Empowering Thoughts

Empathic Communication

Why is it we always think we have to solve other peoples’ problems?  I did a half day workshop this weekend called Key Elements to a Healthy Marriage. The couples were in their late twenties getting married in the next six months. The workshop focused on understanding the root cause of conflict and resolving conflict with empathic communication. What is empathic communication? It is the ability to listen, truly listen to another person, ask questions to gain clarity and not try to fix their problem, nor give them suggestions, don’t tell them how they should or should not be feeling. Or what they should or should not do or have done.  Empathic communication is simply about listening, viewing the situation through their lens and not your own. The couples practiced using real life situations using their current communication approach, then practiced using empathic communication, and they all agreed empathic communication is awesome!

In a day how often do you use empathic communication with others? How many times in the day do others listen to you with empathic communication? When you are upset what do you want from others, them telling you their opinions or just listening and understanding you?  I encourage you to be more aware of when you are not using empathic communication and how your interaction with the other person does not feel super good when you are done. Then be aware of when you are using empathic communication with others and how good it felt and how much more satisfied they were with you and your interaction.


Renewing and Reviewing Your Relationship

I was on the phone today with a client that is separated from her husband. He has started dating again and my client is really hurt and upset by it. I told her the emotions she is experiencing are normal. She then asked me, “when will I overcome the strong emotions and not let it bother me anymore?” I explained that the emotions she is feeling is her under-confidence that she does not believe that she is deserving and worthy of having the kind of relationship she wants. I assigned her a homework to describe how she wants to be treated in a relationship, how she would like to spend her time with a partner, what she was willing to give to the relationship. When we live so long in an unhealthy relationship it’s hard to remember what we would like in a relationship. Often-times marriages struggle simply because the couple does not spend time renewing and reviewing the activities they would like to do together, or their ideals have shifted without the other one knowing, dreams and goals have changed without conversation. Not all marriages need to end in divorce, however, the couple needs to be willing to have the conversations throughout their entire marriage to keep a pulse on the changes they desire. I would encourage you and your partner to open-up conversation with these two questions, “What do you love about our marriage?” “What changes could we make to improve our marriage?”


Team Player
We often times think of teams as it relates to sport or in the work place. Yet we are a part of teams in every aspect of our lives. At home a family is a team, our family of origin is another team, the friends we hang out with is a team, fellow classmates in the classroom are a team, teachers and their students are a team, daycare centers are a team. Everywhere we connect with people we become a part of a team. With that said, what does it mean to be a Team Player?

T stands for teach, teach each other, the more knowledgeable and skilled the stronger the team. E stands for empathy, the ability to understand someone from their vantage point, stand in their shoes, experience life through their lens. A, stands for acceptance, the ability to be non-judgmental of others you disagree with and to listen and understand their opinions. M stands for motivate, the ability to self-motivate and motivate others to reach beyond their comfort zone and achieve something new. P stands for practice, to become better at anything requires utilizing new skills and knowledge for the betterment of one’s self and the team. L stands for listening, the ability to get others to speak up by asking open ended questions and to listen to their ideas and work together to take the ideas to make the team better. A stands for appreciate, the ability to see value in each and every person on the team and to find ways to verbalize and display that gratitude authentically. Y stands for yield, this is the ability to let go of our own agendas and listen to others for ideas and opinion on how to strengthen and improve the team. E stands for equal, the ability to remove the hierarchy mentality and see all members of the team as bringing equal value and importance to the team, this includes persons in leadership roles. R stands for relax, the ability to trust in the process of developing a team, it takes time and is a process that should be enjoyable and fun for everyone.

Simply say…. 
Simply say to your child. “You are an amazing person.”
Simply say to an employee or co-worker. “I really appreciate you.”
Simply say to your spouse. “I am so happy you are in my life on a daily basis.”
Simply say to your friend. “I am so grateful for our friendship.”
Simply say to a stranger. “Hello.”
Simply say to your boss. “Thank you for being a great manager.”
Simply say to someone you are in conflict with. “I am sorry we have our differences.”
Simply say to someone you don’t like. “I would like to be friends some day.”
Simply say to someone you are jealous of. “I am really happy for you.”
Simply say to someone you are mad at. “I am not mad at you, I am mad at the situation.”

What are you waiting for?

Over twenty years ago my husband at the time said he always wanted to be a veterinarian. I said OK. He said, but it will take over 7 years before I would graduate. I said, OK, so in seven years do you want to be called Dr. John Kokinos DVM or John Kokinos because either way seven years will pass it just depends on what you do between today and seven years from now. I am proud to say he is the most sought after equine lameness veterinarians on the east coast.

So what about you? What are you wanting to accomplish? But more importantly what is stopping you from accomplishing it? John had plenty of excuses and reasons why he couldn’t or shouldn’t go to vet school. Those excuses and reasons were then backed with a ton of behaviors that distracted him from taking action toward the desired result, being a veterinarian. You see long before I put my method of behavior coaching into a formalized training approach, The Empowerment Principles, I was already successful at helping not just my husband but a lot of other people. I personally rely upon The Empowerment Principles to help me at the times when by behaviors are not helping me get my desired results.

So where will you be one year from now? Still wishing you could achieve better health, a loving relationship, be a better parent, overcome a loss, get through a life transition, improve your finances, have a different career or will you be like the other individuals that learned The Empowerment Principles from me and are now in control of their behaviors?  The choice is yours, but please remember if you don’t achieve, the only thing that stands in your way are your behaviors and I have a proven method that will help you sustainably change your behaviors so you can succeed at whatever results you desire.

Lunch Hour Therapy
The time of day when you and a friend nourish your hunger and replenish your depleted self confidence. Friends are great at listening and providing advice to help you get grounded when people and situations trigger you. However, most friends are not able to help you achieve sustainable grounding. They are not a trained professional at helping you identify nor eliminating your triggers.

And so the cycle of lunch hour therapy continues. You complain telling your friend all about the drama, they listen, give advice that you will never follow, then your friend shares their frustrations, you listen, give advice, wondering if this time they will follow it. You say your good byes feeling better for the time being.  All the while you never identify the root of what triggers you or why are you feeling so un-empowered that someone else can control your reactions. What types of people and situations are triggering you? A parent told me that his three year old daughter knows how to push his buttons when she does not listen to him.


Is It What You Eat or Why You Eat
So many people get into the cycle of trying a variety of different approaches to lose weight and eat healthy. Everywhere you turn there are new supplements, packaged meals, menu plans, fitness plans, weight loss groups, even mindfulness eating, all that claim to be the answer to taking off weight and keeping it off.Yet the food pyramid has taught us since the age of 5 or 6 to eat in moderation, eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains.  Eat more lean meats, limit meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods, use oil and sugar sparingly. Yet as adults we just don’t seem to be able to follow this simple pyramid. Instead we spend our hard earned money buying products and services that promise results. So why can’t we follow this basic pyramid, save our money, be healthier and improve our self image?The reason is, we eat to nurture ourselves. Food makes us feel better emotionally. So when we experience negative emotions like stress, frustration, sadness, fear,  doubt, feeling like others are controlling us or we are being self critical, we reach for food. Food satisfies our pleasure receptors in our brain making us feel better temporarily. This nurturing is only a band-aid which causes us to ride the food roller-coaster.Learning to identify and eliminate the subconscious barriers that cause the negative emotions can bring about a sustainable approach to better health, improved self image and an overall happier life. What types of situations cause you to reach for food and what food do you tend to eat? A client told me when she gets stressed out about money she reaches for ice cream as her comfort food.

What Is Depression

Depression is an emotional response when we have lost the faith, trust and confidence in our ability to achieve the outcomes we desire. It can feel like we lost the direction of our destiny and that others or circumstances outside our control are running our life.

No one is immune to depression it can affect anyone, any age, any profession, any economic status.

Depression is not to be feared or disliked, instead it should be honored like a good friend reminding us that we drifted away from our desires.

Recipe For Antidepressant
1. When depression strikes set aside time to think about what is missing in your life or how others or other circumstances have caused you to drift from your desires.
2. Next, make a list of little things you can do to regain direction to your desires.
3. Pick one thing on the list that you can do right now.
4. Be patient with yourself, take little strides. This will help rebuild your self confidence, trust and faith in yourself.
5. Celebrate each time you take action toward your desires.
6. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you are back on the path of your desires.