Gratitude makes you happier, healthier, and more popular

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What does it mean to “give thanks?”

Well, it depends. It depends on who, where, when, and how.

If you were around in October 1621 at the Plimouth Plantation, you might have been part of the “First Thanksgiving”. Here, the Native Americans and Pilgrims came together to celebrate the first harvest in the New World.

The settlers had struggled the previous winter due to a lack of supplies and food. Many had starved or became ill and died as a result. Yet, a number survived. Massasoit, leader of the Wampanoag tribe, had given the colonists food to get through their first winter.

After the snow thawed, the Pilgrims gradually learned to live off the land. Squanto, from the Patuxet tribe, taught them how to grow corn and catch eel. After this successful harvest, they threw a three-day feast that included waterfowl, turkey, venison, corn, and various shellfish.

Although such festivities were held intermittently in the years since, Thanksgiving finally became a federal holiday in 1863, thanks to Abraham Lincoln. Since then, Thanksgiving has been celebrated in the U.S. on the fourth Thursday of every November.

Fast Forward to Gratitude Today

While roast turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce are staples for the Thanksgiving holiday today, how often do we really practice gratitude?

We complain about this and that. We get agitated when deciding what to wear if we’re not served right away at a restaurant, and after a store doesn’t stock our favorite brand of coffee. But is it a surprise, given we live in an age of abundance?

When it comes to our everyday needs and wants, we have variety right at our fingertips. We can have any type of food delivered right to our doorstep. Our phones ping notifications on today’s trending news. And if you’re looking for entertainment, just open up your internet browser. While these are all good things, we easily take what we have for granted.

People’s acts of kindness often go unrecognized. In many cases, the recipient fails to say a simple “thanks” or give any acknowledgment. In an everyday quest to get things done, people are consumed by their own lives and forget to take the time to thank others.

It seems as if the original intent behind that first Thanksgiving feast has been lost with time.

The Benefits of Gratitude

Both giving and receiving thanks are important. But in order to understand why we need to see the benefits.

There are three main benefits to being thankful:

1. Strengthening social relationships

Gratitude can help us befriend others, improve existing relationships, make amends, and recognize others’ good deeds. In romantic relationships, practicing gratitude for the little things can make all the difference. In one study, expressing gratitude towards the partner improved the relationship quality for both people.

Letting someone know that you’re grateful for the person’s actions, or simply for being in your life, can improve your relationship. It doesn’t matter whether the person is a stranger, friend, parent, relative, or whoever. Thanking others breeds positive feelings all around.

2. Improving our personal sense of well-being

In a study, one group of participants wrote about the things they were grateful for, a second group reflected on the daily things that irritated them, and a third group wrote about their week with neither a positive nor negative slant. 10 weeks later, the grateful group was more optimistic and happier about their lives, while the group that focused on negativity was more likely to visit the doctor.

Giving thanks is not only rewarding intrinsically, but it also helps us feel better about what we have. We’re more joyful overall. Even if you’re having a bad day or things don’t go the way you want, there are definitely some things that you have to be grateful for.

3. Maintaining good health

According to one study, gratitude is linked to the quality of your sleep. People who reflected on the positive things that happened in their day had a better night’s sleep than those who with a negative outlook.

The quality of your sleep is directly related to how you feel during the day and your overall health. Those who were less grateful were more stressed, anxious, and depressed. The opposite was true for those who were more grateful.

To sum it up, here’s a quote from the Wall Street Journal article “Thank You. No, Thank You” on how gratitude affects our lives:

“Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections, and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics.”

How to Practice Gratitude

Now that we’ve seen all the benefits of gratitude, we need to incorporate more of it into our lives Practicing gratitude can easily be done using these three ways:

1. Keep a gratitude journal

Jot down a few things you’re thankful for. Place a notebook on your bedside table so that it’s convenient. The best time of the day to write in your journal is right before sleeping. That way, you can reflect on everything that’s happened during the day and you get a happier night’s rest.

To start and end your day on a good note, try The Five Minute Journal.

Remember to be specific. Instead of writing that you’re “thankful for your friend”, think of a specific example, such as “my friend shared her own experiences with work conflict, which helped me navigate a similar situation.” Thinking of particular instances forces you to think hard about the good things that have happened.

2. When in doubt, say “thanks”

We often forget to thank people for the little things, such as lending a pen. Sometimes, we even forget to say “thanks” for the bigger things, such as gifts or loans. If you’re not sure what to say, a simple word of thanks does wonders in making the other person feel valued.

If you met someone interesting at a networking event or completed an academic course, reach out and send an email to the person to thank them for what they taught you. Opening up the lines of communication can lead to opportunities down the road.

3. Use positive phrases

When you’re faced with a dilemma, switch out those negative phrases for positive ones. For instance, I had a power outage that lasted for days. While it was definitely inconvenient, at least I had a chance to interact with people, free of electronics, and catch up on good old-fashioned books.

Whether something is a problem or an opportunity depends on how you look at it. And the way you look at things changes your mindset, attitude, and actions.

A Simple Act of “Thanks” Can Blossom into Something More

The Pilgrims held a feast to celebrate the promise of a bright future. They made it through a difficult winter and recognized how much they had to be thankful for. They saw a place where they and their descendants could thrive.

It’s interesting how such a simple, seemingly insignificant event would go on to become an important annual tradition. If only the Pilgrims who celebrated in those early days recognized the weight of their actions then.

Who knows what significant events can unfold from the small actions you perform today?

13 Life Rules to Keep You Motivated

liferulestokeepyoumotivated

We all have rules we live by. Some of them are inherent, such as smiling when walking past a stranger or shaking someone’s hand when introducing yourself. But others we have to develop over time until they become habit.

Good habits, practiced daily, can make all the difference in your life. We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council what rules and mantras they live by. Which would you add to your list?

Related: 17 Motivational Success Mantras

1. Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.

The life advice I go back to most often is, “Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” This quote has guided me in both my personal and professional lives. And it works because it’s true for all people: We all face challenges, but we all have the choice to respond in a positive or negative manner.

Ben Camerota, MVP Visuals

2. Give more than you take.

It’s really that simple. Give more in the world (of your time, money or talents) than you consume or take. It creates such an abundance of experience, connections and wealth, but never when those are the leading drivers.

Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40

3. Under-promise, then over-deliver.

My father grew up on a farm in a small, rural community where you build a reputation in either direction very quickly. He taught me that you are much better off under-promising and over-delivering than not meeting people’s expectations. Most of us do business in very small business communities and would also be best served by erring on the side of exceeding expectations rather than not meeting them.

Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

4. We aren’t rich enough to buy cheap things.

My mom used to say, “We aren’t rich enough to buy cheap things.” Cheap things don’t last, and replacing them ultimately costs more time and money than buying high-quality goods to start with. This also applies to behavior: It’s easier to do things right the first time, rather than to retroactively fix a shoddy job.

Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders, Inc

5. Keep it simple, stupid.

One of the most simple life lessons I learned from my father at a young age is to “Keep it simple, stupid.” The KISS principle has been a guiding light for me, as I often remind myself, when things seem overwhelming or overly complex, to step back and keep it simple. Usually you can break things into smaller parts or simplify a problem to achieve your desired outcome. Thanks, Dad!

Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com

6. Keep business and personal separate.

As an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to mix up business and personal, but it just causes mistakes and headaches that can impact both aspects of your life in a bad way. It’s better to keep these completely separate in terms of communication, social presence, money and daily tasks.

Zach Binder, Ranklab

Related: 21 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 21

7. Obey the Golden Rule.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I never get tired of this positive way to look at every interaction I have. Whether it’s my family, co-workers or clients, I put their interests first. It’s not about what you can get from others, but what you give to them that makes you a pleasant person to deal with. The fact that the Golden Rule is still relevant is a measure of its power.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

8. Keep moving, keep playing and keep dreaming.

I constantly refer to these words because they remind me of the importance and power of momentum. To achieve your full potential, you have to stay energized. This encompasses everything from caring about your health and visiting the gym, to staying innovative and ambitious by vigorously exercising the mind.

Stephen Gill, Tiller

9. Work to live; don’t live to work.

I can easily work just for the sake of working. But I sure hope that toward the end of my life, I don’t look back on years of time spent in an office in front of my laptop working. I want to look back on relationships and lives that I’ve been a part of. This contributes more to my overall happiness than checking off my never-ending to-do list.

Mark Daoust, Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc.

10. Do it right or don’t do it.

This approach guides every decision I make. If I don’t think we can do it better than anyone else and feel a strong passion for it, I decline the opportunity. Life’s just too short to spend time doing things that you aren’t proud of, don’t enjoy and aren’t going to put your full focus behind. During the years, this has saved us from many good opportunities, allowing the bandwidth for great ones.

Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

11. Favors are a stronger currency than money.

Favors are a stronger currency than money: Whether it’s in the personal or professional sphere, non-monetary help/gifts build much more meaningful long-term relationships and have a greater positive relationship impact than those that are clearly tied to a financial amount. It shows you truly care about someone and have taken the time to learn about them. It’s not easy or even always possible, but it’s something I try to keep in mind.

Kevin Yamazaki, Sidebench

12. Learn to enjoy the discomfort of change.

George Santayana said: “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mindthan to be hopelessly in love with spring.” Far too many of our problems—whether in business, relationships or day-to-day life—come from clinging to the past. By enjoying the discomfort of change, we open ourselves up to see things from a new perspective, and to be happier while doing it.

Zach Obront, Scribe Writing

13. Think, What are you trying to accomplish?

My father told me to “Always ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish.” This is something I try to ask every time I start a design, get stuck on a project and even in my personal life. It is a way to pull yourself outside of a situation and make the best decision.

Peter Bonac, Bonac Innovation Corp. 

10 Big Problems in a Relationship and How to Fix it

10 Big Problems in a Relationship and How to Fix it

By: Mihran “Mino”

Relationships can be perfect. But that doesn’t mean it won’t have its problems. Find out the big problems in a relationship and learn how to fix it.

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Relationships are one of the first things that all of us take for granted.We don’t want to take it for granted.

But yet, we forget how much something really matters to us when we don’t stand to lose it.

And it usually takes losing something to realize its importance and value.

Wondering what the big problems in a relationship are, and what you can do to overcome it?

Problems in a relationship

Depending on the kind of relationship you share with your partner, the problems in a relationship too could be just as unique.

But almost always, all problems in a relationship find their place in ten big areas.

At some point or the other, these problems have a way of creeping into your romance.

Keep an eye on these issues, and understand how to overcome it, and you’ll see how easy it can be to eliminate all the frustrations you experience in a relationship.

 

Relationship Big Problem

 

10 big problems that need your attention

Remember this, you can’t stop problems from cropping up in a relationship no matter how perfect the relationship is. What you can do instead, is eliminate the frustration as soon as you notice them.

#1 Lack of communication. At the start of the relationship, conversations are exciting and fun. Both of you spend a lot of time getting to know each other. But as time goes by, lovers forget to ask the same questions again.

We’re all changing all the time, in our preferences and the way we look at life. Don’t assume you know everything about each other or your romance will start to stagnate, or one of you will start to confide in some other person who seems more understanding.

#2 Trust. Do you really trust your partner? There are two kinds of trust in a relationship. Firstly, do you trust your partner enough to feel comfortable with them going out for dinner with someone else? If you don’t, perhaps, you’re insecure or your relationship is still too fragile.

And secondly, do you trust your partner’s decisions? Do you think your partner is capable of making important decisions for the both of you? If you can’t trust your partner with life altering decisions, it’s obvious that you don’t respect your partner or their opinions. And that’s never a good sign in a long term relationship.

#3 Jealousy and insecurity. Insecure couples are forever locked in a cycle of jealously and anger. When you feel jealous about the attention your lover’s getting or their recent promotion, you’re not helping them become a better individual. It’s like a parent who’s angry with their child because the child is having “too much fun”.

You need to learn to have faith in each other and in the relationship. Instead of letting negativity build inside the relationship, learn to enjoy each other’s successes. After all, your partner is your better half, and any accomplishments of theirs are your accomplishments too, isn’t it?

#4 Incompatibility in love. Love at first sight and infatuation can last several months. And it does a good job of masking any differences in a relationship. As perfect as two people may be, sometimes, they may just not be perfect for each other.

If you find yourself dating someone with whom you have nothing in common, you need to decide on the next step. Try to find common interests that both of you like, or walk your own paths instead of living in frustrations.

#5 Loss of sex drive. This isn’t rocket science. Over time, both of you are bound to lose the sexual urge of the first few months or years of a relationship. While both of you may have a hard time keeping your hands off each other to begin with, now sex may start to feel like a chore.

This is a very common problem in relationships, and yet, it’s one of the easy ones to solve. Always look for new ways to recreate the sexual high of the first few times, and before you know it, both of you may go at it all over again like frisky bunnies.

#6 Ka ching! Anyone in a relationship for long enough will know just how important money or the lack of it really is. If your friends earn a lot more than you or your partner, it’ll end up frustrating both of you. And on the other hand, if both of you earn a lot more than your friends, there’ll be a lot of love and happiness in your lives.

It’s a stupid fact of life. But our own happiness is extremely dependent on the way others perceive us. If you’re having difficulties in your relationship because of money, perhaps it’s time to change your friends and see the difference.

#7 Change in priorities. You may be in a relationship, but that doesn’t change who you are. And that’s where the problem starts. As individuals, we evolve and change all the time. You’re not the person you were last year, and you won’t be the person you are now next year.

And just like you, your partner too is changing constantly. And every now and then, you and your partner may experience changes that will pull both of you apart from each other. And soon enough, both of you may have nothing in common. Spend enough time with each other and try to evolve together in a similar direction. Talk about your beliefs and your interests with each other and it’ll help both of you grow together along the same path.

#8 Time. Do both of you have enough time to spend with each other? These days, time is a luxury that most lovers can’t afford. When you start spending too much time away from each other, it’s only a matter of time before one of you starts asking the big question, “Do I need my partner in my life anymore?”

Don’t drift away so far that both of you don’t need to be with each other anymore. Find ways to indulge in exciting hobbies or spend evenings going out on little coffee or ice cream dates. They make for great conversations and it’ll bring both of you closer too.

#9 Space and individual growth. Now this is contradictory to the earlier problem in relationships. But it’s still something to watch out for. Too much of a good thing can turn out to be bad too. When you’re in a relationship, spending time with each other is very important. But at the same time, spending time away from each other is crucial too.

By spending too much time together, you’d subconsciously feel isolated from the rest of the world. And when that happens, you’d crave for any attention from other interesting people just to feel better about yourself and your ability to communicate. And you know what could happen when that happens, right?

#10 Are you still in love? This is the biggest problem in a relationship, and one that’s hardest to overcome. Falling in love is easy. Staying in love isn’t. Love is a delicate balance between dependency and passion. How much do you need your partner? How much do you love and want your partner?

 When the sexual excitement and the enthusiasm fade away, what do you have to hold both of you together? A relationship should never be based on sex alone. It needs compatibility and understanding, and it definitely needs dependability. Staying in love forever is not easy, but with a little effort, it can give meaning to your life.
Problems in a relationship can come and go. But if you ever come face to face with these 10 big problems in romance, don’t overlook it. It could cost you the relationship itself.

44 Questions To Ask Yourself in a New Relationship

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA
44 Questions To Ask Yourself in a New Relationship

Have you been dating a guy you really like for the past few months? Are you thinking you want to be in a long-term relationship with him? If so, you may be wondering when to have “the talk” with him. Instead of rushing to do so, first determine your reasons for actually wanting to be in a committed relationship.

Reasons based on any variation of, “I’m tired of being single. I’m sick of dating. I’m getting older so I’d better get married soon. What if I don’t find someone better?” mean he’s not the one you really want. If you’re in this situation, he just happens to be the guy in front of you — not necessarily the best guy for you. Wanting to be in a relationship for the wrong reasons guarantees a short-term relationship or a future of unhappiness. Let him go so that he can find a woman who is truly excited to be with him… and so you can find a man who’s perfect for you.

If he’s the one you really want, your reasons will include things like “I really like him as a person. I like who I am when I’m around him and when we’re apart. I smile just thinking of him. I love being with him.” If this describes you, your relationship has the potential for a long-term commitment.

But how do you know what’s important to consider in making such an important decision? The following relationship questions will confirm whether or not you’re both compatible for the long run.

44 Relationship Questions To Ask Yourself In A New Relationship
Check in with your inner monologue and answer these relationship questions after you have gotten to know him well enough to get a good sense of who he is. If you don’t know him very well, don’t answer these questions until you learn more about him (and don’t make a decision about whether he’s the guy for you before then, either!).

About Me
Do I like how he treats me?
Am I a priority in his life?
Does he respect me?
Do I feel safe around him?
Does he accept me for who I am?
Am I being my authentic self around him?
Can I express myself freely when difficult situations come up?
Do I feel secure when we’re together and when we’re not together?
Does he inspire me to be the best version of myself?
Is he encouraging and supportive of what I want in life?
Is he genuinely happy for me when good things happen to me?
Can I live with his quirky behaviors and traits?
Do I like him the way he is if he never changes?
Am I having fun with him?
Do I like who I am when I’m with and without him?
Do I feel uplifted when we’re together?
Do I feel free to pursue my passions, have alone time, and spend time with friends and family?
Do my family and friends like him?
Do I like his family and friends?
Can I see us growing old together?

Now, you’ll need to answer some questions about him. (After all, he is the variable factor in this equation)!

About him
Does he treat his family well?
Does he treat others well?
Is he patient with me?
Does he bring out the best in me?
Can he live with my quirky behaviors and traits?
Does he have any red flags?
Is he a true friend?
Is he open to trying new things and adventures?
Is he open to my perspectives?
Has he introduced me to his family and friends?
Does he include me in all aspects of his life?
Does he add joy to my life?
Do his behaviors and actions match his words?
Does he have integrity (i.e. trustworthy, does what he says and says what he does, etc.)?
Is he ready to settle down with one woman?
Is he looking for a long-term commitment?

About us
Do we have similar goals in life?
Do we share similar morals and values?
Do we have similar financial styles?
Do we communicate openly and respectfully?
Do we truly enjoy each other’s company?
Do we add to each other’s lives in a positive way?
Does our connection grow stronger each time we see each other?
Are we looking for the same type of relationship?

What Your Answers Reveal And What To Do
If you’ve answered “yes” to all of these questions, your man is a keeper. You’re definitely on track to a long-term, committed relationship. Continue being the woman he is falling for, accept your differences, embrace his quirks, and live your own life by doing things you love. If you want to have “the talk”, simply share how you would like to see your relationship progress (without being demanding and without an ultimatum) and let him share his thoughts.

If you’ve answered “no” to some of these questions, don’t panic. Some of your “no” answers aren’t necessarily an indication that you’re not on track to a great long-term relationship. They may indicate some inner work needing to be done if you don’t want to keep repeating the same relationship patterns. For instance, if you’ve always had a hard time communicating openly in your relationships, this is a pattern you’ll want to reverse. Having a healthy relationship means expressing yourself freely in all situations, especially difficult ones. If “no” is your answer to “Can I express myself freely when difficult situations come up?”, this is an opportunity to improve your communication skills.

If your answers are a mix of “yes” and “no”, review your “no” answers and determine which ones are deal breakers and which ones you can live with. For instance, if you want a long-term commitment, and he isn’t looking to settle down with one woman, this is definitely a deal breaker. Instead of wasting precious years by staying around and hoping he’ll change his mind, leave and make yourself available for a guy who wants a long-term commitment with you. As hard as it may be to leave a guy you really like, it’s in your best interest — you won’t waste valuable time in a dead-end relationship or he may realize you are “the one” and come back for you.

The Bottom Line

If you’re in a new relationship with a guy you really like, let these questions be part of your decision-making process to determine if he is worthy of being in monogamous, long-term commitment with you. What other relationship questions do you think a woman should ask to see if she’s on the right track for a long-term commitment?

Client-Consultant Relationship

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

A Match Made in Heaven?
In consulting, the beginning is very important. First impressions are made that tend to last, even if erroneous. It can be a time of vulnerability and defensiveness. But, if an atmosphere of safety is established; it can set the tone for a productive and collaborative relationship.

The following section is taken from a packet of materials that, whenever possible, I ask the prospective client to look at in anticipation of our first meeting.

The Client-Consultant Relationship1

The client-consultant relationship is designed to be an extremely rewarding experience. This collaborative endeavor can generate a substantial return on investment for the client’s business. It can also lead to dramatic changes that affect the company, its culture, and employees. In the case of family businesses, positive results can impact generations to come.

One must work hard, however, to make the client-consultant relationship as fruitful as it can be. The early phases are crucial. This presentation of some of my thoughts and philosophy on consulting is an attempt to get the relationship off on the right foot and increase the odds that it will be a mutually gratifying experience.

Phase One — Establishing Chemistry
It all starts with the first phone call. The caller may be an owner or CEO wrestling with an organizational, strategic, or personnel issue. In the case of a family business, it may involve an owner-founder facing business decisions that are intertwined with family dynamics.

This initial interchange is complex. When a potential client calls with a problem or question, he often expects an immediate action plan. Instead, what he’ll hear from me are questions. This may be initially frustrating for some. Good questions, however, reveal the need for further discussion. Face-to-face interaction follows, in the form of a chemistry meeting.

The chemistry meeting can be anywhere from one half-hour meeting to a series of several meetings. It may involve just the owner or CEO, or it may include several individuals in a firm or several family members. During this phase the various issues facing the client are discussed.

I gather information through questions and by listening to the story being presented to me. During this time, the client and I are developing a sense of how well we can work together. This unfolding dialogue is central to the establishment of trust and collaboration.

During this phase, the initial scope of the work and mutual expectations are defined. There may be some specific assignments, such as establishing coaching relationships with executives or the presentation of a seminar. Other work may be more open-ended, such as future discussions with the CEO or HR to develop a clearer understanding of the corporate culture, an outline for a leadership development program, or to discuss succession planning.

Phase Two — Identifying the Client
It’s not always clear who the client is. For instance, my contact may be a Human Resources VP dealing with a senior executive who is negatively affecting the rest of the Executive Team, and in turn the bottom line. Who is the client? Is it the Human Resources VP, the senior executive, or the company? The goal is to make interventions that are simultaneously beneficial for all involved.

I can provide advocacy and coaching for the senior executive the Human Resources VP wants me to work with while serving the best interests of the company at large. Given appropriate resources and support, we can generate a synergistic, positive outcome from which everyone can benefit.

Like a primary physician, a consultant gathers information through questions, and possibly tests, to arrive at a diagnosis and construct a plan of action. Unlike a primary physician who checks some boxes and hands a form to the billing department to obtain payment from the client or insurance company, the consultant and client need to agree on expectations and manner of payment.

Phase Three — Estimating the Cost
Clients are businessmen. It is their nature and their job to justify expenses and to, as much as possible, have a sense of the return on any investment. The benefits of a consulting engagement, however, are usually difficult to measure.

What dollar figure do we place on consulting work done that enabled a senior executive to improve his organizational skills, and his interpersonal relations with the Executive Team and direct reports? Did that work have anything to do with the success of a project the senior executive headed that had been floundering for 10 months before the consultant began the coaching relationship? Should the consultant share in the credit for the major profits this key project generated for the company? Of course, not every consulting engagement achieves all that was hoped for.

My clinical training has instilled in me strict adherence to the motto: Above all do no harm. My personality, work ethic, and values make it very uncomfortable for me to work in a situation where Im not being helpful. These principles guide my consulting work; and, along with my training and expertise, form the basis for my schedule of fees.

Phase Four — Starting the Work
At this point, rapport and a sense of trust have been established and the client engages me as a hired consultant. The assessment process still continues. This may involve individual interviews with key personnel or family members. Essential historical, financial, and operational information about the business is necessary to obtain a holistic picture of the business system and culture. Recommendations by past consultants are also relevant.

Specific coaching assignments and projects with concrete objectives may be started. However, it is important to realize that as the early work phase unfolds, other important short-term and long-term goals may become known. This may require some prioritizing. The ongoing assessment process may reveal a major organizational or strategic need that must be addressed. For instance, it may become clear to a family business contracting me for executive coaching work with the owner’s son that the important issue of succession planning requires much needed attention.

Phase Five — Developing My Role as Consultant
There are a number of different roles I can serve as a consultant to the business. As the work unfolds, the client may want to enlist me to serve these various functions.

Coach — As a coach, I can work with individuals to improve interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills; to expand self-awareness and self-management; to define personal and career goals; to increase the understanding of group and organizational dynamics; to recognize the various components of the company’s culture; to align personal and company visions; and, in general to increase the range, flexibility, and effectiveness of the individual’s behavioral repertoire with co-workers, clients, and family.

Conflict Manager — Prolonged unresolved conflict between two key individuals in the system can paralyze and even destroy a company or family. Key dyads can involve conflict between two partners; an owner-founder and spouse (the executive couple); the head of sales and the plant manager; or other principal pairs. Conflict may also exist in the Executive Team. It may render operational and strategic meetings useless. My role is not to be judge or mediator but to facilitate communication and to help establish true dialogue – the art of thinking together.

Teacher — Situations may arise where a teaching module or seminar can be customized and utilized to serve, not only an instructional, but an organizationally strategic purpose. In my role as consultant, I promote a stance and approach that underscores how expanding knowledge generates healthy business and personal functioning. This role may require me to be the one to ask the tough questions that need to be asked. Colluding to avoid the examination of critical issues does not serve the interest of the client. But, it is important that the consultant ask questions skillfully and with good timing. In my role as teacher I also contribute to the development of the business as a learning organization.

Interpreter — This could be my most valuable service. As an experienced observer of human nature and human organizations I am able to process and decode a great deal of emotional and psychological information that may be meaningless or too ambiguous to the casual observer or the individual enmeshed in the system. I can recognize themes, trends, and other phenomena and interpret them to the client. He can make use of this valuable information to effect organizational change and strategy.

A word about confidentiality. In order to be effective I must have the trust of those I work with. They must be assured that any information given to me stays with me unless I have permission to disclose it.