Monthly Archives: January 2011

for all you newlyweds and seasoned spouses


This afternoon, my loving husband sent me this article from becomingminimalist.com (a great site full of life lessons, tips, and coping ideas for all ages and backgrounds of people). It is a strong look at the backbone of your relationship with your spouse. Sometimes we forget how important it is to step back, take it all in, and NOT let the stress pour out all over those who try their best to support us even in our most trying times. I hope many of you can relate to this article and that it helps center your thoughts, feelings, and reactions around your relationships. And thank you to my husband for always reminding me that life isn’t supposed to be simply and easy – but we must remember out of all the shuffle and clutter what is important.

“8 Essentials for a Successful Marriage” by Joshua Becker

“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” – Barnett R. Brickner

Two years ago, my family and I embraced a minimalist lifestyle. We decided that too much clutter had collected in our home and that it was demanding too much of our money, energy, and precious time. And thus, we embarked upon on a journey to sell, donate, recycle, or remove as many of the nonessentials possessions from our home as possible. It was one of the best decisions we ever made.

When we began removing the “stuff” from our life, we found a whole new world open up. We found that we had more time for the things that we valued most. Now, as a result, we spend more time at the dinner table, we take longer walks as a family, and we have been able to save money for some worthwhile experiences… like a weekend at the beach, for example. Removing the nonessentials has allowed us to focus more on the essentials. And we have discovered that true life is found there.

Often times, our marriages follow the same trajectory. At first, when we have nothing but each other, we focus intently on the important building blocks of a healthy marriage. But as our relationship continues forward, “stuff” begins to accumulate and begins to distract us from the very essentials needed for a successful marriage. Suddenly, we worry more about the appraisal value of our home than the value of our relationship. We check the health of our retirement account far more often than the health of our marriage. Or we spend more time taking care of the car in the garage than the other person in our bed. Things begin to accumulate in our homes and lives and soon demand our money, energy, and precious time. As a result, we have little left over for the very elements that keep our marriages successful.

Wise couples realize that a nice home, car, or retirement account may appear nice to have, but they do not make a successful marriage. They understand that there are far more important principles at play. As a result, they have learned to invest their money, energy, and time into the 8 essentials of a healthy marriage:

1. Love/Commitment. At its core, love is a decision to be committed to another person. It is far more than a fleeting emotion as portrayed on television, the big screen, and romance novels. Feelings come and go, but a true decision to be committed lasts forever – and that is what defines true love. It is a decision to be committed through the ups and the downs, the good and the bad. When things are going well, commitment is easy. But true love is displayed by remaining committed even through the trials of life.

2. Sexual Faithfulness. Sexual faithfulness in marriage includes more than just our bodies. It also includes our eyes, mind, heart, and soul. When we devote our minds to sexual fantasies about another person, we sacrifice sexual faithfulness to our spouse. When we offer moments of emotional intimacies to another, we sacrifice sexual faithfulness to our spouse. Guard your sexuality daily and devote it entirely to your spouse. Sexual faithfulness requires self-discipline and an awareness of the consequences. Refuse to put anything in front of your eyes, body, or heart that would compromise your faithfulness.

3. Humility. We all have weaknesses and relationships always reveal these faults quicker than anything else on earth. An essential building block of a healthy marriage is the ability to admit that you are not perfect, that you will make mistakes, and that you will need forgiveness. Holding an attitude of superiority over your partner will bring about resentment and will prevent your relationship from moving forward. If you struggle in this area, grab a pencil and quickly write down three things that your partner does better than you – that simple exercise should help you stay humble. Repeat as often as necessary.

4. Patience/Forgiveness. Because no one is perfect (see #3), patience and forgiveness will always be required in a marriage relationship. Successful marriage partners learn to show unending patience and forgiveness to their partner. They humbly admit their own faults and do not expect perfection from their partner. They do not bring up past errors in an effort to hold their partner hostage. And they do not seek to make amends or get revenge when mistakes occur. If you are holding onto a past hurt from your partner, forgive him or her. It will set your heart and relationship free.

5. Time. Relationships don’t work without time investment. Never have, never will. Any successful relationship requires intentional, quality time together. And quality time rarely happens when quantity time is absent. The relationship with your spouse should be the most intimate and deep relationship you have. Therefore, it is going to require more time than any other relationship. If possible, set aside time each day for your spouse. And a date-night once in awhile wouldn’t hurt either.

6. Honesty and Trust. Honesty and trust become the foundation for everything healthy in a marriage. But unlike most of the other essentials on this list, trust takes time. You can become selfless, committed, or patient in a moment, but trust always takes time. Trust is only built after weeks, months, and years of being who you say you are and doing what you say you’ll do. It takes time, so start now… and if you need to rebuild trust in your relationship, you’ll need to work even harder.

7. Communication. Successful marriage partners communicate as much as possible. They certainly discuss kids’ schedules, grocery lists, and utility bills. But they don’t stop there. They also communicate hopes, dreams, fears, and anxieties. They don’t just discuss the changes that are taking place in the kid’s life, they also discuss the changes that are taking place in their own hearts and souls. This essential key cannot be overlooked because honest, forthright communication becomes the foundation for so many other things on this list: commitment, patience, and trust… just to name a few.

8. Selflessness. Although it will never show up on any survey, more marriages are broken up by selfishness than any other reason. Surveys blame it on finances, lack of commitment, infidelity, or incompatibility, but the root cause for most of these reasons is selfishness. A selfish person is committed only to himself or herself, shows little patience, and never learns how to be a successful spouse. Give your hopes, dreams, and life to your partner. And begin to live life together.

This is a simple call to value our marriages, treat them with great care, and invest into them daily. Accomplishing the items listed above will always require nearly every bit of yourself… but it so worth it. After all, a successful marriage is far more valuable than most of temporal things we chase after with our lives. And will always last longer.

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to multitask? or to try the impossible and focus!


You Can’t Multitask, So Stop Trying

Paul Atchley of the Harvard Business Review reveals several secrets and ideas about the ups and downs of multitasking and choosing your focus.

He writes:

“The year end is a busy time for almost everyone. As we use our smartphones to confirm online gift orders, we’re also trying to wrap up those work tasks we should have finished in November. We feel overwhelmed but also productive, pleased with our ability to juggle so many things. In reality, however, that sort of behavior makes us less effective in our jobs and our lives.

Based on over a half-century of cognitive science and more recent studies on multitasking, we know that multitaskers do less and miss information. It takes time (an average of 15 minutes) to re-orient to a primary task after a distraction such as an email. Efficiency can drop by as much as 40%. Long-term memory suffers and creativity—a skill associated with keeping in mind multiple, less common, associations—is reduced.

We have a brain with billions of neurons and many trillion of connections, but we seem incapable of doing multiple things at the same time. Sadly, multitasking does not exist, at least not as we think about it. We instead switch tasks. Our brain chooses which information to process. For example, if you listen to speech, your visual cortex becomes less active, so when you talk on the phone to a client and work on your computer at the same time, you literally hear less of what the client is saying.

Why do we try?

Our brains are wired to respond strongly to social messaging, whether it is verbal or non-verbal. Knowing and improving our status, expanding awareness of our group, is important to us, and as a result information that helps us do that is often processed automatically, no matter what else we are trying to focus on.

Remote distractions, the ones aided by technology, are often unaware of current demands on us. People who call you at work, send you emails, or fire off texts can’t see how busy you are with your current task. Nor can Twitter feeds or email alerts. As a result, every communication is an important one that interrupts you.

Also, we crave access to more information because it makes us comfortable. People tend to search for information that confirms what they already believe. Multiple sources of confirmation increase our confidence in our choices. Paradoxically, more information also leads to discomfort, because some of it might be conflicting. As a result, we then search for more confirmatory information.

What can we do about it?

Technological demands are here to stay. What can you do to avoid overload?

First, make an effort to do tasks one at a time. Stick with one item until completion if you can. If attention starts to wane (typically after about 18 minutes), you can switch to a new task, but take a moment to leave yourself a note about where you were with the first one. Then give the new task your full attention, again for as long as you can.

Second, know when to close your door. In the “old days,” people did this when they had to work hard on something. Doing the same thing to the electronic equivalent is perhaps even more important if you want to be productive and creative. Set aside time when people know you are going to focus.

Third, admit that not all information is useful. Consider which communications are worthy of interrupting you, and what new data you should seek out. When doing a Google search, ask if you are just accessing links that confirm what you already believe or those that challenge those beliefs. Similarly, know the difference between social networks, which are likely to confirm your choices and therefore make you feel good, and knowledge networks, which might challenge them, and therefore help you make a better decision.

Paul Atchley, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Kansas.”

Provided by Harvard Business Review—Copyright © 2010 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.

social media marketing conference coming to #rva!


Do you want to learn more about Social Media Marketing?? After recently speaking at several events of behalf of all that social media can do for your personal branding as well as for your firm, I can’t wait to attend several of the tracks offered at the seminar in April!

Check out all the details below:

http://www.skillpath.com/index.cfm/training/seminar/topic/Social-Media-Marketing-Conference

Where?
Comfort Inn Midtown Conf. Ctr.
3200 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23230

When?
April 11, 2011

What?

In The Social Media Marketing Conference, you’ll learn…
How to make social media “connect” for your business
New tools and new ways to grow your business you may not have thought of
How to define your strategy and create your plan before taking the plunge into social media
The most common mistakes being made—spot them on the horizon and take a detour
And much more!

If it seems like nearly every business on the planet is connecting with fans on Facebook®, Tweeting, uploading videos on YouTube™ and getting LinkedIn®—except you—you’re not alone. Many organizations who haven’t gone “social” yet are feeling the same way, scratching their heads and wondering: Are businesses really making money using social media? Can my business still get in on the action—and the profits?

The businesses that are making money set goals and objectives, follow a plan, choose and use the best tools, carefully monitor their results and faithfully measure their ROI. In other words, there are a lot of things you’ll need to get up to speed on to not only get started with social media, but be successful. And the exciting Social Media Marketing Conference is the one place you can learn it all.

*See link for detailed course descriptions and pricing.

happy new year


first, with all sincerity, i’d like to wish you all a very happy new year! i hope that you celebrated its’ arrival well with loved ones.

the new year typically brings with it a realization that another year has passed, a shock that a new one is ahead, a healthy fear of what lies ahead as well as a bit of excitement and hope, and so many more thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 2010 has been a huge year for myself, my family, and many friends. perhaps it is my age or the time i am currently leaving and entering in the span of my lifetime, but i have watched my older siblings make a large move and go through many trials while beginning a family, watched many friends make transitions from graduations, job changes, moving in together, engagements, marriages (including our own wedding day), and watched my parents and grandparents continue to age fairly gracefully and cope with the growing of their own children.

perhaps due to where i find myself after this packed year of emotional, physical, and mental highs and lows all around – i feel that i need to make some changes deep within. in the past, new years have always brought the question of what resolution are you going to make? will it be a realistic one? is it one you have the intention of keeping? well, this year i plan to make several goals for myself – not necessarily resolutions just for 2011.

after lots of thought, reading, more thought, discussion, and more thought – here are my big five in no particular order of importance.

1. I will take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.

2. I will take things less personally and be less concerned what others think of me and the decisions i make.

3. I will surround myself with good, supportive people who have my best interest at heart.

4. I will foster a healthy and loving home for my new husband and i to share.

5. I will do my best to remember never to take life for granted.

I wish you all the best in 2011 and send you strength, love, and happiness towards your own personal and professional goals ahead.

Cheers to you all!

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