lead to countless fights and upsets in relationship. It can even be a deal breaker for some, and lead to separation and divorce.
So what to do when you and your partner (or parents or kids or roommate or friend) are at different ends of the clean-messy spectrum? How do you come up with a way to be together that works?
That is a big question, with many possible solutions.
In this video, we give you one idea that just might help…
Sonika & Christian
We believe relationships are meant to be fun and easy, enlivening and empowering, passionate and fulfilling. With our unique and practical approach to relationship, you learn how to resolve conflicts quickly and easily, to understand and forgive one another, and to step into love whenever you want. Click here to get free video tips on love, sex, intimacy, communication, and more.
If you liked this, you might also like:
Love and Giving in Relationship
Keeping Love Alive
This is never more obvious than at the beginning of relationship.
When in love, we are generous with our giving. We bestow upon our beloved an abundance of touch and attention. We offer gifts and love notes and phone calls. We make love for hours. We listen to each other with great rapture and divulge all of our secrets. We make delicious meals for each other and delight over the sharing of food together. We fix things that are broken when we know it will bring relief or joy. We are willing to go out of our way for each other. We can’t wait to show and express our love.
When newly in love, we mistakenly believe it is the OTHER who makes us feel so blissfully charged with love and generosity. We do not see that it is the act of loving itself that produces such joy!
We LOVE to give! It is where we are at our best. It is where we are the most connected. It is where we are the most expansive. In truth, it is who we ARE to give to another.
As relationship proceeds, we give less and less. We don’t see it, but we begin to focus more on getting than giving.
It begins when our partner doesn’t do what we expect or want. We feel hurt, disappointed, angry, afraid or sad. Old wounds resurface. We don’t want to feel the pain so we close ourselves off from our feelings. Unfortunately, when we close ourselves off from our feelings, we close off our love too.
In our confusion, we think the path to feeling love again is to change our partner. We have to get him or her to quit doing that thing that hurts. So we focus on trying to GET our partner to change, to meet our expectations. In a word, we try to GET them to give to us. We try to GET them to keep their agreements, to commit, to help around the house more, to make love, to listen to us, to show their love to us like they used to.
Our partner is doing the same to us. Trying to GET us to give to them.
Unfortunately, at this point, no one is giving. Both of us are trying to GET.
In trying to GET, the flow of love is cut off. Generosity ceases.
And we feel terrible when we are not abundantly giving to those we love. We have inadvertently disconnected ourselves from our hearts, from who we really are. It is this disconnection from love that kills us. It is this disconnection from love that kills the relationship.
We mistakenly believe we have fallen out of love because of our partner’s unwillingness to give. If only he or she would_______ (fill in the blank), then I would still be in love.
But it is actually our own unwillingness to give, our own focus on trying to GET that has taken us out of love.
Many of us leave our partners in search of another, and repeat the process over and over again.
We don’t see that GIVING and RECEIVING is at the heart of feeling this blissful state of love.
So take note. One of the fastest ways back to love is to give again. Give Fast. Give Freely. Give Frequently. Give what YOU want to receive.
Khalil Gibran said: “Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.”
When you give what YOU want to receive, you will begin to BE your best self again, and love will flow like it did.
And here is another crucial piece of relationship advice. Notice how your partner gives to you. Take your attention off of all the places love is missing, and put your appreciation on where love IS. Express your gratitude and appreciation to your partner for their expressions of love. When you do, something surprising will happen. Your partner will be inspired to give MORE.
If you want to fall in love again, get the flow of generous giving going again. It is not only the way back to love, it is love itself!
Here are a few quotes to enjoy.
“There’s a great joy in my giving. It’s thrilling. It’s exhilarating. It’s important to be a part of sharing. It is my love. It is my joy.”
W. Clement Stone
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Committing to something or someone is a scary move.
You might fail!
It might not turn out. Your partner might leave you. Your business partner might take your money and run. That class might bomb. You might go broke. You could lose everything.
True. Anytime you commit, there is always the chance that whatever it is you are committing to may not meet your expectations. You may indeed fail!
But when you don’t commit, you are doomed to certain failure!
Think about it. You can’t succeed at what you don’t try at. As Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.” We think we are preventing failure by not committing, but in fact we are only ensuring our failure!
Often our strategy for minimizing the risk of committing is to make sure everything will turn out BEFORE we commit. Get all of our ducks lined up in a row. Answer all of our questions. Reach a certain point financially. Study and get more prepared – FIRST. We hope that we will reach some imaginary place where all fear and doubt is replaced by certainty.
But for many of us, we never reach that place of confident certainty. Unfortunately, too many of us reach our deathbed with our dreams still in us because we never risked stepping out of our comfort zone to commit.
I have come to discover that committing first is the secret to living a passionate and rich life. As Marta Mrotek said, “Once you commit and decide that there is no turning back, you’ll find the strength.” I have experienced the depth and power of her words. First I commit, and then, BECAUSE of my commitment, I figure out what to do.
I will never forget the power of this way of living. Back in 1990, I courageously quit my job of some 10 years. I was terrified. This job not only paid well, but it filled my private coaching practice on the side. My co-workers were my best friends and the people I had come to know and love over the past decade were my community and like family. I had designed a good bunch of the content that I would now be leaving behind and I was cherished as one of the most beloved leaders of the organization.
But I had felt out of integrity in this business for quite some time. So, to be true to myself, I knew I had to leave. With my head yelling at me about what an idiot I was being, I dared quit during a staff meeting that morning. It felt so right and powerful.
That afternoon, to make matters even more terrifying, I bought a 4-bedroom house in the Bay Area with a huge mortgage. I had no idea how I was going to pay for it now that I had quit my job! I was terrified, but exhilarated too! My mind was having a field day about my stupidity, and all the horrible things that could happen were playing out quite vividly in my mind.
But after a few days, something else began to happen…
I was challenged to rise. I had to figure out a way to pay that mortgage. I had to figure out another way to bring in money. I had to design a way to make it all work.
Something miraculous happened in that space of excitement and terror. I found the strength. Openings appeared. Possibilities emerged.
It was in that space of commitment that the first rendition of LoveWorks was born 24 years ago.
I can’t even imagine where I would be today had I not taken that risk.
I still move this way. So does Christian. We commit to writing an article before we know what we are going to say. We publicize an event to over 4,000 people before we design the content for it. We commit to teaching a business seminar before we know what we are going to do at it. We buy something without knowing how we are going to pay for it.
We lock ourselves in by committing.
From there, in every single instance, we are called to rise. We find aspects of ourselves we didn’t know before, walk through openings we would not have otherwise noticed, profoundly alter lives that would not have otherwise been transformed.
BEST of ALL, we experience an aliveness, creativity and passion in our day-to-day life that, honestly, beats out boredom, comfort and complacency any day.
And sure, while we have a few flops here and there, 95% of the time, we have a best-seller!!
As William Murray once said “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness…but the moment one commits, then Providence moves…” … And magic happens!
Our motto for 2014? JUMP!
So we will leave you with a question: What great thing would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?
Once you have your answer, JUMP!!
Don’t you hate it when he says, “I’m fine”, but you know there’s something going on? Don’t you hate it when he insist on staying in denial and just keeps saying, “I’m okay!” when it’s obvious to you that he’s either lying or being oblivious?
And don’t you hate it when you’re minding your own business, and she comes over and starts prodding you with, “Is everything okay?” or, “Is there something we should talk about”? And don’t you hate it when you say, “No, I’m fine, really, nothing’s going on”, and she just keeps on pressing and pressing, and pretty soon you end up arguing about absolutely nothing!
Don’t you hate it when he just wants to go to bed and “sleep on it”, but you’re laying there totally unable to sleep with all that emotion running. You just want to talk it out, so you can go to bed at ease, feeling connected again, and sleep in the knowledge that you’re okay.
And don’t you hate it when she has to make a big deal of everything and talk-talk-talk but you have to get up at 5:30 am and you really do need some sleep? And if you could just sleep on it, it would probably pass all by itself, since it was nothing important to begin with?
Obviously, the differences between men and women could fill a whole library of books (and has!). Here, we want to point out a crucial difference, that trips up most of us at different times, and that is our different responses to feeling stressed, or triggered.
Both women and men under stress aim for reducing their stress levels, in that way we’re all the same. We all want to feel less stressed and calm ourselves down.
But HOW we do it is totally opposite. As a matter of fact, it’s one of those places where you might wonder if Nature screwed up just a bit, because how women and men attempt to reduce their respective stress levels seem to only INCREASE the stress when they’re taken together.
In short, women try to make themselves feel better by talking, connecting, coming closer, sharing. Men, on the opposite hand, try to accomplish the same result by going inwards, going to silence, having internal conversations in their head, or “taking space”.
You can see how a woman and man in relationship would trigger each other more when they try to reduce their own stress levels, yes? The more she tries to talk and connect, the less space he has to make himself feel better. And the more he tries to “take space” or go away, the more it seems to her that he’s avoiding her, and she has to talk louder and pull on him, and he gets even more stubborn, and she gets louder …. it’s a mess!
It’s not all hopeless, of course. Watch the short video for a few simple, powerful ideas for having the whole thing be easier.
I just read a great book written by Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor. It’s called The Happiness Advantage. In essence, the book systematically lists the measurable advantages of “priming” your mind to be positive, or in other words, happy. This book is written mostly for use in your career and for businesses, but it of course translates directly to your personal, intimate relationships.
The author lists countless studies where test subjects are first “primed” with either negative, neutral, or positive emotions, and then asked to perform tasks of varying difficulty. Over and over again, the positively primed subjects outperform the others. Doctors make better and faster diagnosis, random people find money prizes faster, Harvard students score higher grades, on an on it goes.
The whole message is: Happiness is not just a fancy luxury, it’s the most efficient state of mind to get anything done, achieve your highest performance, and live a happy, healthy life. Now proven by science (so it’s gotta be true!)
We of course wholeheartedly agree, because many of our waking hours are dedicated to figuring out and inventing better and faster ways for you to feel better in your relationship, no matter your circumstances.
One of the best and fastest, and certainly easiest, ways to do that we learned from Abraham-Hicks. it’s called the Wouldn’t-It-Be-Great-If Game. It’s brilliant in its innocent simplicity, and it flat out works! Watch the video to see it demo’ed …