Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spare the Rod?

Is Spanking a Child Harmful or Helpful? – Part 7
By Dr. Walt Larimore
Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Opposition to parents spanking their children has been growing significantly in elite circles over the past few years. And, my blogs on spanking are among the most read of those I publish. Therefore, I’ve decided to, with the help of the research of my friends Den Trumbull, MD, S. DuBose Ravenel, MD, to look a the arguments used against spanking, to see if they hold any water. This is the seventh of a 12 part series that counters

More Information:
Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.

Counterpoint: Parental power is commonly exerted in routine child rearing and spanking is only one example. Other situations where power and restraint are exercised by the average parent include:

  • The young child who insists on running from his parent in a busy mall or parking lot.
  • The toddler who refuses to sit in his car seat.
  • The young patient who refuses to hold still as a vaccination is administered, or as a laceration is repaired.

Power and control over the child are necessary at times to ensure safety, health and proper behavior. Classic child rearing studies have shown that some degree of power, assertion,[5] and firm control[6] is essential for optimal child rearing. When power is exerted in the context of love and for the child’s benefit, the child will not perceive it as bullying or demeaning.

Here’s the entire series:

• Introduction

• Argument #1: Many psychological studies show that spanking is an improper form of discipline.

• Argument #2: Physical punishment establishes the moral righteousness of hitting other persons who do something which is regarded as wrong.

• Argument #3: Since parents often refrain from hitting until the anger or frustration reaches a certain point, the child learns that anger and frustration justify the use of physical force.

• Argument #4: Physical punishment is harmful to a child.

• Argument #5: Physical punishment makes the child angry at the parent.

• Argument #6: Spanking teaches a child that “might makes right,” that power and strength are most important and that the biggest can force their will upon the smallest.

• Argument #7: Spanking is violence.

• Argument #8: Spanking is an ineffective solution to misbehavior.

• Argument #9: Adults who were spanked as children are at risk for using violence as a means of resolving conflicts as adults.

• Argument #10: Spanking leads a parent to use harmful forms of corporal punishment which lead to physical child abuse.

• Argument #11: Spanking is never necessary.

– By Den A. Trumbull, M.D. and S. DuBose Ravenel, M.D. Dr. Trumbull is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Montgomery, Alabama. He is Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians. Dr. Ravenel is a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. He served for 11 years on the pediatric faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine prior to entering private practice.

Momentum Breakers vs Momentum Makers

by Dr. John C. Maxwell

A train travelling 55 mph on a railroad track can crash through a 5-foot thick steel-reinforced concrete wall without stopping. That same train, starting from a stationary position, won't be able to go through an inch-thick block in front of the driving wheel.

It is never the size of your problem that is the problem. It's a lack of momentum. Without momentum, even a tiny obstacle can prevent you from moving forward. With momentum, you'll navigate through problems and barely even notice them.

As a leader, your responsibility is to understand momentum, to get it moving for your organization, and to sustain it over time. Momentum can be tricky to comprehend, though, often appearing elusive and intangible. In this article, my goal is to give you handles so that you can better recognize how to generate momentum in your workplace. To help you grasp the concept of momentum, I'll outline ten momentum breakers alongside ten momentum makers.
Momentum Breakers and Makers

Momentum breaker - double-mindednessMomentum maker - focus
By creating and following a clear and focused vision statement, a leader develops momentum. A leader drains away momentum by shooting at nothing or attempting everything.
Movement causes friction. When you paint a target for your team, you'll likely encounter resistance. As a leader, you can't restrict yourself by living inside of someone else's comfort zone. Great accomplishments require leaders to fix their gaze beyond what's easily attainable.

Momentum breaker - the pastMomentum maker - the future
An organization picks up steam when its leaders point to a better tomorrow. Momentum breaks down when leaders preoccupy themselves with the past. Or, as I've heard quoted, "Losers yearn for the past and get stuck in it. Winners learn from the past and let go of it."

Many people have powerful dreams. However, most don't realize that the viability of their ideal tomorrow is based on what they do today. The difference between a dream and wishful thinking is what you're doing now. Practice today what you want to be tomorrow. If you do it well enough, someday you may arrive at your dream.

Momentum breaker - individualismMomentum maker - teamwork
If you want to kill momentum, then insist on doing things by yourself. Momentum grows through team victories in which numerous people can claim to have played a role. The level of celebration on a team depends upon the level of participation.

Momentum breaker - critical attitudeMomentum maker - constructive attitude
Tennis great Chris Evert said it best, "The thing that separates good players from great ones is mental attitude. It might only make a difference of two or three points over an entire match, but how you play those key points often makes the difference between winning and losing."

Momentum breaker - traditionMomentum maker - creativity
Don't tear down the fence until you understand why it was built. At the same time, relentlessly question the logic, "that's how we have always done it." What worked in the past may be outdated and could hold you back in the future.

Momentum breaker - apathyMomentum maker - passion
Passion energizes your talent and rubs off on those around you. If you have courage, then you will influence people based on your passionate convictions. If you lack courage, then you will only influence people to the extent of your comfort zone.

Momentum breaker - dishonestyMomentum maker - character
Character is the sum total of our everyday choices. It cannot be built overnight. A trustworthy leader has a much easier time generating momentum than a leader with a reputation of being manipulative and deceitful.

Momentum breaker - conformityMomentum maker - change
As John F. Kennedy said, "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." Sticking with the status quo won't create an ounce of momentum. Although it's difficult and may demand sacrifice, change is required to build momentum.

Momentum breaker - ingratitudeMomentum maker - gratitude
As a Chinese proverb states, "Those who drink the water must remember those who dug the well." No one can claim to be self-made. Whatever accomplishments we attain in life have connections to the goodwill and support of those around us. When we express thankfulness for the benefits bestowed upon us by friends and colleagues, then those people are more apt to aid us again in the future.

Momentum breaker - indecisionMomentum maker - action
I am never overly impressed with idea people. Anyone who takes a long shower can come up with a good idea. I'm impressed with a person who has the tenacity and discipline to make ideas happen.

I've seen many leaders break the momentum on their team by succumbing to the paralysis of analysis. Leaders have to act with incomplete information. You can never know all of the variables. Momentum and risk go hand in hand. As a leader, if you always play it safe, then you'll never inspire excitement in those you lead.

Closing Assignment
I'll leave you with a simple assignment. Assess your personal momentum. Are you speeding through the obstacles in your life or struggling to surmount even the smallest problems? What is responsible for your momentum or lack thereof? Do you recognize any of the momentum makers or breakers in your personal leadership?

About the Author:
John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. EQUIP, the organization he founded has trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and ambassadors at the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was named the World's Top Leadership Guru by He was also one of only 25 authors and artists named to's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies. For more about Dr. Maxwell, visit

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why Can't I Focus on God Today? Am I Spiritually A.D.D?

By Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

This article may be less like an article than any I’ve written before. Normally, I really have a grasp of what I’m going to write before I ever write it but, today, the title of my article is an honest question. Truly, why CAN’T I focus on God today? I mean, I’ve done everything I normally would do to spend time with my Creator. I’ve read my Bible, with a focus on how the words relate to my own life right now. I prayed that God would convict me of how I can apply the messages to my own life. I barely got through 3 chapters and, normally, I can read much more, not because I feel obligated, but because I enjoy them. But today, I had to stop because I couldn’t focus. I thought that, perhaps, I needed to spend some time in the awesome workbook, “Experiencing God” and so I read and meditated on the next daily devotional time. It was great! It had some really great ideas about being a godly parent, a topic that TOTALLY is a passion for me…but I couldn’t focus on that either, nor did it help me to tune in to the Lord. So, even though I didn’t feel like it…I wrote in my prayer journal. Normally, that slows me down and REALLY gets me in touch with God. In fact, I hear Him speak to me the most while I’m writing my prayers to Him. But, today I wrote an entire page but it was forced and I found my mind wandering way more than usual.

My conclusion? I must have spiritual ADD. At least for today anyway. Now, even as I write this, I am tempted to feel ashamed of myself. I’m sensing the shame that lies dormant in my heart straining to rise to the surface to convict me of my godlessness. What kind of Christian am I if I cannot stop thinking about everything in life rather than God??? What’s wrong with me? Is God not with me? Have I sinned and created a distance between HIM and me? My temptation is to panic and to wonder if I’ve put a barrier in my walk with Him.

And then I stop…
The truth is that I’ve felt a stubborn, but subtle, spiritual opposition against me for over a week now. Today simply feels like an extension of the same. I believe the Enemy is working against me for some reason and seems to be more adamant about it than usual. Why would that be? Aren’t I the same guy I was three weeks ago?

The “shame” in me wants to answer, “no, you’re not the same. Once again, you are simply showing how inconsistent you are in your relationship to God. Don’t you think He’s tired of this roller-coaster ride? You need to back off and give God a break. He must be furious with you!” But (to borrow from Casting Crowns) the “voice of truth tells me a different story”. That voice whispers to me that He is still right here, next to me even as I struggle with my concentration and focus on Him. He whispers to me that there is NO condemnation coming from Him and that it’s only the Enemy trying to find a foothold. He reminds me that He is doing many things in my life and has plans to do more for HIS kingdom and that the Enemy really doesn’t want that to happen. He reminds me that I am HIS and that His grace is MORE than enough even in these moments where I feel spiritually weak or distracted. He also tells me not to distance from Him but to hang on and that He and I will get through this together. He wants me to fight the feelings of shame and lean on the truth of His grace. He wants me to be FREE of Satan’s onslaught.

So, I write this article. Partially because it is helping me to focus on the messages He is giving to me. But, partially because these themes are not just for me…they are for YOU as well. You, the reader. I imagine that most of you have felt spiritually ADD at times and have beat yourself up over it. I’ll bet that many of you have felt so drawn away by the worries of life that you just weren’t able to settle down and focus completely on the Lord.

Yeah….this message is for you. Here it comes:

There it is…..even when you don’t FEEL Him, He’s there. Even when Satan works hard to distract you and lead you down a path of escape or negative self-talk, God is right there. Even when you do screw up and sin against God….he is there…….and He wants you to come running immediately. Don’t take the bait of shame and stay clear of God, believing He is upset at you. Don’t hide from Him when things get tough spiritually…run TOWARDS Him. That’s what Satan tries to prevent and it’s what God desperately wants from us.

So….when you have days like this and start to beat yourself up: STOP IT!!! Realize that these messages are not from the Lord and are merely designed to draw you further away from Him. In these moments just keep on going, keep on looking to Him, and know that maybe, just maybe, something AWESOME is just around the corner.
Keep the faith, my friends.

Aaron Welch is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor and certified sex offender treatment specialist. He strives to fight for the hearts of his clients and empower them to build a legacy that impacts the world. He is part of a team of experts at “The Llifeworks Group, Inc”. For more information about Aaron or Lifeworks, please visit or

Thursday, October 22, 2009


By Gary Eby, Motivational Speaker

Lefthanded Soldiers is dedicated to all of those who have been wounded in life ... whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, or financially and yet, against all odds, have risen from the devastation to become a champion!

There are few things in life that move me like seeing someone overcome adversity. I believe that there are great men and women from all walks of life, who, because of some “event” or series of events, have pretty much given up. Somewhere between brokenness and bitterness many have laid down their proverbial swords and surrendered. They’ve been wounded. Lefthanded Soldiers teaches us that when we are wounded … when our “right arms” have been hurt … that we can become Lefthanded Soldiers rather than allowing our circumstances to condemn us to a life of “what-ifs.” How many great leaders are no longer leading?

What will our society suffer because the leadership we need is somewhere hurting rather than rallying the troops? What great sickness is raging because the doctors and nurses who can make a difference are in need of healing themselves? How many great sermons will not be preached because an overworked and underpaid Pastor had a “humpty-dumpty” fall and is allowing condemnation to keep him out of service? Great public servants, teachers, volunteers, entrepreneurs, and politicians, all over the world are waiting ... waiting for someone to care enough to put their arms around them and say ... “Let’s get back into the battle of life again! We need you!”

I believe that great leaders can inspire the “wounded warriors” among us that they can “engage” in life again and they can be winners!

In the real world… most of the time… it’s the size of your mess that determines the size of your message. It may not be pleasant to hear, but, the size of your testimony is due, in large part, to the size of your test. Where would Abe Lincoln have been without the Civil War? Where would John Kennedy have been without the Cuban Missile Crisis? David needed Goliath to become King. You cannot not wear a victor’s crown without having fought a few battles! You can’t sing before you talk. You can’t run before you walk. You can’t have a message until you’ve had a mess … and you can’t have a testimony until you’ve had a test! Let’s look at these lyrics to a song that I wrote.

The victor’s crown only goes to those who’ve been in war. Eagles can’t stay in their nest if they want to soar. Sitting on the side lines you’ll never be your best. You can’t have a testimony ‘till you’ve had a test.

God won’t send thirsty people to an empty well.
Heaven's cup sure is sweeter once you’ve tasted hell.There’s no wine until the grape has gone through the press.You can’t have a testimony ’till you’ve had a test.

Out of this understanding
“Lefthanded Soldiers" was born. I want to teach you ... to teach others that “Change is a door that can only be opened from the inside!”

The willingness to change can be inspired by others but change itself is a personal choice. It is “Choice” not “Chance” that determines your destiny.

Lefthanded Soldiers is a call for the wounded to “get back into the battle of life!

”Lefthanded Soldiers is a call for leaders to build an army of renewed, revived warriors. Let’s teach them that they can make a decision to “engage” in life again. Let’s teach them that they can make a difference in the world. They can be “Lefthanded Soldiers!”

About the Author: Gary Eby is an International Trainer and Sales Strategist. He has the dynamic gift and ability to teach, train, motivate, and inspire. His message is a power-packed adventure that is filled with laughter and practical illustrations. Gary has conducted seminars all over the United States as well as England, Japan and Brazil. His diverse background includes the US Marines and a lifestyle mission statement that focuses on "vision, integrity and diligence." To learn more about Gary’s best-selling Lefthanded Soldiers CD program, visit his website -

The High Road Principle

By Dr. John C. Maxwell

"It's nothing personal; it's just business," is a commonly heard phrase in the workplace. However, I tend to disagree with anyone who tries to impersonalize business. At its heart, commerce is a human enterprise, founded upon relationships between people.

Most of us spend a majority of our waking hours in our business or at work, and our vocations endow our lives with meaning or purpose. When we devote ourselves to profession, we're giving a piece of who we are to our work. In that sense, business is deeply personal.

In the workplace, as in the rest of life, relationships get messy. Sooner or later, we will be mistreated. A boss will unjustly fault our performance, a partner will fail to honor an agreement, or a co-worker will cut us down in a meeting. Since business is personal, those instances hurt us, and unless dealt with correctly, they can derail us. As a leader, we have to commit to taking the high road when others, intentionally or unintentionally, wrong us.

Four Tips For Travelling the High Road

1) It's Not What Happens to You, but in You That Really Matters

During the Civil War, Confederate General W.H.C. Whiting envied rival general Robert E. Lee. Consequently, Whiting spread vicious rumors about Lee in an attempt to smear his character. Lee had the opportunity to get even, though. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, was considering Whiting for a promotion, and he consulted Lee's opinion of the general. Without hesitation, Lee endorsed and commended Whiting. The officers who witnessed the exchange were astonished. Afterward, one of them asked Lee if he had forgotten all of the slander Whiting had spread about him.

"I understand that the President wanted to know my opinion of Whiting, responded Lee, not his opinion of me." Lee did what high road travelers do. He refused to be dragged into a game of bickering and petty jealousies by treating another person with respect, even when that respect seemed unwarranted.

2) High Roaders See Their Own Need for Grace, Therefore They Extend It to Others

Let's face it; we all screw up from time to time. Each of us has quirks that we know can be annoying, and bad moments when we're not so pleasant to be around.People who take the high road recognize their humanness, know that they need to be extended grace, and accordingly are more likely to extend it to others.

3) High Roaders Are Not Victims; They Choose to Serve Others

People who take the high road don't do so because it's the only available option. They don't do it by accident either: the high road goes uphill and takes more effort to travel. Instead, high roaders choose their path as a conscious act of service to others. By taking the high road, they drain animosity and bitterness out of relationships, serving to keep them open and productive.

Interestingly, in serving others, higher roaders benefit themselves, too. As the author of Proverbs wrote, "It is a man's glory to overlook an offense." When we maturely respond to a slight by showing forgiveness, we display admirable character that elevates us in the eyes of others.

4) High Roaders Set High Standards for Themselves Than Others Would

Abandoned as an infant, author James Michener never knew his biological parents. Fortunately, he was taken in and raised by a widow, and he adopted her surname. However, each time James published a book, he received nasty notes from one member of the Michener clan. The relative chastised James for taking on the Michener name, which this person felt the novelist had no right to use.

Despite being berated, Michener did agree with one statement his relative had made, "Who do you think you are, trying to be better than you are?" As James Michener professed, "I've spent my life trying to be better than I was, and I am a brother to all who share the same aspiration."

When we conduct ourselves according to the highest standard, we are less likely to become defensive and take the low road when others attack us. Once you've done all that you can, then you can let the noise of detractors roll off your back like rain.

In leadership, as in life, others will behave unkindly toward you. When ill-treated, don't retreat into a defensive mode or strike back in anger. Instead, take the high road and discover how rising above offenses frees you from petty arguments and adds to your reputation.

About the Author: John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and ambassadors at the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was named the World's Top Leadership Guru by He was also one of only 25 authors and artists named to's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies. Find more of John's resources at

5 Strategies to Make Strong Decisions

By Dwight Bain, Certified Life Coach

One of my favorite sayings to share with people facing a major decision is "you always have options." Yet in challenging times people are often so frozen by fear from making a wrong decision that they don't make a decision at all and life passes them by. Think of how many events in life are complicated or missed completely because of the roadblock of being afraid to fail by making a decision and then making that decision work…
  • Marriages that didn't happen because of a shy guy with cold feet
  • Promotions that never occurred because of the fear of asking for it
  • Scholarships left on a table somewhere because someone was afraid to fill out the paperwork
  • Trips to exotic places that were always talked about but never taken because no one sat down to schedule it
  • Relationships that failed because someone didn't decide to work on issues and quietly let things 'slip, slide away'
  • Forgiveness that was never granted because someone never got past the fear of saying that they were sorry

I've noticed that people will fit into one of the following levels when facing a major decision. Think about where you are in the process.


Level 1 - Go Numb and Do Nothing
This level is where an individual is so paralyzed by fear that they can't take action and may experience major signs or symptoms of distress. When someone feels numb inside, they often describe their life as being in a 'fog' and often crash in the process. This may be the most dangerous level of all.

Level 2 - Passive Pleasing
This level is about pleasing others in a very non-assertive way. The people pleaser personality is passively trying to avoid a conflict, yet often their quietness of not dealing with issues is covering up an emotional explosion that can erupt at any time. This person looks quiet and pleasant on the outside, yet often is irritated and frustrated on the inside.

Level 3 - Mediocrity in the Middle of the Road
When people are trying to be politically correct, they often will just sit in the middle of the road on an issue. Are they conservative or liberal? Do they see things as white or black? You never know because this person refuses to take a stand - often because they either don't care about the situation to have an opinion about it, or are afraid to say it. The risk of sitting in the middle of the road is that you will eventually be run over by a more direct personality who knows where they are going.

Level 4 - Active and Assertive Expression
If you know what you believe and are able to express it, then you are in a situation of active and assertive expression. People know where you stand because you tell them, instead of trying to hint around for them to read your mind. This level may lead to some hurt feelings on occasion, but those are soon forgotten because positive action eventually leads to positive results.

Level 5 - Energetic - Do It All with Enthusiasm
This level is a joy to watch develop in a person's life when facing a major decision. They KNOW that it's the right person to marry, or the right college to attend, or the best time to move on to a better career. There is such a degree of personal power in energetic decision makers that people just want to be around them to gain insight and strength to face the decisions they need to make in their own lives with more confidence. Everyone loves to be around level 5 decision makers because even if the things that need to change aren't pleasant, this individual is able to communicate in such a way that it is just natural to follow their lead.

As you think through the five levels of decision making, I hope you saw most of your personal or professional life in either level 4 or 5, because that is where the action is. You can't get results if you are frozen by the fear of being indecisive. Life is changing fast, and you must be focused on how to rapidly change with it if you want to be more successful.

Here is a LifeWorks Group exercise designed to coach you through the decision process. Hopefully you can use it today to rapidly sort through your options to come up with a rock solid decision and build a better future. So take out your legal pad, or map it out in an e-mail to review with a coach, mentor, or friend as you move from being frozen by fear to growing forward in greater faith because you have mastered the secrets to making right decisions.

  • Define a particular problem, question, or choice you are currently struggling with
  • List your options for resolving the question or choice
  • Write the possible outcomes for each option, both short term and long term
  • Write the benefits or risks of each option
  • Determine which option corresponds most closely with your overall values and goals
  • Determine which option is the healthiest choice for all involved
  • Is this a decision you can commit to for a specified period of time, and if so how long?
  • Talk with a supportive/trusted person about the options and write down useful

suggestions. (It may be tempting to skip this step, but this is one of the most valuable parts of gaining an objective perspective and to 'test' your ideas before you put them into practice).

Reprint Permission- If this article was helpful you are invited to share it electronically or in print with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint and thanks for helping us to help others by spreading the word.

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About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a best selling Author, Certified Life Coach, Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on managing major change. He partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture. Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting his blog with almost 200 complimentary articles and special reports at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Keeping Your Cool Even When the Holidays Get Hot

Dealing with the Stress of the Holiday Season

By Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC, CSOTS

Ah yes, the holidays. For many, it is a blissful time of reflection, renewal of relationships, and a much-needed respite in the midst of the chaotic monotony of life.

Unfortunately, for others, the holidays represent loneliness, a spiraling into depression, and the inevitable flashes of anger at family get-togethers. Yes, it’s true. Even if you can effectively avoid familial conflict for the rest of the year many cannot escape the hungry clutches of anger and conflict that arise within the holiday season.

Why does this happen? What universal forces are at play in these unhappy annual confrontations? Why is it that, at many holiday tables, tempers flare like the eruption of Vesuvius?

Truth be told there are too many reasons to count but here is a sliver of them:

-Holidays often emphasize to us how rough the year has been
(perhaps we have less money for Christmas)

-The joy in others can irritate the depression in our own hearts

-Anxiety runs high during the holiday season (even good things can
cause stress.

-Our routines are interrupted and this causes many to be a wee bit

-Often, we are forced to be around people we would rather avoid,
and we have to listen to the same annoying theories and complaints
we have heard about a MILLION times before even though we would
rather just haul off and “whack” that person one or at LEAST cover
their repulsive lips with a MUZZLE!!!
Ahem….sorry. Just getting an early start this year.

Seriously, now that we have vividly exposed the issue, here are some tips for keeping your cool even when the holidays get too hot (under the collar, that is):

· STAY FOCUSED ON THE POINT: Remember that holidays are meant to give us a break. They are designed to connect us with family and friends and to remind us to be thankful for what we do have. Don’t get caught up in the “hamster wheel” of craziness. Don’t focus on how rough the year has been. Keep your eyes on why we even celebrate holidays.

· GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO SLOW DOWN: Many people have trouble relaxing even when it’s not a holiday. When it IS a holiday they go into overdrive. If you struggle with this, fight against it. Take a deep breath and look at the important relationships around you. Those people need your focus more than your dust mop.

· DON’T GET DRAWN INTO TRADITIONAL FAMILY FIGHTS: Doesn’t it happen every year? We tend to get sucked into old family bickering or feuds? We forget how much our family triggers us and, so, we get triggered AGAIN. Not this year! Before the holidays arrive, take time to reflect on those old triggers and be more aware of them. That way, when Aunt Melba takes a pot-shot at you, you can simply smile and say…”why thank you, Melba….won’t you please pass the stuffing?”

So….everyone…as we enter into this glorious season let’s take it all in stride. It may or may not be your favorite time of the year but remember; you’ll get a much-needed breather from work, you’ll probably eat a lot of great food and….just in case….you can always sneak in a muzzle.

Aaron Welch is a licensed mental health counselor, nationally certified counselor and certified sex offender treatment specialist. He strives to fight for the hearts of his clients and empower them to build a legacy that impacts the world. He is part of a team of experts at “The Lifeworks Group, Inc”. For more information about Aaron or Lifeworks, please visit or

Thursday, October 15, 2009


By Pam Smith, Nutritionist and best selling author

Flus, colds and viruses have been attempting terrorist-like "body invasions" for years -- long before the recent concerns around H1N1; it appears that there are always going to be threats of flu pandemics, real or sensationalized. The H1N1 alarm sounded in April. Just 6 months later, the never-before-seen swine flu has become the world's dominant strain of influenza. With flu's favorite chilly weather fast approaching, public health experts have great concerns that we are going to be a sick nation this fall. The big unknown is how sick. One in five people infected or a worst case -- half the population?

Millions of vaccine doses are now arriving into the U.S., but the hopeful news: Even with no vaccine, winter is ending in the Southern Hemisphere without as much havoc as doctors had feared, a heavy season that started early but not an overwhelming one. The strain that doctors call the 2009 H1N1 flu isn't any deadlier than typical winter flu so far. Most people recover without treatment; many become only mildly ill. Importantly, careful genetic tracking shows no sign yet that the virus is mutating into a harsher strain.

We're used to regular flu that, sadly, hits mostly grandparents. But the real shock of swine flu is that infections are 20 times more common in the 5- to 24-year-old age group than in people over 65. That older generation appears to have some resistance, probably because of exposure decades ago to viruses similar to the new one. In addition, pregnant women are especially at risk, as are people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and neuromuscular diseases including muscular dystrophy. And horrifically, children have indeed died -- unexpectedly and without other complications. So, the availability of vaccines is a blessing and necessary.

First in line for the vaccines: Pregnant women, school aged children and young adults up to 24 years, health care workers and younger adults with risky health conditions. And, do people still need to bother with regular flu vaccine? Definitely -- according to the Centers for Disease Control. There's still enough regular flu circulating to endanger people, especially the 65-and-older generation.

The mantra for prevention and protection against ANY flu: Wash your hands often and well, sneeze into your elbow, stay home so you don't spread illness when you're sick. And -- practice an extra dose of self care and stay well defense strategies against the flu -- or any sickness!

The good news is that you can break free of the sickness trap by following some natural health principles. Keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with!

Here's how:

Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I often discuss, getting more than adequate Vitamin D is one of the best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and Vitamin D deficiency is likely to be a culprit behind the seasonality of the flu, not just being exposed to the flu virus itself. (For more information on the importance of getting enough Vitamin D, visit my September 2007 newsletter at

Get enough rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu.

Have Effective Tools to defuse stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness.

Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads.

Wash Your Hands Often and Well. It will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people.


1) Yogurt. Probiotics, or the "live active cultures" found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs. Although they're available in supplement form, a study from the University of Vienna in Austria found that a daily 7-ounce dose of yogurt was just as effective in boosting immunity as popping pills. In an 80-day Swedish study of 181 factory employees, those who drank a daily supplement of Lactobacillus reuteri--a specific probiotic that appears to stimulate white blood cells--took 33% fewer sick days than those given a placebo. Any yogurt with a Live and Active Cultures seal contains some beneficial bugs, but Stonyfield Farm is the only US brand that contains this specific strain.

And, the next time you hit the yogurt aisle, pick up the Greek kind -- compared with regular yogurt, it has twice the protein (and 25% of women over 40 don't get enough) -- and is loaded with healthy probiotics. Look for fat-free varieties like Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt (120 calories and 23 g of protein per 8-ounce serving).

Your optimal dose: Two 6-ounce servings a day.

2) Salmon and Omega-3 Fats. Salmon is a rich source of vitamin D and one of the best sources of omega-3s you can find. These essential fatty acids have a wide range of impressive health benefits -- from boosting your immune army's fighting power and mood to preventing heart disease to smoothing your skin and aiding weight loss and minimizing the effects of arthritis. Unfortunately, many Americans aren't reaping these perks because we're deficient, which some experts believe may be at the root of many of the big health problems today, like obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Omega-3s also slow the rate of digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat fewer calories throughout the day.

Your optimal dose: 8-12 ounces of salmon (or other cold water fish like tuna, trout, mackerel, artic char, halibut, sardines and black cod) per week. (Check out my "Simply Delicious Salmon Cakes" recipe below.)

3) Garlic. This potent onion relative contains more than 70 phytochemicals, including the active ingredient allicin, which in addition to lowering blood pressure, fights infection. Garlic works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria, virus, and protozoa in the body, but unlike antibiotics, no resistance can be built up so it is an absolutely safe product to use. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. Other studies suggest that garlic lovers who chow more than six cloves a week have a 30% lower rate of colorectal cancer and a 50% lower rate of stomach cancer. (Check out "Garlic -- Have It Your Way!" below).

Your optimal dose: Two raw cloves a day and add crushed garlic to your cooking several times a week. To activate and preserve protective compounds while cooking, crush the cloves and let them stand for 10 minutes before heating them.

4) Oats and Barley. These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than echinacea, reports a Norwegian study. When animals eat this compound, they're less likely to contract influenza, herpes, even anthrax; in humans, it boosts immunity, speeds wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better.

Your optimal dose: At least one in your three daily servings of whole grains. To reap the benefits, eat 1/2 cup daily -- preferably unsweetened. For a versatile breakfast, top with different combinations of fruit, yogurt, and nuts. You can also use oats to coat fish or chicken or add texture to meatballs.

5) Chicken Soup. All over the world, mothers and grandmothers cook up steaming pots of chicken soup whenever a loved one comes down with a cold. A study published in the journal Chest, conducted by researchers at the Nebraska Medical Center, proves there's medical merit to the savory remedy. Chicken soup contains compounds that lessen inflammation, which contributes to a cold's familiar symptoms. When University of Nebraska researchers tested 13 brands, they found that most blocked the migration of inflammatory white cells -- an important finding, because cold symptoms are a response to the cells' accumulation in the bronchial tubes. The amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine, which may explain the results. The soup's salty broth keeps mucus thin the same way cough medicines do. Added spices, such as garlic, hot peppers and onions, can increase soup's immune-boosting power.

Your optimal dose: Have a bowl when feeling the beginnings of congestion or tightness through the chest. (Check out Grandma's new Chicken Soup)

6) Tea. In a Harvard study, people who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink. The amino acid that's responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea.

Your optimal dose: Although not a replacement for water, try for several cups daily -- decaf still has the fighting power without the buzz.. To get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while you brew.

7) Mushrooms. For centuries, people around the world have turned to mushrooms for a healthy immune system. Contemporary researchers now know why. Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive. This is a good thing when you have an infection -- or even the beginning of one.

Your optimal dose: Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms appear to pack the biggest immunity punch; experts recommend at least 1/4 ounce to an ounce a few times a day for maximum immune benefits. Add a handful to pasta sauce, saute with a little olive oil and add to eggs, or heap triple-decker style on a sandwich.

May you eat well, get well -- and stay well! reprinted with permission from contact Pam directly for speaking events 407.909.9898

Thursday, October 08, 2009

How to Catchthe 2009 H1N1 (Swine) Flu

By Walt Larimore, MD

Monday, 5 October 2009

What’s the single most efficient way to catch H1N1 swine flu? OK, that’s a no-brainer. Having a sick person cough directly into your face cannot be a good thing. That gives you more than a 50% chance of getting sick. But if this doesn’t happen, what’s the next most risky thing you could do to dramatically increase your risk of catching the Swine flu?

The risks were calculated by environmental health experts Mark Nicas, PhD, of the University of California, Berkeley, and Rachael M. Jones, PhD, of the University of Illinois, Chicago, and reported by WebMD.

Touching something contaminated with flu virus and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes with your unwashed hand gives you a 31% chance at getting sick, Nicas and Jones calculate.
Breathing in tiny particles left hanging in the air from a flu-infected person’s cough or sneeze gives you a 17% chance of infection.

Breathing in larger particles – which hang in the air for a shorter time – gives you only a 0.5% chance of getting sick.

The calculations are based on a scenario in which a family member is taking care of someone sick in bed with a type A flu bug. H1N1 swine flu is one such virus.

Can you count on these numbers to keep you safe?

No, Nicas and Jones admit. The calculations are based on many factors and situations – such as the amount of virus in an infected person’s body or the humidity of a room – that change from day to day and from person to person.

“As a result, we conclude that nonpharmaceutical interventions [to prevent infection with] a pandemic virus must account for all routes of exposure,” Nicas and Jones note in their report, published in the September issue of Risk Analysis.

They summarize the four easiest ways to catch the flu, including H1N1 swine flu:

Touching a surface contaminated with virus and then touching your face.

Breathing in tiny droplets containing flu virus dispersed in the air.

Breathing in medium-size droplets containing flu virus, which do not travel as far or hang in the air as long as tiny droplets.

Having large droplets deposited directly onto your facial membranes.

“More reliable information concerning these areas would lead to a less uncertain apportionment of influenza infection risk among the four exposure pathways,” Nicas and Jones conclude.

So, based upon these calculations, what can you do to not catch the Swine flu?

Well, first and foremost, be sure that you, your family, and your work colleagues are immunized with the Swine flu vaccine. After that, here are some basic steps you can and should take to reduce your risk of catching Swine flu or limit the spread of any respiratory illness if you are already sick:

Wash your hands. Washing your hands well and often is the best way to prevent the spread of any disease. How long should you wash your hands? As long as it takes to sing or hum “Happy Birthday to You.”

Cover your cough or sneeze. If you do need to cough or sneeze, do it into a tissue or, better yet, the crook of your arm or elbow, instead of your hands. This will greatly decrease the spread of any virus you may have.

Avoid people who are sick. Don’t expose yourself to people who are sick, especially those with upper respiratory viruses.

If you are sick, stay home. If you aren’t around other people, then you can’t spread the virus to them. Stay home as long as you have symptoms. If your kids are sick, keep them home even a day or two after they get better, as they can spread illnesses for longer.

Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes. Our hands are hotbeds for germs and are the most common way we spread them. If you avoid putting your hands on your face, you decrease your chances of getting viruses and bacteria into your body, which can make you sick.

Keep home and workplace surfaces clean. Use clean wipes on telephones, computer keyboards, and work surfaces - especially if shared with others.

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The Value of a Good System

By John C. Maxwell

Almost nightly, the fate of the American health care system headlines the evening news. With costly inefficiencies plaguing the system, employers and workers alike have felt the pain of skyrocketing premiums. Politicians on opposite ends of the political spectrum disagree on the best policies for the future, but there seems to be consensus that the system isn't working well.
I'm not advocating a position in the health care debate. I simply want to point out the headaches caused when we don't have good systems. What's true nationally applies individually as well. Broken systems lead to disorganization, confusion, and chaos whereas smooth systems allow us to move quickly and efficiently.

The reason for this lesson is to help you understand the importance of developing good systems in your personal and professional leadership. The exact systems that work for me may not pertain to you. It's up to you to find the systems that will benefit you the most. Yet, regardless of what your systems look like, you would be wise to design them if you intend to grow in influence.
What Is a System?

A system is simply your way of getting things done. Systems aren't one-time acts; they're habits that you do weekly or even daily. They're the mechanics of leadership, and over time, they dictate the extent of your effectiveness.

The Value of Systems

1) They Help Us Manage Time
As a young leader, a heavier workload and increasing demands on my time forced me to learn how to get things done quickly. I developed systems to squeeze as much productivity as possible into my day. I couldn't afford to move slowly.

As Peter Drucker wrote, "Everything requires time. It is the one truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time. Yet most people take for granted, this unique, irreplaceable, and necessary resource. Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time."

2) They Help Us Conserve Energy
When we have good systems in life, we don't waste energy. Do you know the number one waster of time? Looking for things that are lost. A study by Office World News found that the average executive squanders 150 hours each year looking for misplaced files.

As I worked on this lesson, I laughed because I knew it would bring up a few of my idiosyncrasies. For example, when I went to get my glasses the last time, I ordered six pairs-one to put at each of my favorite reading places. I don't have to carry a pair around with me, and when I sit down they're always convenient. It may seem like a silly system, but I never lose time rummaging around for a pair of reading glasses.

3) They Help Us to Multiply Creativity
When I was first married, my wife and I lived in south Indiana, and we didn't have any money. Margaret taught kindergarten, and I was a pastor making $80 per week. Margaret would ask me to mow the lawn, and I would get irritated because we didn't have money to hire someone else to tend to the lawn. There's nothing wrong with mowing, but I had lots of other priorities, and mowing didn't crack my top ten. So, eventually we bought a goat. He grazed on the grass, and I saved time!

Developing systems to handle the trivia of life frees you up to be creative. By automating repetitive tasks, you're able to focus mental energy on top priorities.

4) They Help Us to Maximize Progress
Systems help us to move forward, to go as far as we possibly can. They enable us to work faster, smarter, and more strategically. A good system eliminates waste, while it also anticipates and removes obstacles.

To get the most out of systems, you have to make them a lifestyle not a one-off deal. They must become ingrained in your routine. Systems only benefit you when you stick to them.

The Value of Systems
1) They Help Us Manage Time
2) They Help Us Conserve Energy
3) They Help Us to Multiply Creativity
4) They Help Us to Maximize Progress

About the Author
John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. EQUIP, the organization he founded has trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and audiences as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Football League, and ambassadors at the United Nations. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was named the World's Top Leadership Guru by He was also one of only 25 authors and artists named to's 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Introverts, Extroverts and the 4 Personalities

By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach

“Why did you do that?” asked Molly, a busy mother of three kids to her youngest and loudest child. “I don’t know” was the only reply, leaving Molly feeling really frustrated and helpless about what to do to figure out how to effectively parent her little boy.

What about you, have you ever wondered why the people around you do some of the things they do? Well if you do you are not alone because parents and pastors, scientists and doctors have been studying human personality for thousands of years to figure out how to respond to some of the seemingly odd things people do.

If you want to solve conflicts at home or work then you need to take time to map out the personalities around you. Personality is important to understand because it allows you to rapidly and intelligently respond to the continual situations that pop up in marriage or family relationships. If you want more peace and fewer power struggles then get your legal pad out as we work together to map out the personalities around you.

“I was Born that Way- so deal with it”

A common reaction that people use to justify their inappropriate behavior is that they were born that way, which is partially true. People really are born a certain way, designed by God for a purpose. We know the majority of your personality is already there when you are born, and the remainder of personality development comes from early childhood or school experiences. That’s why you will sometimes notice that a son or daughter may act or look remarkably like an uncle they have never even met. DNA makes us that way, but the good news is that we don’t have to stay that way! God made us all different, which can really be irritating to some, but remember, it is for His greater purposes. The key is to figure out why the people around you do the things they do so you know how to respond to achieve a greater result, and not be frustrated in the process.

The study of personality types, (or what authors Tim LaHaye and Florence Littauer call “Temperments”) isn’t new, because Hippocrates, a Greek physician was the first to track 4 specific personalities hundreds of years before the time of Christ. He noticed that there were distinct differences in people, and through the centuries many other researcher have noticed the same. Here are some common elements to keep in mind as you begin to map out the personality of the people around you.

Introverts are the most common type of personality. These individuals are not necessarily shy, but they do prefer quiet. Introverts are energized by calm and peaceful settings, being out in nature, enjoying the environment, soothing music or entertainment and the company of a few close friends or pets. They get their emotional batteries charged through these type of experiences and are drained by large crowds and loud events, which is why they like to have space and not be crowed. When an introvert is under stress they tend to hold their emotions inside until they literally erupt with tears or anger and then when the flood of emotions pass they hate that they lost control of themselves.

Extroverted personalities are not as common, but they make up for it with volume. As you begin to map out the people in your life it’s not hard to spot these folks. They fill up a room with their oversized personalities. They are energized by loud events and lengthy experiences because they seem to never get enough and don’t want the day to end. Concerts, sports, parades, big cities, New Year parties, trade shows, theme parks, seminars; it doesn’t matter, because the louder and more crowded the better! Remember, they pull energy from the environment around them, (which exhausts the introverts who probably were coaxed into going with them). Their emotional batteries are charged up by these loud experiences and can go on and on like the Energizer Bunny™ seemingly for days without sleep when doing something they enjoy. You usually don’t have to guess about what they are thinking, because they sometimes impulsively just ‘tell it like it is’, which can hurt feelings of sensitive personalities, while giving them relief to have dumped their emotions out for others to deal with.

The four most common personality traits that Hippocrates noticed are listed for you to begin to map out your family members, coworkers and friends. And here’s a tip. If you take time to map out your own personality it’s a lot easier to spot traits in others, as well as know how to respond. Plus, there are the corresponding letters listed from the DiSC personality assessment, which is used in a lot of business and educational settings for your comparison in mapping out why the people around you do the things they do.

The 2 Extroverted Personality Types

The Choleric, (or high D on the DiSC) is a task oriented individual who prefers to be out front leading. This high energy individual is driven, ambitious, and usually goal oriented toward the things that are important to them. This personality group like to lead and motivate others to accomplish their goals and can sometimes overpower others or step on their feelings. Leaders in politics, the military and business are often from this group, which is the smallest percentage of the 4 types, but by far the most aggressive. On a negative note, Choleric personalities can become easily angry or moody when things don’t go their way and aren’t afraid to create a conflict to get people moving toward the goals. In the Bible the Apostle Paul is most like the powerful Choleric personality.

The Sanguine, (or high I on the DiSC), is a people oriented person who loves to have a good time, sometimes at the expense of others. They fill up a room as the loudest of the two extroverted personalities and are often great verbal communicators, which is why they love to be on stage entertaining others. Sanguine personalities love to meet new people, but often forget their names the moment they meet them! Leaders in entertainment, comedy, media, drama, ministry, public speaking and music are often from this group. Rarely on time, the Sanguine personality can be impulsive, unmotivated and can come across as egotistical and self-absorbed but usually don’t really mean to hurt the feelings of others. They are just so busy in their world that they forget there are 7 billion other people on the planet too. In the Bible the Apostle Peter is most like the popular Sanguine personality.

The 2 Introverted Personality Types

The Phlegmatic, (or high S on the DiSC), is a people oriented person who likes to work at their own pace and not be pressured. They absolutely hate conflict and will do just about anything to get along with others. This is by far the largest personality group, since over half of people you meet are likely to be oriented as a Phlegmatic. They may have great ideas, but are sometimes too shy or embarrassed to step out and voice them, much to the frustration of the people who can see past their lack of confidence to spot their real potential. This group likes to have a few close family or friends and like to spend all of their time with the people they already know, so they don’t venture out very far to make new acquaintances. This is why the loss of a friend from a move or breakup can be so devastating to a Phlegmatic because they aren’t usually comfortable going out to meet strangers. They are stable and likeable people who can have great success in management, administration, nursing or education. The most loyal of the 4 personalities, they are also the most sensitive. They are gentle and compassionate individuals with big hearts which allow them to quickly spot the needs of others, but can easily get their own feelings hurt because of this overly sensitive side. They don’t like change and love to keep life predictable; which is why they work so hard to keep things stable in their family, school or work situation. The Biblical patriarch Abraham who was called “the friend of God” is a great example of a peaceful Phlegmatic personality.

The Melancholic, (or high C on the DiSC), is a task oriented personality who can be organized and overly conscious of details which is why they are considered by many to be perfectionistic; but only at the things which are important to them. They are often the most creative of the 4 personality types, both in the arts or in solving complex problems. This personality type is likely to be so quiet that they don’t reach out to make a lot of friends, but can be gentle and compassionate when you take time to get to know them. They think far more than talk, so when they voice their opinion they usually have a lot to say. That’s why you need to listen carefully to Melancholic’s since they may go back into what some people call their introverted ‘cave’ because they often would prefer to spend time with their own thoughts than spending time with others. They can be moody from suppressing so many emotions, which can come across as depressive, sullen, temperamental or critical. There are many careers where this personality can excel, because many authors, musicians, accountants, scientists and researchers have this trait. Perfect Melancholic’s are always driven to do things right so it is no wonder that the best example from the Bible is the great leader Moses who penned the ten commandments.

More to mapping out Personality
Remember, personality is a basic element inside each person, but there are also many factors to consider when mapping out the best approach to respond and achieve better results at home or at work. Birth-order, age, gender, family background, life experiences and education can heavily influence our behavior. If you want to explore this in greater detail, there are many books to guide your steps and here are a few to get you started:

Personality Plus- by Florence Littauer

Discovering your child design- by Ralph Mattson & Thom Black

Raising Children on Purpose- by Wesley H. Fleming

The Two Sides of Love- by Gary Smalley and John Trent

Plus, one of my daughter’s favorite children’s books called “The Treasure Tree” illustrates discovering personality for kids. It was written by my friends Gary Smalley & John Trent to help kids understand their unique design and includes a simple personality profile that corresponds to the characters in the book. Here’s a copy to use as you discover your own personality, or the person you are mapping to better understand.

Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent's Rapid Personality Inventory

To balance our love with others, we’ve got to understand what particular personality strengths can push us toward either extreme. We’ve provided a short test that can help you recognize and value another person’s strengths as well as your own.

In the personal strength survey, circle a few simple words describing yourself. Then, with that information, we’ll show you specifically what your unique strengths are and why they make you such a valuable person in all your relationships.

To complete the instrument, just read through the four categories below (L, B, O, and G), and circle each word or phrase that seems to describe a consistent character trait of yours. Next, add up the number of words and phrases you circled in each category. Then double your score to come up with a total in each section.

L (Choleric)
Likes Authority, Confident, Firm, Enjoys Challenges, Problem Solver, Bold, Goal Driven, Strong-Willed, Self-Reliant, Persistent, Takes Charge, Determined, Enterprising, Competitive, Productive, Purposeful, Adventurous, Independent, Controlling, Action-Oriented

"Let's do it now!" Double the number Circled _____

O (Sanguine)
Enthusiastic, Visionary, Energetic, Promoter, Mixes Easily, Fun-Loving, Spontaneous, Creative, New Ideas, Optimistic, Infectious Laughter, Takes Risks, Motivator, Very Verbal, Friendly, Enjoys Popularity, Likes Variety, Enjoys Change, Group Oriented, Initiator, Inspirational

"Trust me! It'll work out!" Double the number Circled _____

G (Phlegmatic)
Sensitive Feelings, Calm, Non-Demanding, Avoids Confrontations, Enjoys Routine, Warm and elational, Adaptable, Thoughtful, Patient, Good Listener, Loyal, Even-Keeled, Gives In, Indecisive, Dislikes Change, Dry Humor, Sympathetic, Nurturing, Tolerant, Peace-Maker

"Let's keep things the way they are." Double the number Circled _____

B (Melancholic)
Enjoys Instruction, Consistent, Reserved, Practical, Factual, Perfectionist, Detailed, Inquisitive, Persistent, Sensitive, Accurate, Controlled, Predictable, Orderly, Conscientious, Discerning, Analytical, Precise, Scheduled, Deliberate

"How was it done in the past?" Double the number Circled _____

You’ve taken the test, but what does it all mean? The four letters at the top of each section stand for the four basic personality types, which we’ve chosen to picture by using animals: Lions, Beavers, Otters, and Golden Retrievers.

Scoring high on the L line are those we call LIONS. Lions are take charge leaders. They’re usually the bosses at work, or at least think they are! They’re decisive, bottom line folks who are doers, not watchers or listeners. They love to solve problems. Unfortunately, however, if the lions don’t learn to use both sides of love, their natural hard-side bent can cause problems with others.

Scoring high on the B line are those we call BEAVERS. Beavers have a strong need to do things right and by the book. In fact, they’re the kind who actually read the instruction manuals. They like maps, charts, and organization. And they’re great at providing quality control for a home or office. Because rules, consistency and high standards are so important to beavers, they often communicate the hard side of love to others just like the lion. Beavers have deep feelings for those they love. But learning to balance the two sides of love usually involves adding the ability to communicate that softness and warmth in a way that’s felt and clearly understood by others.

Scoring high on the O line are those we call OTTERS. Otters are excitable, fun-seeking, cheerleader types who love to yak, yak, yak. They’re great at motivating others and need to be in an environment where they get to talk and have a vote on major decisions. Otter’s outgoing nature makes them great networkers – they usually know people who know people who know people. The only problem is they usually don’t know everyone’s name. They can be very soft and encouraging with others (unless under pressure, when they tend to use their verbal skills to attack). But because of their strong desire to be liked, they can often fail to be hard on problems and cause further ones.

Scoring high on the G line are the GOLDEN RETRIEVERS. These people are just like their counter-parts in nature. If you could pick one word to describe them it would be loyalty. They’re so loyal, in fact, that they can absorb the most emotional pain and punishment in relationships and still stay committed. Golden retrievers are great listeners, empathizers and warm encouragers – all strong, soft side skills. But they tend to be such pleasers that they can have great difficulty in adding the hard side of love when it’s needed

Encouragement about Personality Mapping
God made each person for a special purpose, and when you discover your basic personality, you also can wisely map out so many major decisions in life, including the type of relationships, schools, churches or companies where you can most easily succeed. Personality helps determine the kind of hobbies, vacations and entertainment that you will most easily connect to. In short, life is easier when you know your personality and conflict is greatly reduced. If you want to know more, visit the websites of authors like John Trent, Gary Smalley or Florence Littauer or contact a counselor who specializes in personality testing to discover the dynamics that drive you and the people around you to do the things you do.

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2009), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.