Living The Dream

Because You Only Live This Life Once

Why Couples Divorce After A Long Marriage

Many couples spend much of their adulthood together and then later find themselves separated. This frequently happens because couples get caught up in life and don’t notice that they are growing apart over the years. The proverbial 7 year itch is something that happens several times of the course of a relationship (every 7 to 10 years). This is the amount of time it takes for the minor changes and growth that happens in the individual every day to become notable changes and the reasons couples find themselves at odds.

One of the primary issues that couples encounter after a long time in relationships is a disconnect. When people get together they generally meet specific needs for each other. As these needs are met and people grow, there is a need for a sort of renewal of their agreement or purpose. Most times people see these changes but don’t quite acknowledge or recognize them. The couple continues operating as the couple who met instead of who they are or have grown into. Individuals continue to grow and evolve to the point where a major change can be noticed over a period of 7-10 years. If as they are growing they are not making continuous efforts to stay in emotional touch with each other they can find themselves one day so different they don’t recognize this partner.  As the couple’s life changes (like when children come in or they go through crises or changes in careers) there are also adaptations that each makes to accommodate those and that is another place where they may change in different directions. If a constant effort is not being made to continue to make the changes match they are at risk.

A couple who wants to survive their individual growth as a couple must realize and address the changes that are happening in them every day and make the necessary adjustment so that they  continue to be the ideal partner for their more evolved and more mature partner.


It’s your life- Take control.

Dream Big… Live Bigger…


Five (5) Tips For Fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder (Winter Blues)

Every year thousands of Americans experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also known as the Winter Blues. It is a form of depression that is generally experienced during the winter months when days are shorter, darker and dreary. On average, 6% of the population experience this in various ranges every year. Fortunately, there are somethings that an individual can to help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder or help a friend who battles the Winter blues.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) that a person suffers during a particular season. Nationally, 6% of the population can be affected with a degree of this disorder, ranging from as low as 1% in the sunnier states to close to 10% in the states with the longer winter. This statistic shows that while SAD is more common in the winter and more prevalent in the areas with longer more dreary winters, but it is not limited to those areas.  These seasonal disorders are different from a regular diagnosis of MDD in that they are only present during the specified season and can at times be relieved even without treatment as the season changes- that being said, you don’t leave them unaddressed and wait for the season to change because they can progress to an ongoing depression or other mood disorders. The intensity of the depression also can be too intense to just wait it out. People experiencing major depression endure severe symptoms that get in the way of their daily functioning and as is common with depression, suicidal thoughts, ideation and even behaviors are possible. If for more than two weeks you are feeling the symptoms of depression or noticing them in a loved one you should be looking at ways to help or getting help.

While I have posted other pieces on depression that include ways to help through depression it is important remember that professional services can be an invaluable resource to help alleviate and even eliminate the symptoms . When dealing with depression it is important to get help and do so right away because ignoring it only gives it time to get more intense. While minor episodes may be worked out through some active efforts at home, you need to be alert and attentive to notice when it is more than you can handle and need to get professional help.

It’s your life- Take control.

Dream Big… Live Bigger…


Bullying… Before you interject

I’m not a bullying expert by any stretch of the word but I hold my own with trauma. As such I know a bit about the subject of bullying too because it is a very traumatizing act. In recent days bullying has come to light on a different scene and many people have offered various opinions which as a society we should be careful about.

Who bullies?

As much as people may want to think that bullying is a middle school or playground issue, it’s not. Maybe a few decades ago, it was primarily seen in school playgrounds and middle school cafeterias, but today it’s everywhere. That same child who started as a child bully on the playground goes on to continue it in middle school and high school and still doesn’t address his issues becomes the guy who thinks he can do the same on the job. The incidences of bullying may go down as people get older and become more mature, but while we all get older not all of use mature. Bullying happens everywhere. Sometimes it’s more overt. You can observe or experience it in any field at any level, because those kids from school get older and do become the coworkers that others have to deal with- Sometimes as a coworker and other times even as the boss.

It may take different forms at different stages of life but its impact is the same- It creates an unsafe and uncomfortable environment for the victim (According to the research even those who witness it often are negatively impacted). In school it’s easy to see the guy who beats up kids and steal their money as the bully. But just because the guy in your office is not knocking a colleague’s tray on the floor does not mean he’s not creating a hostile environment. Adult bullies often use subliminal threats and just kidding jokes which to a passerby may even seen like quick joke but to the victim does cause discomfort or fear. They don’t go for the meet me outside at 3 thing- but they can be physical in ways such as a supposed high five that is intended to hurt or what looks to be a pat on the back that you can her clear across the room. They have many ways to intimidate victims. The rule of them is the victim feels threatened then they are threatened.


But they were friends…

That’s not uncommon. In many cases the victim and perpetrator may have had what both or one of them perceived a genuine friendship. When the friendship ended and the perpetrator, probably feeling rejected or betrayed can turn to a negative campaign against the former friend. A former friend can be one of the worse kinds of bullies because over the course of their friendship with the victim they may have gained access to personal information that they can use to further their torments.

We should also not forget one of the most repeated advices that kids receive for dealing with being picked on- “act like it doesn’t bother”. Children are often encouraged to try to disarm or reduce the power of others behaviors by not showing how they are impacting them. It’s not unlikely that the victim at some point was there laughing at the jokes and acting like they were ok with that behavior. The goal was to disarm it, not endure it perpetually. When that first method did not work, they can and do have the right to directly demand that it stops. The fact that they once tried that initial failed method has no bearing on the fact that they are saying stop now. Even if everyone thought they were ok with the behavior, once the person openly states they want it to stop that is the end of it. It needs to stop and those in a position to help or empower them in making that happen should do that. An employer or school official who fails to do that and dismisses these as “normal part of development” or the “culture” is guilty of condoning them.

It’s just harmless fun?

Are you kidding? Way back when bullies were not as horrible as they are today they still posed a threat to the safety of their victims. Kids didn’t hand over their lunch money to be friends- they did because they were afraid of getting beat up. Today that is even worse- it’s not one ignorant individual threatening to beat you up at 3 it’s more pervasive because they have access to the victim far beyond the reach of the space they share. The victim is still subjected to the same behaviors that cause them fear 24/7. When you think of being able to get to them via mobile devices and social media. When you are making someone feel uncomfortable and unsafe for much of the days of their lives it’s not harmless. You are impacting that person’s quality of life. “Youth who are bullied are more likely to be depressed or anxious, have lower academic achievement, report feeling like they do not belong at school, have poorer social and emotional adjustment, greater difficulty making friends, poorer relationships with classmates, and greater loneliness” (Feldman Hertz, Donato & Wright 2013). In their study, Espelage and Holt (2012) found that in the six months prior 60% of bullying victims thought of killing themselves and 43% actually did try to hurt or kill themselves. Granted these studies were based on adolescents, but the general principals still apply. It may be my warped sense of humor, but I’m failing to see the harmless fun part.

Bullies have their own issues

That is very true. Pick any study on bullying and you will find that the perpetrators are battling some demons themselves. They often are victims of abuse (physical, emotional sexual or neglect). They generally feel disempowered and frequently have some serious self esteem issue. Their role as bully gives them power over someone. When they have an admiring audience, they get the admiration and affection that they are lacking. So it may seem that they are getting some of their own needs met but the manner is absolutely unacceptable. If we start to use this as an excuse then we may as well let out sexual predators with a bag of candy on the playground. After all, the research has shown that many of those predators were themselves victims. The point of this vile analogy is that someone being hurt is not an excuse to hurt others. When people are hurting we do need to give them all the help that we can, but accepting their imposing pain on others is not an option. If we were to allow such despicable explanation to have any validity instead of eradicating these issues we would be perpetuating them. That increases the likely hood that everyone of us would become more closely victimized by it.

What can you do?

Sometimes you do have someone who comes in and picks on another to gain favor among a group. It is true that they may pick up the intensity when they think they are getting to the victim because this tells them that they will be able to keep this up for a while. A couple jokes here and there may not be all that bad. But it the behavior persists, escalates or targets specific individuals it’s getting to the level of problematic.

If you are the victim of such situations there are a couple things you need to do

  • Get support. Have someone that you can talk to. These situations are very stressful. Reach out to a parent, friend or peer. When necessary reach out to a mental health professional who can help with the stress.

  • Document everything. From what they did to when you told them to stop. Because if you have to reach out to authority figures their first defense will be that they were just playing and you were in on the joke.

When you are ready to make the situation stop

  • The first course of action is often to stand up to the perpetrator. Not in an iffy way but it also does not have to be rude. Be clear that you want the behavior to stop. This does not have to be public- it may even be best if done privately with the person so as not to put them on the spot which may make them feel the need to intensify to save face.

  • If you’ve spoken with them privately and that did not work, them the next time the behavior is repeated then say something publicly. This builds support to the fact that you have asked them to stop.

  • Everyone answers to someone- If it’s at school- report it to an administrator. At work go to Human Resources. If it’s not in a contained space then use other resources- if you need to get a restraining order to keep your neighbor from coming on to your property and harassing you then do that.

Generally people don’t want to start off involving authority fearing that things will get worse, but if they have not improved through more passive methods or direct personal approaches you have to do what is needed. Everyone has the right to feel safe in their environment. When the person infringes on that it’s not your job to worry about what happens to them… After all they are not exactly caring what they are doing to you.




Espelage, D.L., Holt, M.K. (2013) Suicidal ideation and school bullying experiences after controlling for depression and delinquency. Journal of Adolescent Health. pp. S27–S31

Feldman Hertz, M., Donato, I., Wright, J. (2013) Bullying and Suicide: A Public Health Approach. Journal of Adolescent Health pp. S1-S3

Never Make Sacrifices For Your Goal

When you hear someone say you should not make sacrifices for your goal you probably wonder if that person really knows what it takes to reach a goal. We have been conditioned that sacrifices have to be made in order to be able to reach goals and get the things that we want. It is true, sacrifices are a part of life and sometimes we do have to make them, but when it comes to your goals, don’t make sacrifices.

The word sacrifice has long been associated with the giving up of something that is desired. When you make a sacrifice, you give up something that you want and don’t want to give up. When people think of giving up the things they want there is a bit of resistance that comes with that. People don’t want to give up the things they treasure, things they’ve worked hard for or that have been with them through the years. We like our stuff. We like our norm and comforts. When asked to “give up” these, the resistance that ensues makes sense. It takes a bit more thinking about and negotiating. Most people would want try to find an alternative that allows them get what they want without giving up anything- and valuable resources are invested in that pursuit.

The truth of it is that you are making way for something that you want even more. Remember the last time you were excited about a new gadget or something like that? We see it all the time. People line up for hours or even days to get their hands on newer and better. Many times, it is not so much because the older model was bad, just that the newer model was more desirable to them. That is the same thought that should be applied when working toward your goal. Your goal is like that new shinny gadget you’re looking to upgrade to. Your present is last year’s model. It may still work, but because you want more, you upgrade.

When you make a sacrifice, that sense of loss can stand in the way of moving forward. Whether it is in time spent morning what was given up or too often the self sabotage that can result from the guilt over that decision, sacrificing is just not the best feeling in the world. Upgrades on the other hand are exciting. People look forward to them. There is no feeling of loss associated with upgrades because the focus is on what has been gained. You are trading in parts of your past for the future you desire.  There may be fond memories associated with that pass and you will take them with you. You will continue to treasure them and smile big when they cross your mind. That’s the great thing about memories you don’t have to keep the past to be able to enjoy the great moments they brought.

It’s time to give up this notion of giving up. Of sacrificing. You’re not giving up something you cherish. You are gaining something you desire. You are upgrading. You are going after something that you find more desirable. Something that you want. Even more than what you will be trading in to get that one thing. Call it what it is- It’s an upgrade: An exchange of something you have for something you desire. In the pursuit of your goal that is the only acceptable move- You upgrade. Don’t make sacrifices. You should not have to give up the things that you want. Gladly trade them in foe the things you want. As nice as it may have been to trade-in you old car or gadget to upgrade to something nicer, making a trade toward upgrading your future is even better. Make the change. Give up sacrificing and take on upgrading.

I’m just saying though

Dream Big… Live Bigger…


Five Easy Steps To Creating Perfect Timing

You can wait for the perfect time to do the things you want but perfect timing will never come. The good news is that you can always make the timing and situations right for you if you are bold enough to make some changes.  Here are five easy steps to get you started.

  1. Rate your wish- How much do you really want it? What is it worth do you? You need to know and have a firm believe that it is worth your time and effort to go after it
  2. Make a plan- Action is what changes things. You need to create a clear decisive plan that you will follow in order to wishing you had to actually having. Decide what you will do and when. Things may seem big and overwhelming but a plan of action with specific steps makes them more manageable.
  3. Gather resources- From people, to knowledge to actual tangibles, you will need resources. Take time to get those in place so that they are available when you need them. Everything you will need to help you reach your goal is available to you, but it may take a bit of planning and searching get them, so be sure to take time and get them in place.
  4. Set a schedule- People who don’t have schedules often find that they don’t have time for anything. Take inventory of how you are using your time, then arrange and rearrange things so that the work you need to do toward your goal has a place in your regular activities. Set aside time to do everything in your plan. And once you set your schedule, be sure to stick with it.
  5. Activate plan- A plan has no value until it’s activated. Jump in there and follow your plan. Be prepared and willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goal and you will soon reach that goal.

So now you know- Perfect timing will never come, but you can create it if you are willing to do what it takes. No matter what is going on, there is always a way through. The question is- Are you bold enough?

Suicide Myth or Fact: 10 Things You Should Know

1. People who commit suicide want to die

No. They are struggling with issues so overwhelming they see dying as the only way to make the pain stop. If they can get help to resolve the issues people generally would rather live.

2. People who talk about suicide don’t commit suicide

Not true. Verbalizing suicidal thoughts or intents can and often is a cry for help. If the person does not get the help they are asking for they may very well follow through.

3.  More common in women than men

Women attempt more suicide but they use softer (pills) methods which allow more time for them to be helped after an attempt. Men complete more suicide because their methods lead to more instant death (gun) which allows less time to help after an attempt.

4.  Can it be inherited or is it contagious?

No. Having people in your life commit suicide starts to normalize the behavior thus making it more acceptable

5.  People to attempt may try again

Yes. A person who has attempted suicide is susceptible to repeated efforts to try to finish the job. This is especially true in the days following an attempt.

6.  Suicide is for the weak

No. It takes a lot of courage to do something like that.

7.  People who are depressed will kill themselves

No. Many people who attempt suicide suffer from depression but most people who suffer from depression do not attempt or even consider suicide.

8.  Suicide only happens in certain racial groups.

No. Suicide exists in society at large. If your racial group or community exists, suicide is possible in that group or community. Denying the existence of suicide only makes it less likely that people in that group or community will get help when they need it.

9. Suicide is for teens

No. In the past adolescents/young adults and the elderly had the highest rates of suicide. Recent findings show that suicide rates among middle aged adults (35-64) are climbing.

10.  Rich people or people who have “everything”

There’s no such thing as people who have everything. And suicide has no socioeconomic limitations.

What you can do

  1.  Keep your eyes open
  2. Don’t be afraid to speak up- It’s ok to ask someone if they’re suicidal
  3. Enlist the help of those who can have an impact
  4. Don’t promise to keep it a secret
  5. Make sure the person feels supported

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide please call 1-800-273-TALK(8255) to get immediate help 24/7

Networking with Depression and Anxiety

Networking is fun and exciting. It’s so great to meet new people right?

Well… that is, unless you are battling other issues.

Yes, we’re talking depression. Depression sucks, but you can work through it. When you’re battling depression, your body and mind know that something is wrong, and you may want to do something about it, but the symptoms don’t really take note of how they impact your life. People who suffer from anxiety issues may also experience great stress over getting out there and meeting new people. The simple thought of it can make them sick.

When experiencing depression, people are likely to feel down, sad, hopeless or they may experience a loss of interest in things, including the things they once enjoyed. With such things happening, the thought of going out and being sociable seems anything but exciting. Not to mention the lack of energy you’re also likely experiencing.

If you’re suffering from anxiety, you may even find yourself too physically ill to get out. Yet while all this is going on inside of you, life continues to go on around you.

So what do you do? How do you meet the need to network to advance your budding (or burgeoning) business? You just need to put together the resources to help meet your needs:


Know Your Battery Life

Sometimes you may be able to get yourself out and about, but after awhile of putting on that smile, your battery starts to drain, and you begin to shut down again.

Your battery life is that amount of time you can be out and about. It’s how long you can “be on,” where your symptoms may still exist, but you can hold them back enough to get through.  While you’re doing what you need to do to remove your symptoms, it helps to have a few tools to help you manage them until you fully get rid of them.

Take care of yourself. Eat right, eating whether you have an appetite or not. Get enough rest, even if you’re having difficulty sleeping. Take time out to rest your body. It may be that all you can do is meditation or a breathing exercise, but do something to replenish your energy sources. All of these things can help increase your battery life.


Set Your Networking Goal

What is it that you want to or hope to accomplish through your networking? This stuff sounds hard, so why are you putting yourself through it? When you know the benefits you’re seeking, they can be used as a source of motivation and empowerment to help you get there.

Before you go into an event, set a goal for that event. It can be meeting three doctors or getting your business card in the hands of four accountants. This way, when you walk in, you can focus on getting that done. You can allocate your time to ensure that this gets done before your battery drains. If you have time remaining, you can then decide to meet more people or give yourself a break and cut out earlier. Either way, you will have accomplished what you came out for.


Set Targets

Decide who you are looking to meet who can help you achieve these goals. This helps you eliminate the pressure of having to talk to everyone. Once you know who you’re looking for, then you can conserve your energy a bit instead of exerting too much in random conversation.


Be Strategic About Which Events You Attend

Happy hour at the new hottest spot in town may be nice if you’re feeling energetic and want to just hang out with whoever, but when you’re looking to meet with specific people, you need to get to a place that’s likely to have more of them.

If you’re looking to grow your pharmaceutical sales business, then you want to meet with doctors who are prescribing the medications you sell. That’s not to say that meeting a nice VP of sales at a local bank couldn’t be helpful; it’s just that you have a higher likelihood of success in increasing sales by meeting doctors. So instead of going to the general networking meeting hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce, you want to attend the event hosted by the medical association.

Generally, I wouldn’t refer to time spent getting to know any person as “a waste of your time.” However, when working within the limitations of your symptoms, I would call it mismanagement of your limited resources.


Take Advantage of Smaller Events

When there are fewer people to interact with, you’re able to be less all over the place and can focus on getting to know one or two people and making that connection. This doesn’t require you to go too far out of your comfort zone.

You can even initiate these types of encounters by reaching out to the people you want to meet. You can call, but in this case, the more probable option may be to reach out in writing through email or—even better—a mailed letter or note. You can send these to your desired contact and advise that you will be calling within a specified time frame. This commits you to making that call, but having sent that initial communication makes getting on the phone easier because you’re not making the ever-so-terrifying “cold call.”


Get Involved

When you become engaged in events and make commitments, you get yourself to the point where you have to get to the event. It’s more difficult to back out when others are depending on you.

Take on small but important tasks that will cause you to have to go once you’ve decided to attend an event. It could be something as simple as bringing the name badges or being a friend’s ride. As your battery life gets longer, you can take on more consuming tasks, but don’t overexert yourself at first, because you don’t want to make the experience so overwhelming that it gives you more reason to back out in the future.


Attract People

When you don’t have much energy or desire or you’re just feeling down, you’re not really looking forward to going up and striking conversations with new people. The best thing you can do is make them come to you.

Have something unique that makes people want to know more so that they come talk to you. A friend of mine uses a cartoon sticker, which causes people to come up and ask what it’s all about. I write my organization name, “Living The Dream,” prominently on name tags, which makes people come up to ask me about it.

Your attraction piece can be something unique to you or that pulls at the interest of the people you want to meet. Just make sure it’s placed to be seen. This one works great for people who experience anxiety over meeting people or are just shy.


Make Information Available

Your business cards are a great way to do this. In addition to your name, title and contact information, they can say things about you that prompt people to ask questions. You can add things like specialties or accomplishments on the back—just three to five one-line bullet points that give people information about you and are great conversation boosters.


Follow Up First

You should always do follow-up to maintain that connection with the people you want to keep in your circle. When you follow up first, however, you can set the timing and pace of when the communications happen. You can set the tone and set things up for the best times for you.

When you decide to meet with people, schedule meetings at times that promote the speed you need. When you schedule to meet with someone after hours, they may be rushing home or they may be free as a bird and ready to hang out longer than you can.

Based on your battery life, you can make recommendations. A meeting at the office can last a few minutes or an hour depending on what the parties make of it. Meeting for coffee is shorter than meeting for lunch. Meeting for lunch is more time-limited than meeting for drinks afterwards.


Look Great

When you’re preparing to go to a networking event or a meeting with a new contact, it’s also important to get primped up. Looking good promotes feeling good. So put care into your appearance—not so much for others, but for your own sake. Stick with ensembles that you feel good in.


Depression and anxiety can take a considerable amount of time to work through. Even when you’ve sought the help of a professional and are working your way out of it, you still have this life that you need to be a part of. So make use of the tools that are available to help you manage.

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MHAM 5- A Look At Childhood Depression

As part of our series for Mental Health Awareness Month, we are sharing information about various mental health issues that we all should know about. Childhood depression is another issue plaguing our communities because people are either unaware or don’t want to admit to it. It’s time we step up to the plate and face the reality that is before us so that we can make changes to help our future- the children.

MHAM 4- Childhood Suicide- What You Should Know

As part of our series for Mental Health Awareness Month, we are sharing information about various mental health issues that we all should know about. Childhood suicide is an issue that troubles me and should trouble all of us. We need to be more alert. We need to help our children.

MHAM 3- Depression- How You Can Help

Depression is a very difficult experience. Imagine feeling your world imploding around you. It hurts. It bothers you. You feel like an outsider in your own life. You want to fix it, but the task looks unattainable and you don’t have the energy to take it on.

When you’re around people who are depressed it can be depressing. Watching someone you care about becoming more and more disconnected. You want to help but it almost seems that they are rejecting your efforts. It feels like whatever you do is just not enough. You wish they would just snap out of it so you can get back the person you love.

When someone is dealing with depression, it’s bigger then “just snapping out of it”. It may seem like an easy enough task, but it really is not. While it would be much easier to just leave them alone and let them figure it out,  Telling someone to snap out of it will probably make them feel worse. Instead:

Continue to make efforts to engage them in life affirming activities- these are the things that remind them that life is good and why they want to participate in it. They may not seem interested in doing the fun things, but they need it.

Help them make plans to address the issue that contributed to the onset of depression

Engage them in planning for the future- This gives them a reason to want to stick around and be part of life.

Provide opportunities for them to be see that they are valuable- engage them in helping

Reintroduce them to the things they once enjoyed

Keep them connected to important people in their lives- While the tendency in depression is to isolate others- and the average person may not want to be around a depressed person fearing their mood will bring them down too, having people around to work on bringing them out of the funk is very important.

Be patient- depression may not get resolved right away, so be patient and stay determined to be that help

Seek professional- Sometimes we need the help of a professional and that is why they exist. Do the research and find a qualified professional who can provide the needed help. When you do begin to see a professional, remember that the work you do goes beyond the office walls and that the skills you are learning need to be applied out in your life in order for them to truly be beneficial.

Remember- Help is always available… You just have to be willing to seek it out.

I’m just saying though…

Dream Big… Live Bigger…