Category Archives: Interpersonal Relations

Coaching, Mentoring & Criticizing

Just this morning (as I type this) I enjoyed a quick back-and-forth conversation on social media and then via email with a man I consider of reasonable wisdom and maturity. He is a hard worker, husband, father and motivated employee of the same company I work for. He has a quick wit and a good sense of humor. The conversation we shared reminded me of the difference between being critical and being a mentor. The one thing that stands out most in my mind is that a mentor (or coach) has to be critical; he has to be capable of evaluation and judgment as part of his skill set, but he also has to be able to communicate what he sees as deficiencies in a way that offers solutions and recommendations for improvement. That add-on to the critical skill set is the difference between being someone who is negative and just complains and someone who offers a solution to an observed problem. Continue reading

Understanding the Trauma of Trivia

One of the most important parts of communication is understanding or at least attempting to see and understand the point of view of the person you are interacting with. The ability to do this makes the difference between taking everything literally or taking things as they are potentially meant. The same statement can have a variety of meanings but only one intended – and that one depends on YOU understanding the intentions of the person making the statement. To prevent misunderstandings and to help us minimize the times we negatively impact someone’s day, it’s imperative that we remember this one thing: what is trivial to us, can be traumatic to another. Let’s take a look at an example of how one statement can mean different things, and work on from there. Continue reading

The True Value of Life & Wealth

Sure, we’d all like to be rich. If you’re familiar with the Avengers in Marvel Comics, then you know who Tony Stark is.  It’s no surprise that, when asked which Avenger they’d like to be, most people answered, “Iron Man.”  When asked to explain why people most often cited the fact that Iron Man’s alter ego, Tony Stark, is mega rich.  And we’re not talking about millionaire, multi-millionaire or even billionaire kind of rich. We’re talking about STUPID rich – multi-billionaire worth HUNDREDS of billions of dollars.  Yeah, we all recognize that having that kind of money would probably enable us to make a few changes in our life that might impact our quality of life (quite possibly the biggest understatement ever). Continue reading

Stay Strong America

The apartment complex was vast and sprawling.  It was actually two different complexes that bordered each other and, due to the landscaping that shared a playground, they were often thought to be one complex.  Together they were comprised of roughly fifty apartment buildings, each with sixteen apartments for a total of 800 apartments.  Each apartment housed anywhere from two to six people although there were a few where single people lived and a few where the family had eight members (or more).  The estimated total population of the combined complex fluctuated from year to year but averaged about three thousand people.  During the most recent census, the population was shown to be 97% African American, 2.5% Hispanic and 0.5% Caucasian. Continue reading

Communication, Motivation & Initiative

In every kind of relationship: personal, work, friends, whatever – in EVERY kind of relationship there are requirements of both parties involved if the relationship is going to be successful.  No relationship can be forever carried by one half; both have to participate.  The three things that are required are communication, motivation and initiative.  Let’s take a look at all three and see how they can have a positive impact on any relationship, and how lacking any one can cause serious problems in a given relationship. Continue reading

Charitable or Victimized?

A long time ago, a very wise man said this to me: “If someone asks you for a dollar, and it’s within your power to give it, it’s your duty as a human being to give it. However, if someone demands of you twenty-five cents and you don’t wish to give it, then it’s your duty to fight to keep your twenty-five cents. Always be charitable but never be a victim.” Continue reading

Sometimes No Decision is “No”

Have you ever asked someone a question and had them answer, “I don’t know,”?  Of course you have, and sometimes that the correct answer.  If you ask them a question regarding a piece of knowledge or information that they don’t possess, then the correct answer for them to give you is, “I don’t know.”  However, if the question is about a piece of personal information such as a preference in where to eat dinner and they answer, “I don’t know,” then it can get a bit frustrating.  What I’ve found to be even worse is when I get no answer at all. Continue reading

What A Single Second Can Mean

In the military and law enforcement fields of endeavor – where I have spent almost my entire adult life – time is a precious commodity.  Sometimes there is absolutely nothing going on and it’s easy to get bored.  Time moves SO slow then.  Then there are those moments of utter chaos with potential for great harm and time flies by faster than you can keep track of.  In a dangerous conflict, the value of time is literally immeasurable.  Think of it this way: If you’re in a gun fight, what would pay for a one second head start?  Reality is that a single second, for better or worse, can have an impact on someone’s day. Continue reading

Hate, Energy & Motivation

I was at lunch just the other day with four men who I consider friends.  In fact, two of them I consider brothers.  One of those brothers I have trusted with my life and I’d trust the other three with my life without hesitation.  The one that I HAVE trusted with my life I’d happily storm the gates of Hell with, sure that we’d either come out the other side together or neither of us would come out at all.  I share that so that you can understand this: These are four men I hold in high regard and whose opinions I respect.  What they say I take to heart and give due consideration, even if it’s something I really don’t enjoy hearing. Continue reading

The True Value of Communication

It’s almost a stereotypical response.  When asked, “What’s most important in a relationship?” one of the most common answers you’ll ever hear is, “Communication.”  Of course, that’s just one word and not the whole answer.  “Open, honest, interactive communication,” is more complete.  For those who think about it and comprehend it, the implications of the three added words, “open, honest, interactive,” can be slightly intimidating and one can’t help but wonder if the fear of them and all they can bring is actually what occasionally inhibits good OPEN, HONEST and INTERACTIVE communication.  Let’s look at what that can mean. Continue reading