Dear readers, lately I’ve been swamped with consulting work and management coaching. Even more importantly, I’ve become a father and I want to devote as much of my free time as possible to my son. Consequently, I’m taking a little break from blogging. In the meantime, please enjoy any of the 250+ articles from the archive. And if you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask.
Research shows that if you had to choose one variable that influences the quality of your life the most, it would be relationships. It’s not money or fame or good looks, it’s relationships. People who are deeply connected to their friends, family, co-workers and even the local community live longer, are healthier, happier, more fulfilled and live a better life in general. The good life. A very good start to relationship proactivity is to map all the people who are present in your life. List all the 150 or so people that interact with on a regular basis and then arrange them in four categories; actually, in four different types of circles, based on how close they are to you.
An organization is only as good as its leaders. It’s absolutely true that too much hierarchy can kill the company’s creativity and productivity, but so does an absence of great leadership. Some companies experimented with a flat organization without any leadership at all, and soon found out that people felt adrift, like lonely islands without support, when they weren’t being led properly. But becoming a good leader is not an easy job. Developing yourself into a great leader is one of the toughest challenges one can set for themselves. That’s why you can find thousands of books and research articles written on the topic. I cherry‑picked the best ones, describing the key personality and behavioral traits of great leaders.
Parents serve their children as mirrors. Parents (together with the immediate family) are the only real reference a child has, and thus parents’ words and behavior present the core source of information about a child. If parents don’t provide an accurate mirror, namely that a child is a valuable human being that deserves love, respect and encouragement no matter what, that leads to never‑ending emotional suffering in later years. Healing your emotional self offers a really good overview of how big of an impact parents have on raising emotionally healthy children. It explains typical abusive behaviors of parents, from abandonment, neglect to overprotectiveness, as well as to what kind of damages such behaviors lead. It also offers many great strategies and exercises for healing your emotional self if you were raised by abusive parents.
The book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are explores the power of love, belonging and “being enough” by cultivating courage, compassion and connection, all with the goal of developing resilience to shame. Each of the 10 chapters in the book explains one virtue that can help you overcome the feelings of imperfection and live a more meaningful and happier life. The main idea of the book is that when you develop shame resilience, you finally get a chance to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you really are. That’s something the author calls Wholehearted Living.
We all share the urge to expand, extend, become autonomous, develop, grow, and mature. We all long for self-actualization, to enhance the self, and reach the ultimate state in which we can express and activate all the inner capacities we possess. We all want to become as integrated and effective as possible, and we all wonder who we really are. Yet it seems we have almost forgotten how the most fundamental positive change and long-lasting personal development in humans actually occurs. It might surprise you, but the most fundamental and lasting change happens in warmly emotional and expressive relationships, where mutual respect is present, and where non-possessive caring is exhibited. This kind of relationships facilitate true self‑realization, based on permission for one to freely express themselves.
Whether you want it or not, your parents plant mental and emotional seeds in you. These seeds grow as you do. In some families, they are seeds of love, respect and independence. But not in all of them. In many others, they are seeds of fear, obligation, or guilt. There are many parents who act abusively towards their children, and such toxic behavior becomes consistent and dominant in a child’s life. All parents make mistakes in upbringing. That’s normal, since there’s no perfect parent. But there is a clear line when too many mistakes, especially repeating abusive behavior towards children, lead to a toxic home environment that does severe emotional damage to an innocent young person. Parents who carry a promise of love and care, while at the same time mistreat their child, are called toxic parents. Almost all toxic parents say they love their children, and they usually also …
The attachment style is a blueprint for how we survive/thrive in adult relationships, based on what we have learned about relationships and attachment being fully dependent on our caretakers. We know four different attachment styles, one healthy and three toxic ones. Your dominant attachment style tends to influence how you view intimacy and togetherness, how you deal with conflict, your attitude towards sex, ability to communicate your wishes and needs, and what kind of expectations you have towards your partner and the relationship. Your attachment style greatly defines how happy, fulfilled and successful you’ll be in relationships and in general. The main message of the book is that if you want to become independent, happy and fulfilled in life, your main job is to find the right person to depend on. Because if your partner is unable to meet your basic (attachment) needs, you experience a chronic sense of disquiet …
If you possess the fixed mindset, you are most concerned with how you’ll be judged; the growth mindset makes your primary concern how you can improve yourself. With the fixed mindset, you see the traits as fixed, and consequently success is about proving you’re smart or talented. The fixed mindset is all about validation. On the other hand, the growth mindset is more about stretching yourself to learn something new. With the growth mindset, your goal is to develop yourself and become the best version of yourself. People in a growth mindset always seek a challenge and, even more importantly, they thrive on it. Entering the world of two different mindsets, the most important question you have to ask yourself is the following: If you had to choose, what would your priority be – loads of success and validation or lots of challenges? With a summary of a book on …
There are three types of people in the world. People who seldom read a book in their lifetime, especially after the end of their formal education. People who have loved reading as long as they can remember. And then there are people who slowly grow fond of reading with time. I belong to this third group. I always loved playing with technology and hated books. Until I stumbled upon an interesting thought: “A good book is definitely the best bargain you’ll ever get in your life”. I love good bargains and a book is definitely the best one. In this blog post you will learn the process that will help you fall in love with reading, including with engaging yourself into a reading challenge.