Monday, October 28, 2013

5 Vital Tools for Postive, Productive, and Clear Communication

     Talking about communication can easily be a multi-part series; however, this entry and the October 28, 2013 Make the Change podcast serve to highlight 5 Vital Tools for Positive, Productive, and Clear Communication the high points, give you a few effective tips to help improve your communication, and maybe even approach how you give and receive communication from a different perspective.

Why do I want/need Positive, Productive, and Clear Communication?
     We all need less stress and more effective production in life, both personally and professionally.  If we spent less time dealing with "drama", just think how much more productive and effective we can be each day.  "Drama" is generally the result of misunderstood, improperly delivered, or lack of communication.  As you read below, remember that your personality, where you come from, your views and values, as well as, the culture you live in (to name just a couple of the factors) all affect how you deliver and receive communication.

What is Communication? 
      Google defines communication as "the imparting or exchanging of information or news" and "the means of connection between people or places.."

We Communicate in 3 ways; Verbal, Nonverbal, and Written
     Communication is not only what you say and how you say it; it can be how you dress, the company you keep, the music you listen to, the care you drive, etc.  Most importantly, its how a particular person, group, culture perceives your words, actions, and writing.

5 Vital Tools for Positive, Productive, and Clear Communication
1. Assume Positive Intent - People generally wake up and pledge to do their best each day, they don't usually set out to aggravate and frustrate you.  Practice patience and when all else fails, remind yourself to assume positive intent.  
2. Practice Tolerance - This does not mean to change or alter your message, but to understand that not everyone sees the whole as you do; therefore, your message may not be received or believed.
3. Assess your Audience and change the way you deliver your message - This does not mean to alter your views or values, but to adapt your delivery to the audience.
4. Analyze you Message before you communicate it - be critical, inquisitive of yourself.  Analyze how you believe the message will be received and anticipate the questions or resistance you may receive.  The "play by play" will likely be different than you imagine it, but you will be prepared and handle any situation with confidence.  
5. Have Confidence and own your message - verbal, nonverbal, or written.  If you don't believe in it, why should anyone else believe it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Family - To Find, Forgive, or Forget?

I am sitting here enjoying a lazy night of World Series junk food and mindless internet window shopping and blog maintenance; thinking about how much I love just existing in the same space as my husband and our children.  I love interacting with them, but I also love just knowing that we are all in the same place even when we are not doing something physically all together.  I am not close to either of my parents presently.  I was close to both of them at different times when I was younger, but we've grown distant in the last decade or so.   I still see them ever couple of months and they make an effort to contact the kids on holidays. I am certain that I have equal part in the separation, and need to do some more soul searching to figure out what I can do differently. More importantly if I should do anything differently to improve our relationship or just let it be what it is presently and be thankful for the relationship and time that we have together.  I often find myself buried in frustration because the relationship is not what I hope or expect.  I attempted conversation with both parents, separately because they are divorced.  While our interaction changes briefly (as a show of mercy, I think); it always reverts to the infrequent and subtle frustrated version for all parties. 

Family is such an interesting concept.  I have friends that I consider more family than some of my actual blood family.  I know that some of that is my military brat upbringing and even more to do with my military service during which I was lucky enough to meet my husband and three best friends, who are without question "my family".  As I matured into adulthood, my concept of life, love, politics, responsibility, and opportunity greatly changed from some of the concepts that my parents believe and those that affect their current behavior.  I, without question, love them.  I know that I am more tolerant with political differences and life choices that differ from mine with complete strangers than I am with family and close friends.  I am critical of myself, my family, and my friends.  I have little tolerance for whining and even less for people who do not learn from life's lessons and continue to repeat the same bad decisions or marinate themselves in pity for the bad decisions they've made instead of moving forward and making better ones.  I believe severely that people have an obligation to themselves and each other to realize their potential and set plans to achieve their goals. 

The most profound part of being a soldier and a "brat" is that friends from the military can not talk for years and when we run into each other, its as if we just spoke yesterday.  I do not have that kind of relationship with most of my blood relatives.

There are, also, the family members that I never really got to know growing up; cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, etc.  Quite honestly neither I nor they made the effort to really establish and maintain a relationship since I became an adult and responsible for my own actions, relationships, and decisions. 

So, I am at a place in life where I now need to consider if, for the sake of my children, I need to reach out to the long lost, forgive the ones that I had/have a "beef" with, or to just forget it and let my kids surround themselves with the family and friends that we know loves and supports us and who we love and support.

Is it time to Make the Change to allow myself to accept life and my family relationships for what they are and let go of the frustration for what they are not or time to Make the Change to make more of an effort to establish, fix, or improve my (our) family relationships?

It is time to Make the Change!

Friday, October 25, 2013


Bobby and I held our inaugural " The Beth and Bobby Show" yesterday and we discussed Facebook.  Ironic that I am sitting here at lunch today with him and we are both preoccupied with our phones and Facebook.  I took a minute to update our blog, but the irony will be funny once you listen to the show.

We had a caller (friend, Kevin Simmons) who added some really good points about how Facebook allows you to stay connected to distant friends but distances you from our really close friends and family because we don't actually make time to speak or visit each other.

Listen to the podcast and let us know what you think!

Join us next Thursday at 5:30pm CT for The Beth and Bobby Show for a candid and funny discussion about politics in America.

Monday, October 21, 2013

10 Steps to Financial Success

There is a lot you can do to better utilize your money and establish you family's financial expectations, the 10 easy steps below will help you and your whole family work to achieve the financial goals that you establish together.

Before we get started, think of your financial planning in 3 stages: tactical, operational, and strategic
  • tactical or short term - how do I pay the bills and spend my money today (as an individual)?
  • operational or mid term - how do I continue to pay my bills, enjoy life, and reach my strategic/long term goals
  • strategic or long term - where do I/We want to be financially in the future?  Where is "the future"? (5 years, 10 years, retirement)
If you hate talking about the household budget, you are not alone BUT the 10 easy steps below will reduce budget stress and may just make it FUN to Make the [positive] Change your family and finances need!!

10 Steps to Financial Success
1. Decide WHO should participate in the money conversation.  Who influences how you and your your family spends their money?  Get those people together in a room, preferably in person.

2.  Ask each person to individually write down their NEEDS and the needs they see for the family and an estimate for what each costs.
ie - food/water/debt/taxes/utilities/child support/rent/education/savings/transportation

3.   Ask each person to individually write down their WANTS and an estimate for what each costs.
ie - vacation/new car/presents/daily coffee shop stop/donations/designer purse

4. Combine the NEED lists and WANT lists separately  - combine and eliminate duplicates - tally up each category to give you a TOTAL NEED estimate and a TOTAL WANT estimate.

5. Discover the actual INCOME.  The GRAND TOTAL is the total of all money coming in, ie - jobs, retirement, alamony, child support, investments.  

      If you do not have enough income to cover the TOTAL NEED, then some serious soul searching is needed from the whole family.  Are our needs really needs?  How do we earn more money to meet our needs?

     If you can cover all your wants with your DISPOSABLE INCOME, then you are in primo shape.  If not, discuss with your family which wants are most important and which can wait.  The family prioritizes, so that no one feels their wants are less important but may just be more expensive.

**The discussion and decision making process as a family build unity in the family and strength in the decision.  Each member has ownership and will want the plan to be successful.

8. DOCUMENT the budget plan.  Decide when and how often to review the plan. ALL PARTIES SIGN IT!  Keep each other accountable - this isn't about blame, its about ownership

9. REVIEW as agreed to or anytime the parties or priorities change.

10. CELEBRATE your achievements as a family and individually.  RECALIBRATE as needed to keep the team accountable and prevent the members from falling into old habits.

This is all about communicating your family's financial philosophy and strengthening not only your financial strength, but your family cohensiveness.

** financial strength is not about a ton of money, its about living within your means and still being happy, healthy, and wise.  It's within reach and I know you can do it! 

Listen or download the Make the Change - Money Monday (10/21) broadcast at:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Make the Change Online Radio | BlogTalkRadio

Make the Change Online Radio | BlogTalkRadio

Join me in conversation with my team of professional colleagues, family, and friends as we navigate together a better way to "Make the [positive] Change" that we all so eagerly chase.

During the US Government Shutdown of 2013, my family faced some uncertain moments about our finances, our professional lives, and our government function.  I realized that the solution to my personal issues and those of our great nation my very well lie in the quiet majority that I so comfortably reside in at the moment.  While I enjoy a good dramatic TV show and occasional movie, any unwarranted drama in my life is unwanted and more often than not avoided.  I realize that my aversion to what I previously considered political drama was contributing to the instability of the great nation that I love.  I have to do something - no, more importantly, we have to do something and fast!  The something I turned to was to speak out and bring you along with me in hopes that this is not my voice but our voice that will be heard.  I don't think I have all the answers, but I know I have some great questions and techniques to share.  No doubt we can collaboratively come up with a great path to travel together. 

This is NOT a partisan blog nor one that focuses solely on politics.  We WILL talk politics, money, communication, collaboration, accountability, responsibility, relationships, positive intent and we will do some root cause analysis at the individual, couple, family, team, community, and national levels.  We will discuss, passionately at times, always with dignity and remembering that we are on the same team and are Americans who want our families, neighbors, communities and the country at large to prosper fiscally, morally, and respectfully above all else.

Our inaugural live show is on Monday, 10/21/13, at 6:30pm Central time and entitled: Money Monday. We will focus on how to live on what you earn, prioritize what you want and need to do, and how that can improve your personal and professional relationships.

Join me at 6:30pm central time for 30 informative, fun, and thought provoking minutes.  Please share with your friends and call in: (619) 924-0806