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How Do You Deal With the Elephant? And Why It’s Important



Just think about this for a minute. Think about how you react when faced with a situation where there is an obvious “elephant in the room.” You know what I’m referring to – unresolved conflicts, difficult conversations, hard feelings, anger, embarrassment, hurt feelings, touchy subjects, things that make you fidget internally (maybe externally too.)

It’s that uncomfortable “thing” that’s there, you can’t see it, but you can sure feel it.

How do you behave? What are you thinking? What’s your strategy for getting through the discomfort?

We pretty much fall into 3 camps.

The Evader“If I ignore it, it’ll just go away.” To this person the thought of conflict causes a great deal of anxiety. They prefer to leave it alone and live with the discomfort. Perhaps they’re afraid of the consequences, perhaps they simply don’t know what to do.

Either way they turn away from the elephant and try to pretend he’s not there – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t…

The Prompter“This must be resolved. It’s driving me nuts. I have to do something.” To this person anything unresolved or uncomfortable that’s left hanging out there is a source of great frustration and anxiety, a thorn in the side.

They can’t rest until the elephant is addressed…so they poke it to prompt a dialogue, sometimes with a gentle nudge to start the conversation, sometimes with a sharp jab to get the elephant’s full attention. Again sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t – resolution or escalation…

The Accepter “I really don’t need to address this.” This person believes either the elephant is not a big deal, it’s not their responsibility, there is nothing they can do to resolve the issue or it’s simply not the appropriate circumstance. This is different from avoiding or ignoring. This person accepts that the elephant is there, but has intellectually determined that it does not require addressing for whatever reason.

What differentiates this person from their cousin, The Evader, is that there is no anxiety, only acknowledgement. It certainly seems that this strategy would be less stressful, but there is a risk of evasion being masked as acceptance and a reluctance to act even when appropriate. It’s a balancing act and again sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

One is not necessarily better than the other; it’s often a matter of personality, priorities and communication style.

But the reality is that the way we deal with the elephant in the room is also the way we handle life in general. (Feel free to Tweet that.)

So the question to be asked is not whether your style and strategy is wrong or right, but whether it best serves you. Does it cause or alleviate stress? Does it help get the results you want or interfere?

Something to think about…

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The Most Important Question You Can Ever Ask

Some may argue the most important question is “What am I here for?”

But I think it’s actually…

“What can I learn today?”

Because in reality you cannot answer any of the other important questions in life if you’re not seeking to learn, learn about yourself, learn about others, and the world and life itself.

Think of the journey of life as a learning project. But not in the way of “What’s wrong with me?” More in the way of harnessing your learning as a way to explore your greater potential.

This learning paradigm does not presume anything is wrong with you; it says simply that there are things you can learn to make your life, your relationships, and your work more satisfying, more easeful and more productive.

As you move through your day, in fact, as you go throughout the weeks, months, and years of your life, return often to the question “What do I most need to learn right now?”

And realize that your journey is not about being right or better than anyone else; it’s really about learning what most needs to be learned.

Care to share what you’ve learned today?

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If You Choose a Frog…You’ll End Up in a Pond…

If you choose a frog



You know that saying about…if you keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result…well, it’s kind of like that…except worse.

Please people…for the love of everything holy…stop thinking you’re going to change other people! It’s not only insane…it’s a bit egotistical if you ask me…

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Did You Know That Healthy Relationships Have A Magic Number?


Did you know that healthy relationships have a magic number? This magic number I’m talking about is the 5:1 ratio of positive versus negative interactions that research has shown correlates to a happy, stable, positive relationship.

So the next time you’re tempted to criticize, blame, dismiss, or ignore…make sure you’ve already given lots of positive interaction…

Show affection

Be caring and considerate

Pay attention

Be a good listener

Express appreciation

Give praise and compliments

Forgive without blaming


How can you tell if the magic ratio in your relationship is unbalanced? Notice how you and the other person in the relationship interact with each other. For every negative interaction that takes place, are there several positive interactions?

It’s interesting to note that the relationship ratio is the most accurate predictor of divorce…it might also be the best predictor of how involved your children will be in your lives when they’re adults…so it’s worth paying attention to.

Do you have thoughts or suggestions for upping the positive ration in our relationships?

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4 Things You Need To Know About Your Core Values


“Core Values” is a term that’s thrown around a lot, especially in a business setting, but we have personal core values as well. It sounds more intimidating than it is. We all have them, whether we know it or not.

Our personal core values are our personal belief system, the way we filter our world, information, experiences, feelings, thoughts, etc. The way we walk, talk, believe and act, everything that happens in our lives.

Personal core values are developed mostly through life experiences and often other people install them in us knowingly or unknowingly – through either teaching, example or our rejection of them.

My personal core values are the filter of who I am.

Honesty, integrity, family, work ethic, money, health, fun, etc. Whatever they may be…every decision is guided by them. Unfortunately…or maybe fortunately…depending on your viewpoint…this is a major cause of conflict with other people who don’t share our values. It just is. Not bad, or good, just is.

Mini-Mission: 4 Things You Need To Know About Your Core Values

What are they? A Google search can help you identify and label…

How do you actively live them? Or do you actively ignore them?

Are your values congruent? Conflicting values make it impossible to thrive and grow.

Are they always open to change? We grow and change as we gather more life experience and so may our core values.

Something to think about

Your core values are who you are right now, not who you want to be. (Feel free to tweet that :) People tend to make lists of values, traits of the person they want to be…but if you aren’t actively living by them in the here and now, then they aren’t actually your values…now are they?

That thought was quite an eye opener for me…You mean

Your mission this week…Think about your personal core values…They are what drives your life, so they’re worth a bit of consideration. Consider the four questions above to help you get a better understanding.

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