How to say “Yes and No” to Optimize Your Relationships

I am very good at saying the word “no”. I say that not to boast but because I have two friends that say it to me a lot. “Your very good at saying no.” These are loving people who think the best of me and mean well. They are giving me a compliment. Basically they are saying they admire my discipline to say “No” to things that are not going to benefit me and my family. Sometimes the no is for “not right now” and sometimes it is a no for forever. Saying NO is a very good skill to be able to have. It creates space in your life. It takes a ton of discipline to do well. There are so may wonderful things I’d love to do right now that I have had to say no to. All of them are wonderful things!

Here is the secret I use when it is so hard to say no. When you want to help the teacher out at school but you know you don’t have the bandwidth, or run the half marathon despite your knee is giving you issues and you have a nursing baby. What about when you want to go on a trip you can’t really afford. (All of these things have come up personally in the last month for me, besides a nursing baby 😉 ) There is a certain tool I use that helps do this the best. What is the the secret for when you want to learn french but also read piles of novels, be available for tennis lessons, yoga and a small group? The concept that changes everything is: Focus on saying “YES”.

It might sound counter productive but it is a perspective shift that will change your life. I don’t see myself as a “no” person. No is a catchy word that is really in right now. I mean it is as much a thing as productivity journals and pumpkin spice lattes. If you are anywhere near the self-help industry or a mom circle in any way you hear about this often. Personally, I believe the focus on this is overrated. My girlfriends say it is because I can say it that it isn’t really a big deal for me. I have another theory. When my friends seem overwhelmed or have said “Yes” to too much, they are talking to me about my ability to say no as a gift. I think they have it confused. No, is so you can say Yes!

I don’t focus on saying no. To me it has a negative view point. “No I can’t help.” “No, No, Don’t do that.” “No, we aren’t going out tonight, we already ate out this week.”  “No, you can’t do five sport activities this summer.” “No, I am not available.”

Instead I focus on what I am saying Yes to. “We are not going out tonight because we are gonna get to go to the beach next week and eat out everyday!!” “I can’t help with ______, because I am already helping with _____, and I am really passionate about ______.”  “I am not gonna do five extra curricular things this fall because instead we are going to go hiking, camping, pick apples, find a sunflower field and learn to bike ride!”

I tell my clients that if they can’t say no, the world will fill them up so much that they will never be able to say Yes to what they are meant for. Instead of focusing on all the “No’s” in your life – what you can’t do, say, be apart of, fix, or buy, let’s focus on your “Yes.”

  • What are you saying “yes” to?
  • What or who do you want to say yes to more?

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’… Mathew 5:37

For me, My biggest Yes is always to my husband. Then my kids and so forth. What I mean is that if I can say Yes to them, I do. If I can’t it is my red flag I haven’t said No somewhere where I should have.

Example: Let’s say my husband says “Can we have sex tonight?”

If my answer is “No” to my husband, what have I said yes to that day that has helped create that answer? Did I say yes to too much tv and now it is too late? Did I say yes to giving too much attention to my crying toddler? (Who is perfectly capable of soothing himself.) Now I have no energy. Have I said yes to too much work and chores and not enough “yes” to a workout and me time and now I want to read in bed instead?

  • Who are the people you want to always say yes to? Ex: husband, family, sister, a certain friend
  • What are the top things in your life you never want to say No to? Ex: Exercise, healthy eating, a certain charity, a certain vacation every year.

“Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.”  ― Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

Time Away

Time Away

When’s the last time you truly got away… and I don’t just mean heading out for a weekend trip (although those quick getaways are sometimes just what the doctor ordered)…

I’m talking about phone silence, email abstinence, abstaining from chores, relishing in late breakfasts over mimosas, long quiet walks, getting lost in a good book, doing a unique family activity, getting lost gazing into a fire, spending too much time in a hottub, cooking a massive meal with plenty of leftovers, star gazing late at night once the kids are asleep, or cuddle under a blanket with the person of your dreams.

Are you building this into your schedule?  Are you making time for what’s truly important in life?  I’d be able to retire in my 30’s If only I had a dollar for every time someone says how fast the “time flies by”.  Time is precious and we can’t control the amount of it that we’ll be given.  Carpe Diem (seize the day) is one of my favorite slogans from Robin William’s “Dead Poet’s Society” film… seize every moment my friends – don’t let a minute go by without thoughtfully planning how to maximize it to the fullest!

Summertime is the perfect time to take that much needed time away.  Spend the money, you won’t regret it.  And if your boss is not “cool” with you leaving your laptop at the house so you can enjoy some much needed time off… well, maybe it’s time to start looking elsewhere.  I recognize that limited communication/monitoring of the business might be needed if you are an executive or CEO… but come on people, you know you’ll be refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle challenges after a time of isolation.  I guarantee that if you compromise this area of your life, you will suffer dearly in all other areas – albeit emotional, relational, physical, spiritual, etc.

My job requires me to interface with counterparts around the world… I’m always jealous when I receive out of office messages from my colleagues in India, Europe, etc.  Many of them taking a solid 4 weeks off to recharge with friend and loved ones.

So… what are you going to do in your current situation?  My advice (whether merited or not)… turn the phone off, shut the laptop down, put in the vacation days, pull some extra cash out of the bank that you’ve worked hard for, and grab the hand of the person you love most and go off the grid… disappear for awhile… live life to the the fullest.  I promise you’ll never regret that decision.

SJD

Bride and Groomed

Bride and Groomed

 

 

 

Staying healthy helps to keep us in a positive mindset. Good health starts with a healthy diet, physical activity, and getting enough sleep. With the summer months now officially here it is acommon thread to slow down and focus abit more on health and personal development.

Why is this so important for us as relationship coaches? We personal have to model the behavior that we want to see in others. Our heart is to witness that our clients see that they too can meet their goals. Staying healthy is a big piece to achieving all other goals.

How is your self-care when it comes to your physical health? Are there things you can do to improve? Odds are, you can. None of us take perfect care of ourselves. But today we wanted to focus on the things that we feel can significan;t help and impact you for the better and boost you in your relationships. 

Successful people with incredible relationships have self-confidence and are generally happy with who they are, but that’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to look our best and keep working on these areas. This is a big idea; especially for those of us who have gotten to a certain level of comfort in our relationships and in our lives.

Taking care of things that make us look and feel better is a great characteristic to model to future generations and to the world. Enjoy your summer! 

Tip Number One: Get a makeover

I choose to get a makeover periodically. A makeover can include new makeup techniques, skin care regime, and or a new hairstyle. It sometimes involves getting an updated wardrobe and for me almost always it involes a new pair of killer shoes! I have even colored my hair champane pink before. 

To do a makeover well, Both men and women need to look in their closets and get rid of shoes and clothing that are woefully out of style, uncomfortable, or no longer fits. Enlist a friend or family member to help you shop for what looks and feels great. Stop saving the clothes that are two sizes smaller just because you might loose the weight in a year. By the time you get there, (and you will) it will be outdated. 

Creating the best “you” possible will make you feel more confident, interesting, and maybe even sexy. If you haven’t evaluated your look in the last five years, it’s probably time to do so.

Tip Number Two: Invest in a Manicure and Pedicure

This is not just for women! The mani/pedi is a relaxing way to make your hands and feet look and feel terrific. My personal favoite about getting this done is the massage chair! I’ll often pay the exrta couple dollars to get a foot and leg massage as part of the process, which helps me personally relieve stress.

 

Tip Number Three: Get a Massage

As a fomer althete and dancer I learned that physical therapy was crucial to taking care of my skin and body. Early on in my career I was using foam rollers and fascia stretching. Outside of a day in the sunshine, a massage is my favorite way to boost my mood.  From a psychological standpoint, being touched is impactful in so many ways! It would take three blog posts just to name all the benfits! For example, it has been recommended that people get at least one hug every day due to the knowlege of how touch affects us. 

 

Tip Number four: Unplug from Elecrtonics for 24 hours

I love technology and all it has to offer. Summer time, eluads to more tv time and audio books and swiping through feeds of pictures while laying by the pool. The Opportunity for it to take over can be strong. A reboot for your mind and your soul is healthy. I usally need just a bit of time off. A couple hours or an afternoon free from my phone. That means everything. I have never taken a Insta gram subatocal, or delted my facebook account for a month or wiped out my apps for lent. However, I ahve never felt I needed too because I take the 24 hour unplug rule to heart. Every once in a while I go longer. 24 hours off of all devices. Not just one app or one progarm or one netflix show, I put it all away and silence all devices, including my fitbit tracker and my alarm. Thsi time frame is not too long that I will miss the important email or that our extended loved ones will be worried. It does however, free meand my relationship from devices 100% for an enttire day. It is one of the most amazing things to do for your health and your romance. 

Tip Number Five: Get A Coach

 

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Top 5 reasons why it is so important!

5. Your coach just might show up with wine and a cheese board to cheer your relationship on and encourage you in your goals! 

4. Lots of fun, laughs, and growth! 

3. No children screaming, “Mooooommmmyyyyy” are allowed during coaching sessions!

2. You will learn something new that will impact you for the rest of your life. 

And the Number One reason you should get a Coach:

I think you’re great and you deserve a little focused attention on personal and relational development! So may of us just need a cheerleader and a mentor to make us go from creating great to Creating Exceptional! A coach can do this!

 

Tip Number Six: Dressing for Success In Your Relationship

Once people get married we have noticed a trend for fashion to decline. Some of this is good. It means you are comfortable. This can be freeing. However, the statement about dressing for success at work is true for your marriage too! We have a dear friend that talks about himself in the “2.0 version” because he had a complete wardrobe shift about five years into their relationship. All of a sudden his spouse had the hots for him in a totally different way. I am not saying you need to go out and buy an entirely different wardrobe and I am not encouraging fast fashion, but if your partner only sees the weekend sweatpants, are you truly showing up for your marriage? Are you showing up more for work than you are for your romance? We have a couple that we love to mimic in this. They are both entrepreneurs and work from home but oh my do they know how to turn heads and to step it up in their game when they need too. They don’t just do it for work but for each other. They are beautiful and fun on the hiking trail in their t-shirts and on date night they can make everyone wish they aged like them. No insta filters needed! Make sure you are dressing for sucess not just at work but also in your romance! 

 

Cheers to your health and relationship!

 

 

Marriage Versus Motherhood

Marriage Versus Motherhood

With this week being the week after we love on all the mom’s and the mothering figures in our lives I felt it only appropriate to share some of my thoughts on the balancing act of the roles of motherhood and my romantic relationship.

The big point in this post is the honor we have as mothers. It is beautuful but it is also dangerous at times for our marriages. We can very quickly focus on our role as mother over the role that made us one. The danger of that is we can loose our romantic lives in the process.

Your kids more than likely came after your marriage and they must ALWAYS stay there.  I don’t care if you have a miracle baby who is only eight months old and your still nursing him.  Get a babysitter!  Break up with that child.  One day that kid will yell at you, will go off to college, marry another, and create a new family.  Where will you be with your marriage?  The best advice we ever got on this subject was from a couple who didn’t have children.  The reason we took the advice?  They were on the outside and could see stuff that all of us who had kids couldn’t see.  We were in it, we were blinded, we were tired, and we were busy.  It was the best advice. Make sure your marriage always stays in front of your kids.

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I am a mother to a miracle child and what we call our “bonus baby”.  I had high risk pregnancies with both of them and we are lucky we have them at all.  They are my pride and joy.  My special bonus.  My dream that I cried and deeply feared would never be a reality.  And I became a lioness when they were born.  No one could care for them the way I could.  If I had not taken this advice to heart I know for a fact Steve and I would be in a challenging spot.

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However, our marriage must come first. Your babies will be better off when you prioritize your husband.  Your marriage can be a thriving, dynamic and energizing machine, while raising children. When the kids head out on their own, you won’t be devastated and unaware of what to do with yourself.  Trust me, you both will be much better parents for putting each other above all other relationships, including your children. 

 

Proverbs 31:28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

What are the Keys to a High Performance Marriage?

What are the Keys to a High Performance Marriage?

Last December, we had the unique opportunity to sit down with Ted Lowe from MarriePeople as we discussed a few concepts from our upcoming book.  This site provides amazing tools to couples of any age as it navigates today’s biggest topics while providing simple ways for couples to make marriag more real, fun, and simple.  We hope you’re encouraged, challenged, and inspired to create something exceptional.

 

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST – “What are the keys to a high performance marriage?”

(repost from the MarriedPeople podcast)

*Your one simple thing this week*

Pick one of the three characteristics of a high-performance marriage and work on it together.

  • Dream: Write down one goal that you want to accomplish in your marriage during the next 10 years.
  • Grow: Pray together so you can grow deeper as a couple.
  • Date: Do something you’ve never done before on a date night.

 

Blessings,

Steve

Instant Vision

Instant Vision

Life can give us massive blows. We don’t get to write our stories. God does that. When I get down, it is usually because I am discouraged in what I can not see as good. I can’t see where God is going with the plot or even see the full story God is writing. And I find myself aching at my core. We can get so focused on what we don’t have, or don’t want, or can’t instantly make better that everything sinks. A few posts back we talked on having vision in your relationships. today we would like to take it a step further. 

We do have a choice. We get to choose how we live the story God gives us. My question to you today is, are you thinking the best about your spouse? Are you giving them the benefit of your best thoughts towards them? Are you communicating and being life-giving? Do you have a gut level honesty with your significant other that no one else gets? Do you speak to each other as if you are desperately, madly, over the moon for one other?

Instead of complaining we want you to focus on what you like. Do more of that.

If complaining and focusing on what you don’t have is killing your relationship and your romance, what are the things that can transform it? Statistically speaking much of relationship counseling doesn’t work. The reason being when you go to a councilor you are going to go unpack everything that is wrong. That can be very discouraging and further depressing! Stop focusing on everything that is wrong and start seeing what is right. 

Jesus said “‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” We hope you drink more living water! We hope you see the gift God has given you in your marriage.

Dream – When things are hard and the tomb seems shut for good we choose to keep dreaming. Towards incredible impossible things in spite of it all. When you have lost your job, a friendship dies, you have horrific health news, or you witness someone bury their baby, life can seem to stop in the middle of horror.

It may seem contradictory and even disrespectful but we encourage you to keep your dreams alive! We must never stop dreaming incredible, beautiful, wonderful things for our relationships. The “what if possibilities” in life have helped us get through job loss, infertility, and heart-break of the deepest degree’s. This is not a goal but something super big. We pray that if life seems dark and your understanding of the pain in this world is hard to comprehend that you will take heart! That you will keep on, pressing toward the prize.

John 16:22-24;33

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Happy Easter!

 

Boredom in Marriage

Boredom in Marriage

As a lifestyle coach and former athlete I am all about efficiency and schedules. But that can get boring real fast. The pain of regiments and disciplines becomes the pain of regrets. It can become so monotonous to do everyday life that one day we wake up and cry from the dullness. Unaware of how we got from burning passion to “Did you feed the dog?”,  we except it as is.

We crawl into the ho-hum of routine and settle in for consistency and average mediocrity.  This does not have to be you.  This is not what you were made for.  This is not the standard you should hold yourself up to. It is not what God considered good when He made man a partner in the Garden. This is not acceptable. 

We were made to be in God’s bigger picture and our marriages are the foundation of that.  Making sure we are focusing on developing our romantic dreams can keep us excited for creating something extraordinarily above average. Stepping up and raising our standards to live boldly and fearlessly can create immense drive. Despite all this encouragement on dreams and romance, you can still become bored. How? Two things, you’re either living life too fast or too slow. The pace of your marriage is crucial in creating excellence. 

Are you so busy you’re losing your wonder and curiosity for what it could be?  When was the last time you paused just to give a soft kiss? How many times have you promised you’d be somewhere or do something for your wife or kids only to allow situations to derail that commitment?  Sure, there are always exceptions that cannot be avoided (like a flat tire, emergency, or sickness).  I’m not talking about those.  I’m talking about the times you failed to prioritize, failed to watch the clock properly, failed to account for traffic, failed to close the laptop on time, or failed to tell someone else the word “no” rather than your spouse.

Exhausted from the normal speed of our existence we squash out any fire. If you’re so busy and you’re so overwhelmed in your day to day that there is no margin for dreaming, or engaging, you lose all zeal. You only have room for flipping the television on, maybe not even that. You find yourself out of energy to engage in anything. Game night, laughter, special plans for date night, gifts, and deeper conversations have no place because you physically have no band width for thinking of it.

On the flip side of this, perhaps your dreams are so slow at coming to fruition you’ve lost hope of reaching it entirely. Some dreams are life dreams and it’s a long time coming to make them happen.

To wait it out is really hard and very daunting. It’s much harder if your also not focused on smaller dreams during the wait.

When your timeline isn’t God’s, unfilled desires are painful.  

During a particular season where we were at this point we studied Paul, the apostle. Paul, who spent the better part of his last days in prison. He managed to stand fast despite beatings and massive persecution. How could he write such passionate and inspirational things while going through so much pain and so much boredom? Prison, (I am guessing) is very boring. I believe it was because he knew the bigger picture, his purpose, and the part he played. Do you know the part you play in you marriage? Do you know the bigger picture? God said it was not good for man to be alone in the garden. It was the only thing “not good” before the fall of man. We were created for connection with God and our spouse from the very beginning of time. 

For us to get out of bordom and the rutt we decided to create a vision statement that we both could stand on for our relationship. That no matter what, in the up’s, the downs, the storms and the calm, we would hold fast. We didn’t want excess, we wanted excellence. We wanted to continually be Creating Exceptional. We wanted to guard the good deposit that we had been given. (2 Timothy 1:14).

Do you have a vision for your marriage? Is it written down? Do you both take ownership of it?

Psalms 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.