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Burnout and the Culture of Impossible Expectations

“No one knows this because it seems like I have it all together, but inside I’m dying.” When you hear people’s deep dark secrets like I do as a therapist, you hear things like this frequently. This is because basically every human I interact with is going through something similar: the profound pressure to do “the right thing” in every area of life, while making it look easy. And expecting it to feel good. It’s the promise and temptation of being one life hack, career goal, or achievement away from perfection. You can be: as slim as a nearly disembodied head with barely a body to hold it up as productive as a super computer as cool and interesting as a celebrity (and employ a staff to pull that off) all while also having a loving relationship and friends. And     . . . read more

5 Skills for Confident Communication

Do you often leave interactions feeling like you didn’t make your point? Do you feel misunderstood? Do you feel like people don’t really listen to you? It’s time for you to uplevel your communication skills so that you can confidently engage your audience. Whether at work or in your personal life, satisfying connections, effective conversations, and the ability to appropriately influence others are important skills for your overall well-being. Stop wasting your energy on poor quality interactions and up your communication game with these 5 key skills and go-to action steps. Skill #1: Set the intention Be aware and thoughtful in your interactions. I often hear people complain that they are stuck in the same unproductive or unpleasant conversations with people. This is often because we are not actively working to be intentional in these conversations. Here are 3 action     . . . read more

3 Painless Ways to Start a Difficult Conversation

As a communication coach, I find that the most common way people deal with difficult conversations is to avoid them as long as possible. You already know that this is both painful and highly ineffective. It takes a ton of energy to avoid something. The thoughts and feelings take up valuable real estate in our bodies and minds. And nothing changes. The best thing you can do for your well-being, and to improve every relationship you have, is to go forward and engage in those difficult conversations. Getting these conversations started is often the hardest part. Here are 3 tips to make it a little easier to get words to come out of your mouth. 1. Be gentle, calm, and straightforward The way you start the conversation matters. The mantra you need is this: gentle, calm, straight-forward. Here’s what that     . . . read more

3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Assholery (Without Saying a Word)

They’re everywhere: the people who suck up energy with their negativity. I bet you hear as many stories as I do about the mean and insensitive things these difficult and exhausting people say and do. Now I understand very well that miserable people are that way for a reason. People make sense in the context of their lives. I absolutely have compassion for them, but not their poor behavior. We need to stop their misery from becoming ours. Love the person (but maybe from a distance) and limit exposure to the behavior. One easy way for their misery to become ours is by being sucked in. The worst of it is when you get caught in their web of manipulation and negativity for months or even years on end. Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of you being     . . . read more

The Hidden Dangers of People-Pleasing

I know how this is going to sound. But I’m going to say it anyway. Be careful of being nice. The problem is that we do “nice” in ways that are actually detrimental. The misconceptions about how to be nice are the key issues. One of the main problems is that a lot of kind people believe it’s essential to please everyone. Now most of us are aware that being a people-pleaser is hard on the person doing the pleasing. There is the exhausting work of always saying yes, trying to read minds, and always doing what the other person wants. It’s sometimes hard to get nice people to change just based on this, “it’s not good for you” argument. So I go for two other cold, hard truths about people-pleasing. 1. When you spend energy pleasing everyone, you inevitably     . . . read more