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10 Ways To Make You Closer To Your Family

10 Ways To Make You Closer To Your Family

How close is your family?

One of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge, facing the U.S. today is the breakdown of the traditional family unit. AllProDad.com states that:

“Today nearly 4 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce, 60% of divorcing couples have children, and over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.”

I’m no relationship expert, but my belief is that if more couples agreed on and lived by a set of meaningful family values, and those values were alive in their homes, the above divorce statistic would go down and families would be closer.

As a man who takes my role as a father and leader of my family seriously, it is my responsibility to create a culture that inspires respect, love, trust, togetherness, and fun. If you want your family to be close, you must make it your responsibility as well. Here are 10 ways to make your family closer:

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1. Be the leader of your family!

If you have a family, whether you recognize it or not, you are a leader. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or man, mother or father, you are a leader. If you have a partner, you are co-leading, and if you are a single parent, you are the sole leader. When I was a business coach, we would frequently remind our clients that leaders have three things: Vision, Action, and Spirit. In other words: you know where you’re going and why you are going there; you are committed to taking the appropriate action to get there; and you are doing it with a spirit that inspires others to be and do their best.

Your first step in leading your family might be to take a good look at yourself in the mirror and honestly acknowledge what kind of leader your family deserves. What kind of partner does your significant other deserve? What kind of parent do your children deserve? What type of life do you deserve? As the leader of your family, you cannot leave the future up to chance. You must lead. The people around you are depending on you to do so.

2. Establish family values

As stated above, I think one of the biggest challenges facing our culture today is the lack of individuals understanding personal values, which results in a lack of family values. Part of the “good look at yourself in the mirror” that I talked about above is admitting to yourself what is truly important and meaningful to you. What type of person do you want to be and what type of person do you need to be to have the life you deserve to have? As an example, here are my personal values that I try to live by every single day:

  • Live with meaning, by knowing what is important and letting that direct my life
  • Provide value to the people around me
  • Live with integrity by walking my talk
  • Good health is the foundation of everything—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually

In relation to your own family: what is truly important to you all? What type of family do you want to be? What type of family do you need to be to live the lives everyone in your family deserves to live? As an example, here are the values or “rules” of my family, in order of priority:

  • Respect: self-respect and respect for others
  • Family first
  • For myself, my career; for my children, school
  • Other commitments
  • Being social and fun

My personal values are the rules that I live by, and my family values are the rules my family lives by. In a demanding, distracting, and over-stimulating world, our personal and family values help us keep focused on things that are truly important and meaningful to us. The more you are able to focus on things that are truly important to you, the more meaningful and fulfilling your lives will be. As the leader, you have power to make this happen.

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3. Create the culture of your home

As the leader of your family, when you establish your family values you have just taken the first step in creating the culture of your home. Your home culture is the spirit that lives in your home and it is felt by everyone who walks through your door. Most importantly, it is the spirit that lives within your family.

For me, above everything else, the spirit I try to be most intentional about in my home is the spirit of respect, love, and togetherness. It’s critical that we respect each other, are loving toward one another, and make a conscious effort to spend time together. As the leader of your family, you can make that happen. How awesome is that?

4. Be present

Your role as the leader of your home is an active role, not a passive role. The only way to create and sustain a home culture based in meaningful family values is for you, as the leader, to make sure they are living. The only way to ensure they are living is for you to be present and active: mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you, as the leader of your home, don’t act like your values and culture are important, why will anyone else? As the leader of your home, it all starts with you.

5. Live by example

In the spirit of “it all starts with you,” you must not only be present, but you must set the example. For crying out loud, you are leading the most important group of people in the world to you to greatness! If respect is important to my family, I had better have self-respect and show respect to those around me. If love is important to my family, I had better be loving to those around me. If togetherness is important to my family, I had better be making an effort to not only spend time with my family, but also encourage them to spend time with each other. As the leader of your family, you must be the example!

6. Control your schedule

As the leader of your family, you must control your schedule or it will control you. A lot of people seem to be really, really busy. When they are too busy and stressed, it’s like a badge they want to present to the world that makes people know they are really busy.

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The concept of being really busy seems to be a crutch for a lot of people. They don’t focus on their health, plan their finances, give time to people they say are important to them, or do the things they really want to do, because they are too darn busy. Well, that is flawed thinking and a bunch of baloney!

People are too busy because they don’t control their schedule and they allow less important people and things distract them from what is really important. If you want your family to be close, you must plan for them to be close. You must be intentional with your schedule and make time for the important things. You need to communicate to your partner and children so they can control their schedule as well.

7. Plan with purpose

A few years ago, a mentor of mine said to me, “You can tell a lot about what is important to a person by looking at their checkbook and calendar.”

If you know what your personal and family values are, it is easy to plan with purpose because you know what is purposeful. Are you intentional about where you are spending your energy, time, and money? Plan with purpose so you can do the things you want to do as a family and spend your resources on things that will give the greatest meaningful return. You are in control, my friend! As the leader of your family, you must plan with purpose.

8. Hold accountable

What I don’t want to get lost in this is that life gets busy. I have a full-time career, own an events business, commit an hour and a half per week to mentoring young men, and above everything else, have a family that is important to me. I am constantly checking myself to make sure my decisions are aligning with the right things.

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As the leader of your family, you must first hold yourself accountable that you are focused on the right things. Next, if other members of your family are allowing the rest of the world to push and pull them in other directions, you need to lovingly hold them accountable. If you are a parent, sometimes you flat out have to make the decision for your children.

If I see my daughter being spread too thin and not focusing on the right things, I will step in and say, “No, you are not doing that, because of this, this, and that.” Because our family values are alive in our home, she gets it. She doesn’t always like it, but she gets it. Holding others accountable is not always asked for or popular at times, but there is a difference between what is popular and what is right. As the leader of the family, you must do what is right!

9. Remind often

If the spirit of your home embodies your family values, reminders will happen automatically. Now, reminders might feel a little like accountability, but they are two different things. Accountability is more of a reaction to a situation and reminding often is simply being proactive. I often talk to my children about how important it is that we spend time together and how lucky we are to have each other. When giving reminders you don’t have to “lay it on thick,” but little reminders of your family values and the spirit you want your house to embody will keep everyone connected and be top of mind as they are making decisions. As the leader of your family, if you are living with Vision, Action, and Spirit, the example you set may be all the reminder your family needs.

10. Have fun

Imagine a world where everything you do is meaningful and fulfilling. As the leader of your family, can you think of anything more fulfilling than your family being closer, both emotionally and physically? I don’t know about you, but I want to have as much fun with my family as possible. When we aren’t together, I want to be able to feel proud that I am doing everything I can to ensure my family is having fun and is happy and healthy. When we are together, our fun and enjoyment will be maximized because respect, love, and togetherness are important to everyone and are the foundation of our home.

Your family being close is a decision that you, the leader, has to make. It doesn’t just happen. The world will eat you up and spit you out if you let it—and a lot of people let it happen. Be different and make the decision for your family to be close and take action to make that happen. If it is important to you, I promise it will be the most important, meaningful, and fulfilling decision you ever make. Be the leader your family needs and deserves!

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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