3 Easy Ways to Transform Yourself Into a Better Listener

Written by Salina Jivani

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I’ve met some extremely intelligent people in my life. Some have driven businesses into success and others have amassed millions in the span of a few decades. Still others have built empires from the ground up, throwing thousands of dollars around like chump change. Yet what shocks me is when I speak with these people and realize that they arehorrible listeners.

To me, successful people are good communicators and good communicators have to be good listeners. But it’s amazing how many people lack this key ability.

In 2014, I attended a local APMP conference where a communication specialist delivered an impactful workshop on the barriers to effective listening. And of all the workshops I attended during the conference, this is one that resonated with me the most, because I realized that I was guilty of displaying traits of a bad listener. Here’s what the specialist recommended as steps to take to enhance your listening skills, and I try to use these often in my own day-to-day efforts.

Remove the filter

One of the first pieces of advice the instructor shared was to “lower the barriers in your mind.” I kid you not when I say I literally heard mine collapse. Yes, I know. Shame on me. We all at times have certain blocks and filters in our brains which make us perceive what we want, often at the expense of discrediting or dismissing other people’s thoughts or true intentions. Often in these cases, the walls in our mind hinder people’s words from actually being processed beyond our own thoughts, and right away we hear our brain screaming at them, “Hey, no! What you’re saying is just not possible.” In fact, this reminds me of a relative of my husband’s who follows everything anything anyone says with the phrase “Nah, that can’t be possible.” It’s frustrating and often infuriating to speak to someone like that. And it’s because that filter is up like the Great Wall of China in their minds that they often don’t understand—or refuse to try to understand—what other people are saying.

So the first step here is a difficult one to accomplish for those of us who are preprogrammed to erect that barrier and question or doubt everything we are told. But if this barrier remains up and active, you can toss your chances of being a good listener out the window (or over the Wall!).

Stop talking in your head

I’ll admit, I’m completely guilty of this one, too. Often times—and more often after I had kids —I find my mind going a million miles an hour in a thousand different directions. Clothes need to be hung, dishes need to be cleaned, the house needs to be vacuumed, plants need to be watered, kids need to be fed…. And with so many things to do, it’s easy to nod along or murmur a quick hmm of acknowledgement while someone talks, but let’s face it. This one’s a no brainer and giving half-hearted acknowledgements is definitely not an attribute of a good listener. When someone is talking to you, shut down your thoughts, look at the person, absorb what they are saying and eliminate all distractions (or as many as you can). A good practice is to engage in the conversation by responding, asking questions and showing empathy, as appropriate.

Stop forming opinions

Your friend just told you he locked his keys in the car and burned his favorite shirt with an iron. And all you can think about is what a moron he is and you’re glad that ugly shirt has finally kicked the grave.

It’s so easy to get distracted in our own minds and forms opinions of people and their actions. But being opinionated isn’t only about secretly mocking and shaming those who confide in you. Forming opinions about a topic or situation to be discussed can equally hinder your understanding as well as your intellectual growth, because you’re too far grounded in opinion to listen or entertain another perspective.

People are often also guilty of harboring preconceived notions or making judgements about others based on conversations or appearances. Stop looking with your eyes and activate your ears. Keep judgements at bay and allow people to completely finish their thoughts before forming an opinion. You’ll find that you’ll learn so much more if you simply listen. Maybe your friend was looking for an empathetic ear about his horrible day or maybe he was having a horrible day because something bigger was bothering him. It’s hard to get to the root of those issues or offer an appropriate response if you’re too busy forming opinions.

If you’re not a good listener and you’re really trying to improve, following these steps can prove frustrating and even challenging. But remember that baby steps or even unsuccessful attempts are better than not trying at all. Start with one step at a time and work your way up until you feel the difference in your ability to retain information and lower the barriers that prevent you from being the best listener you can be.

How to Tell If Your Relationship Needs CPR

Written by Salina Jivani

couple-fight-1907121Relationships can be a funny thing.  One minute you’re sneaking snuggles in the movie theater and the next, you’re restraining yourself from hurling a laundry basket at your so-called other half. Strangely, these polar extreme sentiments are completely normal facets of relationships. In fact, it’s when you don’t have those highs and lows that you should worry. And based on many relationship experts and a wealth of research, that worry should be taken seriously when four particular signs of trouble constantly lurk around:

Constant fighting

It’s okay to have the occasional argument and even suffer daily tiffs, but when the fighting tends to spiral out of control because of something as silly as who left the toilet seat up (or down), there’s a good likelihood that the frustration roots from something deeper than just that. If you feel constantly upset and irritated at actions of your significant other that seem trivial to spectators around you, it’s likely that you’re harboring some bitterness or remorse about something else. And to have those emotions blow up and out of control, day in and day out—constantly—is not okay. Or normal.

You don’t share anything with each other

You love to share your deepest secrets with your partners. Or at least you used to. Initially, this trust and confidence is what attracts you to each other and brings you closer together. A healthy relationship builds on those elements of companionship. But if you notice that you’ve gradually or suddenly become distant from each other, and live in near-alien existence where one of you has no clue what’s going on in the other’s life, that’s not okay. Even worse, if neither of you has made any attempt to address the issue to the point where your lack of communication has become the norm, beware. You’re treading on fragile foundation.

There’s no affection

The initial part of a typical relationship is filled with endless hours of intimacy, groping, and lustful glances. But once the honeymoon phase wears off, it’s normal to have some fun…at least occasionally. But if you or your partner has suddenly lost interest in intimacy and you can’t remember the last time you’ve made whoopee, and, even worse, you don’t miss it, well, now that’s a pretty big problem. Intimacy isn’t just about sex—it’s much deeper than that. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that people who have sex together share a stronger emotional bond. So if your relationship is missing the key element of touch, it’s likely you’re disconnected in a much larger way than you may realize.

You dream of running away… and feel happy

We all occasionally have that desire to just step away or escape, whether that means taking a spontaneous vacation solo or driving around town at midnight with the windows rolled down. So it should be no surprise that the same desire for some space from your loved one is completely normal. But what’s not okay is if you daydream about escaping and actually get excited about the prospect of a life without your partner. If you’re harboring these thoughts on a frequent basis, ask yourself whether you’re truly in the relationship because you want to be or because something is holding you back from leaving. Sometimes the culprit may be something as simple as fear or even the gossip mill.

Having one or more of these signs present in your relationship indicate that something isn’t completely right with you and your partner, but remember: as fragile as relationships can be, they are also just as resilient. If you find that you’re panicked or surprised that your relationship has many of these red flags, take a moment to think about what it is you really want to do about it. If you’re eager to repair the crevices in your relationship, it’s often doable, but will require a strong effort on both your end and your partner’s. Talk to your partner, address your concerns and think about the best option or solution. Remember that breaking off a relationship—especially one that you’ve invested in long-term—is never easy. But sometimes, it’s just what you need to find happiness and move on into greener pastures.

5 Ways To Be More Confident

Written by Gustavo Camilo

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I believe confidence is the key to be a successful person. That person who everyone looks at and think: wow, this guy is really awesome.

For everyone, there is always a “bridge” to be crossed between the person he is and who he wants to be. A lot of things are needed for cross that bridge, and to be who he really wants to be. One of these things, if isn’t the biggest one, is often a lack of confidence, because it stifles your real potential. The person who doesn’t trust themselves, usually   doesn’t  go very far. You can feel when someone isn’t confident, you can feel it by their voice, you can see it by their gestures.

I’m just a guy who want to learn and be better everyday, so I wrote 5 tips that I believe, can make everyone a little bit more confident, they are:

1 – Do not be afraid to express yourself.

Never be afraid to express your ideas. At first it is a little uncomfortable, but if it’s a good idea, everyone will think “Wow!” If it isn’t, no one will kill you, so don’t worry. Express yourself, let the world know who you are.

2 – Focus on your strengths.

The weaknesses should also be worked out, but they are the background. You need to focus on your strengths. That’s what will make people look to you and think “This guy is really good!”. How do you know what are your strengths? Ask yourself: “What do people tell me I’m good at?” and then, work on it.

3 – Get feedback.

Don’t be shy! You can ask  for  feedback from your managers, superiors, customers, partners and even providers. Use this as leverage to grow on your strengths and improve what is necessary. Talk to people, be interested and it’ll also help you to do a good networking. You win twice.

 

4 – Take a step beyond the comfort zone.

The title is already self-explanatory. Comfort zone is one of your biggest challenges. Is very easy to stay on that zone, and don’t even notice it. But come on, stay hungry, look for the new (never give up to new challenges). How does it help you to be a more confident person? Just by exposing yourself to the new and unknown.

5 – Do the homework, always.

Building confidence is a process that should be continued. Work it every day and you’ll get there. Do whatever you have to do, and one day, success will come.

3 Surprising Ways Reading Helps You Become More Intelligent

Written by Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog

065d8cf84455aba96b64b7254937b3dbWho doesn’t want to boost their IQ a few notches? It’s a competitive world out there and with that healthy dose of competition comes a quest for self-improvement and advancement. After all, it’s the intelligent people who can more easily snag the higher-paying jobs and expect to land themselves on the career-path of their dreams. This search for building intelligence has given spark to apps like Luminosity and Quiz Up. Because with intelligence comes more money, luxury and prestige. But you don’t have to indulge in exhausting, mind-numbing activities to sharpen your mind and gain the knowledge you seek. There’s a simpler way to do that: read. Don’t believe it? Read for yourself (see how we did that?). Here are three ways squeezing in that book time will help you become a cleverer more intelligent you.

Promotes analytical skills

Reading every day increases analytical abilities and helps develops logic. Routine readers are able to better pick apart stories, piece together components, deduce and induce logic and make stronger educated guesses than those who don’t read regularly. The more you read, the more you’re able to develop logic, connect the dots, increase comprehension and establish reasoning. And because you’re able to comprehend and piece together facts better than those who don’t read, you’re also able to understand more than them.

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Improves focus

In our technology-driven world, cell phones, laptops and iPads are all the rave—and constantly vying for our attention. As a result, attention spans are shorter than ever before. But focus is integral and one way to develop that focus is by reading. Unlike our technology-driven gadgets, reading requires keen attention, without which you wouldn’t be able to comprehend whatever it is you’re perusing. And, as is the case with any other exercise, the more often you read, the better you’ll become at maintaining that focus.

Keeps your mind stimulated

Just like your body needs exercise to remain in shape and healthy, the same is true of your brain. Reading stretches your thinking and comprehension muscles as your mind works at deciphering words, both familiar and unfamiliar, based on context. In short, reading puts your mind to work, which done frequently enough can help sharpen it, allowing it to work like a well-oiled machine.

The list above is in no way a complete overview of the benefits a regular reading routine can offer. But just in case you’re curious, among its many others are: vocabulary expansion, better communication skills, improved writing and greater empathy for others. Think of it as an all-in-one vitamin for your brain and take advantage of any spare moment you have to skim through a news article or flip open a book. Your mind will reward you later.

 

3 Key Life-Long Lessons You Learned in Kindergarten

Written By Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” Blog

5480b27d0a7fddd318ce35b5a6c3fffcWhen I was a fifth grader in elementary school, I remember reading a poster that said, “Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten.” I’d giggled at the time, thinking how ridiculous it was to think such a thing, let alone slap it on a poster. After all, the only skills I remembered learning as a five-year old were to color in the lines and stretch rubber bands into shapes on geoboards.

Reflecting back on that tickled fifth grader, I realize now how much more truth there was in that saying than my naïve 10-year-old self could ever have realized.

Graduating high school, mastering college and stepping into the real world certainly opens our eyes to life, but one thing I can vouch to is that if we follow some of the basic rules we all were taught when we were wee tiny, there’s a lot of power in them to carry us through the most trying of situations.

As five-year-olds, we were taught quite a bit about the basics of mannerisms and etiquette, so it would be impossible to capture them all here, but if I had to pick the three most valuable that are golden to me even today, it would be these:

Treat others the way you want to be treated

There’s nothing more elementary than this rule, but it truly is a fundamental one if you seek to be both a successful person and valued human. As an adult, you’ll encounter difficult people at work and in life. But if you continuously treat people with respect and genuine kindness, they’ll eventually feel humbled enough to reciprocate. And even if they don’t have an opportunity to return the kindness, they’ll respect you even more for your actions.

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I remember partaking in endless listening and comprehension tests from kindergarten through second grade. Yet today I sit through infinite meetings and conferences trying not to go cross-eyed while my mind drifts off to oblivion. And I have to constantly remind myself that golden rule: LISTEN! It’s difficult to not doze off and let your mind wander to a faraway planet sometimes as friends drone on and on about their complicated lives or colleagues rehash the potential risk of an already-resolved issue, but I’ve found that those who take the time to listen come across as more trustworthy, compassionate and intelligent (because they cared to listen when no one else bothered!).

Never leave anyone out

ab6289a18863ed4437028611fe4cad8eRemember that poor kid who always got left out at recess? Or the nerdy boy everyone always made fun of? No one wants to be the oddball out, but we’ve all been there at some point or another. I’ve learned that making everyone around me feeling included and involved has made me a ton of friends over the years, benefiting me both personally and professionally. And the number of times those connections have turned into something advantageous for me or the other person is astonishing. In fact, when I joined corporate America at the age of twenty-four, I was pulled in by a former manager who I had welcomed and befriended when no one else would. In fact, now that I think back, that’s how I got nearly every single position I ever landed—being inclusive and maintaining connections. Being welcoming not only makes you feel good, but it also can come back to reward you in pleasant and unexpected ways. So respect those around you and make them feel welcome. You’ll get the warm and fuzzies and you also might receive a helping hand when you most need it and least expect it.

There’s a lot of life’s great lessons to be gleaned from those early years of our childhood. And if we each started by implementing just these three simple ones, imagine the beautiful, pleasant, tolerant world we would build for ourselves and for future generations.

 

4 Important Things You Should Consider Before Hiring a Millennial

Written by: Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog

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Ever wonder why organizations spend so much research, time and money analyzing each generation, say for example the Baby Boomers? Yes, of course there’s the marketing aspect of it; after all, marketers realize the importance of understanding their target consumers. Because it’s only after they unveil information about the likes, dislikes and habits of these consumers that they’re able to better develop the right products and reap outstanding profits.

But retailers and organizations aren’t the only ones who can stand to benefit from understanding the idiosyncrasies of various generations. In fact, this information can help employers glean golden tid-bits about employees to better interact, understand and motivate them. Taking strides toward this effort can ensure that your organization is making the most of its associates by understanding each generation’s drivers, behaviors, tendencies and values, and then shaping its associate culture around those key discoveries.

At one point, Baby Boomers, also known as Generation X, drove the workforce. And that generation valued freedom, family and fun. But today, Baby Boomers are retiring or preparing for retirement and their children, Generation Y or millennials, have taken center stage and are commanding control. In fact, it’s entirely likely that you yourself are a millennial or work with someone who is.

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Millennials are individuals who are born approximately between the years of 1980 – early 2000s. They’re as unique as their predecessors, Generation X-ers, and come with their own set of characteristics, ideologies and attitudes that set them apart from Generation X-ers in so many ways.

If you’re a manager or an entrepreneur looking to effectively run your team or company, you’ll benefit from understanding this group of individuals and knowing what makes them tick so that you can manage them effectively and help them be the most successful they can, both to their benefit and yours. Here are four traits of millennials that set them apart from preceding generations.

Desire flexibility

Millennials prize mobility. They don’t like being tied down to a single spot. So it’s not unlikely that you’ll come across a millennial who will tell you they don’t want to be rooted down to a single work location.  Often these individuals seek jobs that offer flexibility so that they can strike the right work-life balance.

If your company has the opportunity to offer flex schedules, or remote work on a regular or occasional basis, use that as an incentive to attract top talent in the millennial age group. And if you’re fearful that these millennials will slack off, rest assured that according to studies, most people work longer hours rather than shorter when they work from home. Plus, another great trait of millennials is that they’re multitaskers, so even though they might sneak a moment to put in a load of laundry or grab a quick coffee with a friend, they’ll honor the privilege of being remote and will work twice as hard to make sure they’re able to retain it.

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Saavy with social media

With the creation of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and so many other platforms that help people stay connected, it’s no surprise that millennials, who are pro-connectivity, are all about social media. And because, these individuals comprise 80 million of the population, it’s easy to understand why marketers have turned to social media full throttle for advertising, promoting and even garnering new ideas.

And if you happen to have a marketing division of your company and are fumbling with social media, who better to help revive or implement your strategy than the very people who use them the most—millennials?! Approach a millennial about help with social media, and you’re likely to see their eyes light up, signaling the start of a win-win relationship for all parties involved. You’ll be astonished by the clever tips and suggestions you might get on how you can make your company stand a chance against fierce competition, using these platforms as your arsenal.

Seek recognition and praise

Many tend to label millennials as narcissists. And it doesn’t help matters that one of the characteristics of this generation is love for praise and recognition; but don’t be quick to judge. After all, who doesn’t like being told that they’re doing a great job?  If you want to point blame, direct it at their Generation X parents, who constantly showered them with praise by for the slightest successes. But all that aside, one thing you should take from this revelation is that praise goes a long way with millennials, so be generous with it—when appropriate—and don’t underestimate its power where this bunch is concerned.

Value transparency

Millennials seek to build strong relationships with their managers and don’t like being kept in the dark when it comes to matters concerning work, which means they value real talk and transparency. So if your workplace has major changes up and coming or is in the process of implementing a change that might impact staff, consider communicating these changes in advance to maintain the trust and respect of your millennials, if not the rest of your staff.

Millennials can be a fun group of individuals to work with if you understand what makes them tick. Once you know the idiosyncrasies of this generation, you can bet your bottom buck you’ll be on the path to a firm professional footing with this dynamic, talented group.

How To Overcome Your Fear of Asking Questions at Work

Written by Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog 

file3171263251671When I worked at Bank of America, I attended a training with our offshore employees from India. Of course because the entire team was together for the first time ever, the managers saw this as an ideal opportunity to fill our days with endless trainings, seminars and lunches, creating a draining agenda that left us scrambling for our hotel rooms by late evening.

One thing I noticed during those seminars was that while the America-based group sat engaged with a sprinkle of questions every now and again throughout each presentation, the offshore group asked a flurry of them. Quite honestly, I was amazed at their ability to so candidly and bravely barrel through question after question with rarely a breath in between. After about fifteen minutes, I felt embarrassed for the offshore group. By the second day, the endless questions became frustrating. By the third day, most of us were either clenching our teeth or falling asleep with our eyes open.

Don’t get me wrong, these were wonderful, smart, astute people who had some pretty interesting things to ask. And in the time we spent with them, they made me realize that the prospect of asking questions is perceived completely differently in the Western culture versus the Eastern one. Here in the good ol’ U S of A, excessive questioning is often perceived as annoying and a waste of people’s time. People who ask many questions are thought of as daft or slow to learn.

Subsequently in India, asking questions demonstrates eagerness, engagement and intelligence.

I will follow up on the latter and admit that when it came time to working on projects, the offshore team was always on par and even brought up game-changing inquiries, catching flaws in our plans or theories, which helped the onshore group further flesh out or even reconsider some thoughts. As a result, my admiration for them grew and I started wondering if perhaps instead of biting my tongue in fear of sounding stupid, I should venture out of my comfort zone every now and again and lodge some questions of my own.

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In fact, much after interacting with this group, I begin to pay more attention in future meetings to those who dared to ask multiple questions. And those who did almost always had a better understanding than the rest.

If you’re looking to excel in your career, it’s a good idea to start breaking out of the invisible bubble wrap we often wrap ourselves in in fear of sounding dumb or silly. Want to give it a try? Muster some confident and follow these simple rules to become a better, more informed, more engaged individual by learning how to ask intelligent questions.

Pay attention

This one might seem obvious, but it’s actually a lot easier said than done. We all have (very limited!) attention spans. And I’ll be the first to admit that I more often than I’d like to admit find my mind wandering during meetings. But that’s not okay—especially if you’re gearing up to be an intelligent questioner. You don’t want to sound silly and ask something that’s already been answered. Don’t be around anything that offers a distraction. Whether that’s your best friend/co-worker or the TV. Tune in completely. If you need something to do grab a notebook and take notes so you can keep yourself busy and better comprehend what each person is saying.

Ask the right question

If you hear something you don’t understand, gather courage and get ready to speak up. But before you do, be sure to think about what exactly it is you don’t understand, and phrase your question accordingly. For example, if the meeting is about a deadline that needs to be met, but you know that creating one of the project components will require time beyond the deadline, you could ask “Given the April 20 deadline, how do you foresee squeezing in the creation of the XYZ, which takes typically X days to complete?” instead of something like “But our deadline is April 20,” which could leave people confused as to what exactly you’re trying to communicate or what hurdle you foresee. This might seem simple enough, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate exactly what it is you’re trying to convey. So be sure to give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts and structure your question to accurately reflect your outlook.

Opt for open ended

Open ended questions will always yield you a more thorough, in-depth response versus a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no (also known as closed-ended questions). Notice that in the above given example question, we don’t ask a closed ended question, which would be phrased “Will we be able to meet our April 20 deadline with the creation of the XYZ?” If we did, it’s likely that the answer we’d get wouldn’t be a sufficient one or wouldn’t work to prove our point—that the deadline cannot be met or that alternative arrangements (or possibly a new deadline) need to be considered.

Focus on what you don’t understand

Once you pose your open-ended question and receive a sufficient response, analyze the response and see if there is any component of it that you’d like further clarification on. If not, you’re set. But if so, think about what you what you don’t understand or need clarification on and translate it into an open-ended question.

Probe for more    

If you’re hearing the response to your question, but aren’t able to comprehend it, it can be difficult to think of a follow up question. This is where probing is helpful. Probing means to encourage the replier to provide more details and information so that you’re able to connect the dots in your mind and make sense of what he/she is trying to say. Ask for examples, a deeper/more thorough explanation or simply say, “Could you help me understand by elaborating a little more?”

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Asking the right questions and making sure you understand the explanations provided will not only help you gain confidence and knowledge, but will also earn you the appreciation of those who will benefit from the results of your attentiveness.

So the next time you find yourself in a meeting where people around you seem to be speaking Pig Latin, throw back your shoulders, take a deep breath and fire away!

Signs of a Pathological Liar

Written By Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” Blog

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From the time we’re wee young, we’re taught to never, ever, ever tell a lie. But let’s just be truthful (yes, pun intended), shall we? We all lie. It’s human nature. We’re preprogrammed that way. You lie when you swear to your sixty-year old aunt that no, she’s doesn’t look a day older than forty-three and yes, her meatloaf’s the absolute best, even better than your mom’s. We lie to our moms saying that no, Aunt Bertha didn’t ask a single question about her looks and never claimed her meatloaf stood a flying chance against hers. We lie to our kids when we tell them Santa exists and that the tooth fairy waits hand and foot for their cavity-laden teeth to fall out. And we even lie to ourselves, saying that the little fib we told our best friend was really in innocence. Catching yourself or someone else in a fib every once in a while is expected and, to a certain degree, okay. But when those once-in-a-blue-moon lies turn into something more habitual, there’s something to be concerned about. Weighty lies can tear relationships apart and do a lot more damage than good. And when lying becomes a part of someone’s character, it doesn’t take long for loved ones or friends to begin questioning them. More importantly, it may indicate that that person may be exhibiting signs of a pathological liar.

What is a pathological liar?

A pathological liar, also known as a compulsive liar, is someone who constantly lies out of habit. They focus on even the smallest, most insignificant incidents and turn them into lies. In fact, they’re so used to lying on a regular basis that telling the truth becomes a discomfort, while lying feels natural. (Pathological liars are not to be mistaken with sociopaths, who are calculated liars who hope to benefit something from their lies.)

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Personality traits of a pathological liar

When confronted about a lie, pathological liars may lash out. Usually they lie so skillfully that you may even begin to question the truth, but don’t be fooled. As stated earlier, sometimes these individuals don’t even realize they’re lying and often they start to believe their own lies to be the truth. The lashing out can also be a defense mechanism. Here are some other common attributes of pathological liars:

  • Selfishness
  • Obsessive, compulsive behaviors
  • Uncomfortable, isolated or awkward in social settings
  • Low self esteem
  • Disregard for how their lies affect other people’s feelings

Why should this be taken seriously?

Though it’s not classified as a mental disorder, pathological lying may often clue in to a much larger, more serious underlying mental issue, including obsessive compulsive disorder, narcissism, and antisocial personality disorder. Some pathological liars are aware they have an issue, and others don’t believe it until someone points it out to them, often on more than a solitary instance. It’s common for those who realize they have a problem to feel ashamed of themselves, but even then compulsive or pathological liars don’t know how to put an end to this habit. To them, lying is as natural as it for other people to speak the truth.

How to deal with a pathological liar

Unfortunately many pathological liars aren’t able to maintain strong or fruitful relationships. Eventually, their lies are detected, they are confronted and many times they lose out on great partners.

If you’re in a new relationship with someone who you think might be a pathological liar, consider ending the relationship before you’re too heavily involved.

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If you’re already in a serious relationship, the first step is to decide whether you’re willing to endure the frustrations and sacrifice the time and effort that’s required in maintaining relationships with a pathological liar. If the answer is no, be strong and break it off. You’ll thank yourself later.

If you’re in too deep, have been in the relationship too long or have kids together and choose to stay, prepare yourself for what’s sure to be a long, arduous journey. The lying will not vanish overnight, if ever.

Second, you must help the individual realize that they have an issue. Sometimes pathological liars don’t know they’re lying. Or they lie so convincingly, that they themselves believe the lie to be the truth. Providing evidence of such lies, talking calmly with the person and helping them realize you’re there to help are a few of the things you can do to unveil the issue and show your support.

Once the person accepts they have an issue, he or she should consult a therapist, either alone or with you.

There’s no evidence that this condition can ever be cured, even after the person seeks professional help. Living with someone who has these tendencies is not easy and requires a lot of patience and even self-sacrifice; however, if remaining in the relationship is the only option for you, continue to offer help, do a web search to find local support groups, and be there the best you can. But in the process of being supportive, don’t lose sight of yourself and your needs. Because to successfully care for someone else, you must care for yourself first.

3 of Georgia’s Best Last-Minute, Romantic Getaways

Written By Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog

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If you’re anything like me, you live for the summer. It’s that time of year everyone looks forward to jetting away to those exotic vacations that have been in the works forever. And of course the summer months are popular for wedding anniversaries, so maybe you’re even planning something special to celebrate your union. Or perhaps the two of you are just looking to enjoy some alone time (if you’re lucky to catch a break from the endless family barbecues, reunions and weddings) to snag a last-minute getaway without spending a truck load of money on plane tickets. And if that’s the case, you don’t have to venture very far. The Peach State has got plenty of places that boast romantic ambiance. Here’s our list of the top three:   

Chateau Elan

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Yes, we couldn’t leave it off. Probably amongst the most reputed and famous getaways for couples, Chateau Elan has earned its worth. And you’ll know why when you see this spectacular resort with its magnificent entrance, romantic vineyards, rolling-green golf course, luxurious rooms and mesmerizing interior. Of course the luxury comes at a price, but it’s still better than paying for last-minute plane tickets! Depending on just how much you’re willing to dish out, you can choose from several packages, which fall into one of four categories. Whether it’s a quiet evening inn, wine tasting, spa dates, golfing or breakfast in bed you desire, this resort has something for everyone—and then some.

Helen, Ga

Helen is one of the lesser thought of spots, but ideal for couples who want to spend at least some time in bed and appreciate small, antique-style towns. Famous for its unique-looking shops and plazas, Helen is known and appreciated for its German inspired architecture. And if it just so happens that you’re planning on hauling the kids along, don’t miss the city’s summer fair, which boasts rides and treats. Feeling hot? Cool down at one of Helen’s greatest attractions: Helen’s Tubing and Waterpark, full of tubing rides and fun, long water slides. But wait, let’s go back. If it’s just you and your honey, there’s still plenty to do. Be sure to trop along the cobblestone streets in a horse and carriage ride or even enjoy the city’s picturesque view in a hot air balloon. Feeling hungry? Choose from a variety of cuisines and after you’re done eating to your heart’s content, walk off that fullness by enjoying a languorous stroll through the plazas and shops. If you’re looking for a relaxing, short trip filled with just the right pinch of touristy activity, Helen is just what you’re looking for.

Jekyll Island

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Love the beach, and want a piece of the shore all to yourself? Look no further—Jekyll Island was made for you. This little island in the state’s corner is a quiet piece of heaven where you can enjoy the isolated beach stretching into the Atlantic like it’s your very own. Star gaze at night, eat dinner on the pier with live jazz, and find time to ride a horse carriage through the home fronts of some of the most famous American names, like Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan. Ideal if you’re looking for an extremely affordable, quick vacation.

Summer won’t stay forever, so grab your shades, pack your bags, and enjoy that sun with your loved one while it’s still here!

Getting to Know: The Fight Win Survive Movement

Interview by Abner Jackson III

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Steven VanDyke had a vision one night while sleeping. Three words caught his attention, those words were Fight, Win, Survive.  Steven was able to turn those words into an encouragement merchandiser and ministry outreach providing visual, emotional, and spiritual support.  Through his ministry outreach, his goal is to touch the lives of those who need encouragement and peace of mind.

 

Tell Readers about your Fight…Win…Survive outreach and how long ago did you start it?

 

Fight…Win…Survive was started in August 2012 through a vision that came to me in my sleep. I was facing personal anxiety issues and those three words brought about a calm that soothed my racing mind.  I channeled my experience into reaching out to individuals who were dealing with their own life circumstances and situations. People think that we are a nonprofit and I actually considered going nonprofit before pulling back. I didn’t feel comfortable with it for some reason even though I have personally given away thousands of dollars in merchandise. My outreach became more about touching, impacting and saving lives than personally making money.

Through our strongest vehicle (social media) our goal is to positively touch at least on life every day with something uplifting, encouraging or thought provoking.

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What has surprised you the most about your company?

 

I am surprised the most about the power of the three small individual words that makes one powerful statement. To give someone a $.50 wristband and see their reaction as if it was a $100 gift means a lot.

 

What challenges in the world, do you think affects people the most?

 

LIFE. People have so much going on in their life that for many just getting out of bed is a challenge. Illnesses, job, finances, relationships, kids, safety and a piece of mind are all challenges that we all face. Life comes at us fast and from all directions. That’s where the Fight…Win…Survive message looms large because it is about mindset.  No matter what ones challenges may be, it’s their mindset that gets them over and through whatever their “it” is.

 

How important is it to have a good support system, when dealing with life obstacles.

 

It is very important to have a good support system when dealing with life’s obstacles, circumstances and situations.  There is nothing like someone being there with you. Many and including myself have not understood the challenges of individuals that I have stood in the gap for.  There is something powerful about just being there or just making a phone call to check on them. That’s the support that many desire and our God-given love for one another should provide.

 

What is your goal for Fight…Win…Survive

It’s simple as I stated earlier, to positively touch at least one person’s life each day. That positive touch can come in the form of personal direct contact/communication, a phone call/text or through our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or our free app that brings them all together in one place.

 

 

Tell readers about the three things you need in your life that I saw on your Instagram page. You put Victory, Guidance and Prosperity. In what ways can your life change with those three attributes?

 

The three attributes of Victory, Guidance and Prosperity when put under a microscope is what we all want, need and desire. You want to overcome life’s circumstances, situations or challenges. You need guidance in everything that you do because no man is an island, and at the end of the day we would like all of our hard work to bear the fruit of our labor. When you have experienced Victory, Guidance and Prosperity you have Fought, Won and Survived.

 

What are your thoughts on the current racial/social issues and the Black Lives Matter movement?

 

There is a major problem in the country right now. When something so basic as a traffic stop or what should be a basic interaction/interrogation turns violent and/or deadly, but I can understand the fear of some of the officers. Black Lives Matter but I too fear that wayward person in our race who has no respect or regard for life or property. I profile blacks that look suspicious to me and I watch them closely. Do I want to be that way? No I do not, but when my car was broken into who was the perpetrator? I didn’t see who, but I have a very good idea of who.

Now, in saying all of that it is still each of our responsibility to try and reach those who are lost and confused and I have extended myself in that regard. I have spoken to boys mentoring programs, supported programs and Fight…Win…Survive after Ferguson released a song titled “United We Stand” about the violence and unrest that was going on at that time. Unfortunately, that song keeps replaying itself as these issues with law enforcement continue to arise.

As far as the Black Lives Matter movement, there needs to be a defined plan and leader. We have too many cells and there is no central message. It’s like you’re hungry and there’s no food to eat so whatever someone gives you take and are satisfied with it while another person with the same hunger is settling for another meal and you both end up taking whatever you personally feel that you want.

I have analyzed what is needed for us to see change for our people and it starts with like a band, a drum major. One person who directs all of the moving parts. At this point I believe that individual to be President Obama when he leaves office because he can “manage” what I call the “Five Areas of Influence.” Everyone in the United States is influenced by individuals in one or more of these categories 1. Sports (LeBron James, etc.), 2. Entertainment (Beyoncé, etc.), 3. Business (Oprah, etc.), 4. Religion (T.D. Jakes or ones pastor, etc.) or 5). Education (ones favorite teacher, etc.). If you think about it, you are personally influenced by one or more of those categories and you will listen to someone in that category.

I believe if we create that “one band, one sound” with those individuals/categories we can rightfully move forward because the drum major keeps the “band” moving in perfect synchronization and that would allow us to present a single front and a single message.

 

 

What’s a typical day like for Steven VanDyke?

A Steven VanDyke typical day begins with prayer, meditation and reading my Bible. From that many days it leads me to do a morning inspirational post. From there my day is about checking email and social media for communication from individuals who reach out to me for one on one interactions or through my post responses. People are hurting, feeling helpless and are hungry for someone to let them know that things are going to be alright. That someone cares and someone who will respond.  My day concludes with closing out any communication and a blanket prayer for those whose life I had the opportunity to touch. After that I pray for the individuals who will come in the next day that I might be a positive light that will shine on their negative circumstances or situations.

 

What is an interesting story about someone you helped with your Fight…Win…Survive?

 

I had a lady reach out to me several years ago by email and she put in the subject line “wristband.” I read the email and the lady told me that she was unemployed, lost her car and she was in an abusive marriage but she asked me for one of our wristbands and for prayer. I was floored because I personally saw each of those items as something big and as I was reading that email I already had in my mind that she was going to ask for money thinking we did that.

I got her address and sent her a wristband. A few days later she emailed back and said she received the wristband and thanked me. At that moment I knew that I was on the right path with my company and God was truly with me and it.

Where would you like for your company to be at in the next five years?

 

In the next five years I would like to see Fight…Win…Survive become a household name. I would love to walk down the street and see many people wearing our t-shirts, wearing our wristbands and on posts with people who are experiencing a life situation or circumstance to see #FightWinSurvive to encourage that person. I’ve learned a few years back that the success of this company and ministry is not in money but in impact and I will take impact over money any day.