Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

True Forgiveness

May 4th 2009

Forgiveness is never as easy as it seems and there are unfortunately a lot of false forgiveness going on in this world.  People know the value of forgiving someone, so often the process that is learned to forgive someone is practiced but the heart behind that forgiveness is not yet there so it’s a fake.  Forgiveness goes much much deeper than the words you say or actions you take.

Your heart and soul must be engaged for true forgiveness, not just your actions.

Trapped in the Past

The need for forgiveness always stems from some moral wrongdoing, harm caused to self and others or some situation that leads a person feeling victimized.  Each of these leave reminders and memories in our lives about our past and locks us into a cycle of guilt, doubt, and pain.  Getting out of this cycle and looking at what true forgiveness really entails is so important.  It’s tough to do though, since true forgiveness is very difficult.

Victimization is a huge roadblock for many things in life and certainly, its connected to forgiveness and nearly always the reason preventing true forgiveness from happening.  These victim scenarios are held fast in our minds and to forgive, we must let them go and look to move on from that situation or hurt associated with it.  The pain is real and should not be suppressed, it should be dealt with and faced instead.  Victimization keeps reviving those feelings and locks us in to continual feelings of guilt, shame and anger.  Release those feelings of resentment and look forward to future intentions.

3095060972_4cbc20684a-50% Acceptance, Not Tolerance

Often apologies and the age old response of “I forgive you” are treated as the steps to forgiveness and while those actions can be helpful in the process of forgiveness, they are not enough themselves.  Forgiveness is a process, not a single event and it goes much deeper than what you say or reveal to others.

Often forgiveness is pushed to the surface for others to see where there is still resentment inside.  This is not forgiveness, it’s tolerance and it does nothing to get by the internal pain of the wrong doing.  True forgiveness takes that so much deeper and turns the wrong doing around by acceptance of it and understanding of it.  This certainly doesn’t mean you agree with it or are not hurt by it, but it does mean you fully accept the actions, the pain and can let it go so you are no longer trapped by the hurtful act.

Acceptance comes from within when forgiving actions and it requires one to find acceptance within your own beliefs, understanding and experience.  You cannot repeatedly stumble or dwell on a problem and have truly forgiven it.  They just can’t coexist.  To forgive, is to accept and to move on.

There is Always Love in Forgiveness

I can’t write about forgiveness without including love.  Love is the foundation of true forgiveness and must be present.  Love is far more powerful than anger and hatred and is exactly why it enables forgiveness to happen.  Love prevails.  Love endures.

Love when it comes to forgiveness is about the love of others and love of self necessary to bring true acceptance, repentance for wrong doings and even the hope to look only for future intentions.  Self love battles the victimization and can lead a person from shame or pity from a hurtful act to forgive themselves, learn from those actions and use it to serve others and the future.

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 19 Comments »

Cell Phone Etiquette – It’s Your Voice

April 2nd 2009

Cell phones and all other communication devices are becoming so natural in everyone’s lifestyles that they are really an extension of an individual.  While the device may be separate from you, your usage of it is still a direct demonstration of you as a person so it should be considered part of your voice.  How you use it and the etiquette you have with it is a direct indicator of your own manners.

These factors seem obvious to me and they are actually the reasons why I don’t have a cell phone.  I find most cell phone users to be completely unaware of how their usage of their phone portrays their own etiquette.  Sometimes it seems that phone users think they are in their own little world when they use their phone.  Surprise surprise, others can still hear you and your phone when you use it. Because of this, here are some tips to make better use of your phone.

Your Cell Phone Ring

It’s one thing to have a unique ring, but another to have an annoying one.  You really should pick a ring that is unique so you can easily identify your own phone’s ring, but you should never pick one that is annoying. Your ring is not only heard by you, but everyone around you, strangers, your friends, your colleagues and even potential employers.  You should keep it professional and tolerable.

The other thing with you phone’s ringer you should get in the habit of using is the silent mode or vibrate mode.  Spare those around you and put the phone on silent mode so you don’t interrupt them.  After all, no one else cares when your phone rings so why would force them to hear it?  There is nothing more annoying than people who have a cell phone that rings when they leave it on their desk and walk away from it.  If you don’t keep your phone on you all day, you should definitely keep it on silent.  And if you do keep it on you, then there is no reason not to use vibrate mode.

Your Cell Phone Volume

CellPhone The volume you use on your cell phone isn’t much different than the volume of your own voice in a conversation.  Do you think it’s polite to be yelling in a conversation?  Of course not, nor is it polite to have a cell phone so loud others can hear your conversation.  The same goes for the ringer.  Keep the volume down!

Your Cell Phone Interruptions

This is what bothers me the most from cell phone users.  Taking a call no matter where or what you are doing with no regard to what or who you are interrupting.  When someone is in a conversation, is it polite to instantly interrupt them? Well no, so you shouldn’t let anyone do this in a conversation with your cell phone either.  Put attention and priority to who you are physically with and turn your cell phone off or at least don’t answer it when you are in a conversation.  Let it go to voice mail.  You show great respect to an individual if you let them be your prime focus when in a conversation instead of letting your phone interrupt you.  When you do put attention to your phone interruption, it sends the message to the party you were first talking to in person that your phone call (even before you know who it was) was more important to you and that you’d rather take the call.  Not really a polite thing to do.

Your Cell Phone Distractions

Not only do the call interruptions impact the people you interrupt, but calls also become major distractions to your own productivity and activities.  If you are busy working on something or focusing on a task, phone calls and ringing cell phones just distract you from that.  Most calls are truly not that important and there is always voice mail to answer the call for you so you can then check all your messages together at a later time.  This allows you to stay focused on your tasks at the right time and then batch process your messages on your cell phone when you are ready to.  Eliminating these distractions lets you accomplish more, be more productive and to be more professional in your relationships and manners with your cell phone.

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 27 Comments »

Making Friends at Work

March 13th 2009

1146295_women_color_2 Regular commenter here, Karl of Work Happy Now , posted this article about making friends at work over at Chief Happiness Office. I read both of these blogs and they have a lot of great content to ensure you bring and promote a happy workplace into your life. Karl had some great tips covering ideas to make friends at work despite differing personality types.  Many of the ideas are simple to do and I agree with all the advice he’s outlined.

I think there is much value in making friends at work but also in taking that beyond the workplace and building friendships that last regardless of where you work or if you change jobs.  I know many of my friendships have been made in the workplace and the best of those have lasted years, long after working together.

What Makes a Friendship?

To me, a friendship is a relationship between two people who are both willing to share their time and experiences with each other simply for the sake of doing so. The key word there is “willing”.  Sometimes people do share time with others because of some default role or workplace environment but it doesn’t mean it is a real friendship.  Often it is simply being friendly or even polite in order to work together.  Friendship goes beyond that.

Friendship must involve some level of willingness to share time on it’s own.  No other purpose.  A personal choice with a purpose no other than that of spending time together.  If you have that, you have real friendship.

In the workplace those friendships can be a choice in who you choose to work with, or work the most with.  You make preferences about the people you spent time with at work and you learn quickly to develop a helping attitude where you do choose to help others, be helped or in some other way, spend time together outside of what is simply required to do your job.  Perhaps it is in your break time or lunch break with who you spend time with.  Those breaks or gap from an objective typically means time spent without that work purpose getting in the way.

Make Friendships Last Beyond The Workplace

While there are many friendships that occur in a workplace, all too many of them stay there, in the workplace.  They don’t extend into your personal life and unfortunately they often dwindle away once those people are no longer working together.  Sometimes this happens when people leave companies, but unfortunately it even happens more often, such as when people change departments, roles or even projects.  That common goal was what drew them together and there was nothing to base the connections on beyond that.  So, what can be done to extend a friendship and make it last?

Connect at a Personal Level

A personal connection is extremely powerful.  It lets you immediate draw upon something in each other’s worlds outside the workplace and gives a common ground to know each other at.  If you have personal connections, you can find and share more about your lives together outside the office.  Make an effort to know and show genuine interest in the other person’s life.  This allows you to relate to them in new ways, find similar interests and give topics of discussion that extend beyond the day to day work.

Give Selflessly to the Friendship

This is a given for a friendship in any situation.  If you can truly give without expectations to another person, it is by far the easiest way to make friends with them.  It shows you care about them instead of yourself.  Make an effort to offer your time or help and don’t ever expect anything in return.  This will deepen a friendship so that it can last beyond the workplace.

Connect Outside of the Office

Finally, once you have some connection and have given into a friendship look to extend that once step further.  Connect and build that friendship outside the workplace.  This can be the most powerful of the three here in making the connection last beyond the work as it opens an avenue of communication in your personal lives.  You can start this very simply and it makes connecting after a workplace separation (for whatever means) much more comfortable.  Here are a few things you could use to do this:

  • Use each other’s personal email for talking about some non-work related subject.  This might list be sharing of links, videos, pictures or some other simple item, start small.
  • Get together for a sports event or other public gathering
  • Join or create a sport team together
  • Have lunch or dinner (perhaps a BBQ)
  • Invite each other’s families to meet and get together
  • Ask or offer to help for a personal favor (moving, construction, advice, etc)
  • Host a party or event

Virtually anything can be used and I know that making that connection outside the office makes friendships lasting to be far more likely than those build only in the workplace.  Once you have that friendship established, the time may come when you no longer work together and then it will be easy to continue to keep those activities outside of work occurring.  That disconnection from work can even be used as a reason to connect more often outside of work.  I like to get friends together who have worked together in the past or meet for lunch or a drink somewhere ever couple months to stay in touch.  So, I encourage you to take a step and look at the available friendships you have in your workplace and make some effort to step that beyond the workplace to ensure you have a lasting friendship that you can enjoy beyond your current work.  Do it before the opportunity is taken away and then hold onto it!

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 8 Comments »

Open Ended Questions Make Better Conversations

December 2nd 2008

Questions are a critical piece of any conversation and there is an easy way to use them to build better conversations and depth while communicating.  That method is simply by using more open ended questions.

Open Ended Versus Closed Ended

There are two types of questions that are important to know in order to keep your conversations going and to build more rapport with others in conversation.  They are open ended and closed ended questions.

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Closed ended questions can be answered with a single one or two word response.  They are often a yes or no question and don’t leave much room for elaboration, interpretation or opinion.

Open ended questions on the other hand are questions that cannot be answered with one word responses.  They require some thought and some details to reasonably answer the question.

Build a Conversation

Simple response closed questions don’t leave much room for elaboration or really a full response.  These are often question using phrases like, did you, when, do you want to, will you, have you, etc.  Each of these just need a couple words to answer and they don’t transition well from one topic to another in a conversation.  They leave little room for new ideas and they don’t spark much creativity or imagination which leads to new questions.  That is where open ended questions excel.  They provide much more detail, thoughts, comments and bits of information that can more easily form into new ideas and transitions.  Here are some examples of typical questions in an open format:

  • Tell me what you think about that?
  • What is it you like about the idea?
  • Why would you suggest that?
  • How do you plan to achieve that?

Let Others Talk More Than You

Open ended questions also ensure that you give others a chance to talk more than you.  It forces you to listen more in any conversation because you have to wait for a longer response with these questions.  You can still lead a conversation by steering with your questions but at least the open questions will allow room for a more elaborate expanse.

Open questioning is also a great tool to promote creative thought, problem-solving skills, and cognitive growth in others because it forces a person to spend more time contemplating their response instead of just giving a disconnected yes or no response.  The thought needed behind may seem simply but it forces an association pattern that makes a person relate something of meaning that they response with, to the person or conversation.  This inherently builds a stronger bond with, better memory of and definitely a more engaged conversation.

Ask Them to Talk About Themselves

Similarly to simply having someone talk more, having someone talk about themselves, their own thoughts and their feelings on a subject shows that you have some genuine interest in them and care enough to want to take the time to listen.  This is immensely powerful both for seeing how the conversation topics affect that person but also to strengthen that relationship more.  Whether you know the person well, or you are already a close friend or family member, these personal and open ended questions only lead to an even stronger bond with a longer more meaningful conversation at the outset.

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 9 Comments »

Don’t Talk Negatively about Anyone

July 8th 2008

One of the simplest things I’ve learned about improving your relationships is an important habit to develop.  Its simple, but not that easy to put into practice without paying attention to it, which is the point of this article. Its so simple its often overlooked when people teach about communications and relationships.  The idea is to never talk negatively about anyone.  What I mean by this is to avoid all the typical team / relationship killers that go on in normal office politics such as:

  • Talking about someone’s performance with anyone other than them
  • Rumors and gossip in the workplace or friendship circles
  • Telling others what someone else did without a reason or something to be learned
  • Using others’ negative behaviors as an example without their permission

These are just a few examples of how simple communication might be unintentionally harmful but end up being very harmful indeed.  Even the most innocent discussions about someone else can easily get retold and end up in the ears of the actor in the story which can easily be taken the wrong way.  Things get misinterpreted and told differently each time its communicated.  The best way to avoid this is just to never talk negatively about anyone.  Keep in mind that anything you say could get back to that person and so if you’re not willing to say it to them directly, then you shouldn’t say it in the first place.  If you do have something to say, why not tell them directly and deal with the issue, instead of complaining to others about them and making the situation worse.

This works not only for negative things you have to say, but also for positive.  Its not much point in telling someone else about the things a person does well or poorly, you might as well tell them directly.  If you do have feedback for someone, then base it on what they’ve done and don’t make it negative about the person themselves.  I learned this topic primarily from the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People ” which I definitely recommend if you haven’t read it.  It covers so many critical life topics on relationships you’re missing out if you haven’t learned the teachings from it.

What is an important rule you follow for building relationships?

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 3 Comments »

Emotions Are Your Best Friend and Enemy

June 25th 2008

Emotions are a wonderful human trait and they effect our lives every single day.  They guide our spirits, stem from thoughts and steer our behavior.  They are a component of each person that makes that person unique while at the same time, something to be shared!  Emotions have the force to change lives and can also destroy them.  They are intertwined into our beings and part of our actions, triggered by feelings with a visible (by any sense) reaction to others.

The reason I wanted to write about emotions is because its a massive area to learn about that has just as vast implications.

Emotions As Your Best Friend

Emotions have so many great things about them they are easy to relate to a best friend.  These are all the emotions that tend to make you feel better, the way a best friend might.

  • They are comfortable and enjoyable to have
  • They make you happy and generally lift your spirits
  • You want more of them or more time with them
  • They encourage you to be kind and nice to others

Emotions As Your Enemy

Emotions on the other hand are also like an enemy.  They negatively impact your life just as often.

  • They encourage you to attack or be mean to others
  • They cause fear and anger that hurts you and others
  • You don’t want them around and prefer to have less of them
  • They are uncomfortable, cause stress and worry in your life

The Power of Emotions

These lists are just tiny examples of all the things that emotions affect.  The power of them is huge and the first thing I want to do is put your attention to your emotions.  Emotions are on the middle ground between your thoughts and your actions or behaviors.  Its your thoughts that generate your feelings which are exposed as emotions and those lead to behaviors in response.  Take care of noting that as these emotions can serve as both your friend and foe so watch for it, observe your power of emotions and that of others and learn to see the impact.  There is much more to write on the power of emotions, I wanted to spark some thoughts and leave each of you to ponder it.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and I hope to add more on this topic in future articles.

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 3 Comments »

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