Apr 212012

Do you remember when you got your first car? You may have been 16. You may have been 36. No matter what your age, I’ll bet your feelings were the same: pride and excitement. I remember how I felt about my first car. It was like my baby. I washed it. I waxed it. I carefully rubbed out any blemish in the wax and applied touch-up paint every time someone had the nerve to put a scratch on it!

Now, let me ask you a question: how do you feel about your work product? Everyone has a work product. Even as a therapist, there are times that I leave my office thinking, “Wow! I was really good today!” I have a sense of pride and excitement that is similar to my feelings about that new car. Then, there are the other times. The times when I walk out thinking: “Why am I doing this?” That’s when I have to take out my “positive polish” kit. That is the kit that helps me to focus on the good things that I have done, and plan how I can do other things better. Consider the process of washing and waxing a car. You don’t just glob on a bunch of wax and buff it out. No. No. No! First you must carefully wash and dry your car. You have to scrub using a liberal amount of elbow grease to get the dirt off. Then, you must dry off every inch and check to see if it is clear and ready for the wax. Likewise, you should also take out a recent piece or example of work product and examine it. How well did you run that meeting? Was your last memo well written? How about your most recent conflict with your adolescent? Did you react as you should have, or do you wish that you had responded differently? No matter whether you manage 1000 employees or a household of 2, you have some type of work product to examine.

The next step in a good wash and wax job is the application of the wax. Again, you can’t just throw globs of wax carelessly all over the car! You have to lovingly apply it in circular swirls all over the vehicle. Great care must be taken not to get wax on any of the rubber or glass surfaces. Just as you carefully apply the new coat of wax, you must also carefully consider how to lay the groundwork for improving your work product. How exactly could you add zest to the meal you regularly prepare for your family? What can you do to add spice to your relationship with your spouse or significant other? Is there something that you could do to make your next sales campaign more inspiring for your sales representatives? How can you communicate more effectively with your clients? This step requires both thought and planning, but as with the application of wax on a car, it is the most crucial step toward having an optimum final product.

Last, but not least, your car will not look fantastic until the wax is buffed to a glossy shine. Would you really drive your car down the main street of your town with a white coat of unpolished wax there for everyone to see? No way! To avoid that embarrassment you rub and rub until all the wax is polished, and your car is shiny bright. Your revised work product won’t be ready for viewing until you’ve applied substantial amounts of mental elbow grease as well. This is the time that you pull out all the stops and put together a thoughtful, fabulous presentation! It’s the time when you show your child that you’ll be more involved in his or her life by taking time to volunteer at his school. It’s the time that you stay up all night to finalize the details of the new employee manual for your company, so it will be the best one ever written!

The next time that you feel a bit glum about your work or work product, don’t forget to pull out your positive polish kit. Examine your work carefully. How can it be improved? Remove anything that prevents it from shining. Plan how you can make it better. Lay the foundation for improvement. Work like crazy to implement your plans. Then, step back and experience the pride and excitement in your work product that you once felt for your first car!

Celebrate Life today and everyday!


Susan C Rempel, Ph.D.

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© 2007 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

More than 200 holiday, religious, educational, and diversity bingo games and concentration sets available at http://www.uncommoncourtesy.com. Bingo games for adults and children to play at home, school, church, corporate meetings, and just about anywhere you can imagine. Games made to order for every occasion.Motivational articles and personal growth exercises too! Visit http://www.uncommoncourtesy.com today!

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Apr 212012


Have you experienced one or more of the following scenarios?

Scenario 1: It’s 6:00 a.m. I open one eye as I hear the dogs moving around downstairs. I become aware that my muscles still ache from the cleaning project I just had to get done.  Next, I hear my kids stomping around to let me know “it’s time for breakfast.” Then, even though I close both eyes again in hopes it really isn’t time to greet the new day, the alarm clock goes off. I drag myself out of bed knowing that in the next two hours a meal must be made, the house must be picked up, everyone needs to get to school on time, exercise needs to get checked off my list, and so on before I am ready to begin working. Of course, there are all those commitments that I made to friends, teachers, and colleagues that that loom in the back of my mind! The daily household routine that I refer to as “the road rally” has begun.

Scenario 2: I stroll into my office, pour myself a cup of coffee and casually flip on my computer. After settling into my comfortable chair, I hop onto the Internet and start my e-mail program. My heart begins to race as my inbox starts to overflow, a plethora of Facebook friends have sent me wonderful messages that I want to respond to, and then there are the orders, questions, and so forth that need to be addressed immediately. My workday has officially begun.

Scenario 3: My brother used to comment: “You are never happy unless you are riding around with your hair on fire!” My life has been filled with taking extra classes, holding multiple jobs, trying to be a full time volunteer and business owner, and then throwing in family, friends, and interests into the mix. I just can’t seem to help myself, and I have the energy level necessary to believe that I actually can do everything all the time. My husband often asks me, “Really? Do you REALLY need to do all of this?” Lately, I’ve been trying to develop a series of satellite sites with theme specific content, blog about improving health and well being**, create new bingo games, expand my business, and a host of other things that create endless lists all over my desk! That doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the “Mom, can you help me with….” issues that go on from day to day in my life.

If you have experienced something similar to one of these three scenarios, you undoubtedly have felt tired and stressed. The three scenarios represent three variations on the same theme: too much of a good thing can be overwhelming. Everyone experiences periods when one or more aspects of their lives seem to be overwhelming. However, feelings of stress and pressure may begin to accumulate if multiple parts of your life start moving at a fast and furious pace! In my own case, these three scenarios (plus other stressful events) have been present in my life for the past few weeks. When I recently stepped back and examined my own life, I determined that I am a prime candidate for the “too much of a good thing” syndrome.

How you respond to the simultaneous appearance of multiple stressors in your life depends on several factors. The first factor is the image that you try to present to others in response to a stressful situation. Can you acknowledge that something is difficult for you? Do you have a support network in place to help you through tough times? Conversely, is it your desire to behave as if no amount of stress bothers you? In general, people who need to present themselves as being able to handle any stressful situation that occurs in their lives without a hitch will respond to the stress psychosomatically (i.e., an ulcer) or in a way that is unintentional (e.g., getting into a car accident because they are not paying attention to what is happening around them).

A second factor in responding to multiple sources of stress is how you internally deal with stress. Are you able to deal with chaos, or do you have the need to only tackle one problem at a time? Do you feel it is acceptable to postpone things that are not critical at any moment, or must you complete every task in your life according to a rigid schedule. Let me analogize how you internally deal with stress to how you might respond to a large wave that is approaching you while you swim in the ocean. You could choose to fight the wave by swimming over it, or try to swim faster than the wave is moving toward shore so that you would escape being impacted by the wave. You might even choose to keep swimming as if nothing is about to happen. If you have ever tired any of these strategies, you know that the consequences of your actions will not be pleasant. You would probably end up lying on the beach with your mouth full of sand. However, if you take a deep breath and dive to the ocean floor, the wave will most likely wash over you with only a small amount of pull on your body. This strategy acknowledges that you can’t get out of the way and can’t ignore the situation. Your choice acknowledges the stressor’s presence and deals with it in a realistic manner. Further it is both an active and a positive response to a potentially problematic situation.

A third factor that impacts your response to stressful situations is how those around you respond to your statements and behavior. While you may receive some amount of empathy for a hectic home life, you should anticipate that the majority of the responses will be different from what you would like. Some people will tell you, “that’s what happens when you have children.” Others will explain to you that all families go through periods which result in parental stress and exhaustion, but someday those periods will be fondly remembered. The third general type of response will be advice about how to minimize the stress or deal with the situation. Of course, there are as many different ways to parent children as there are children to parent. Consequently, you may interpret the advise as an irritating directive which cannot be followed rather than the helpful hint in which it was intended. The response that you will receive if you are “too successful” in business is more than likely going to be less empathic than if you appear to be overwhelmed by your home life. “Awe, gee, that’s too bad” may be a common response because others will wish that they had that type of “problem” to deal with.

There are a myriad of possible responses to feeling overwhelmed by the combination of stress and responsibility from several different areas of your life. The least desirable is to adopt an “I can handle it all” attitude. This is a very tiring approach to life. Eventually, any human being will become weary from living life at the pace of an Olympic runner. Trying to do too much too fast will not only result in mistakes but possibly accidents. It also often results in an ill advised decision to stop doing everything at once. Let me suggest that you step back for a moment and gain some perspective on your life. Now is the time to analyze the choices that you have made. Are you trying to do too much at once? Think about the priorities and values that you have about living life. What do they direct you to do? Is that what you are doing, or have you adopted the priorities that have been set for you by someone else? Now may be the time to focus your attention on your family or seize the opportunity to make your business a success. Is there something you are doing that can be postponed, or is it possible to delegate a time-consuming task to someone else. I often tell my clients that life is like a train. It doesn’t stop moving along the track just because you would like it to slow down. However, you do have the choice of what your destination will be, what line you will ride on, and whether you ride first class or coach.

When you begin to feel overwhelmed by your life, take a moment to step back. Examine the course that you are on and decide whether it is time to alter that course. Also, consider whether you are carrying extra baggage that can best be dealt with by someone else. It may be that you are on the course that you desire, have minimized excess baggage, and life’s stresses and strains continue to overwhelm you. In that case, it is important to carve out a small portion of time each week that is devoted solely to caring for yourself. I practice yoga everyday and find it is invaluable in helping me cope with the life I choose to live. There are a wide variety of things you can choose to do to take care of yourself. Take a long bath. Set aside one hour each week to read a book or the Sunday paper. Begin a workout program that helps you to better tolerate the stress. Have lunch with a friend. Take your children to the park and watch them play with other children. The possibilities are endless. In the midst of a hectic life, it is important to occasionally take a deep breath and remind yourself that there is a reason why you are working so hard. The most important thing to remember is that when your life is at an end, you will want to be satisfied with how you have spent the time that you have been given. In my case, I hope to be able to look back and feel that I have not wasted a single minute of my life. It is my goal to live the fullest and richest life that I possibly can. Take a moment to consider your life course, and what you would like to have accomplished by the end of your time here on Earth. However, you must also take steps today so that you live life at a tolerable pace and minimize your risk of suffering from the “too much of a good thing syndrome.”

Celebrate Life today and everyday!


Susan C Rempel, Ph.D.

* If you have ideas for my satellite sites, please let me know. Visit them at: bingoforhalloween.com, bingoforchristmas.com, bingoforparties.com, bingoforleanring.com, bingofordiversity.com, bingoforchristians.com, and bingoforcatholics.com

** Read and subscribe to my blog at: http://www.bingoforlearning.com/healthblog/


Do you like this article? Reprint it (with the following attachment of course) on your site or in your ezine!!

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© 2010 – 2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

More than 200 holiday, religious, educational, and diversity bingo games and concentration sets available at http://www.uncommoncourtesy.com. Bingo games for adults and children to play at home, school, church, corporate meetings, and just about anywhere you can imagine. Games made to order for every occasion.Motivational articles and personal growth exercises too! Visit http://www.uncommoncourtesy.com today!

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Apr 212012

Remember the slogan from President Clinton’s 1992 campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid?” That slogan was posted in each campaign office to remind the staff what Bill Clinton wanted them to focus on, and what was important to the voters. Analogously, I have heard from many subscribers that what they were interested in, and what was important to them, were articles pertaining to forming and maintaining a relationship with others.

Connecting with people is really the cornerstone of success. “It’s the connection, stupid!” may be a sign that you want to place on your desk or bathroom mirror in order to remember the importance of forming and maintaining good connections with others. However, this skill is not something that is specifically taught to most children. Often, it is not until a person reaches adulthood that they realize some people have an easier time making friends and working with others than they do. How many people do you know who are intelligent, maybe even brilliant, but are unsuccessful in their careers and/or family life? Why? Because they have difficulty maintaining warm and meaningful connections with others. The following is the first in a four part series that focuses on connecting and improving relationships with others.


Although you did not realize it at the time, you learned how to form connections with other people as a child. One of the most important lessons that you learned from your parents was about forming and maintaining relationships with others. If your parents had a large circle of friends, it now probably comes naturally for you to interact socially with others. If your parents had only a few close friendships, you may find that you form strong attachments with friends but have difficulty interacting with others (e.g., if you enter a room filled with people you don’t know). If you were taught by your parents to never talk to strangers, you may have problems talking to them now. You may also have trouble interacting with authority figures. It is important to consider the manner in which these lessons that you learned from your parents may continue to affect how you form and maintain connections with others.

If you spend some time on a playground, you will soon notice that children generally have less fear about playing with, talking to, or beginning to form a relationship with other children than the most aggressive salesman has about striking up a conversation with a stranger. Children naturally want to interact with other children. Although many of these initial relationships flounder and disintegrate, children are fearless about forming new relationships. However, if you followed the same child from his or her play in the sandbox with other 3 year olds to adolescence, you would see how that child’s socialization experiences impact his or her ability to form connections with others as an adolescent. Along with the lessons that you learned from your family, you also learned many lessons from your early social interactions with others. Did you frequently become the leader among your peers? Were there a series of negative experiences in your childhood (e.g., being picked on by a bully) that led you to be cautious about interacting with other children? Were you frequently in the “popular” clique, or did you always find yourself the object of other children’s taunts?. The lessons that you learned from your family and your experiences with other children likely will dictate how you connect with others as an adult. Therefore, it is important to examine how these socialization experiences impact and shape how you function in the world today.

When assessing your ability to connect with others, you should first examine your patterns of interaction with strangers. Do you avoid eye contact with people that you do not know? Are you reluctant to place yourself in a room full of strangers? Can you easily strike up a conversation with someone that you have just met? Forming connections with others can be quite difficult if you’ve lost (or never had) the reckless abandon about interacting with peers that comes naturally to most children.

If it is difficult for you to form new relationships with others, here are a few suggestions to help you form new and better connections in the future:

Decide that improving your ability to connect with others is a priority in your life. This ability is critical to success in your social, business, and family life. However, you will never improve your ability to connect with others unless you decide that it is time to make changes in your life.

Take the time to consider the lessons that you learned from your parents about interacting with others (particularly strangers and new friends). What positive and negative lessons did you learn? How have these lessons impacted you as an adult? Were there influences from authority figures in your childhood and adolescence that conveyed different messages than those you learned from your parents (e.g., a teacher that helped you work out problems with other children)?

Examine what your socialization experiences were with other children. Did you make friends easily? Were you popular or did you often feel isolated and on the outside? How did you cope when your attempts at friendship with another child? If you still maintain friendships with people that you grew up with, ask them to describe your behavior. It may prove to be an enlightening experience.

Keep a journal for several weeks that focuses on your interactions with people you don’t know or have just met. Do you maintain eye contact with others? Can you engage in “chit-chat” with store clerks? How do you begin and end conversations with new business contacts or parents of your child(ren)’s friends?

Divide these observations into “successful experiences” and “areas that need improvement”.

Develop a battle plan for becoming more comfortable and successful in interacting with people that you have just met. It may start with simply maintaining eye contact as you pay for something that you purchase at a store. If conversation with others is difficult, develop a list of mundane topics (e.g., the weather or an upcoming event at your child’s school) that you could talk about with someone you have just met. Look for things that you can use as a compliment with someone you have just met. A compliment is a great way to strike up a conversation. “That’s a great shirt you are wearing. Where did you get it?” or “I really like what you have done to your house since you moved in,” or “I’ve always wanted a car like yours. How does it run?” Any of these comments and questions can serve as the launching pad for a brief conversation that may lead to the formation of a new relationship.

Think about the attitude that you generally display when you’re with others. Are you a “positive person” that people are naturally attracted to, or are you a “doom and gloom person” that most people would turn away from? Remember that a sunny disposition will cause others to want to interact with you. It will also have a myriad of other positive effects on your life and health.

Begin to look at people you don’t know as potential new friends or business contacts rather than strangers who you don’t need or don’t want to know. Everyone has an interesting aspect of their life if you take the time to ask them about it.

As your ability to interact and form connections with new people improves, you will want to improve your existing relationships as well. That will be the focus of my next article.

As always, thank you for subscribing to the Pinnacle Perspective!

Warmest regards,



Copyright © 1999- 2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.

This article (including the copyright notice) may be reprinted with the following the following attachment:

© 1998 – 1999 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

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© 2007 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

Bingo Games, Motivational Material and More at WWW.UnCommonCourtesy.com!

More than 200 holiday, religious, educational, and diversity bingo games and concentration sets available . Bingo games for adults and children to play at home, school, church, corporate meetings, and just about anywhere you can imagine. Games made to order for every occasion. Motivational articles and personal growth exercises too! Visit http://www.uncommoncourtesy.com today!


Apr 212012

* For those of you who did not read the first article in this series, the title of this article is drawn from the slogan of President Clinton’s 1992 campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

In part 1 of this series, I focused on how to establish new relationships or “connections”. In this article, I’d like to focus on how to maintain and deepen connections with your friends.

Friends are a very interesting group of people. A “friend” can be defined on a continuum from a person who is only slightly better known to you than an acquaintance to someone who may be even more important to you than members of your family. Maintaining a friendship usually takes more effort than what is required to maintain a bond with a family member. I have had numerous clients tell me that they are “stuck” with their families but are willing to work hard to deepen and expand relationships that they value with friends.

As with your ability to establish new connections, your patterns for initiating, maintaining and strengthening friendships were initially formed in childhood. You may have always had a “best friend” or a series of “best friends” as you moved through childhood. You may have developed a set of friends that you still have contact with today. Adolescents often have a sense of “us” or “our group” that is connected with a close circle of peers. However, if it was difficult for you to form and maintain close friendships as a child, you may have felt like an “outsider”, or not at-ease, when interacting with your peers. As an adult, you most likely enhanced your ability to make friends and form professional relationships as you entered your chosen profession. No matter what type of patterns you have established for making and maintaining friends, it’s always possible to improve your skills as a friend. Does the idea of having “friendship skills” seem odd? Well, regardless of what type of relationship you describe (e.g., marriage, friendship, business associate, etc.), you unconsciously employ a set of skills to make those relationships work. The key to successful relationships of any kind is to continue to broaden and enhance your skills throughout the course of your life.

Although volumes have been written about how to make friends and friendships, I’d like to focus on a few points that are often neglected:


Do you remember the old adage, “good friends are there through thick and thin?” That is an accurate statement. A good friend is reliable. If you make a commitment to a friend, you should make every effort to keep it. Friends are also consistent. You may have a wide variety of “friends” that are drawn from the different components of your life, but you will find that “good friends” interact with each other on a fairly consistent basis regardless of whether you only see them at work or just while leaning over the fence in the backyard.


Friendships often begin because of commonalties that exist between two individuals. These commonalties give people a basis on which to build a rapport and get to know one another. However, the initial commonalties may be short lived (e.g., working on a project at work or at your child’s school), so it is imperative for friends to continue to establish new commonalties and find areas that will enable them to deepen and expand their friendship.


Empathy is the ability to relate to what someone else is experiencing. Friends are good at empathizing with one another because of the commonalties upon which their relationship is based. One problem that often arises between friends is when one friend expects the other to be empathic, while not having any interest in the other person’s life problems. If you find yourself repeatedly telling your troubles to a friend without hearing any of his or hers in return, you should consider your friendship to be in danger. Now is the time to ask probing questions and determine what your friend would like to talk about or do with you. Listening to others, as well as expecting them to listen to you, is a key component of friendship.

Treat Your Friends Well

Doing things for others, in addition to listening to them, is an important part of friendship. It is the unanticipated and thoughtful gestures that friends often do for one another that will lead to a long term relationship. Bringing soup to a sick friend, sending a card to say how important someone is to you, or extending a “just drop by for a glass of wine” invitation acknowledges someone’s importance in your life much more effectively than mere words.

Be Positive

It goes without saying that I would encourage you to generally maintain onto a positive disposition when interacting with your friends. As I said before, sometimes friendships can deteriorate into a “woe is me” type of relationship. It is important that the majority of your conversations with any friend contain some positive news or ideas. This is not to say that you should not talk to your friends during troubled times, but you should also not go out of your way to be a “Gloomy Gus” if things are generally going well in your life.

Maintaining and deepening the connections that you have with your friends is an important part of having a full, rich, rewarding, and exciting life. Take time today to examine how you interact with your friends and determine what you can do to be a better friend to others!

This article (including the copyright notice) may be reprinted with the following the following attachment:

© 1998 – 2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

– begin attachment –

© 1998 – 2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

Bingo Games, Motivational Material and More at WWW.UnCommonCourtesy.com

More than 200 Educational, Holiday, Religious and Diversity bingo games, concentration games, educational games, and flashcard sets for all occasions. Visit http://www.uncommoncourtesy.com today!


– end attachment –

Apr 212012

Here is the question that was sent to “Ask Dr. Rempel” at susan@uncommoncourtesy.com :

I am the manager of a high school baseball team. The guys have a thing that they seem to lose every game because they go out on the field with the attitude “Well here’s another game that were gonna lose”. Is there a way that I can motivate them so that they might actually go out on the field with their heads up high and the attitude that there going to win?

** A note to all readers.  This article is written with masculine pronouns.  However, that was done to improve the article’s “readability” rather than because of any belief on my part that women can not make great baseball players and/or managers.

Here’s my response:

Give Me a “T” . . .

            Why, you might ask, am I writing an article about motivating a baseball team?  First, I am always interested in helping others to help children. Second, I am an ardent baseball fan. Third, and most importantly, managing a baseball team is a terrific analogy to use when thinking about managing any group.  The manager must deal with the players’ personalities and abilities, as well as the “personality” of the team itself.  He must also develop strategies to help his team succeed and win their games. It seems only natural to begin this new column in our newsletter by discussing this fascinating and timely topic since baseball season will be here before you know it!

We tend to think of a team as a group, but it is really a collection of individuals.  As with all groups, a team is a group of individuals held together by a unifying goal or a common trait.  The team’s short term goal is to win the game. Its long-term goal is to win the championship. Many management experts will tell you that a team’s success is reflective of its manager’s ability to help it focus on a common goal. However, I would like to suggest that you turn your attention towards the individuals that make up your team.

            The individual members of the team are the building blocks of its success. I remember helping my son learn to read when he was three years old.  Working with him reminded me that the word “team” is nothing more than four individual letters: “t”, “e”, “a”, and “m”.  As each letter contributes to the formation of a word, each team member has something to contribute to the team’s success.  He will also have something that prevents him, and ultimately the team, from reaching his personal pinnacle of success*. A good manager will identify the strengths of the team’s individual members, help each individual to improve upon his strengths, and develop a team that takes maximum advantage of all of the assets that each member brings to the team.  However, a great manager will also challenge each member to learn new skills, reduce weaknesses, and gradually improve whatever holds him back from becoming a better player.

            When working with the individual team members, it is important to use and teach them “I think I can strategies.” Do you remember the 1999 World Series? The New York Yankees had an awesome team, but they also had a weak link. Their second baseman worked himself into the habit of overthrowing first base. His problem did not stem from a lack of skills or experience. His expectations caused the problem. He heard over and over that under certain circumstances he lost his focus and threw the ball poorly. Those predictions became a self-fulfilling prophecy. He anticipated that he might overthrow first base when those circumstances arose.  The manager, Joe Torre, was criticized for leaving him in the game. However, leaving the player in gave him the confidence that he needed to rectify his problem.  Each player on the team needs validation that he is talented and is of value to the team.  Confident players can often play above their actual skill levels when called to do so by an inspirational manager. There are an endless number of methods that a leader can use to improve the confidence of team members, and a great manager will have a large bag full of means by which to get that job done.

            Once the manager has worked individually with each group member, it is time to develop and inspire the team leadership.  After all, the “t” in “team” stands high above the other letters.  It is the manager’s job to identify and motivate not just a team leader, but also a leadership group comprised of a person from each segment of the team.  A baseball team needs to have a leader in the infield, outfield, and pitching segments of the team so that the manager has eyes and ears in each of the team’s units.  The manager should sit down with his team leaders and talk about not only how each component can work better within itself, but also how the components can work more cohesively toward the common goal. The team’s leaders can teach individual members to support one another. They can also work with players who don’t understand that their own negativity about themselves or other players can damage the team’s morale and performance. They can also identify problems for the manager that might be otherwise overlooked.

            Another good management technique is to consider how each member and each position could be used differently.  The four letters found in the word “team” can also be used to spell out “meat,” “mate, and “meta.” Think of all the great stories that would never have been written if every writer thought the four letters “t”, “e”, “a”, and “m” could only be combined to spell the word “team.” Casey Stengel was the master of mixing things up to improve his team’s performance. For example, he was among the first (if not the first) manager to use relief pitching. A manager needs to give new challenges to his players.  He also should consider how team members could be used differently in order to improve the team’s performance.  For example, a quick third baseman with a strong arm might trade positions with an outfielder who just isn’t fast enough to get in position to catch many fly balls.

            Of course, there are endless ways in which a manager can motivate team members. I would encourage you to examine the problem that is bogging down your team and work to facilitate a positive and productive process to enhance your team’s performance.

Celebrate Life today and Everyday!


Susan C Rempel, Ph.D.

Do you like this article? Reprint it (with the following attachment of course) on your site or in your ezine!!

 begin attachment –

© 2007-2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

More than 200 holiday, religious, educational, and diversity bingo games and concentration sets available at http://www.uncommoncourtesy.com. Bingo games for adults and children to play at home, school, church, corporate meetings, and just about anywhere you can imagine. Games made to order for every occasion.Motivational articles and personal growth exercises too! Visit http://www.uncommoncourtesy.com today!

– end attachment –

Apr 212012

 Let’s take a moment and think of them.  Think of some of the excuses that you can drum up to keep from trying something new, taking a risk, or doing something to change your life:

  •                    Something may go wrong.

  •                    Things may not go the way that I planned.

  •                    I tried doing something once, and it didn’t work out.

  •                    Bad things could happen if I am unsuccessful, so I won’t try.

  •                    It might upset those around me if I change my behavior.

            The list of possibilities is endless. There are so many reasons why you should not take any risks in life – except for one thing.  Living in fear is not really living at all! 

            Fear is a natural response to any dangerous situation. Fear is something that children naturally possess.  The fear of strangers, the fear of falling, and the fear of the dark are all fears that are routinely found in children. Being fearful can have a protective effect on a child’s well being.  For example, being afraid of loud noises could prevent a child from fearlessly running into a dangerous situation. However, adults sometimes generalize this “protective intuition” into a fear of trying anything new because they do not want to fail or make a mistake.

            Most people who lead full, rich, and satisfying lives will validate that personal growth is a very important aspect of their lives.  If you are the same person at 40 years of age that you were when you were 20 years old, you may very well be bored, unhappy, and feel that your life has gone nowhere. That very well may be the case! Every day that you waste will not be replaced.  Just imagine how you would feel if you woke up one day and felt that you had wasted 20 years of your life!  Living in fear will prevent you from growing as a person.  If you constantly second guess yourself, focus on your mistakes, and think about the downside of any new situation, you will never voluntarily choose to move forward with your life.  It will be difficult for you to be a “self-starter” or make any changes in your life because you will be afraid of all the possible negative outcomes of your decision.

            The fear of making a mistake also results in another sad situation: it is very unlikely that you will take advantage of all the opportunities in your life that present themselves to you.  You may choose not to make a change in your career, take a promotion to a different type of job in the same company, enter into a new business venture, enter into a new relationship, or have a child.  These are just a few of the decisions that may be put off and put off until you can no longer take advantage of them. There are, in fact, many opportunities in life (e.g., a career change or having a child) for which there is never a “perfect time.”   Waiting for that time is really making a decision not to move forward with your life. The majority of the opportunities that we have in life (e.g., beginning a new relationship or entering into a new business venture) are time limited.  Therefore, your paralysis about whether or not to take advantage of an opportunity will simply result in that opportunity being lost.

            Many of my clients who have repeatedly failed to take advantage of opportunities (especially business opportunities that have later proved to be successful ventures for someone else) experience a sense of failure or depression.  “Why didn’t I do that” is a question that may nag at them for the rest of their lives.  These feelings can only lead to unhappiness and the belief that they have wasted large chunks of their lives. Unhappiness or general non-enjoyment of life can lead to a plethora of unintended consequences including poor health, severed relationships, and depression or anxiety.

            My message to you should be clear:  while it is important to carefully weigh the opportunities that are placed before you, choosing to live a “safe” life with few or no risks may also be a choice to live a frustrating and unhappy life.  A certain amount of risk-taking is an important part of any full and successful life. Yes, there will be times that you fail.  Yes, there will be times when you wish you had made another decision.  Yes, hindsight may prove that waiting for a different opportunity would have been a better decision. However, each of your decisions that result in a successful experience will give you a general sense of happiness about your life.  They will also open more successful opportunities to you in the future.

            There are endless reasons to not act on a hunch, seize an opportunity, or live each day to the fullest.  However, the lost opportunities and the lack of enjoyment of your life will far and away outweigh any risk that you may choose to take.  When in doubt, just remember: living in fear is not really living at all!

 Copyright © 2000 – 2011 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D. All rights reserved.


This article (including the copyright notice) may be reprinted with the following the following attachment:

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© 2000 – 2011 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

Bingo Games, Motivational Material and More at www.UnCommonCourtesy.com! More than 200 holiday, religious, educational, and diversity bingo games and concentration sets available . Bingo games for adults and children to play at home, school, church, corporate meetings, and just about anywhere you can imagine. Games made to order for every occasion. Motivational articles and personal growth exercises too! Join Susan Rempel, Ph.D.’s blog: Seek THE Positive.

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Mar 222012

Recently, I wrote about Pollyanna’s decision to play “The Glad Game” (http://uncommoncourtesy.com/PlayTheGladGame.htm). This week I had the opportunity to play the Glad Game myself. My son, who tends to bring home more than his fair share of viruses, was sick again. One of my daughters was sick as well. That left my husband, my other daughter, and myself all in the line of fire to catch a nasty cold. The bug seemed to be going around my daughters’ school, and I couldn’t help but notice that the variety of responses to the prospect of being ill by those around me. A negative thinker in the bunch used it as another occasion to complain about yet another cold being passed around, as well as other aspects of her life that she viewed negatively.  My husband, who is very easy going, adopted a “What will be, will be” type attitude about the possibility of being infected by my germ laden son. The ever enthusiastic optimist in the crowd, that would be me, tried to act as if the illness did not exist and kept mumbling, “I am not getting sick. I am not getting sick. I’m sure I’ll feel better tomorrow,” while consuming heavy doses of a variety of vitamins and supplements.  

As I thought about the spectrum of reactions, I began to also think about the glasses that each of us wears.  No, I am not referring to corrective lenses. Perhaps you recall the phrase “seeing the world through rose colored glasses?”  It is very much like Pollyanna’s decision to play the Glad Game even when presented with the possibility that she might never walk again. Well, you, and everyone around you, view the world through a set of glasses. Your “glasses” are the outlook that you have adopted toward life.  They dictate how you respond to any given situation, and your overall perception of reality. You may not have voluntarily chosen the glasses you wear. That is, you were born with a particular temperament.  Then you spent years being part of a family that lived life in a certain manner.  These “family themes” are sometimes easier to recognize in other families than in your own.  Consider what we know about the famous Kennedy family of Massachusetts.  The children in that family were taught to take risks and have high aspirations.  Now consider the type of themes that your parents indoctrinated into you as a child. Were they positive themes (e.g., you can be successful) or negative themes (e.g., don’t make a mistake or you will fail)? Were they enabling or disabling? Finally, consider whether you have incorporated those themes into the outlook that you have as an adult.   

As you think about the theme that you live with and by, note how those around you employ themes in their lives. For example, consider how you, your family members, your boss, your employees, and your friends might react to a particular situation.  Imagine being stuck at a railroad crossing waiting for a long freight train to pass while you’re enroute to see a movie.  If there are several people in the car, there will undoubtedly be a wide variety of reactions.  Some people will be angry that they might miss the movie. Their theme focuses on the unfairness of life, or that life can become negative at any time. Others will see the same situation as a good excuse not to sit through all of the trailers that are shown before the main feature. These are people whose theme helps them to adapt or “go with the flow” of life. Still others will begin looking through the newspaper to see what other movies are available or even suggest just stopping off for coffee and dessert at that new restaurant in town. These are the individuals who view any situation as an opportunity to have something positive happen. Each of these individuals is reacting differently to the situation, in part, because of the theme that they have chosen to adopt.  It is clear that each one of these people wears a different set of glasses.

No doubt, you’ve read many articles about how your unconscious attitudes or themes affect your life.  However, I would like you to consider two  ways in which the glasses that you have chosen to wear affect your life.  First, they impact how those around you function.  Second, they also impact how others choose to view you. In order to explore these ideas further, allow me to introduce you to two imaginary individuals who wear very different sets of glasses: Ned (the negative thinker) and Oscar (the optimist).

Ned is a nay-sayer.  He can find the negative aspect of any situation even if it requires looking all night long.  Ned even found a negative point about winning the state lottery when he said, “imagine the taxes, the financial planning, and all the additional telemarketing telephone calls that I’d receive night after night.” Ned views the world as a dark and dangerous place.  Every decision is monumental.  Each life choice must be painstakingly scrutinized.  Consequently, Ned spends much of his free time worrying about the 1001 bad things that might happen to him at any time.  Ned’s brother was surprised when Ned actually had no reaction to a newspaper story that an asteroid might strike Earth within the next 100 years! 

Oscar, on the other hand, is an optimist.  He sees each day as another opportunity to be successful and help others.  The idea of doing something new and different excites Oscar because he likes to contemplate and explore all the interesting possibilities in life that are placed before him. He views life as a journey.  Even the setbacks that Oscar faces now and then are nothing more than life lessons that will ultimately help him to become more successful.

It may seem obvious to you how the glasses that Ned and Oscar wear impact how they function and perform in life.  What may not be so obvious is how others react to Ned and Oscar because of the glasses that each one has chosen to wear.  Ned and Oscar are supervisors at the same company.  Each is responsible for managing a large group of employees.  The people who Ned supervises don’t often approach him with new ideas.  They know that he wants to “stick with what works.”  He leads with an iron fist because controlling others gives Ned a feeling of security.  He sometimes micromanages situations and instills fear in his staff.  Ned’s entire work group has adopted his tentative attitude and is constantly concerned about the possible pitfalls that may result from their decisions.  While Ned’s supervisor views him as a dependable employee, she also sees him as a bit of a “stick in the mud.”  She has given up on passing along motivational material to Ned because she knows he will only see the negative aspects of the information.  At home, Ned’s family is well aware of his penchant for negativity.  His constant ruminations and worrying cause unnecessary tension and anxiety at home.  His wife is afraid to tell him about her problems because he will become upset.  His children have learned that he will be unresponsive to them as he lies on the couch and considers his negative fate.

There is quite another atmosphere in Oscar’s house. Oscar’s offspring can’t wait for him to get home.  He always has a great story to tell them and has time to help them work through their problems.  Oscar and his wife enjoy talking about things that they would like to do in the future.  They also try their best to enjoy each day as well.  Oscar is like a beacon of light at work.  His outlook inspires his employees to do their best.  He is interested in new ideas, strategies, and technology that will help his employees to meet and beat anything that their competitors might be doing.  Oscar has a plaque on his desk that reminds him of the benefits of persistence and a positive outlook. Oscar’s boss doesn’t bother giving him motivational material either.  However, unlike Ned, motivational material is unnecessary because Oscar is always bursting through her door with motivational material of his own to give to her.  Oscar’s employer sees him as a go-getter who will someday be running the whole company or forming an innovative company of his own!

As you can see from this example, the glasses that you put on every morning impact how you view the world, and how you will function in it. Additionally, the glasses that you wear directly impact how those around you behave and react to you.  Consider the overall impression that your boss, your spouse, and your friends have about you.  Are you a fun person to be around?  Are you always down in the dumps?  Do they think of you as one of the most energetic people in their lives?  Have they written you off of their “people who like to try something new” list? If you wear glasses that are similar to Ned’s, you may not realize the opportunities that you have missed, the relationships that have been damaged, and the potential successes that have not been realized merely because you wear a negative set of glasses much of the time. Although everyone has a “dark glasses day” now and then, it is up to you to choose to wear the clear and sharp glasses of an optimist. It is those glasses that will help you to see the opportunities around you and seize success in your life at home and work.

Today is the day to step back and examine how you view the world.  Ask others how they perceive you.  Evaluate how your actions communicate your view of the world to others.   When you get up tomorrow morning, make the choice to put on the bright sunny glasses that Oscar wears.  Then, go out there and have a great day!  Oh, how did I choose to play the Glad Game? I decided to be thankful that I did not get nearly as sick as my kids!

Copyright © 1997 – 2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

Mar 142012

Here’s a suggestion for helping children improve their conduct: Remember to form a simple and clear set of rules. No matter  if it is at home or at school, children will do best if they have a simple list of rules to follow. Begin with safety rules for young children. “Rule Number One” in my home is: “Safety first!.” As a child gets older, the global rule can be divided into smaller rule sets. That will facilitate discussions such as what constitutes safety at home, at the park, and at school. It also allows for self-analysis about why a certain behavior or action may have violated “Rule number one.” Each year the list of core rules can be expanded.


 Here are Dr. Rempel’s rules in her home:


Safety first!

Share with your brother and sister!

Mind your manners!

Listen and do what you’re told!

Make a mess and clean it up!

Always try your best!

Think positive!

Be considerate and treat others respectfully!


Do you have an article, book, or product that is related to children’s conduct? Send it to us by clicking here!

Here are a few of our favorite books on this subject!

Everyday Graces: A Child’s Book of Good Manners — by Karen Santorum

Excuse Me!: A Little Book of Manners — by Karen Katz

Excuse Me! A Book All About Manners — by Nancy Johnston, Cathy Drinkwater Better


Mar 142012

Admit it. Everyday of your life is a gift. You can do with that gift what you choose. You can waste it worrying about the future or the past. You can stumble through it without making the most of the time that you have been given. But you have an opportunity. You can celebrate each and every day of your life. What a concept! What a BIG concept!! Everyday you wake up with the choice to view life as a wonderful journey. Of course, you can also choose to view your day in a much more dismal manner.  

Here’s a special opportunity that you have as a parent. You can teach your child to celebrate that gift which he has been given. Imagine sending your child into the adult world with the belief that there is hope in every situation. There is a positive solution to every problem. That tomorrow can be a better day. What better gift can you give to your child, than the gift of optimism?

Of course, following your child around the house telling her to, “Think positive,” “Look on the bright side,” or “Change your attitude” just will not work. Your child will run away when she hears you walking down the hall. What should you do? You’ve got to be a role model and a teacher. Yes, that means that YOU have to celebrate each day of your life. Consider this. Do you wake up each day thinking that you have a new opportunity to be successful? Are you thankful for each day that you have been given? Are you making the most of your life? If the answers aren’t yes, Yes, and YES, then you have work to do, my friend.

First, think about whether your past has become an obstacle to forming and maintaining a positive perspective on life. Were your parents optimists or pessimists? What were the themes that ran through your family? There is often a theme or a pattern of thinking that is passed down from one generation to another. It permeates how the family functions. It impacts the expectations for each person in the family, and the agenda of the family unit itself. It often generates a family mantra. Family mantras can range from empowering to toxic. “You can do anything.” “Anything but super-achievement is failure.” “You need only be competent.” “Keep working until you succeed.” “Why can’t you be like (anyone but yourself)?” “You are part of a greater community.” “If it’s not important to me, then it’s not important.” “Life is good.” “Life would be good if only….”  The range of family themes is endless. You internalized themes or mantras from your family as you were growing up. It is important to think about what you were taught. Some of the messages may be powerful driving forces towards success, while others may be creating obstacles that are only present in your mind. In my own family, I learned several valuable mantras including “If you keep working at something, and make small steps towards your goal, you will eventually reach it.” That stick-to-it-ness has been a wonderful driving force in my own life. However, my parents were raised in the Depression, and they also unfortunately passed along a great deal of negativity and the tendency to be overly critical of oneself. One of my challenges, as an adult, has been to adopt and maintain a positive outlook on life. Sometimes those dark and negative thoughts bubble to the surface, but I try to recognize them and put a stop to them immediately. Think about the life lessons that you learned from your parents, and which of those you are now modeling for your child.

Next, consider how you react to success and adversity. What happens when you are successful in an endeavor or encounter an obstacle enroute to a goal? Do your successes in life become overblown, or are they minimized? Do you view success as an end unto itself, or is it an opportunity to set a new goal? Are the obstacles you encounter in life seen as challenges or do they serve as a  reason to give up? Do you ignore your successes only to focus on what you may never be able to achieve? You may not realize it, but your child is watching (and learning from) your reaction to success and adversity both large and small.

Another point to consider is what priorities you have in life, and what are you teaching your child about how to approach life? Is life a struggle? Is life something to be just gotten through? Is life something exciting? Is life full of challenges and possibilities? How would your child describe your approach to life? What are the areas of life that emphasize? Is it all about the material things you collect, or is materialism something you abhor? Are you focused on building your mind, as well as your child’s academic potential, or is that something only “smart people” try to achieve? Is it important develop a wide variety of interests, or are you focused on only one goal by which to define yourself as a success or failure. Are you teaching your child that exercise is a part of a healthy lifestyle, or is exercise just the work that goes along with becoming an Olympian or a professional athlete? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Is your child learning the importance of forming social connections, or will he feel socially awkward all his life?  Do you have a faith-based belief system, or does your child think that this is all there is? Children characteristically parrot or imitate the views and patterns of the important adults around them. Consider whether the things you think of as important will be create a positive future life experience for your child.

Finally (and this is by no means an exhaustive list), what will you consider when determining whether or not your life has been successful? Have you ever stopped to consider what you think it means to be successful?  Have you learned to set goals that are attainable? If your child learns that “success” is only achieved if she is a billionaire, the next Babe Ruth, or a Nobel Prize winner, then being successful may seem an untenable goal. Are you just floating through life without goals or a sense of purpose? If not much is expected of a child, then life may become a series of “good enough’s” or viewed as a flat plateau without much to look forward to on the horizon. Are you able to pinpoint the success you have already experienced in your life, or are you always haunted by the “should have’s” or “never will be’s”? Recognizing and being thankful for your accomplishments in life is important, and is an important component in life satisfaction. A child who is trained to focus on what might have been or what might not ever occur is far less likely to experience satisfaction with life. Have you developed goals that span across many areas of your life, or do you focus on one goal to the exclusion of everything else in your life. Having a life that is hopeful and balanced will help your child to look forward to experiences and be willing to take risks. Your child will internalize a list of what is important in life and what is not. Both the list, and the level that is necessary to achieve “success” of each item on the list, will impact how he approaches life. Focusing your child on setting reasonable and positive goals in many areas will help her grow into an adult who can find something to celebrate each day of life no matter what happens on that day.

As I was thinking about how to teach children to celebrate each day of their lives, I suddenly realized that “bingo” is just the acronym to use as a training tool. Let me tell you why. As you may or may not know, my primary website (www.UnCommonCourtesy.com) is a combination of motivational material and several hundred bingo games and concentration sets. How did such an unlikely combination come about? As the room mother for my son’s first grade class, I was responsible for overseeing a Halloween party. My youngest child was six months old, and still getting up three or four times a night. My other two children weren’t great sleepers, and I come from a long line of poor sleepers. Consequently, I was quite sleep-deprived at the time. My son’s teacher asked me to bring a Halloween bingo game to the party, but she had a very specific type of game in mind. As I recall, it was one with only pictures. I tried to find one online, but didn’t find one that met her parameters. It was overwhelming to think about driving around to find such a specific game, so I decided to make it myself. Armed with a graphics program and some clipart, I produced a set. It was crude in comparison with the sets I create at this time, but it wasn’t bad. Then, I laminated the set because I wanted it to last several years. I didn’t want to make another set when my second child reached the first grade! I took the set to the party and several of the teachers said to me, “This is good. You could sell this.” For many years I had been a children custody evaluator, mediator, and a family therapist. However, that time in my life had past, and I was looking for a new career path. One that would allow me to focus on my children, work at home, and experience less stress. I thought to myself, “I COULD sell this!” I had launched my UnCommonCourtesy.com website as a reaction to all of the negativity in my past life, as well as the pain I witnessed in my private practice. Although I hadn’t published a newsletter or worked on the site for a couple of years, I had just not been able to get myself to shut it down. I kept thinking that surely it would be a part of my future career. Undaunted by the disconnect between the name of the site and bingo games, as well as the reaction from several family members and friends (“You are going to do what?????”), I put together a couple of bingo games to sell at Christmas. I managed to put together an order form, arrange for a secure server, and put the sets online. I made (and still make) all the sets by hand. Although I seemingly did everything wrong, I sold $700 dollars worth of bingo games that Christmas season! Never mind that I had actually lost money because of business set-up costs; my sleep-deprived mind was filled with possibilities. Although my head was filled with things like, “this could be the start of something big,” I heard a lot of “yea, yea, whatever” around me. But I’m a positive thinker. I kept making sets. Making better sets. Finding niches that my bingo games could fit into. I have to say that my unlikely career has been a wonderfully rewarding experience, and something that I can work on when things around me seem a bit dark. Thinking positively, and staying focused, has helped me to develop a very satisfying business and it is all about BINGO!

Well, you’ve heard my story. Now it’s time to learn to teach your child to celebrate life by applying the positive principle of BINGO!

B: BE IN THE GAME. How many children sit on the sidelines because they are afraid of failure or trying something new? They slam the door closed before they even get their feet firmly inside. I certainly did as a child, and I regret just about everything that I refused to try. Do not allow your child to sit on the sideline waiting for the good time to come to her. Teach him to participate! Tell her that the only failure in life is not trying at all. The main point is to jump in and get going. While you are at it, get in the game with your children! Volunteer at school. Sign up to coach a team. Be a Sunday School teacher. There is no question that my own children view me as a participant and not as someone who sits on the sidelines. They love it, and your child will love to see you involved in his life.

I: INTERNALIZE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE IN YOUR CHILD Talk about how good life is. Prompt her to make a list of the things that she has to be thankful for. Help him see that there is hope in, or a positive view of, almost every situation. Remember to be a role model! This is a family project, and you should think about the negative thoughts and actions that are holding you back. What do you have to be grateful for? Are you focused on what’s going right or what you haven’t got? How can you grasp and hold onto a positive attitude all day long. Don’t just say it- live it!

N: NOW IS THE TIME THAT IS IMPORTANT. Some people live in the past. Others focus on the future. But today is the time that you can jump into, start a life-changing pattern, or just savor. Enjoy the Moment! Teach your child to enjoy what he experiences every day. Help her learn to work toward things on a day-to-day basis. Don’t let him fret about the test next Thursday, help him plan study blocks between now and then so the test will be a cinch. Don’t join her in lamenting about not being chosen as the star in the play, work with her to be the best in the part that she was assigned. Those in-the-moment times with your child may be the ones that the two of you have the fondest memories of in the future.

G: GIVE OF YOURSELF. In the world of me, Me, ME, the self-absorption that many children learn is ultimately unsatisfying. If you live a life that is focused on material things, you’ll always think about what you do not have. More importantly, you will waste your life fretting about what other people have, and how much better your life would be if you lived someone else’s life. If everything is all about you, then the other members of your family will be left high and dry. In our house, we sing a song when one of the kids gets a bit too focused on his or her needs. While we sing the tune to “It Had to be You,” we insert the words: “It’s all about me. It’s all about me. Wonderful me. Important me. It’s all about me. Oh can’t you see? It’s all about me!” On and on it goes until everyone is laughing so hard that there are tears in our eyes. I try to give of myself, and I look back on most days thinking how good it felt to do something for a friend, have seen the eyes of my children light up because of the time I shared with them, or have done something a little unexpected for someone in need. It’s been a pleasant surprise to watch my children take note of my actions, and I hope they do the same for others throughout their lives.

O: OVERCOME IT! One of my favorites Authors, Norman Vincent Peale, made a very powerful statement in his book Enthusiasm Makes the Difference: “Every problem contains within itself the seeds of its own solutions.” Life is full of struggles and difficulties. Just because you are an optimist doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. You can think of those problems as another reason to despair or as an opportunity for growth. I often ask myself, “What can I learn from this?” or “How can I use this as an opportunity to grow as a result of my experience.”  Teach your child how to recognize that a problem exists before it gets out of control, how to problem-solve, and how to enlist others to help him solve those problems. Just about every problem in life can be solved or used as a spring board toward a positive outcome.

Now it’s time for you to start teaching your child the BINGO principle. Have fun! Enjoy the time that you spend with your child! Work on yourself a bit too! I’ll be writing future articles about how to teach your child to celebrate holidays and other moments in his or her life using the BINGO principle. I hope that you will stop by www.uncommoncouresty.com to take a look at my latest thoughts and a few of my bingo games as well!

Celebrate today and everyday!


Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.

 P.S. I’ve written many other motivational articles. You can find an index of them at: http://uncommoncourtesy.com/motivationalarticles.htm


Enthusiasm Makes the Difference in the Compenium: Peale, Norman Vincent (1994). The Power of Positive Thinking, The Positive Principle Today, and Enthusiasm Makes the Difference. Wings Books, New York. Pg 511.

© 2007-2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

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Bingo Games, Motivational Material and More at www.UnCommonCourtesy.com! A multitude of holiday, religious, educational, and patriotic  bingo games and concentration sets available . Bingo games for adults and children to play at home, school, church, corporate meetings, and just about anywhere you can imagine.  Read Susan C Rempel, Ph.D.’s blog about Patriotism, First Principles, and American History. Follow Dr. Rempel on Twitter: SusanRempel or LinkedIn

Mar 142012

In “Avoidance May Actually Be An Opportunity In Disguise (Part 1)”, I talked about how mundane tasks are often avoided out of fear and/or boredom. What about those unpleasant encounters that you would like to avoid at your work place? Have you avoided a discussion with your boss about one of the aspects of your job that you would like to change? How about confrontations with your employees? Possibly, you have avoided introducing a client to a new idea or product. Each of these avoidance situations is really an opportunity to become more successful!

Employees frequently are reluctant to discuss new ideas with their employers. This reluctance stems not only from the fear that their idea will be rejected, but also out of their fear of being ridiculed. “What a stupid idea,” your boss will say. Really? If your boss rejects ideas in that manner, perhaps it is time to look for a new job! More than likely, your boss will take part or all of your idea and seriously consider implementing it. In most companies, managers have become managers because they are assertive, were successful in previous work-related positions, or have focused their talents and energies on the success of the company. Managers are (or should be) constantly looking for new ideas! That’s also true for company assistant vice presidents, vice presidents, presidents, and CEOs. Anyone in a position of authority and responsibility within a business entity should always be interested in ways and ideas that can make the company more successful and profitable.

Have you been avoiding a confrontation with an employee? One client recently told me about his difficulty in dealing with subordinates who seem to enjoy being confrontational or challenging her authority. We talked about her approach to dealing with such employees. She consistently went head-to-head with these people trying to match their level of energy. Although she always won each battle, she felt that she was losing the war. “I’m tired,” she said, “and sometimes I just feel like taking the day off.” The problem wasn’t that she disliked her job. It was that the confrontations consumed all her time and depleted her energy. I suggested that she consider using a different strategy for interacting with difficult employees. Instead of coming to logger heads, she should try to listen to what the employee is saying. Then, she should reframe what was said in the most positive light possible from her point of view.

Another approach is based on the notion that most people have patterns of interaction. An employee may begin with a minor complaint and continue complaining until everyone in the entire corporate hierarchy is miserable and tired of hearing from him or her. Why not put him or her to work changing the situation? For example, try responding to an employee’s complaint by saying, “OK Nick, if you see a problem here, then I want you to come up with three strategies to solve it.” Not only will Nick stop complaining to you, but he may just come up with a new and more productive solution, to a problem that you didn’t even know existed in the first place! Regardless of why a confrontation with an employee has occurred, the next step should be to consider changing the process that underlies your future interactions with that person.

The biggest problem for most business people is introducing new ideas and products to clients. After all, the client holds the power in most situations. He or she can reject your idea on a whim or without any basis. The easiest thing for you is not to make the pitch in the first place. After all, it is difficult to face rejection from a client after you have put forth the effort which is necessary to design and implement a fantastic presentation. I must admit that I have experienced this problem in my own life. As a novice therapist, I sometimes was hesitant to suggest a new behavior pattern to a client because I “knew” that my suggestion would be rejected. As I have become more experienced, I like to think that I have also become more fearless. If the worst thing that can happen is that the client will say “no,” then I am no worse off than before. What I have discovered is that “no” often leads to a very interesting discussion spawned by my follow-up question: “Why not?” Although you cannot just ask a business client “why not,” you can move past the first “no” and explore how you and your product or service can be helpful to the client. Possibly, there is an alternative use of your product or service. Maybe they will be more useful to the potential buyer in a few months. You might even uncover a suggestion as to how you could improve your product to better meet the needs of others. Whatever the response, there can be a positive outcome. If you avoid the interaction altogether, it can only result in maintaining the status quo which is really a failure to move forward. Each interaction with a client can be viewed as an opportunity for success, even though it may not be the same type of successful outcome that you had originally intended.

Now is the time to examine your patterns of avoidance with others in the work place. By implementing a proactive stance with others, you may help turn your avoidance into a successful opportunity to improve your company or career.

© 1998-2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

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© 1998-2012 Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.