Friday, January 27, 2012

Finding Love After Loss: 8 Characteristics of an Extraordinary Relationship

Relationships, whether they are in your professional life or personal life, share many characteristics.

Recently, I attended a workshop produced by Sally Starbuck Stamp and Jeff Thoren of Gifted Leaders, who had as their guest, Kathleen Ryan, the co-author with Geoffrey Bellman of Extraordinary Groups: How Ordinary Teams Achieve Amazing Results.

It’s my contention that you can apply the tenets that make a professional group extraordinary to building a committed, romantic relationship.

According to Ryan and Bellman, the eight characteristics of an extraordinary group include the following. Please note my commentary in italics.

1. Compelling Purpose. An inspiring and shared understanding of why group members come together.

There must be an attraction to a partner on many levels that compels you to initiate a relationship and then to keep it vibrant. As the relationship progresses, you create a shared vision of your life going forward.

2. Shared Leadership. Members take mutual accountability for outcomes and the way the group works.

A relationship is give-and-take and no one can be “in charge” all the time. This doesn’t mean that you relinquish your power. It’s even possible to feel more powerful when you empower your partner with love and support. Additionally, relationships rarely rest at the 50/50 balance. It is the wavering back and forth to attain balance that makes up the fabric of your life.

3. Just-Enough Structure. Members develop only the plans, systems, roles and agreements necessary to help them move forward, but no so much as to be bureaucratic or burdensome.

Although some structure is good in a relationship, for example, defining each partner’s role, it’s not healthy to be rigid in the requirements. A successful relationship flows; one partner picks up the slack without complaints when another is unable to complete a task. Relationships can have a broad structure that allows room for growth, contingency plans, and an ability to adapt to individual situations.

4. Full engagement. Members enthusiastically participate in the group’s work.

Partners must fully embrace their relationship; the relationship is prioritized to the top of the list and each partner brings his or her best self to it. Partners are best friends and set aside other distractions in order to spend quality time with each other. At times, it is also imperative for each of them to subrogate their own needs for the health of the partnership.

5. Embracing Differences. Members see, value and use their diversity as a strength.

While it’s true that opposites attract but may not make the best of partners, some diversity is a good thing. After all, if you were with your clone, one of you would be unnecessary. It keeps the relationship interesting and alive when each partner goes out into the world and brings back a new outlook, a new perspective or a compendium of information to share.

6. Profound Learning. Individual and collective learning exceeds expectations, reaching beyond the work at hand to members’ careers and lives.

Relationships can be breeding grounds for growth. No matter how much you love your partner, it is still difficult to live side-by-side with another person. Compromising, adapting to change, being selfless, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable to your love all contribute to emotional and spiritual growth.

7. Strengthened relationships. Trust, respect, collegiality and often friendships grow among group members.

The bond between partners is one of the foundational blocks of all other relationships. If you are content and happy at home, this tends to radiate out and the same attitude repeats itself in your other relationships.

8. Great Results. Tangible and intangible outcomes surpass members’ expectations.

Love, passion, understanding, friendship, respect, humility, honesty, being open to possibilities, and a desire to work at your relationship are some of the integral parts that can produce the great result of having a partnership that is extraordinary.

Ryan and Bellman say that “life is too short to spend time in groups that do not fulfill their promise.” 

I say that life is also too short to spend time in a relationship that you set on auto-pilot rather than nurturing it with love so it can grow into a safe haven for partners where extraordinary things can take place!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Finding Love After Loss: Positivity Wins Every Time

The other day on Facebook, I posted the following quote by Brahma Kumaris, and I feel it is worth further exploration.

“The more we develop the habit of noticing goodness,
the more our own sense of well-being rises.”

I believe that this thought is at the essence of leading a life filled with positivity.

We often take for granted the small acts of kindness that others perform for us. Additionally, caught up in our own busy lives, we also don’t take the time to thank others for a job well done. When we disregard or don’t adequately recognize the “good works” that surround us every day, we negate the benefits we can derive from these positive actions that are streaming toward us.

So, if you are feeling sad or overly negative toward life because you are single and rather you were coupled, you may be building an impenetrable cloud around you.

Recently, I met two single women in their fifties. Both were attractive, well-groomed, intelligent, and self-supporting. When I mentioned what I do, soon the conversation turned to dating. Both women complained about the caliber of the men they were meeting. Their demeanor was quite hardened as they went on to say they wouldn’t even give a man a chance if he is not monetarily successful or if his looks are not up to par. When I tried to make some suggestions for a shift in perspective, they didn’t seem that interested.

After a while, all I heard was blah, blah, blah; however, what I felt emanating from them was negativity. And I knew exactly why they weren’t meeting the men of their dreams.

Even if their words turned positive, their attitude was negative. This energy took on a life of its own and it is the type that pushes people away vs. pulling them in.

If you recognize this attitude as one that you may be holding, you are self-perpetuating your singleness.

What are some ways to turn your thoughts towards positivity? 

Be C.R.I.S.P!

C is for COMMIT
Commit to self improvement. If you’re not happy with some facet of your being or your life circumstances, instead of complaining, commit to making beneficial changes to improve your life. To start, choose one thing that you will do differently and commit to making that change every day for at least 30 days (preferably 60-90 days). This is the amount of time it will take to ingrain this habit in your daily life.

R is for RESPECT
Respect your body. Eat healthy foods. Exercise in whatever form fits your health and lifestyle. When the body is healthy and you feel good about how you look, this naturally influences your energy level and outlook on every aspect of your life. All our systems are interrelated and that is why it is important to focus on the mind/body connection.

Incorporate creativity in your daily life. Paint. Sing. Dance. Write. Whatever it is for you, find an activity that brings you joy.

S is for STOP
Stop and smell the roses. You’ve heard the old saying, “all work and no play makes you a dull girl/boy.” It also drains you and creates an imbalance in your personal/professional life. Sometimes, you just need to STOP and take a deep breath! Remaining still can allow you to really see what is in front of you. Try meditation. Step away from your electronics. Learn to say “No” to things you don’t want to do (that aren’t necessary).

Pay attention. Wake up … physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Beauty surrounds you every day. Learn to recognize it in all its forms. Live in gratitude.

These five precepts are part of living a spiritual life. For more of my thoughts on spirituality, read my new Kindle book: “Understanding Spirituality From A to Z” which gives you 26 spiritual tenets that can help you find your place and purpose in life.

Free download of the book available 
January 21st and January 22nd at this link:

You don’t even need a Kindle to read the book. There is a free app for your computer that you can download on the linked page.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Finding Love After Loss: Are You Stuck?

You’ve decided that you are ready to step into the world of dating and have tentatively dipped your toes in the water. You’re not having much luck, though. In fact, you feel kind of stuck and can’t seem to gain any momentum.

Let’s look at some areas which might be hampering your success and see how you can make some changes in your approach.

During your lifetime, you have probably spent a lot of time looking for a new job, a new home, or the right schools for your children. Isn’t a relationship just as important, and are you affording yourself the same time to look for one? 

Dating that will eventually result in finding a new partner is a process that requires time and focus. Your result has a direct correlation to the effort you expend. So, if you want a haphazard result, go about dating in a haphazard manner. Conversely, if you want a terrific result then devote enough time to getting out into the social scene, meeting new people and eventually dating one-on-one. 

Even if you are a very busy person, if you deem dating and relationship development important then you will find the time to partake in the right types of activities to reach your goal.

Every item in the universe is comprised of energy – of positive and negative charges in constant motion. Your spirit is comprised of energy as well, and your body is the “life support” system for the energy of this spirit. In order to realize your own power, you must examine how you exchange energy with those who surround you. 

In this world of energy, the universe is simply a giant mirror that reflects back whatever you project out to it. Consequently, if you are not receiving positive energy from others or you are confronting difficult situations, examine what you are projecting out.

You need to be the person you want to meet. Also, remember that if you smile at the world, it will smile back at you!

At a social function, are you a wallflower who languishes in the background simply hoping someone comes by to talk to you? Who said you have to wait for someone else to make the first move? Moreover, if everyone is waiting for someone else to start the conversation, there isn’t going to be a whole lot of talking going on! So, take action, and just start talking. You can apply this principle in a coffee shop, the grocery store, or wherever your travels take you. 

To get unstuck, adjust your attitude in the preceding three areas: Energy + Action + Time. 

As a reminder to be vigilant in these three areas, remember the first letter of each word: E+A+T. 

Think: what do you do when you are hungry? You EAT, of course. 

Now, you can also have a big appetite for success, power, love, etc. 

So if you are "hungry" for love, then use your Energy and Time appropriately in all your Actions to reap the greatest benefit and to find the partner you seek.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Finding Love After Loss in 2012: 5 Tips on How To Be a Successful Dater

Do you see a new year as a clean slate? A time to wipe away the last year’s trials and tribulations? A time to make resolutions for new behaviors and thoughts?

In theory, these are great ideas. However, how many of us actually keep the grandiose resolutions we make? Will we lose those 50 pounds? Exercise 2 hours a day? Finally clean and throw out all those “goodies” we have boxed in the garage that we haven’t looked at in ages but can’t seem to let go of? I am a minimalist that is, I don’t have a need for lots of “things” and I throw everything out that I’m not currently using. That said, I just threw out all my college papers, and I graduated in 1975!

So, instead of making resolutions, how about simply resolving to do better this year? The more realistic you are, the better chance you have of accomplishing your goals.

If you want to step into the Internet dating arena this year, it’s necessary to get your head in the game. Make a conscious decision that includes a commitment to focus your energy on forward moving action that will get you where you want to go. 

Here are 5 tips to get your started.

1. Spend some time writing a profile that draws an accurate picture of who you are. If you already have a profile online, perhaps it is time to update it. On some of the sites, each time you make a change, it refreshes your entry and makes you more visible. I know when I was Internet dating, I made little changes to my profile quite often and this consistently placed me at the top of the list in the search engines of the sites.

2. You may have lost weight, changed your hair style, taken a fabulous vacation. Do you have new pictures that reflect these changes or events? If so, update your profile picture or add additional pictures to your site.

3. Expand your horizons. By upping the limit on how far you will travel, lowering your height requirements, and enlarging the age parameters for your dates, you can open up lots of opportunities. When I was Internet dating, at first, I turned down dates if my prospective date lived more than 15 miles away. Later on, I loosened up a bit and it was a good thing because my husband was very geographically undesirable. He lived about 30 miles away, and I racked up a lot of mileage during our courtship! Worth it, of course!

4. Actually get out there! Trolling the dating sites and being a great penpal through e-mail will not secure the relationship you want. Don’t back away after initial contact. With mutual consent, make a coffee date. Looking someone in the eye is a quick and easy way to get a sense of another person. 

5. Don’t get discouraged. Dating is a process, and, at times, it can be disappointing. You can compare it to gardening. If you don’t pay attention to your garden, it can easily be overrun by weeds – so much so, that you can’t even see the ground underneath. It may be hard to walk in the garden or to even get your balance. And, it can be overwhelming because as many weeds as you pull, more seem to crop up. It takes perseverance to work your way through the mess, discard the tangled weeds and rediscover the simply beauty of your garden. 

So it is with dating, too. You can refer to the process of meeting prospective dates as a "weeding out" process. It can be overwhelming to meet a lot of people and not feel a connection to any of them. It's easy to get discouraged because it seems as if you are not make much progress in finding the beautiful flowers you know are hidden somewhere. It is imperative to persevere to keep digging because somewhere underneath all those weeds is a perfect flower waiting to be picked just by you. 

Resolve to make 2012 the year that you start looking for love with proactive and foward moving actions.