He Hasn't Hit Me, Is it Abuse?

Many people in an abusive situation wonder what is abuse and what it’s not.

I’ve created this questionnaire to help answer that question.

‘Partner’ is used to mean any significant other - husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, etc.

1.    Are you afraid of doing something to set your partner off? Does he/she get angry frequently?

2.    Do you make excuses for your partner (or their behavior) to other people?

3.    Does your partner yell at, criticize, mock, or demean you?

4.    Has your partner told you it’s your fault that your relationship isn’t working?

5.    Does your partner constantly complain about you, coworkers, their job, unfairness of life, or blame you or others for the problems in their life?

6.    Does your partner do things that suggest they believe everyone is out to get them, to take advantage of them?

7.    Does your partner seem to withhold affection or approval from you?

8.    Does your partner want to know where you are, what you’re doing, with whom you’re talking, but doesn’t want to share the same with you?

9.    Have you been accused by your partner of doing something you don’t do, (maybe even something your partner does)?

10. Do you find yourself trying to explain yourself, your behavior, or your thoughts to help them understand, only to have them use it against you?

11. Have you wondered if you were crazy because your partner told you you’re remembering something incorrectly or told you you’re crazy?

12. Does your relationship have a pattern to it? Calm, explosion, statement that it will never happen again, calm, explosion…?

13. Have you tried to talk to others about your situation and they just don’t get it?

14. Do you have trouble making simple decisions (usually out of fear of your partner’s reaction)?

15. Does your partner remind you how amazing they are, how lucky you are to be with them, that no one else would want you?

16. Does your partner bring up old subjects over and over? 

17. Do you find yourself lying or hiding the truth to avoid your partner’s reaction?

18. Does your partner expect you to apologize, yet hardly, if ever, apologizes to you? If they do apologize it usually comes with an excuse or justification for their behavior (“I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t…”) or the statement, “I don’t know what I could have done differently.”?

19. Was your partner absolutely charming at first, giving you attention in special ways?

20. Does your partner have a hard time prioritizing you, but expects you to prioritize them?

21. When you try to talk to your partner about something important to you do they deflect, minimize, change the subject, or ignore you all together?

22. Does your partner insist on having things their way?

23. Does your partner seem to see things as only black and white? Does he/she have a hard time seeing the middle ground?

24. Do your arguments seem to last forever?

25. Does your partner wear you down to get what they want?

26. Does your partner throw what an objective person would see as a temper tantrum?

27. Does your partner seem to pull away just when you felt you were starting to connect?

28. Have you heard, “I just don’t feel anything for you anymore,” or something similar?

29. Do you know something is wrong, but you can’t put your finger on it?

30. Are you worried about or afraid of your partner’s reaction if they found out you were talking to someone to get help? 

If you answered 'Yes' to more than 5 of these questions (especially the last two), you may want to evaluate your relationship. I’ve developed an online course that can help. 

If you answered ‘Yes’ to 8 or more, you're almost certainly in a relationship that could benefit from the course.

If you answered ‘Yes’ to 10 or more, you should get help immediately. Click here to access the course.

If You Are Trying to be Normal, DON'T

"If you are trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be." Maya Angelou

I was cleaning out some stuff in my office and came across my MBA commencement program. I had a note next to one of the graduate speaker's names, Crystal Howard, with the quote above because it impacted me. 

If you like things in more colloquial terms, "Why fit in when you were born to stand out." Dr. Suess 

Be you. Be the most amazing version of you. Stand out. Find out why you are here. 



Not Reaching Your Goals? Read This...

A few years ago, I was playing around with my food intake because I was getting migraines more frequently than I cared for (because getting migraines at all is pleasant?). My migraines started when I was 12, at my aunt and uncle’s wedding reception. I remember not feeling well so I walked home. On the way home, I had a visual aura and felt nauseous.

The migraines continued in similar fashion for many years and for several of those I took a preventative medicine. It was somewhat effective, yet didn’t wipe them out, and I had to wear sunglasses in physics class (and boy did I look hot) since the florescent lights seemed to trigger migraines. The classic pattern for the migraines was 20-30 minutes of visual aura—looks like dancing splotches in my field of vision—followed by intense pain in my head. The next day I would usually start the day with a residual dull ache. Many times I was nauseous.

About 17 years ago, I figured out that if I take 2 ibuprofen at the onset of the visual aura I could short circuit the rest of the process so that all that would happen is a dull headache for the rest of the day or often just a few hours. I was still wasn’t happy about getting them as often as I was, so I tried herbal supplements, to no avail. That’s when I started playing with my food intake.

I wondered if the migraines had something to do with what I was eating. I know, you’re so smart that if you were in my life earlier you would have suggested that when I first started getting them, but you weren’t so it wasn’t until later that something clicked that it might be food related. Pat yourself on the back for how smart you are and keep reading.

Trying to figure out what was causing them, I stopped eating breakfast, the ‘most important meal of the day.’  The result? I dropped 15-20 pounds without trying, I felt better, and poof, virtually no migraines.

What?! Skipping the most important meal of the day all these health benefits accrued? How can that be?? Well, a few important things happened. Since I was only eating two meals a day and there was only so much I could stuff in at a time, I was eating about 1600 calories or so (without even tracking it). In other words, I began getting the right amount of calories for my body. Also, something about skipping breakfast must have reset my metabolism, allowing me to process the foods I was eating better so those foods responsible for the migraines were having less effect.

I want you to follow me here – I didn’t set a goal to lose the weight. I didn’t set a goal to eliminate the migraines since I didn’t even know if that was possible. I was simply tired of the migraines and was willing to try things to figure it out. And what I did flew in the face of the so-called experts and the conventional wisdom that we all throw around.

Fast-forward a few years, I was in school as an adult learner with several kids and a full-time job. I didn’t have time to workout. Or at least I didn’t take the time. The result? Carrying around more weight than I wanted.

Once I was finished with school, I had time to work out and a travel schedule that was amenable to doing so several times a week. In combination with that, I was in a rough emotional spot, had access to a great gym at no cost, and was receiving a per diem for meal expenses when I traveled so anything I didn’t spend I got to keep. The combination was potent.

I was eating the right amount of food for what I needed without eating out so I wasn’t consuming too many calories and was saving extra money. I was working out 4-5 days a week, cardio and weights. I had time to make the workout as long as I wanted. Since I was in an emotionally tough spot I was working out to work things out mentally and emotionally.

The result? Best shape of my life. Six-pack. Stronger than ever.

Follow me here. I didn’t set a goal to get a six-pack. I didn’t set a goal to get stronger. I was just trying to use my time wisely and take care of my mind, body, and spirit.

Fast-forward to now, July 2017. I want my six-pack back (I let it go during the divorce and the lead up to it by eating handfuls of Fruit Loops at 11 pm). For 4 years now I’ve told myself I’m going to get it back. For 4 years I’ve said hundreds of times, “Today is the day I start,” only to find myself eating 600 extra calories after dinner. For 4 summers I’ve said, “This is the summer I’ll get my six-pack back,” only to find I still have a little extra padding. For 48 months I’ve said something like, “By this date I want to have it back,” only to find the cookies at the hotel front desk more appealing.

I’ve set the goal to get my six-pack back dozens of times and I’ve failed each time. I even wrote it down and told others so I was accountable. Still failure.

What is my point?

Of the 21 millionaires I interviewed, 3 of them consistently operated with goals to become successful. Only 3. Of the 12 Olympians I have interviewed, each has goals during Olympic training, yet not all of them had a goal to become an Olympian.

Goals as we currently understand them don’t work for everyone.

I lost weight trying to resolve my migraines. I got a six-pack trying to use my time wisely. I get nowhere trying to lose weight and get my six-pack. 19 entrepreneurs became millionaires not really trying to be.

Photo credit Nick Youngson

Photo credit Nick Youngson

I’m sharing this because I get so frustrated with the common success literature that claims to have the ‘right way’ to do everything, including reach your wildest dreams. And goals are almost always a big part of that. What if they weren’t though? Not at least in the way we understand them? What if we operated better another way, as the experience of these Olympians, millionaires, and my own path demonstrate?

What do you really want in life? Sure, set that as your ultimate goal and path. But maybe, just maybe, aside from setting SMART goals in a business setting where you have to be aligned on what needs to be done and when, YOU might be like the millionaires, Olympians, and other successful people I’ve interviewed and you might operate a little better another way.

That other way might be to set an intention and focus and let it guide your decisions. That other way might be as Matt Given put it, following the next logical step. That other way might be to set plans then play your hunches, trusting your gut. Here's the thing; I don't know what way you operate best, but you do. I simply want you to have the truth about my own and others' experience that flies the face of the 'undisputed experts' and conventional wisdom.

What you do with it is up to you...

What I Learned from TED Speaker John Tarnoff

This week I connected with reinvention career coach and TED speaker John Tarnoff to discuss gaining some traction for my books and speaking. I appreciated the wisdom and insight he shared. Here’s what I took away from our discussion:

How Millionaires Succeed: Part 4

How Millionaires Succeed: Part 4

This is the fourth and final post in a series in which I've shared what entrepreneurial millionaires do to create success. The first post can be found here

I've pulled out key questions and answers from our interviews to give you a snapshot of their path to success. You can read the full stories and interviews in my book, 21 Questions for 21 Millionaires: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Success

How Millionaires Succeed: Part 3

How Millionaires Succeed: Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts in which I’ll be sharing what the entrepreneurial millionaires I interviewed did to create success. The first post can be found here, and you can check out the full stories in my book, 21 Questions for 21 Millionaires: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Success

How Millionaires Succeed: Part 1

How Millionaires Succeed: Part 1

Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing what the millionaires I interviewed did to create success. These millionaires are not necessarily gifted with extraordinary qualities, nor was there a concerted effort involved to acquire or develop those qualities. It is only in looking back on their lives

Millionaire Success Story Richard Zuschlag

Millionaire Success Story Richard Zuschlag

Today, I share another millionaire success story - Richard Zuschlag.

If you're wondering how successful people get where they are, Richard's story is phenomenal. I love rereading it and thinking about his personality and path. Enjoy!!

Richard Zuschlag

Founder, Acadian Companies. www.acadian.com

Confessions from a Real Life Dad

Confessions from a Real Life Dad

I'm a bad dad. No really, I am. 

The other night I was taking the kids to get frozen yogurt before we went to Tye and Marlo's for s'mores. It wasn't until Derek mentioned that he wanted Chinese food that I gave serious consideration to the fact that froyo and s'mores, although delicious and (I can justify) nutritious, may not sustain them like I hoped it would.

We turned around,