Friday, July 30, 2010

Family Power Blog # 2
Dr. Ed Hollenberg
August 1-15, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?...

Communication is building bridges, connecting those bridges can be a very complex process. Sharing differing viewpoints is a daily challenge for government leaders, co-workers, families and friends. Effective communication skills are vital for progress and peace. This powerful process requires lifelong study and practice. Chapter 2 of "Family Power" outlines several positive habits for growing in communications.

Eliminating Noise and Distractions:
Physical and psychological noise often makes communications difficult. Advertising, electronic devices, traffic and movement distract our focus. Many times, in conversations, we do not listen actively, instead thinking of what we want to say next. A response/able listening habit is asking, "Is this what I hear you saying?" Value the person and the message by saying it back. Our own perceptions may not be as accurate as we think! Maintaining eye contact is also key, looking directly at the other person beyond the cosmetics, hair, clothes and other physical features.

The POWER of Words:
George A. Miller observed, "The most powerful stimulus for changing minds is not a chemical or a baseball bat, it is a word." Dedication to study of language is important as is understanding that word meanings are often found in a person's perceptions and experiences. Words can kill or correct - wound or heal - lift up or let down - motivate or stagnate. Words can be reactive or responsive. Subtle differences often prove significant. As Mark Twain noted, "The right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

Non-Verbal Messages:
Two thirds of our communication with each other is non-verbal. 7% in our choice of words, 35% in the tone of our voice and 58% in body language such as postures and gestures. Raising one's awareness of non-verbal communication requires active listening and concentration. We must watch and listen for the suppressed, unexpressed desires and concerns of others. To understand non-verbals requires face-to-face conversation. Phone conversations, e.mails and other passive forms of communication pale by comparison.

We can all live richer, fuller lives in harmony at work, home and in our relationships if we practice empathetic, loving communication skills. For many of us, it requires a journey of many years to process words and ideas more response/ably. Perhaps this old poem says it best: "The wise old owl sat in the oak, The more he saw, the less he spoke. The less he spoke the more he heard. Why can't we be like that old bird?"

Powerful Words for Family Power!
Dr. Ed

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Powerful Plan for Money Management

A painfully slow economic recovery, salary cuts, and high unemployment weigh heavily on the minds of so many married couples these days. Stress and money issues often lead to conflict in marriages. Marital counselors estimate failure to manage finances is the top issue of conflict between husband and wife. Nine out of ten couples report they argue more about money than sex. The Great Physician-Jesus Christ spoke about money more than any other issue, even love! Larry Burkett, Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey have achieved great success offering down-to-earth financial advice to struggling savers and spenders.

Nobody is a natural. Money management is learned. Financial success is earned. Changing one's attitudes towards money is essential. Long-held habits and patterns need to be recognized and examined. This process is clearly outlined and detailed in chapter 11 of my book, "Family Power". Discussing life purposes, priorities and goals between couples is key to financial freedom. Six basic steps to financial freedom can start and guide the conversation:

1. Simplify your lifestyle: Evaluate wants vs needs. "Do I really NEED the latest iPhone?
2. Save AND Invest: Don't count on Social Security, once debt is paid, put your money to work for your future!
3. Spend Response/Ably: Delaying gratification will save you money and curb excess consumerism.
4. Limit Credit Cards: Calculate the true, long-term costs of buying with credit. Outside of your home and MAYBE your car, if you can't save for it-you probably can't afford it!
5. Free Debt from your life: like Dave Ramsey says-"pay debts smallest to largest". Just eliminating one debt is do-able and highly motivational!
5. Share your Wealth: Compared to the majority of our world's neighbors, Americans live in abundance. Give to community causes and organizations that help lift up those in need.

Thriving and not just surviving takes work-and we all need encouragement and accountability to reach our goals. Pick a financial mentor. Set realistic goals, include budget-friendly rewards and stick to your plan. By striving for frugality, you'll most likely enjoy your last days in freedom from poverty. So much poverty is self-inflicted. Remember-manage YOUR money or someone else will!

Powerful Words for Family Power!
Dr. Ed