Tag Archives: relationships


Can You Do the 100/0?

What is the most effective way to create and sustain great relationships with others? It’s The 100/0 Principle: You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return. Here is an excerpt from Al Ritter’s The 100/0 Principle: The Secret of Great Relationships.

Implementing The 100/0 Principle is not natural for most of us. It takes real commitment to the relationship and a good dose of self-discipline to think, act and give 100 percent.

The 100/0 Principle applies to those people in your life where the relationships are too important to react automatically or judgmentally. Each of us must determine the relationships to which this principle should apply. For most of us, it applies to work associates, customers, suppliers, family and friends.

STEP 1 – Determine what you can do to make the relationship work…then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2 – Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3 – Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don’t take the bait.

STEP 4 – Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often we give up too soon, especially when others don’t respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

At times (usually few), the relationship can remain challenging, even toxic, despite your 100 percent commitment and self-discipline. When this occurs, you need to avoid being the “Knower” and shift to being the “Learner.” Avoid Knower statements/ thoughts like “that won’t work,” “I’m right, you are wrong,” “I know it and you don’t,” “I’ll teach you,” “that’s just the way it is,” “I need to tell you what I know,” etc.

Instead use Learner statements/thoughts like “Let me find out what is going on and try to understand the situation,” “I could be wrong,” “I wonder if there is anything of value here,” “I wonder if…” etc. In other words, as a Learner, be curious!

Principle Paradox

This may strike you as strange, but here’s the paradox: When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for the individuals involved, their teams, their organizations and their families.

Your Coach,



The Top 10 Ways to Build Relationships

The holiday season is upon us – it’s a natural time to consider our relationships. Around this time, many of us reflect on the past year and evaluate how we are doing in the different areas of our lives. I encourage you to consider how to honor the people in your life and ways you might improve upon what is already going well, or mend a relationship that needs a little attention. If you discover your relationships can use some improvement, we are here to help!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Assign a high priority to relationships.

Let people know they are valued both through verbal affirmation and action.

2. Share feelings.

Communicate warmth, care and concern. Genuine emotions for others leads to reciprocity.

3. Be real.

By being authentic and genuine with others, you offer a level of vulnerability but also enable a degree of closeness.

4. Get interested in other people.

Find out what things they’re interested in and listen. Listening is far too under-rated a tool in showing care.

5. Consider the content and tone of information.

Be careful with criticism. Communicate a positive regard for associates. Encourage and promote personal projects.

6. Affirm positive qualities.

Let people know what you like and admire about them. Provide sincere praise.

7. Have time.

Offer your undivided attention. If relationships are really important, they’re important enough to invest yourself.

8. Be friendly.

Humor, smiles and a happy outlook on life attract people. Preach success, demonstrate positive emotions and showcase optimism.

9. Maintain the contract of the relationship.

Boundaries, confidences, and quiet understandings need to be respected. Loyalty and trust are the foundations of long-term connections.

10. Appreciate the gift.

Forgiveness and gratitude enable the repair of breeches. They express the value of the relationship and permit correction of transgressions.

About the Submitter
This piece was originally submitted by Robert G. Jerus

Your Coach,



Leading by Listening

There is a huge difference between hearing and listening.

At this moment I’m writing in my downtown Seattle office and I am hearing endless activity out on the street. I’m not listening to it, and I won’t unless something unusual captures my attention. The same thing happens when people speak to us. Our ears hear the words, but our brains and our heart decide whether or not we are going to listen and how we are going to listen.

When we listen to others, we establish trust. When we listen to ourselves, we lead more mindful lives. Listening is an essential key to effective leadership.

Leadership Skill: Lead by listening

True listening is active.

There are three levels of listening:

*Level 1: As I listen to you, I am only thinking about how I can relate to what you say to me.

“I just got back from Hawaii.”

“We were in Hawaii last spring. Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yes, we loved the snorkeling.”

“I loved the snorkeling, but my wife doesn’t swim well and was afraid. We really enjoyed going up in a sail plane.”

*Level 2: As I listen to you, I am laser focused on you.

“I just got back from Hawaii.”

“How was it?’

“Beautiful. We loved the snorkeling. We can’t wait to go back.”

“What did you see while you were snorkeling?”

Level 3: As I listen to you, I notice everything. What is said, what I see, what I sense.

“I just got back from Hawaii.”

He’s smiling. He’s carrying a bag of macadamia nuts. His skin is bright red.

“Sunscreen issues?”


“The nuts from there taste like they’ve come directly from God.”

“Amen. And we loved touring the plantations.”

When you listen from Level 1, preparing your reaction (or rebuttal) while the other person is talking, he knows he is not being heard. It is as if he is speaking only for your benefit or amusement. You are indicating that you have no actual interest in what he wants to tell you, and that you have no actual interest in him.

When you listen from Level 2 or 3, you are clearly indicating that you care about what he has to say and about him personally. When he knows that you genuinely care about him, he is more apt to be open to what you have to say.

How are you doing, 0 – 10, leading by listening?

My listening depends on my agenda. When I am coaching, my agenda is joining with the client to create their most satisfying, fulfilling, and successful life. I am acutely aware that the client’s trust in me is the key to making that happen. So I listen from a Level 2 or 3.

But how do I listen to my colleagues, my friends, my family, myself? Do I ask questions from a place of genuine interest? Or am I only interested in how I am impacted by what they are saying? Do I care about what experiences and thoughts are behind their opinions, or do I only care about expressing my own?

What if our agenda for all of our relationships was that we grow our trust in one another? How would we listen then?

We would listen with laser focus. We would listen to what we see, and what is said and not said. Very few of us have relationships that listen to us in that way. Listening is a gift you can give. It nourishes trust that makes us all safe. Imagine such a world.

- Mary Beth King

This article previously appeared in Blue City Monthly.


How To Change Customer Feelings

Customers want to be acknowledged and validated, and the only way to do that is to build relationships. That’s why Seth Godin said “The only purpose of ‘customer service’ is to change feelings.”

So let’s do some activities that Bill Brooks recommends to help us develop skills we need to be customer focused.

Activity 1: Body Language

Understanding body language is a big part of learning to understand other people and it gives you the ability to serve them better. Make a list of five emotions or mental states that are commonly expressed in the workplace. Then, list at least three examples of body language that accompany each emotion.

Emotion/State of Mind #1:

Body Language:


Emotion/State of Mind #2:

Body Language:


Emotion/State of Mind #3:

Body Language:


Emotion/State of Mind #4:

Body Language:


Emotion/State of Mind #5:

Body Language:


Activity 2: Listening and Observing

Make a point of watching three to five formal presentations that you can see on television or in person. A few examples include: the next Presidential address, a briefing on C-SPAN, a local mayoral address, a lecture at the local university, etc. Watch at least 15 minutes of each speech or lecture. Pay close attention to what the speaker is saying and how he/she is saying it.

· What are the main points?

· Why do you think the speaker is expressing them?

· How is the speaker expressing them?

· Does the speaker seem happy? Angry? Enthusiastic? Why?

· How would you demonstrate the same points? Would you do it differently? Why?

Activity 3: Deal with a Complaint

Think of two recent situations in which you had to deal with a difficult situation in which someone was complaining. This can be personal or professional.

For each situation, answer the following questions:

· Was the situation difficult from the beginning, or did it grow difficult during the course of the discussion? Why or why not?

· What was your own reaction to the tension?

· What was the other person’s reaction?

· What were you really trying to tell the other person? What were your main points?

· What was the other person trying to tell you? What were his/her main points? Can you say? Why or why not?

· What could you have done to understand the other person’s opinions or feelings better?

· What could he or she have done to understand your opinions or feelings better?

· What can you do to avoid such situations in the future? How can you handle them better?

Remember, the way to build up your customer base is by answering this maxim. (Isn’t this what our mothers told us?): “You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.”

What will you do today to build up your customer focus skills?

Your Coach,



What Is Healthy Conflict??

Just say the word “conflict” and you can create conflict! Most people prefer to avoid conflict and shy away from it at any cost because it can be messy! However, relationships, both at work and at home, require conflict. And without healthy conflict, you will get neither the results nor the satisfaction you are looking for, professionally and personally.

First, Why Have Conflict?

Conflict, by definition, is created by opposing needs, values, or viewpoints. Everyone is human with shortcomings and blindspots. Thus there will always be beliefs, perceptions, opinions, and ideas that are in opposition.

Yet, any unit of people — a work team or a family — must learn how to resolve those conflicts. For a team to experience good healthy conflict, the foundation of trust must be laid. Trust is created first by understanding all the communication styles of the individual members. Then the team must implement systems and rhythms of communication within the organization.

All of that requires being able to tackle healthy conflict. If you want to be part of a high performing team, you must expect conflict to be a part of it.

I come from a family where certain members refuse to engage in conflict and have requested that I do not as well. Being outnumbered, I must pretend to be someone I am not to keep the “peace” — which is not really peace at all.

Relationships without trust, and thus conflict, are basically superficial, fear-driven and unsatisfying. Eventually, people who will not address conflict in a healthy way will find themselves inevitably engaged in unhealthy conflict: Back-biting, judging, gossiping, and controlling behavior.

Remember, conflict doesn’t go away. It comes out sideways in forms of rage, sickness, depression, and/or despondency. It destroys intimacy and ultimately all joy in life.

What Is Conflict that’s Healthy?

Patrick Lencioni shares in his book, The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, how teams that engage in healthy conflict know that the only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. They discuss and resolve issues more quickly and completely than others, and they emerge from heated debates with no residual feelings or collateral damage, but with an eagerness and readiness to take on the next important issue. (pp. 202 & 203.).

This also goes for your personal relationships as well. You can’t grow if you do not have conflict.

In my work, I use the concept of healthy conflict in two distinct ways which I will share below. Whenever I lead with the words, “I need to have healthy conflict with you,” what I am saying is, “Our relationship is important to me and I need to say some hard things that you may not agree with and that I am uncomfortable saying to you. I am taking a risk, but the end result and our working relationship is more valuable to me than the way I feel.”

Healthy Conflict in an Organization

Say you’re on a team. You were hired for your specific gifts and talents. Your bosses and teammates need to hear your thoughts and understand your viewpoint. While not everyone will have a vote, everyone should have a voice. If you don’t speak up about something, perhaps no one else will either.

On a team, healthy conflict means initiating a controversial topic or bringing attention to an issue or situation that could be seen as controversial or disagreement. It is the act of passionately with conviction bringing your unique perspective or your “story” to the table in the spirit of teamwork, organizational health, and overall alignment.

It takes a lot of courage to engage in healthy conflict. You run the risk of being wrong, or of making someone else be acknowledged as wrong. That is where trust comes in — to ensure everyone is safe in telling their “story” and bringing their unique perspective to the team. There is no wrong, when the goal is to make the team right.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody’s not thinking.”- General George S. Patton

Healthy Conflict in Personal Relationships

Healthy conflict in personal relationships requires that you address issues that stand in the way between you and the other person.

It’s especially important to use healthy conflict when someone has done something that hurt you and you can’t get past it. Perhaps their action started out small and you logically can see why they did what they did, yet the pain is there and an obstacle.

For best results, I suggest the “24-hour rule.” The reasons are, first, to let you hot heads cool down and make sure you have thought through the issue. Second, to make sure the quiet folks do not let it fester for weeks, thinking they will get over it in time. In reality, time and trust cover over a bunch of idiosyncrasies and quarks in other people, but if you can’t get over a specific issue quickly then address it.

The Value of Healthy Conflict

When you do humbly and thoughtfully initiate healthy conflict with someone who has offended you, what you are saying is, “I care more about the relationship than I do about my own personal comfort.”  Yes, it demands that you take a risk for the sake of the betterment of the relationship and often times for the sake of the other. We all have blind spots and if we do not have people speaking truth into our lives, how will we ever become better people who are happy, engaged and satisfied?

People are messy. You are messy. A large portion of the population does not think like you do. Trust requires vulnerability and the more open we make ourselves the more inevitable conflict we will have. The art is knowing how to stay present and resolve the conflict, because real people are not perfect. In fact, the way we grow in our emotional intelligence and self-awareness is to to have conflict with trusting people who are committed to our journey to become better…not perfect but better than when we met them.

Do you have a trusted team who will point out your blind spot? If so, thank them today.

Your Coach,


jen and emmanuel (224x300)

Givers VS. Takers – Who Are You? Clarity #38

In order to be an effective giver, you must first be a good listener. This type of listening includes asking questions and being curious about the other person’s thoughts, needs, and desires. Week 38 of Clarity focuses on the difference between givers and takers. We talk about this all the time in our world of coaching here at True Life, Inc. Coach Mary Beth King introduces our very own Jenny Bookamer while Shandel is out of town – enjoy!! Jenny’s blog invites us to consider whether we tend to give or to take in our relationships. She points us to the clearest indication of our tendency: how do we listen?  Do we listen and respond from thinking, “it’s all about ME”? I need you to let me be in charge. I need you to know that I am brilliant. I need to feel like I’m helping you.  Or, do we listen and respond from thinking, “it’s all about YOU”? How are you? What do you truly need? How can I help?  Notice whether you are listening to have your needs met or serve others, and you will clearly see whether you tend to be a giver or a taker!    ~ Mary Beth King, PCC Here’s Jenny… In order to be an effective giver, you must first be a good listener. This type of listening includes asking questions and being curious about the other person’s thoughts, needs, and desires. Week 38 of Clarity focuses on the difference between givers and takers. We talk about this all the time in our world of coaching here at True Life, Inc. In re-visiting this chapter it reminded me of another part of my world where I am a childbirth educator in the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth and a birth doula (a doula is a nonmedical person who assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, as well as her partner and/or family, by providing physical assistance, and emotional support).


Courtesy of Nichelle Isaacson Photography

In this part of my world, an aspect of my role is to teach the support person to be tuned in to laboring woman. Support people may think they have a good idea of what is needed, but until they truly listen to women as they work through the process of labor and birth, they only have part of the equation. As a doula I once made the mistake of gently insisting the laboring mom try a certain position because I THOUGHT she was tired. She told me she wasn’t, and yet I persisted. With her next contraction it became very obvious that I was way off base. That was a big moment of understanding for me about the importance of listening in order to give effectively. What would happen if we intentionally listened and asked good, open-ended questions to gain insight into a person’s thoughts and heart? How would that change the way we give to others? I suggest that it would allow us to give to others in ways that would affect them in profound ways. It would make the process of giving more about the receiver, than the giver. We all have something to contribute in our sphere of influence. Start being an intentional listener and an effective giver and see what a difference YOU can make!

Jenny Bookamer

What Kind Of Risk Taker Are You? Clarity #24

This is such a timely subject that I decided to include an excerpt from my book CLARITY: FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERS. We are on week #24 and if you have not read the book or following along with our year long challenge – join in now.

Real Risk For Real Relationships

Growing up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I had a few too many opportunities for adventure: jumping snowmobiles in the full moon, passing three logging trucks on a two-lane highway in a ’71 Vega, leaping off 40-foot cliffs into the Feather River, and countless other near death experiences. Let’s just say that some adventures were cause for a visit to the chiropractor on Monday morning.

These days, I’ve traded adventure stunts for business tactics. Perhaps you’re like me. A different type of risk defines us…until someone challenges us to look deeper, or within. We may be successful but are we wealthy in relationships?

Intimacy is necessary for rich relationships. The only way to have true intimacy is to risk your self emotionally. At this point, the risk-taker in many of us comes to a screeching halt. Thinking of exposing our inner being is enough to send half of us running!

Where is your gap?

Have you felt a gap within you? Continue reading