What’s Your Love Language and How Can You Get Your Partner to Actually Do What You Love?

I was talking with a friend this morning about Gary Chapman’s, The 5 Love Languages concept. I was relaying a discussion I had with another friend who is married to a man with Asperger’s Syndrome. Because the wife knows her husband can’t read her emotions, she has taken to writing down things she would like for him to do on a daily basis. For example, “Today is my birthday. I would like for you to buy me a gold bracelet you think I might like, say, ‘Happy Birthday’ to me and give me a hug and a kiss.” or “I would like for you to tell me one reason you love me today.”

At first glance, this feels kind of odd and unnatural. But as I was talking about this concept this morning, we started adding in things like, “Today I would like for you to unload the dishwasher.” and “Today I would like for you to squeeze my tush!” We started having a lot of fun with it. Which led directly to the 5 Love Languages. How cool would it be to have a daily “task” for couples to show their love for each other in a variety of ways? So, as a result of this conversation, I will commit to making this happen for those who want to follow and participate. My current goal is to post something on my blog minimum of 2 times a week.  Some future posts might look like this:

Person A: Today I will draw a bath for my partner.
Person B: Today I will kiss my partner for 2 minutes without pulling away.

Person A: Today I will do the dishes.
Person B: Today I will give my partner a sweet greeting card or note.

Use these daily tasks to learn and understand what is most meaningful to you. Record what makes you feel the most loved!

Follow me and let’s see how this goes!

The Difference between Good Communication and Talking: Skills to Master

Good communication . . . it’s a phrase everyone uses to describe a good relationship. Many of us believe we are good enough communicators that we don’t really need to work on this skill any longer. After all, we’ve been talking since we were around 2! So how does good communication differ from just talking about things?

First, good communication skills include mastering not just the art of talking, but the art of listening. A good communicator spends most of their time listening to the other person and trying to get inside their mind. What are they trying to say? Why are they saying it with that tone, those words, that facial expression? If I were trying to say the same thing, how would I say it?

After you have thought through each of these questions, the next step is to mirror their words and ask if you’re interpreting their sentiment correctly. Take the idea, ‘if I were trying to say the same thing, how would I say it?’ Then actually, put what you think they’re trying to say in your own words and say, “So, if I’m hearing you correctly, you’re saying . . .  Is that correct?”

If you’re wrong, ask them to say it again, perhaps using different words. Assure them you really want to solve the issue and hear what they’re saying. The more your partner believes you care about what they are thinking and feeling, the more likely you are to better understand each other and communicate effectively.

So, the number one trick to better communicating. . . listening!

5 Free Valentine’s Day Ideas for the Entrepreneur’s Household

I don’t know about you, but over the 14 years I’ve been married, Valentine’s Day has been largely underwhelming. We often refer to a recent evening out or a future trip as our big Valentine’s Day gifts to each other. We hug, we kiss, we go out to dinner, maybe have sex , but chocolates, roses and the occasional piece of jewelry feel like a waste of money at this point. So this year, I am committed to doing something more, something with meaning and thought. Below are 5 ideas of how both you and I can show our spouses just how much they mean to us this year.

  1. 1. Grab a dry erase marker and describe 5 things your partner does that make you really happy. Write it on the bathroom mirror so he/she sees it every day.
  2. 2. Set a calendar appointment on your phone to text your partner 1 time a week for the next 12 months to let him/her know something they did to make your life better and a little sweeter that week. Start on Feb 14!
  3. 3. Write a Haiku or a Roses are Red poem and read it aloud during dinner. Have it printed up and framed for their desk. It can be funny, loving, sweet, sassy or whatever mood you desire. Try to define the nature of your relationship with the poem.
  4. 4. Single out the one greatest reason why you adore your partner. Does he/she make you laugh on a regular basis; is he/she romantic, does he/she do kind things for you on a regular basis? Take a piece of construction paper and  jot down the one great reason with 3 supporting details of things he/she did recently that encouraged you to choose that trait. Give this as your primary Valentine’s Card.
  5. 5. During your Valentine’s dinner, let your partner know you care about the business (whether you work there or not). Come up with 3 things to share about the business that your partner may not know, or 3 questions you have about the business that you would like to know more about. Talk about where you see the business in the next 3-5 years and what the end goal is with regard to the business.
  6. 6. ADD ON: This costs money, but I thought it was too cute not to share! https://lovebookonline.com

Keeping the Romance Alive: Lessons From The Big Bang Theory

I was watching the Big Bang Theory last night with my husband. While I didn’t really enjoy the episode as it leaned more toward serious vs their typical humor filled 27 minutes, it did spark a thought regarding falling into a rut.

The longer couples are together, the easier it is to do less for one another; to recognize that we may be grossing each other out; to criticize each other’s faults. It’s not intentional. It’s quite possible that regardless of the lul in romance, we still love our partners, maybe even more today than the day we got married. So how can we keep the romance alive even when we don’t really want to anymore?

As per the Big Bang Theory, write a relationship contract. Within that contract, be sure to include at least 5 things you know speak volumes in making you feel loved. It doesn’t have to be long and detailed. Keep it simple. For example, here are 5 things my husband does (most of the time) that would be part of my contract:

  1. 1. I will cook dinner for the family 1 time a week.
  2. 2. I will take the kids to school 1 time a week.
  3. 3. I will take the kids 1 weekend morning so you can sleep in. (Are you getting how important sleep is to me?!!)
  4. 4. I will tell you how much I love and appreciate you at least 2 times a day and I will say it in front of the kids at least three times a week.
  5. 5. Our first interaction and last interaction for the day will include a hug and kiss.

Be sure to re-visit your contract every 6 months. Talk through how well your partner achieved the items you listed. Come up with ways to improve your contract or the follow through of the things that are most important to you.

Next year, write a new contract. Acknowledge how many of the items on your original contract have become part of your current daily habits and how many never made it past the first week.

Let me know how this works for you!


Do We Need Therapy? Suggestions for an Otherwise Happy Couple: Entrepreneurship

“I went to a therapist the other day, but I don’t think he really understood my dilemma because he wasn’t an entrepreneur.” These are words my friend shared the other day was she was lamenting the change in her home situation. Her husband has been an entrepreneur for as long as we’ve known each other. Recently, however, he just started a new venture and it’s like they’re starting back at the beginning again. She is a hard working attorney with her own daily challenges. They are an amazing couple and don’t really need “therapy” in my opinion. What they need are new tools to help positively shape their communication moving forward. The “old way” their house, family and relationship worked just isn’t going to cut it any longer. Sometimes it’s hard to establish new patterns, but they are necessary if you want to maintain and build upon your relationship. Here were my initial suggestions to her.

  1. 1. Every business holds a weekly staff meeting. Establish one at home as well. Each week, get the family together, and create an agenda so each person has an opportunity to share where they are with the items that are most important to them.
  2. 2. Put a “Shit That Matters” notebook in an accessible place (like the kitchen). Throughout the week, document important thoughts in the book you fear you will forget, but want to recall when the time is right.
  3. 3. Figure out 1 to 2 times a week to take a “walk and talk”. Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes. Determine ahead of time who can dominate the discussion and what the topic will revolve around. Audiotape the chat if you want to remember certain points made during the walk.
  4. 4. Embrace new habits. We’ve all heard the line, “when you’re on your deathbed, will you say, ‘I wish I worked more’?” Probably not. Different times in an entrepreneurs life will inevitably call for greater sacrifices from his/her family. Along the way, though, it’s critical to be flexible, talk as much as humanly possible, and embrace new habits that work for everyone impacted by the business.
  5. 5. Self Plug: Join my monthly call to get support, thoughts and suggestions from myself and other entrepreneurs, business owners, spouses, co-preneurs and individuals in high intensity positions.

    Nobody on their deathbed ever said, "I wish I had spend more time at the office." But for an entrepreneur, sometimes you have to.
    Nobody on their deathbed ever said, “I wish I had spend more time at the office.” But for an entrepreneur, sometimes you have to.

Quotes for Inspiring Greatness

I recently started to think about my presentation from a new perspective. What is it missing? How can I improve my message? I started looking up ways to inspire greatness today and these two resonated with me.

Dale Carnegie:
“Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.”

Ken Kesey:
“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”

My husband is often telling the kids what a wonderful mother they have. He compliments me all the time and points out to them the specifics of what makes me great. It often makes me feel uncomfortable (while at the same time I love it)! The discomfort, I believe, comes from my wondering if he really means what he is saying. Or, is it possible, all this time he has been giving me a “fine reputation to live up to”?!! Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Either way, it certainly motivates me to be a better mother and wife so I suppose it’s a win win regardless of how I look at it.

The second quote resonated because while I do a lot of speeches and include a lot of personal anecdotes, I never fully share my personal story with people. When I was rebuilding my website, a friend encouraged me to share more of my story. I’ve been there, done that, seen that with regard to entrepreneurship from a child’s perspective, a spousal perspective and now a personal perspective. I’ve been up. . .  way up and I’ve been down . . . way down. Maybe if I lead by revealing that I’ve gone to “that place” then I will inspire greatness among those who hear my story.

Balance Shmalance: How to cope with work/life pressures

We read about this all the time. 5 tips to greater work/life balance. How to achieve better balance in your life. For those of us who have spouses, kids, households, jobs, laundry, social lives etc. sometimes those terms make us feel like a never ending failure. So is there a secret to “having it all”?

Yes! First of all, stop believing anyone ‘has it all’ all the time. I like to compare work-life balance to an experience we had when my son was 3. He wasn’t thriving. Well, that’s not entirely correct. He was thriving. He was happy and social and active and smart and super duper fun. But he was tiny. He fell off the growth charts. My husband and I aren’t particularly tall, but we’re not super short either. So we were concerned and so was our doctor. He sent us to Stanford for some further analysis. The doctor at Stanford assured us that as long as he continued to progress along the chart, regardless of where he fell (under, above, or right in the middle) he was fine. We went four times over the course of 2 years and, though he was only at the 3rd percentile after our final visit, the doc said all was good. We talked about food intake and he said, “Stop looking at what and how much your son is eating on a daily basis and look at what he is eating throughout the week . . . throughout the month. Is he getting all the nutrients he needs when you look at his intake in chunks of time?”

This is how I look at work-life balance. Some days my family suffers, some days my company suffers, some days I suffer. But from month to month, am I failing at everything or did I give enough to each of my endeavors to keep them happy and moving forward? If so, then I consider it a month well done!Work life balance

Marriage Inspiration

I pride myself on believing I do a great job of making my partner feel loved and appreciated. After all, I speak on this topic all the time and teach others tools and tricks to improving their connections with their partners.

Today I was listening to Laura Heck’s talk at Google about the science of great relationships. One suggestion she offers is to set a daily timer on your phone to send your partner a quick text about how they positively impact your life. So I did.

Here is how it went down:

I sent my husband a loving text and he thought it was meant for someone else!
I sent my husband a loving text and he thought it was meant for someone else!

Now, disregard that fact that he spelled too wrong (we can blame that one on Siri) or the fact that the word for would have made more sense. The point is, I was shocked that this was his response. When we talked about it shortly after I texted him, we realized that I often offer more indirect comments that mean basically the same thing (i.e.: I love our new house. Thank you for buying me the one I wanted.) – but I rarely come out and use these direct words, “Thank you for taking such good care of us”. Today, it made a difference in his life to hear the words directly. So, thank you, Laura!

What to expect from my 6 session Coaching Practice

My preference is to have my coaching clients commit to at least 6 sessions. Each session may last longer than 1 hour depending on the needs of my clients. The sessions include a significant amount of work outside our discussions from both myself and my clients. Each person will receive their own copy of my workbook.
1. The first component includes:
Talking with each of you individually and creating a vision statement for each of you. This will help me to assess where you are in your personal thoughts and goals for the future before we start to outline a joint vision.
Homework: Complete each of the exercises in the Re-connecting section in the workbook
2. The second component includes:
a. A short individual discussion to review your vision statement and your comfort level with sharing with your partner
b. Discussion about core values and where/how they originated
Homework: Compete the starter questions & Risk tolerance in the Sharing more information section of the workbook
3. The third component includes:
Discussion about how you have decided to share information about the business etc. with each other
Homework: Complete the blueprint (individually and a joint one and the GOAL model for one specific goal. Goal can be for either of you)  in the Shared vision section of the workbook
4. The fourth component includes:
Discussion about your joint goals and your plans to accomplish your goals.
Homework: Complete the 5:1 ratio and love notes in the Deeply appreciating section of the workbook
5. The fifth component includes:
Discussion about how it felt to be truly appreciated, what worked, what didn’t. What made a difference and how did it feel?
Homework: Identify your inner language, and come up with a de-triggering word or phrase
6. The sixth component includes:
Discussion about understanding the way your partner shares information and modeling their mode of communication. Practice de-escalation techniques and ways to express frustration in a more effective and less hurtful manner. Ways to recognize when you are being hurtful and how to apologize/overcome that.
Homework: Complete the other exercises in the workbook. Practice de-escalation and de-triggering words. Join my monthly call. During  date night, use a book like, “My wish for you is _______” to generate discussion topics.
The goal is that by the end of the 6 sessions – you will
1. Have a better idea of more effective ways to communicate with one another
2. Have a clear and direct vision for yourselves as individuals and as a couple looking forward to your future
3. Better understand each others histories which can lead to greater compassion toward perceived flaws and a desire to improve upon said flaws!
4. Have a management tool you can reflect upon when working toward certain future goals.
5. Have a workbook filled with thoughts and ideas that you can re-read whenever you need a refresher.
6. Open the lines of communication regarding a myriad of topics surrounding both personal and business issues.
7. Learn ways to share your thoughts / feelings with your partner in the most compassionate way possible.