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The Focus Question

Have you ever found a brilliant solution to a problem that did not fix the problem because you realised that what you solved was the wrong problem!

This happens all the time in relationship consulting. Couples will often come with a list of complaints that seem easy to solve. When issues are resolved, they realise that it was not the real issue. 

It takes some experience and training to figure on that it is more helpful to focus on the real problem, not the first problem.

In The Coaching Habit, Stanier suggests that a simple and effective way to get to the real problem is to ask: "What's the real challenge here for you?"
 
The question as is it written pins the question to the person you are talking to rather than having abstract discussions about what the issue is. It brilliantly focuses on how the issue is impacting the person who is looking for a solution.
 
I find that this is also a great question to ask myself when I am struggling with an issue. It truly is "The...

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Resist the temptation to rescue

family relationship May 14, 2017

Resist the temptation to rescue

 
Salaams and Good Morning !

Here is your daily dose of Wisdom for Living Your Best Self!

Most of us are leaders in one or more spheres of our lives, whether we are parenting our children, managing teams at work or working with colleagues. In a leadership role, we may be approached to provide answers or solutions to various issues or problems. "How should I do this", we may be asked in various different ways.

If you are like most people, you want to help, to solve the problem or provide a solution that will make the other's life or work easier.

Some of us are extra keen to help. We have our solution hats on and are dishing out solutions freely and rampantly.

So eager are we that we may not even stop to consider that:
"Even though we don't really know what the issue is, we're quite sure we've got the answer they need."
 
This gem of a quote is from The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay...

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The steps to completing relationships

As we started discussing yesterday, keeping our relationships complete is essential to living a life that matters – if we are not complete with our relationships, it robs our energies from things that we are meant to do. We cannot really focus on bigger things.

Having incomplete relationships really hinders our spiritual growth.

Why? Because we are designed to be in connection – when we are not connected to other human beings on an authentic level, we are not at peace.

Try this for yourself. Think of someone you are not at peace wit, whether you are currently in relationship with this person or not – now reflect on how much (negative) space they occupy in your mind and your heart. It is as if you are energetically connected to them with an invisible cord. Completion is about setting yourself and them free.

Keeping our relationships complete is not difficult. It involves 5 simple steps:


a. Communicating upset and resentment

b. Apologizing

c. Forgiving

d. Expressing...

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The Daffodil Principle

Today I am sharing one of my favourite inspirational stories on the power of baby steps.


As it is springtime here in the western hemisphere, and the daffodils are just beginning to show their sunny heads, let us remind ourselves of "The Daffodil Principle" by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards.

Here it is:

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.

"I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said," We drive in this all...

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I wish that I had let myself be happier

Many of us do not realize that happiness is, in fact, a choice. A choice that we can make on a daily basis by focusing on what we have rather than what is lacking. On nurturing what is present and available rather than yearning after what may never be ours.

Bonnie Ware found that this awareness came late in life for the people that she cared for. She says, "This (regret) is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

This is such a good reminder to all of us – to ask ourselves what we can do today to take charge of our own happiness and wellbeing.

We can get choose today to get out of emotional ruts that...

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I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

This week we are continuing with our series which is inspired by the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. This book by Bronnie Ware, the palliative care nurse who took care of patients in their last three to twelve weeks of life, is about the stories and confessions from people at the end of their life and talks about the regrets people had for how they wished they had made different choices in life.

One of the top regrets of the dying, Ware found, was not making the time for important friendships. Many found that in the busyness of life, they tended to let go of relationships until they fell out of touch with once-good-friends.

She writes, "Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving...

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Let’s talk about the ‘D’ word

family spirituality Apr 17, 2017

Let's talk about the 'D' word.

Death.

What every one of us will face and what few of us like to think or talk about. Some of us might even believe that thinking about death and dying is morose and depressing.

While spiritual traditions, including Islam and Buddhism have advocated reflecting on the temporary nature of life in this existence as a path to virtue and salvation/bliss, it is fairly recently that secular psychologists have affirmed the benefits of thinking about death.

Kenneth Vail of the University of Missouri, headed a study about 'death awareness' and said, "There has been very little integrative understanding of how subtle, day-to-day, death awareness might be capable of motivating attitudes and behaviors that can minimize harm to oneself and others, and can promote well-being."

Vall specifically mentions three ways consciousness of death can improve our lives:

1) Thinking about death helps us prioritize our goals and get in touch with what we truly value

2) Just...

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Be creative with your interpretations

Continuing with our series on the timeless wisdom of Imam Ali (as), the quote for today is: "Do not think of anyone's statements as evil if you can find it capable of bearing good".

It is clear that what people say to us and how we interpret their statements are two distinct parts of each communication.

When our emotional bank account with a person is low, it is easy to interpret what they say more negatively than they intend. We can pause, notice this tendency and choose to give it a positive interpretation. Give them the benefit of the doubt, so to speak.

Being creative and positive with our interpretations of another's words and actions takes intentionality and practice. Over time, it can become a habit.

A habit that brings more positivity into our lives and improves our relationships.

Worth a try, don't you think?

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Be open to influence

Continuing with our series on the timeless wisdom of Imam Ali (as), the quote for today is: "One who is headstrong and opinionated perishes, while one who seeks the advice of others becomes a partner in their understanding".

When we are highly protective and defensive of our opinions, it is usually a sign of fear, insecurity and a lack of confidence. It also leaves us little room for growth, reflection or expansion of wisdom.

So the next time someone offers us a suggestion or a piece of advice, lets pause before automatically dismissing it. Just fully consider it before making a decision either way. Considering something does not mean agreeing. Listening to a point of view with an open mind does not meant that you automatically accept it.

Listening with an open mind leaves the opportunity open, though, to grow in understanding and insight and to become a 'partner in their understanding'.

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4 ways money can make you happy

family self awareness Apr 03, 2017

We have all heard the phrase, "money cannot buy happiness".

This is true.

But can we use our money in ways that are likely to bring us more happiness and contentment as opposed to stress and dissatisfaction?

Sonja Lyubomirsky in her interesting book The Myths of Happiness gives us four principles that psychological science suggests we live by if we want to optimally enjoy our money.

Here is the first principle:

Don't spend money on "stuff"— you will get used to it ("hedonically adapt" to use the technical term).

Moreover, she writes that "A mountain of research has shown that materialism depletes happiness, threatens satisfaction with our relationships, harms the environment, renders us less friendly, likable, and empathetic, and makes us less likely to help others and contribute to our communities. . .". These are just some of the negative effects of unbridled consumerism.

Lyubomirsky suggests that in order to counteract this happiness killer, spend money on experiences and...

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