we deserve more

fifty shadesValentine’s Day is not my favorite day of the year. I have already mentioned some of the reasons why in an earlier post. This year, however, is worse than ever. My Facebook feed is full of posts about the upcoming movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” based on the book by the same name.

I have not read the book and I will not go see the movie. It holds no attraction for me. As a matter of fact, the basic idea of the content turns my stomach and makes me very angry and very sad at the same time.

I cannot avoid speaking out against this movie. Most movies would not get my attention in this way – my family will vouch for the fact that I sleep through most movies. However, it seems my WORD for 2015 is inspiring me to write this post.

I chose EMPOWER as my WORD for 2015.

All people deserve to be loved, respected, and empowered
for all the best that God created them.  

Every person is created with value, dignity, purpose and incredible power to love others and have a positive influence in our world.

One of the greatest threats to true, healthy power is disrespect, devaluing, and abuse of women. I have written about the need for advocates in the past and the amazing power that is attained when men and women work together.

Fifty Shades of Grey glamorizes disrespect, lust, abuse, manipulation, and violence of a man over a woman. The movie degrades both men and women alike, portraying self-centered, hurtful, and power-abusive attitudes and behaviors… and worse yet, the movie will premiere on a day that is supposed to honor love.

If you love yourself, your friends, and/or a special person in your life, please speak out against this movie and do not spend your time or money going to see it, not even for “curiosity”. It is not worth it.

It will not empower you to be all the best you can.

It will not empower anyone you take to see it.  

It breaks my heart to think that of how this movie – and others like it – negatively influence and distort the dreams and expectations of people searching for love today. I think of my own children and I want a very different experience for them.

As a woman who has been lovingly married for almost 30 years, I can tell you there are many greater ways to express true love. Do not settle for this low view of “love”. Both men and women can do much better than this movie. We deserve so much more.

What says love and respect to you? How do you help empower others?

like a girl

Procter and Gamble did an awesome commercial about moms for the Sochi olympics. They’ve done another great one with this challenging and inspiring video about the comment “like a girl”.

What does “like a girl” mean to you? How can you help rewrite the rules?


You might also like to read: moving toward advocacy, do nice girls finish last?

doing away with distractions

Authentic listening requires intentional, active, uninterrupted attention. Distractions are a common hindrance to listening well, and they interfere with our desire to communicate and/or coach with care, curiosity, and connection. 

respect listening

I have been very challenged and convicted by all I am learning in my M.A. Counseling and Coaching class. We spent weeks studying listening skills, and I realize how much I still have to learn and improve.

One of the books we are reading is: Leadership Coaching: The Disciplines, Skills and Heart of a Christian Coach by Tony Stoltzfus. I highly recommend it.

listening flattery

This is one of the listening self-evaluations from the chapter on distractions. When I read through these statements, I saw many ways I could improve my listening. I think you might find it helpful also. Reflect on a recent past conversation or coaching appointment you had. Answer the questions, adding or subtracting points as appropriate.

Let me know how you did!

Distracting Environment

-1   Your e-mail or IM program was open in front of you.

-1   Your to-do list was sitting out in front of you where you could read it.

-5   You did e-mail, IM or work on other projects while you were talking/coaching.

-1   You were sitting at your main work desk.

-1   You could hear a noticeable amount of background noise (others talking, a phone ringing, TV, etc).

 -2   Your door was open, the place you were coaching in has no door, or you were in a public place.

-2   You finished another meeting, project or deadline within 10 minutes before the appointment.

-2   You rushed in or worked on other tasks right up to the moment the appointment/conversation started.

-2   There is a fair amount of stress and conflict in your life, or you are emotionally needy.

-1   You were hungry, thirsty, tired or otherwise in a state of physical discomfort.

___   Total

Supportive Environment

+1   You organized your notes/resources for this person/client and kept them easily accessible.

+3   You took at least 10 minutes before this appointment to get centered and review your notes/materials.

+2   You’ve made a serious personal commitment to be all there while you were coaching/talking.

+3   Your desk, screen, and or table/desk were clear, or you had a separate place to talk/coach away from daily work.

+1   You had a phone headset. (If the conversation took place by phone.)

+1   You had a comfortable environment to talk/coach in (correct temperature, good chair, etc.).

+1   You prayed for this person/client this week.

+3   You didn’t have any calls, walk-ins or interruptions while you talked/coached.

+2   You scheduled your appointment at a time of day when you are alert and well rested.

+1   Your connection was clear and totally reliable. You aren’t using a cell phone or voice chat.

___    Total

Distraction + Supportive = ________ Final Total

(**If your final score is negative, may want to change your environment. If you are coaching professionally, the bar should be higher: if your score is less than +7, you may want to make some changes to improve your listening environment.)

Do distractions affect your ability to listen well? What could you change?


Stoltzfus, Tony (2005). Leadership Coaching: The Disciplines, Skills and Heart of a Christian Coach (Kindle Locations 2662-2685).

multicultural team or tension?

As our world becomes more connected globally, today’s organizations need an atmosphere that encourages a multicultural work environment. However it is a big mistake to simply put a group of international leaders on a team and expect them to achieve great results. There will be many differing values on an international team, and we need to help our leaders understand and appreciate each other in order to work together more effectively.

One great tool I have found is a book I am reading for my M.A. in Global Leadership  – When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures, by Richard D. Lewis. A helpful explanation of general nationality differences divides the world’s cultures into three groups: Linear-Actives, Multi-Actives and Reactives.  

See if you recognize yourself and/or some of your co-workers or teammates in one these groups!

Linear-Actives Common characteristics of this group are affinity for schedules and plans, preference for objective data and information, task focus, less emotional and relational connections. Communication with Linear-Actives will be direct, to the point, and optimistic, often decorated with humor and idiomatic phrases.  They are quite linear in their view of time and appreciate punctuality.  Promotion at work is a result of hard work and productivity. They are known to do very well with small talk at dinner parties, but prefer all business during meetings. This group is the smallest of the three, with around 600 million members.

Multi-Actives  The Multi-Active group has over three billion members, making it the largest group. The Multi-Actives have an extroverted and loquacious manner, multitasking capabilities, and interdependent, net-working relationships. Conversation with a Multi-Active is passionate, animated, descriptive and personal. Schedule is subordinate to relationship and the event of the moment. Multi-Actives are stereotypically known for arriving late for appointments and for eating dinner late into the evening. Entry and advance in the workplace is often a result of family and/or other loyalty connections. Compassion and human understanding motivate Multi-Actives to action.

Reactives The third group that Lewis describes is the Reactive group. They have over one and one-half billion members around the world. This group is typically quiet and reserved, good listeners, respectful of others’ needs and desires, principle oriented and very concerned with saving face in relationships. They have a cyclical view of time. Communication will likely be more formal, polite, complimentary, with plenty of periods of silence. Reactives are known for their extravagant gift giving and their harmonious relationships.

Recognition of different national culture values is just one step toward understanding. There are many other cultural value differences that factor into team relationships: age, gender, personality, profession, etc.  Our authentic respect for each other and our sincere willingness to make adjustments to each other are key components to international team success. More about how to do that in a future blog…

With which group do you identify?

What has your experience been like in international settings?  

Please share a comment so that we can learn together!