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  • The Fraud

    Ralph sat at his desk, surrounded by the soft hum of computers and the occasional clack of keyboards. He was the newest software engineer at a prestigious tech company, a position he'd landed after months of rigorous interviews and coding challenges. Yet, as he stared at his screen, a familiar, gnawing feeling twisted in his gut. He couldn’t shake off the thought that he didn’t truly belong here, that his acceptance was a fluke. Despite his colleagues praising his innovative solution to a recent problem, Ralph attributed it to sheer luck rather than skill. He felt like an imposter, masquerading among geniuses, fearing the day they’d all discover he wasn’t one of them. Ralph was suffering from imposter syndrome. This is a psychological phenomenon where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud," despite evidence of their competence. This condition affects people across various professions and walks of life, leading to a myriad of negative impacts on both personal and professional levels. The constant worry about not being good enough or being discovered as “The Fraud” can take a toll on my emotional well-being, leading to burnout and even physical health issues due to the stress-induced by these feelings. If I am suffering from imposter syndrome, I might also experience a perpetual state of self-doubt, which can hinder my ability to make decisions and assert myself. This leads to procrastination or over-preparation for tasks. The ripple effects of imposter syndrome extend into interpersonal relationships as well. It can lead to withdrawal from social interactions or reluctance to form new relationships due to fears of being judged or exposed. This isolation can aggravate feelings of loneliness and reinforce “The Fraud”, creating a vicious cycle. In many roles in my life, I have suffered from imposter syndrome. As I look back, it isn’t about appearing haughty or arrogant, but feeling that I am less. How about you? Can feeling like “The Fraud” be limiting you? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback, it is invaluable. Please like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Emotional Maturity 

    Many of you have heard of my growing up without any awareness of emotional maturation. It was foreign to me. If someone gave me an example, I could feel and exhibit the emotion, such as being frustrated, nervous, or bored. If someone asked me how or what I felt at any particular time, I could not identify or express what was happening internally. This may not seem possible for some, yet to me, it was impossible. I needed more understanding when it came to recognizing and understanding emotions and how they play out in relationships. I experienced only two emotions: happy and mad. Starting from this conflicted point of view was a terrible way to begin a journey as a husband, father, or leader. Growing up without understanding how emotions impact relationships at home and in the workplace led to significant challenges throughout my personal and professional life. Emotional maturity encompasses recognizing, comprehending, managing emotions, and influencing others. This is pivotal in fostering healthy interpersonal relationships and achieving professional success. Without a grounding in emotional education, I often lacked the skills to navigate conflicts constructively. Instead of responding to tense situations with an empathetic, calm, and understanding approach, I might react impulsively or defensively, aggravating disagreements and harming relationships. Deficiencies in this area can result in inappropriate emotional expressions, such as outbursts or withdrawal in personal settings, which can disrupt communication and problem-solving efforts. Mastering emotional intelligence skills such as self-awareness, empathy, emotional regulation, and effective communication requires intentional practice. Developing these skills can significantly enhance my quality of life, relationships, and career success, breaking the cycle of emotional misunderstandings. Lacking a model for emotional maturity made it challenging to guide my children in understanding emotions and managing relationships, potentially perpetuating this cycle across generations. What a different approach I have today. I am responsible for identifying my emotions and recognizing the feelings of others to be able to be in healthy relationships. How about you? What grade would you give yourself regarding your emotional maturity? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for liking, sharing and commenting. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Difficulty to Opportunity

    As many of you know, I had a great career with GTE from 1969 to 1999. I graduated and was promoted to Project Coordinator, Senior Engineer, and Engineering and Construction Manager. Downsizing caught me during my last couple of years, and I was demoted to Special Projects Engineer. I was crushed that I ended my career with declining responsibilities even though my salary was not affected. I got a great deal and didn't recognize it at first. This enabled me to return to school and complete a Marriage and Family Therapy degree. For the past 25 years, I have had the opportunity to meet the finest people who are looking for a better life. What a privilege to walk along with them as they experience breakthroughs. "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein These words encapsulate a profound truth about the nature of challenges and adversities. I will inevitably encounter more obstacles, setbacks, and moments of difficulty. Yet, hidden within these trying circumstances are often the seeds of opportunity waiting to be discovered and nurtured. When faced with difficulties, feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or even defeated is natural. However, during these challenging times, I can grow, learn, and transform myself and my situations. Adversity reveals my inner strength, resilience, and creativity, pushing me to think outside the box and tap into resources I may not have known I possessed. Difficult times can be catalysts for profound personal growth and self-discovery. Navigating through difficulties can lead to unexpected paths and outcomes that I may never have considered otherwise, like going from an engineering profession to counseling. It's like finding a hidden door amid a maze - what initially seemed like an insurmountable obstacle becomes a doorway to new possibilities and opportunities for growth and fulfillment. How about you? Can you see opportunities within your difficulties? Watch for the blind spots. Thank you for your feedback, it is invaluable. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • I Pledge Allegiance 

    I visited a veteran at the Richard A. Anderson Texas State Veteran's Home yesterday. This is a beautiful facility with 144 individual rooms. I was reminded of all who have sacrificed and given everything or almost everything to keep our beautiful nation free. "When I hear the Pledge of Allegiance recited at an accelerated pace, I wonder if we have lost the true meaning of these words." I, among many, have had the honor to serve and defend the values and freedoms of our great nation. The Pledge of Allegiance holds a deeply personal significance to me. It is a solemn oath, a declaration of loyalty, and a reminder of the sacrifices, life, and limb made by countless individuals in service to this country. I see our nation endowed with strength, wealth, prosperity, and dreams like no other country. However, in today's fast-paced world, the pledge is often recited hastily, its words rolling off the tongue without considering their meaning. When I hear the pledge spoken in a rushed manner, it saddens me because I know firsthand the weight of those words. Each promise represents the ideals we fought to protect. But when recited without pause or reflection, it loses its power, its significance diminished by rote repetition. For me, the pledge is more than just a string of words—it symbolizes our commitment to upholding the principles of freedom and justice. It is a reminder of the friends we lost, the battles we fought, and the price we paid to safeguard the liberties of our fellow Americans. To recite the pledge thoughtlessly cheapens the sacrifices made by generations of brave men and women who laid down their lives so that we may live in a land of liberty and opportunity. I am reminded of the families who have endured the ultimate sacrifice—the loss of a loved one in defense of freedom. I choose not to take the pledge lightly, to pause, reflect, and remember the true meaning behind those words. How about you? How sincere is your pledge of allegiance? Watch for the blind spots. THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all". Thank you for your feedback, it is important to me. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Existing or Living

    I am blessed with the opportunity to live many years. The last half of my life has been much fuller and more productive than the first. My life has always been full and somewhat adventurous. Yet, looking back, perhaps I was more busy than impactful. It took me several decades (maybe 4 or 5) to achieve the emotional maturity I now possess. Looking back, I was very naive about life and relationships at home and work. I was merely existing, not genuinely choosing to live. Today, living means engaging with life in a conscious, purposeful, and richly textured manner. It means embracing life's vast experiences—joy and sorrow, triumph and defeat and using them for growth, learning, and connection. Merely existing implies a certain stagnation, a life lived on autopilot, where my days blend without distinction, marked by simple routine. This is an existence of safety and predictability, complete with unexplored potential and unfulfilled desires. It's a state where I allow my life to be narrowed down to comfort zones, leaving little room for pursuing dreams or embracing the unknown. Am I existing or living? My distinction between living and existing is a matter of choice. It calls me to be fully present, to confront my vulnerabilities as pathways to authenticity and connection. This involves asking difficult questions about my life's direction, setting clear intentions, and acting with the courage to bring those intentions into existence. I am opting to live rather than merely exist, finding beauty in the ordinary, seeking meaning in my endeavors, and embracing love, work, and play wholeheartedly. In choosing to live fully, I elevate my existence and contribute to a more prosperous and connected world. The decision to live with strategy, intentionality, and purpose is a profound gift I can offer to myself and those around me. It is never too late to wake up and smell the coffee. I am living proof. How about you? Are you existing or living? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback, it's invaluable. Please like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Roles We Play

    William Shakespeare - "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts." Here are a few important roles we play in life. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it highlights some important ones. Parents, spouses, grandparents, siblings, friends, community leaders, caregivers, mentors, mentees, and Christians are but a few. What do I want others to say about me in my various roles? It is a fascinating exercise to write down what I would like to hear essential people in my life say about me in any role I play. Be sure you take some time to write these down. These are descriptions you want to hear, not what you think they would say. Words like loving, caring, mentor, giver, kind, resilient, intelligent, innovative, trustworthy, gracious, wise, authentic, and compassionate are but a few complementary words. Now, here is the secret to the question. People in our lives will talk of their experience of us. In other words, I write the script others will use to talk about me. If I want great things said about me, I must show up great. Otherwise, others or I may hear words that are not so complementary to myself. Yes, I write the script others use to talk about me. In essence, the words others use to describe me offer valuable feedback on my life's journey. These words can catalyze reflection, prompting me to consider the alignment between my intentions and actions and the perceptions they create. This insight is vital for those interested in personal growth, improved relationships, and a fulfilling life. It's a reminder that while I may not control others' perceptions, I can influence them through my actions, choices, and the roles I embrace. All the world is a stage. I am an actor on this stage. Even before the curtain falls, the audience will critique me. What do I want to hear them say? What roles do you play, and what do you want the important people in your life to say? Watch for the blind spots. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. Please like, share or comment.. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Take Care

    In high school, my friend Chris had a fantastic mom. She cared for all his friends, including when the police chased us to her house after we almost got caught throwing snowballs at cars on Avenue N in San Angelo. What a narrow escape. She was full of fun and laughter. She was welcoming and interested in each of us individually. All of us, Chris's friends, visited frequently. Her husband, Chris's stepdad, got ill and almost died. She was such a remarkable caregiver. She continued to work, cook, and care for us and him. After a long illness, his stepdad recovered, but Chris's mom gave too much, worked tirelessly, and passed away. Oh, what a tremendous loss for all who knew her. "I must take good care of me so I can take good care of you." This adage is easily overlooked. Taking good care of myself physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually is paramount in all my relationships. As I examine this concept, I uncover the profound importance of self-care and caregiving. Regardless of the roles we play in life, whether we are a husband, dad, wife, mom, son/daughter, boss, or any other role, we must care for ourselves. Neglecting my own needs undermines my ability to provide optimal care to others. How can I care for others if I don't care for myself? We all play roles as caregivers. Unrecognized stress, prevalent among caregivers, demands a toll on both mental and physical health. Consequently, fostering resilience through self-care becomes essential. Implementing a comprehensive self-care regimen entails a complex approach involving physical, emotional, and social domains. From mindfulness practices to regular exercise and peer support networks, I must prioritize activities that replenish my reserves and nurture my holistic well-being. "Take care of you so you can take care of me" illustrates the necessary link between self-care and caregiving. Moms, dads, and grandparents all have the opportunity to give too much. How about you? Are you too much like Chris's mom? Watch for the blind spots. Thanks for your feedback, it is greatly appreciated. Please like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Patience is a Virtue.

    My brother Gary and I were the only Baptist in this parochial school. Mom transferred us there because of the bullying at the public school. Sister Honoria was one of my teachers at Sacred Heart in San Angelo. At first, I thought being Baptist caused her to focus a lot of attention on me. I see now it was employing my naive, foolish eighth-grade wisdom that attracted her attention. Perhaps it was my hyperactive impulsiveness and lack of self-control and not my religion that caused her to single me out. She often said, "Patience is a virtue, seldom in a woman and never in a man." At that time in my life, it meant nothing to me. I was looking for the next thing to say or do. This made her so upset at times that it made her eye twitch. (I never mentioned that to her.) Sometimes, I get the lesson much later than most. Today, I see the value of patience as priceless. Patience is a powerful catalyst for strengthening relationships and nurturing self-confidence. It is about giving others the time and space to express themselves fully. In relationships, patience allows me to listen attentively without interrupting or rushing to judgment. Patience enables me to navigate conflicts and challenges with grace and empathy. Instead of reacting impulsively or becoming defensive, the patient me can approach challenging situations with calmness and compassion. This ability to remain composed and empathetic, even in the face of adversity, fosters resilience in relationships, allowing partners to work through disagreements and emerge more aligned. Patience cultivates resilience by teaching me to manage setbacks and failures with optimism and perseverance. It fosters self-awareness and emotional intelligence, critical components of self-confidence. This increased self-awareness allows me to develop a more authentic sense of self grounded in my values and strengths. Patience is a virtue. Patience teaches me to trust the process, embrace setbacks as opportunities for growth, and develop greater emotional maturity. How about you? Is patience one of your strong virtues? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Left Behind

    I have had two significant careers. The first was in telecommunications, and the second was in family therapy. The telecommunication landscape has undergone a remarkable transformation driven by digitalizing, mobility, internet connectivity, wireless communication, advanced networks, and emerging technologies like AI and 5G. I retired in 1999 when the digital phase of communication was advancing rapidly. I had to re-educate myself in an entirely new technology or get out. I chose a new profession of therapy, and it is also changing with technology. My early education did not include the impact of cell phones, gaming, social media, online dating services, and many new changes in our landscape. In a constantly evolving world, the value of lifelong learning cannot be overstated. Embracing curiosity and committing to continuous learning isn't just a choice; it's a pathway to personal and professional development that leads to a more fulfilling life or being left behind. At its core, lifelong learning is about maintaining a curious and open mindset. It's the acknowledgment that there's always something new to discover, whether it's a skill, a concept, or a perspective. By embracing this mindset, I position myself to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing world. In addition to personal enrichment, lifelong learning offers numerous benefits for professional development. In today's fast-paced job market, adaptability and upskilling are essential for staying relevant and competitive. AI is no longer on the horizon. It is here in full bloom and will continue to advance technology exponentially. My fear reduces as my learning increases. Therefore, I must get on board or be left behind. When approaching problems with a curious mindset, I am more likely to uncover novel solutions and break through conventional barriers. Ultimately, lifelong learning is a journey rather than a destination—a commitment to ongoing growth and self-improvement. Embrace curiosity, seize opportunities, and let the lifelong learning journey enrich your life in ways you never imagined. How about you? Are you being left behind? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Please like, share and comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • The Lotus Flower

    Life can and has thrown me curve balls. Circumstances happen, and people do things that are out of my control. Having to change my routine is very uncomfortable for me. I like things to stay status quo as long as they are comfortable. Oh yeah, life doesn't work that way. When things go awry, I have learned to go with them. A new way of looking at my life has caused peace and comfort, but not without effort. No one can dictate how I feel or act without my consent. Wow, this sounds rather bold! Yet my actions and reactions are entirely up to me. Allowing external circumstances to persuade me can be very risky. Indifference and low expectations around me hold no power over me once I operate from this truth. I can exist in this world without being shaped by it. Consider the lotus flower floating on a pond. Despite growing in muddy waters, it remains pristine and untouched by the environment it's rooted in. Like the lotus, I strive to navigate life's challenges without letting them taint my soul. I choose to maintain a sense of detachment, where I engage with the world yet remain unaffected by its negativity. Everything in my life is a result of my choices. If I don't like my circumstances, I must acknowledge that I have allowed them to happen. You may want to argue extreme scenarios – what about those who face tragedy beyond their control? While I can't control what happens to me, I have absolute control over my response. I can choose to remain a victim or take charge of my life and ask, "So what, now what?" By removing the victim mentality, I liberate myself from external influences, mastering my destiny and holding the keys to my freedom. It's all about choice – choosing empowerment over victimhood, responsibility over blame. I choose to take back the reins of my life and steer it towards greatness – it's all within my power. How about you? Are you a lotus flower, or do you allow circumstances to dictate your temperament? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for liking, sharing and commenting! Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Respond or React

    In reading Stephen Covey's book, The 8th Habit, I was enamored by his principle of responding rather than reacting. He reframes stimulus-response, by introducing the stimulus–pause–response. Here, the pause provides the opportunity to engage intellectually rather than blurting out a response. Reacting comes from my anxious approach to communication without considering the potential consequences. On the other hand, responding involves taking a moment to process the situation, weigh the outcomes, and choose a course of action that aligns with my values and objectives. This deliberate approach fosters understanding, respect, and collaboration, creating healthy and productive interactions. In my personal relationships, where my attachments are deep and outcomes feel personal, it is easy to react emotionally. Being emotionally mature is necessary for me to be able to respond. Reacting impulsively to a loved one's words or actions can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and escalating conflicts. Responding with intention allows for empathy, patience, and clear communication. It means I must actively listen to understand the other person's perspective, consider their emotions and my own, and then constructively express my thoughts and feelings. This approach diffuses potential conflicts and deepens the connection by showing care for the relationship's well-being. My professional environment, with its diverse personalities and high-pressure situations, is ripe for reactionary impulses. However, reacting impulsively to challenges, feedback, or workplace conflicts can undermine my professionalism, hinder productive collaboration, and damage relationships. Responding thoughtfully demonstrates leadership, emotional maturity, and a commitment to positive outcomes. I must take a step back to assess the situation objectively, consider the implications of different responses, and communicate to address the issue while respecting all involved. This approach can transform potential conflicts into opportunities for growth, innovation, and strengthened teamwork. By responding rather than reacting, I take control of my interactions and contribute to healthier, more resilient relationships. This shift enhances my connections with others and contributes to my personal growth and emotional well-being. How about you? In difficult situations, do you respond or react? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for liking, sharing and commenting. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

  • Curious George

    In my life, there are two curious Georges. One George is a good little monkey who was always very curious! There are many books about his adventures and a series of animated cartoons. For over 80 years, the adventures of George and his friend, The Man with the Yellow Hat, have been known for how curiosity is a building block of learning, as it introduces simple science, technology, engineering, and math concepts to the youngest viewers. The second George is my friend and mentor who has gone to be with our Lord. George Pulliam carried the title of Curious George. He pioneered the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) approach to mental wellness. He spent almost 60 years teaching and learning MFT. He was constantly looking for things that others couldn't see. He was a master in challenging his students, whether they were Psychiatrists, Psychologists, or counselors. He kept me on my toes as an intern, and we became very close friends after I graduated. He had a powerful reputation in the community of MFTs and was highly respected and sought after for case consultation. He and I attended many conferences together, and when I was seen alone, I thought my name was, "Where's George?" I remember the first cases I presented to him. I had studied the circumstances of the case and looked at it through several marriage and family theories to be sure I included everything that could make a difference. The first time I heard him say, "What are you going to do that for," I was crushed. He once told me, "Don't quit your day job." I never knew if he meant it, but I would not disappoint him. Thanks to George, I see curiosity as the foundation of learning and discovery. It drives me to question the status quo and delve deeper into the unknown. When I am curious, I see each moment and every encounter as an opportunity to expand my knowledge and broaden my perspectives. How about you? Do you spring from the platform of knowing, or can you expand your knowledge by becoming a Curious George? Watch for the blind spots. I appreciate your feedback—like, share or comment. Get a copy of Blind Spots in Relationships. Discover the hidden behavior that could be holding you back from the relationships you desire.

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