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couple-looking-at-a-laptop2_460x300He was so strong, straight forward, and controlling. She was so sensitive, passive, and wounded. They came to my coaching office as a last ditch effort to save their marriage while they were separated.

In the past I would have tried to fix their weaknesses. Now I immediately spotted their strengths. What if they could have a language to call their talent themes? What if they could both embrace the value of each others strengths? What if they both could begin to leverage each others strengths in their love relationship?

Sure enough my hunch was confirmed. After taking the StrengthsFinder assessment and coming to the next session his #1 talent theme was command and her #1 talent theme empathy. Command is defined as having presence, being direct, and exerting control in situations that seem out of control. Empathy is defined as being sensitive to others feelings and bringing emotional intelligence.

I showed them my Strenghtometer analogy how 1-40 MPH is coasting (under using a talent), 41-80 MPH is cruising (appropriately using a talent) and 81-120 MPH is speeding or (over using a talent to a detriment). How could they both drive their talent themes appropriately with each other, their blended family, in each situation?

That was the work in the next three coaching sessions.

As an intentional way of softening his commanding presence, he shaved off his duck dynasty beard he had grown for years as a surprise for her in the next coaching session. She had never seen him without his beard. You could feel the tender energy in the room when she gently placed her hands on his cleanly shaven face for the first time. This act of empathetic affection drew them closer in love and emotional intimacy.

The journey of leveraging their strengths at being a great spouse was now starting to cruise.

My StrengthsFinder mentor, Curt Liesveld wrote “How to Aim your Talent Themes at Being a Great Spouse” for all 34 StrengthsFinder talent themes.
Read below.

Command – I could use this theme to fight for my marriage by confronting external threats and by dealing directly with internal pressures.

Empathy – I show my love to my spouse by sensing their emotions, accepting and valuing their emotions, and encouraging their expression.

If you and your love partner want to learn how to aim your talent themes at being a great spouse then join me for the https://brentobannon.com/strengthsfinder-in-love-and-relationships-conference/ (actually webinar)
on Sunday February 9th 6-9 PM CST and Monday February 10th 6-9 PM CST from anywhere in the world.

Recordings will be available from this webinar.

What talents are you and your spouse speeding with?
Are you aiming your strengths at being a great spouse?

Please like, share, and discuss your comments and questions below.

34309xxowoiuc1tWhat habits do you have in your love relationship?

Couples can easily fall into unconscious routines of not looking, not touching, and not connecting. Slowly, the love relationship goes comatose.

or…

Couples can effortlessly open their eyes and wake up out of their slumber to create “Blink” behaviors.

In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell describes these behaviors as quick unconscious habits that happen in a blink of an eye.

Here are 7 habits of happy couples that can be done naturally in the blink of an eye:

1. Gaze at each other.

If you want your partner to catch your eye then practice gazing. New parents bond with their infants by gazing into each others’ eyes. Our soul is filled with wonder when we watch a sunset or admire a spectacular mountain view. Couples quickly create the feeling of being seen and admired when we lovingly gaze into each others’ eyes.

2. Give 10 second hugs and kisses.

It’s good that you give that quick 2 second hug and peck before you walk out the door. But you get more bang as a couple if you linger for just 8 more seconds on that hug and kiss. Really, don’t tell me you don’t have time for a 10 second hug and kiss. You have about 86,000 seconds in a day make it a habit as a couple every time you hug or kiss just linger for 10 seconds. It’s fun!

3. Walk side by side and hand in hand.

Guys and gals, notice how you walk with your partner. Are you walking so fast that you’re way ahead or so slow that you’re miles behind? Make it a habit to walk side by side and hand in hand from the parking lot to the kids’ game, the restaurant, or into church.

4. Go to bed at the same time.

Many couples fall into habits of going to bed at different times. I realize we all have different sleep routines and personalities. But remember when you were first married? You couldn’t wait to jump into the bed together. The bed was a safe place to unwind and connect. It can still be a great place for snuggling, spooning, and pillow talk.

5. Eat a sit down meal with music.

One of my favorite times to connect with my wife is when we eat at the dinner table with candles, a bottle of wine, and a little music. Not TV and no TV trays sitting in the living room. There is a time and place for eating and watching TV but make it a habit to have weekly sit down dinners with your partner. This creates more meaningful communication.

6. Share good news.

When something good happens in your day create the habit of sharing it with your spouse. We all hear bad news so much that we crave to hear about the positive experiences, the success stories, or the big wins.

8. Say “My bad.”

When each of you make a mistake, make it a habit to quickly say, “My bad.” This is a habit I have on the tennis court when I’m playing doubles. It is my way of taking responsibility and saying I’ll do better next time. Rather than being defensive with your partner, make it a effortless habit of promptly admitting your wrong. It is so refreshing when couples don’t argue but rather say, “My bad!”

Coaching points:

  1. What habits are you strong in and which ones do you need to improve?
  2. What other blink of the eye habits do you use to make your relationship happy?

Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to www.brentobannon.com and www.marriedtoyourboss.com.

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you use your strengths in your marriage?

Marriage is like a combination lock; your job is to find the right numbers, in the right order, so you can unlock your love potential.

Famous management consultant Peter Dru38833vl2ng9la32cker once said that “most Americans don’t know their own strengths. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare.”  Drucker was dead on.

When it comes to understanding our strengths, most of us are in the dark. Yet the fastest way to marriage success is discovering and applying our strengths.  How then, can you focus on your strengths if you don’t know what those strengths are?

The short answer is: you can’t.

Through the Strengths Finder 2.0, I can help you and your spouse discover your top 5 strengths.

For example if your spouse is a LEARNER, then sign her up for yoga or piano lessons or a class at the local college. Take her to a book store or a movie or the opera–any place she can learn new ideas and activities. For learners, life is one long deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. Understand this much about her and you’ve just connected in a meaningful way that you both never thought possible.

If one of her strengths is HARMONY, be on the lookout for areas of agreement. Find common ground. Steer clear of debates and you’ll find your own life in perfect harmony–lickety split.

If your husband has the ACTIVATOR strength, utilize it to help you make improvements around the house. Activators can transform ideas into immediate action.

Maybe your husband has WOO (Winning Others Over). This strength can bring fun, energy, and more socialization to your relationship. People with this strength naturally use humor to ease the conflict with their teenagers, for example.

How do you jump over weaknesses and flow into your strengths?

You need a coach to teach you how. And now you have one!  Get Your Strength Finder 2.0 Book Now + your complimentary Discovery Coaching Session (Value $120) for $19.95.

Put the odds in your favor!

Coaching points:

  1. Do you focus more on your spouse’s strengths or weaknesses?
  2. What strengths do you appreciate in your spouse?

Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to www.brentobannon.com and www.marriedtoyourboss.com.

Image: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s one thing to be married to your job. It’s another to be married to your boss.  Over the last thirty years, there seem to be more and more couples opting to wed their home and work lives. The research shows an increase from 500,000 to over 800,000 couples in business together.

My wife has worked with me in my counseling/coaching practice for 20+ years. We have experienced both the highs of connection and the lows of conflict.  There is a beautiful connection working towards a meaningful goal together, knowing some of the same people, having flexibility with schedule and enjoying accessibility to a quick hug and conversation.  However, we have experienced conflict by having unrealistic expectations, blurring work/home boundaries, and not understanding each others strengths. There were times we did not appreciate the leadership value that we both brought to the business. There have been moments when I have said, “If we weren’t married, I would fire you.”

How did we resolve it?  More on that later!

If you are contemplating starting a business with your spouse or you are currently running a business together, you’ll benefit by checking out my website and getting a complimentary report called, “Married to Your Boss: 13 Success Strategies to Prosper in Business and Love.”

What’s your deepest fear?  Being alone? Humiliation? For me, it’s been the fear of getting a divorce.  That fear has been fueled by the fact that every couple on my mother and father’s side has been divorced, including my parents.

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Then I learned to FLIP my FEAR. I use and continue to use three of my top five strengths to nurture a stronger marriage. I use focus, achiever, and competition to help me develop a stronger marriage.

Since getting married 26 years ago I wanted to be the first person in my family to break the divorce pattern. I want desperately to achieve a strong, sexy marriage. Sure, I’ve lost focus along the way but I come back to the notion that “love is work and it’s worth working for.”

How can you FLIP your FEAR?

If you fear being alone, why not use your harmony, relator, or empathy strengths to flip your fear into more fulfilling relationships rather than retreating to your cave?

If you fear humiliation, why not use your woo, self assurance, and activator strengths to catapult you through self-doubt and low confidence. Convince people that you can be cool and suck at the same time.

The key is to FLIP your FEAR using your strengths. Go ahead, flip your fear and achieve your greatest success!

Would you like to discover your top five talents and strengths?  Call me at 903-819-0301 or email me at [email protected] and let’s discuss how to help you put your strengths and talents to work in your life.

Coaching Points:

  1. What are my top three deepest fears?
  2. How can I flip my fear?
  3. What are my strengths and talents?

Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to www.brentobannon.com and www.marriedtoyourboss.com.

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can feel it. You can see it. You know when momentum shifts in the middle of a football game, when your business starts to jive, or when your marriage feels alive.

How do you create winning momentum in everyday life?

1. Momentum starts with writing goals.

Goals are dreams in black and white but they are merely wishes if not written down. They will fade and you will forget them if you don’t record them. Notice how when you want an important item at the grocery store, you don’t leave it to chance or memory–you write it down.

On this year’s grocery list for life, what do you want to be? What do you want to have? What do you want to do?

2. Momentum increases by reviewing goals.

Charles Coonradt says in his book, The Game of Work, “Written goals that are reviewed regularly become reality.” If you’re like me, you’ve got your grocery list in your hand and look at it constantly while you’re walking up and down the grocery aisle. When it comes to the grocery store of life, my habit is to have an hour of power first thing in the morning. I read and listen to my success script, strength affirmations, review my business plan, and my 90 day goals.During the day when I feel stuck or lost and losing momentum, I pull out my “grocery list” and review my goals. The more you review your goals, the greater momentum you produce.

3. Momentum produces massive action.

When a jet increases enough speed and momentum, it takes off into the wild blue yonder. It is in flight to it’s destination. When you’re at the grocery store and you find the item on your list, you pick it up, put into the cart, and buy it. That’s massive action. You cross a line through it. Done! What about your goal to double your income, take a dream vacation, or hire a life coach? Creating winning momentum requires writing your goals, reviewing your goals daily, and then taking massive action on your goals. It’s that simple.

So why don’t we do it?

Most of us lose focus. We need someone who reminds us of our goals and holds us accountable to take massive action.

That’s what I love to do for you…

If you’re doing these three things, you’re killing marriage momentum and increasing odds for divorce.

What are they and what can you do about them?

1. Spewing

Reckless words and nagging criticism that spew out of your mouth to your spouse can feel like stabbing them with a knife and hitting them on the head with a hammer. You say, “I didn’t mean it, I just said those words in anger.” But words pierce our soul and create wounds, hurt, anger, and eventually, hate.

Remember the boy that had an anger problem, saying hateful things all the time? His dad made him go hammer nails into the wood fence for punishment. After the boy was finished, the dad made him pull all the nails from the fence. The boy realized how destructive his words were when his dad said, “Son, that’s what mean words do. They leave holes in people.”

The solution is to learn self-control and share from the heart with tact. There are playful ways to get your point across without being sarcastic. It might be saying, “Rude” like Bon Qui Qui or “Kick me! Kick me! It would hurt less.”

2. Stuffing

Giving the silent treatment, turning a cold shoulder, or stuffing your feelings creates a cold war of indifference. This is sometimes called stonewalling and is just as deadly and destructive as spewing criticism. It’s true that holding your tongue is wise and it’s better to overlook an insult that act out but stuffing is usually a form of hurting your spouse in a passive aggressive way. Spouses who stuff thoughts and feelings need to understand they are feeding a relationship cancer with resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.

The danger is that you can grow apart by avoiding problems and both of you may begin to quit with an, “I don’t care attitude.” Doing nothing is the fastest way to create a divorce. The solution is to be courageous and realize that open rebuke is better than stuffing your feelings. Learning to give and receive repair attempts is a momentum builder for outrageous love.

3. Sexless

Sex is the thermometer of a marriage. If the marriage is cold there will be very little sex. If the marriage is hot there will be more sex. I know because I’ve been on both spectrums in 26 years of marriage. Women and men both want hot monogamy and making love even when you don’t want to will make your spouse worship the water you walk on.

Remember sex is more than intercourse. It’s frequent touching, tender words, playful banter, lustful looks, deep eye contact, slow foreplay and bursts of flirting. The solution is to keep the sex cooking. Why not have an emotional and physical affair with your spouse?

The other night, my wife and I were watching a fun sitcom called “The King of Queens.” The couple was arguing, feeling distant, and wondering if they still had anything in common. Then they had an idea–both would write a list of 20 things they liked to do and compare the lists.

My wife and I decided to make lists, too. At first we giggled because it was harder than we thought to think of 20 fun activities. Finally we completed our lists and shared them with each other. The sharing was half the fun. Wow, we had 11 fun activities (that’s 55%) out of 20 in common. Those activities were: reading, travel, going out to dinner, going out with friends, tasting new wines, hosting parties, going to church, watching a movie together, going out to a nice dinner, cooking/grilling together, swimming/laying out in the sun, and exercising.

In “The King of Queens,” the couple only came up with only one fun activity in common. Though disappointed, they made a commitment to be on the lookout for fun activities they could share.

Why don’t you come up with your top 20 fun activities with your spouse, partner, children, family, or friends?  Let me know how it goes!

I’m ashamed to admit the following: I haven’t read a fiction book since my senior year in high school when we were assigned The Great Gatsby (an elegant, must-read classic if it didn’t make your list).

Now, let me explain before you vote me off the island. I have a Masters degree in counseling psychology so I have read non-fiction voraciously for 20 years. Early in our marriage, when my wife and I visited my in laws, they would chide me for always having my nose in a book.

20 years later, I’m beginning to see that I’m a Type A personality that needs to learn to lighten up. My wife has a Type B personality and loves to cuddle up with her soft blanket, our cat Savannah, and a new novel.  And I think she’s onto something.

Every time I get my hair cut, my stylist tells me about the latest page turner on her nightstand, which helps her to escape her worries and distract her from daily stress. And my good friend Latham, a book consultant, and the author of The Graffiti Sculptor told me I need to read more pleasure books to chill. After a few big hints, it looks like I’ve finally come up with a novel idea to relax: I can lighten up with some light reading.

So right now I’m reading Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild as my first adventure in reading for relaxation.

That’s right, this Type A guy is making the commitment to read just for fun. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What about you? Do your friends and family chide you for being all work and no play?  Is it difficult to pry yourself away from work material to do something you really enjoy?  If you’re a Type A personality who is highly driven to accomplish and succeed but not as adept at R&R, it’s time to take a chill pill, put your feet up, and page your way through some fun.

I want to know what’s on your nightstand.  Leave a comment with your favorite pleasure read.  I could use something to follow up my trip into the wild.

Do you want to build a new friendship or strengthen your marriage? Need to repair conflict with a co-worker? Dream of having the self confidence to speak up for what you want?

Researchers at UCLA report that success in life is 20% intellect and 80% emotional intelligence. Boosting your emotional intelligence begins with growing your people skills–the foundation for a happy, successful life.

Be smart from the heart. Here are my top 5 EI tips:

1. Know your emotions

Knowing your emotions is like being a good wine connoisseur. When an oenophile–a wine lover–sips a Cabernet or Zinfandel, you probably won’t hear them describe it simply as “good” or bad.”  Wine may be dry or fruity, smooth or complex, smoky or spicy, tart or buttery–it’s full of subtle aromas, tastes, and textures.  Does your feeling vocabulary express the complexity, subtleties, and wide range of emotions in your life? Become an emotion connoisseur. Get a feeling magnet and hang it on your refrigerator or filing cabinet at work to help you identify your many emotions throughout the day.

2. Manage your emotions

Stuffing leads to hypertension, headaches, muscle tightness, and emotional constipation. Spewing leads to aggression, impulsive behavior, conflicts with people, and hurt feelings. Take the balanced approach to managing your emotions and share your feelings calmly. Sharing, instead of stuffing or spewing, rewards you with self-awareness, physical relief, improved communication in relationships, and, of course, a boost in your emotional intelligence.

3. Motivate yourself

Self-motivated people enjoy happier relationships, higher spirits, and a stronger sense of self responsibility. Want to crank up your self motivation and win every day?

  • Dive into reading and learning about topics that rev your engines
  • Watch movies and listen to music that inspires you
  • Spend quality time with other motivated people
  • Set goals and compete with yourself to achieve them
  • Celebrate your victories

4. Identify and recognize emotions in other people

Reading facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and eye contact are crucial to fully understanding others and strengthening your emotional intelligence. Don’t only listen for what is being said, pay attention to what is unsaid, as well. Train yourself to state the obvious. For example; “You keep looking at the floor when you are talking to me. Help me understand what is going on inside of you right now.” The better you can read and understand other peoples’ “traffic signs,” the more successful you will be in connecting and communicating in meaningful, healthy ways. Traffic signals keep us safely on the road to our destination.  The same is true in relationships.

5. Care for your relationships

As leadership expert, John C. Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” Caring for relationships is like tending a garden.  You must prepare a foundation, plant seeds, nurture the buds as they grow, manage weeds, and harvest the fruit. Ask yourself, how can I tend to the relationships in my life?  Is it time to plant?  Time to nurture?  Time to harvest? You may not have a green thumb but when you care for the relationships in your life, building emotional intelligence along the way, you are certain to see love and friendship blossom.