Starve or Thrive in Relationships? It’s up to you

Communication is often so much harder than it needs to be.  Whether or not you are starving or thriving in your key relationships is up to you.  There are so many variables operating against you namely;

  • Different backgrounds
  • Different gender
  • Different communication preferences,
  • History or past experience
  • and what I call buttons (or sensitive places)

When you think of all of these variables all mushed up into a human is it any wonder we all can connect at all? Firstly backgrounds, this can be as simple as do you come from a talking, loud and proud family or from a calmer more introspective bunch? Do you talk about issues or bury them?

These things alone can break a relationship sooner than anything. You meet the love of your life and then they meet your family. That can sometimes be enough. And that’s while your family on good behaviour!

Gender, I sometimes think God sits back with a smile on His face and giggles at how we all get so messed up at the gender differences. As a proud, strong young woman I thought feminism was for me. I have now changed my stance based on my experience to believe that yes there should be equal opportunity but we are completely different. Neither is better or worse we are fundamentally different, and Thank God for that.

I do not need to apologise for my femininity and no man needs to apologise for his masculinity. We are different and together we can accomplish far more than when we are at each other competing.

Different Communication Preferences, this alone is enough to cause confusion for the rest of our natural lives, unless we all decide to be self-reflective, learn about our needs and learn about the needs of others. My favourite book “Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer changed my life and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this area of communication. My book “The Enlightened Communicator,”   also touches on these differences and how my experience and journey have shaped my experiences.

History or past experience can be a complete minefield, especially if you are not open to learning about how your past effects your today and your tomorrow. It only affects you when you don’t know how it affects you. I know confusing, but for example, if a person has betrayed you in your past, you then meet someone with similar traits in the present. You may unknowingly assume some things about them that are not valid or true at all. Don’t let the past control you, learn from it and move on.

Buttons are one of my favourite things. We all have them! Most people don’t know what they are and wonder why they are at the mercy of them as you go throughout their day with them being pushed by whoever, whenever. Let’s get control back people. Know your sensitive points and then take responsibility for them.

If some poor person unwittingly pushes a button for you, guess what? It’s your responsibility to get over it not theirs. Do some reflection, ask yourself, what happened, what did you feel, where did that come from. Then allow yourself to move forward, learning from the experience.

Be patient and kind to yourself sometimes it takes a while to work out where the root cause came from. Journaling can be a wonderful gift in this process. This is true maturity when you have had a button pushed and you work through this process taking responsibility to do this. How incredibly freeing!

Take the time and the commitment to master these variable and differences and you are well on the way to Thriving in all aspects of your relationships.

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.

Top 5 Communication Mistakes #4

The fourth of the top 5 mistakes is;

Not understanding that as Communicators we are different!

Unfortunately, the source of many of our communication problems is the gap!  I see the world one way and receive information one way, and you do it another way.  Its all ok just different.

Most of us automatically assume that everyone sees the world as you see it.  This is at such a subconscious level you won’t even realise that you are doing it.  We don’t know why someone dislikes our new hairstyle, or why someone might not like our colour scheme.  So, if you are a bottom line kind of person who does not fluff about at all, when you come into contact with a warm fuzzy person who could think of nothing better than shooting the breeze all day you may certainly go nuts.

You are different; you have different agendas, different needs, different likes and different ways of doing things.  Neither is right or wrong they are just different.

If you are a person who is quick to anger, you are likely quick to recover and move on.  However, if you are dealing with a person who is slower to anger, who takes on more, for a very long time….. When they finally get to boiling point (and they will!) they will take a long time to recover also.  Neither is right or wrong just different.  Understanding this fundamental principle of communication will make all of the difference – we are different, we have different needs and we communicate them – you guessed it – DIFFERENTLY!

Just being aware of this goes such a long way to bridging the gap.  When someone says or does something we don’t understand, instead of taking it personally or getting upset we are able to say, ok, so they see and do things differently to me.  Thats ok.  Then with a child like curiosity seek to understand it.

Next time we will look at the final mistake of the top 5 communication mistakes made everyday. If you have found this helpful please share it with someone who would benefit.

For tips, free resources and information on our upcoming Master class “The Art Of Difficult Conversations”  or check out our website at

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.

The top 5 Communication Mistakes made every day? # 2

The top 5 Communication mistakes we make everyday, number 2; do you experience this?

2: Lack of common ground

As humans we naturally tend to stick with what we know.  As such, when you come across what you don’t know the gap can be huge.  This is not a problem if you are aware of it because you can ensure you identify the unknown and address it.  It is when you don’t know and don’t address it that problems arise.

When I am working with a Team I encourage them to;

  • Recognise
  • Identify, then
  • Bridge the gap

Many years ago I was working with a Gentleman from Africa.  When we spoke he would not make eye contact with me. I tried over and over to address this with him, so I had Recognised the gap, I had tried to Identify the gap but had struggled, as he just would not engage.

I sought the assistance of a worker from the same cultural background from the local migrant resource centre.  Until this time, I interpreted his reaction as fear, shyness or a lack of respect.

However, what I learned later was that in his culture for a man to look at a woman particularly a younger woman from another culture was seen as complete disrespect.  So what I was interpreting as disrespect was actually him showing me the highest respect from his culture.  Because we lacked common ground culturally, we did not initially understand each other’s perspective.  This helped me to Bridge the gap.

Once this Gentleman felt that I was willing to understand and accept him he was able to open up. When he learned that eye contact in my culture was not disrespectful.  With support and encouragement he was willing to begin to make a change. This was a big challenge for him.  However we had built trust and mutual respect so he was willing to try and do something outside of his comfort zone.

What gaps do you have in your relationships?  Is there someone at work you just don’t get, someone who just pushes all the wrong buttons?  These are examples of gaps.  Sometimes it g=can be cultural, age related, background, personality and many more.  The first step is awareness.  S when you would like to build a better connection remember to Recognise, Identify and Bridge the Gap.

Next time we will look at the third of the top 5 communication mistakes made everyday. If you have found this helpful please share it with someone who would benefit.

For tips, free resources and information on our upcoming Master class “The Art Of Difficult Conversations” or check out loads of other free resources at our website at


Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.



What are the two most powerful words?

Did you know that your words are powerful?  It is a well know fact that emotional abuse can cause much more damage than physical abuse. Emotional abuse is driven by words.  Words can build up or break down.

So what are arguably, the two most powerful words? I was watching a movie recently about the Irish Republican Army, the “IRA”.  The story explained that when the young men fighting with the IRA were caught and imprisoned they refused to wear the prison uniform.  Consequently, they were naked in blankets whilst in prison.  This quiet prison rebellion went on for years.

The IRA prisoners campaigned for the right to wear civilian clothes as they saw themselves as prisoners of war.  As such would not wear the clothes of a prisoner.  They refused to acknowledge the British rule in their motherland.

They tried in vain to negotiate with the government and eventually whey went on hunger strike to make this point.  After at least 10 young men had died from this hunger strike (aged sadly from 19 to 26 years of age) the British government agreed to grant them the privilege of wearing civilian clothes.  The IRA prisoners remain committed to their decision and would not agree to the terms.  They believed it was a right not a privilege.  Because of one word, and the power behind it more young men died.

Words are powerful. Arguably two of the most powerful words in our language are “Thank you and “Sorry.  These words can build bridges, bring forgiveness and help someone feel recognised and valued.

Sometimes we say things out of hurt or anger and they can leave a scar for life.  That’s where nursery rhyme line  “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is not quite accurate.  I have heard over and over how a word said in anger can linger in a person’s soul for years.  Such words can honestly stop you from believing in yourself and consequently from reaching your potential.

The sad thing is, is that the person who said the hurtful words has probably forgotten and has no idea just how much they have hurt you.  It is important to acknowledge this if you are hanging onto a lie that has been told to you.  If you have been told that you won’t amount to anything, or that you are not worth it. It is a lie.  You have inside of you such enormous potential; you have a unique gift that no one else has.

No one else sees the world exactly they way you do, no one else thinks the way you do.  It is a gift for you to use and make a difference on the earth.  So if hurtful words and lies are holding you back I encourage you to stop believing them and do whatever it is that you have been dreaming about.  You can do it.  I know that you can!

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.


The Strong Communicator and “The Block”

Is anyone a raging Block fan? After all with almost half a million following on Facebook and it being a Channel 9 hit show you just may be a fan.

Well I am, and in recent months with a heavy bout of insomnia I have been indulging in the wee hours. I love it!

In a recent very popular post about “dealing with a Strong Dictator, oops sorry Communicator” it seemed to strike a chord with you all. So I am guessing that many of you out there are struggling with this from time to time?

Now the recent changes to the block have meant that all of the teams who have been competing with each other are now forced to work together to finish an entire apartment together in 2 weeks. You may agree, a very challenging environment! As you may have read on this blog too, stress can bring out the worst in our communication styles.

For example if you are a Powerful and Direct Communicator, under stress you may become stronger, more direct, more aggressive and even more competitive. A nice situation huh. Now the lovely example I want to share with you of the Strong Powerful and Direct communicator on the block is none other than ‘Dee’.

She openly describes herself as assertive and cannot see why she is too confrontational and difficult for the other contestants to deal with. From all accounts she appears to be a lovely lady and terribly talented stylist however, she openly and without shame will “fight anyone” who gets in her way.

She fights for her rights, she will not take “No” for an answer and commonly responds to any attempts of collaboration with “What’s in it for me, how does that help me, that’s not my problem, or just flat out No.”

She has no fear or hesitation in speaking up, she frequently confronts anyone who she feels needs to be confronted and she what she thinks without hesitation and sometimes without any softening. The more stressed and pushed she gets, the harder more determined she is.

The hard thing for the other couples seems to be how to deal with her, with many of them just avoiding the confrontation or trying to laugh it off which only enrages her more. The lovely ‘Dee’ does not appear to understand that her strength of being able to be assertive and speak up can be threatening to others. In fact, you could argue that she doesn’t seem to care.

This is a frequent issue for Strong Powerful and Direct Communicators. Like all of us, we forget that we are different and think that we can all approach situations in a similar way. The fact that confrontation is so comfortable for her means she may have no understanding of someone who finds is completely frightening.

Similarly a Strong Playful and Influencing Communicator can have no understanding of the fear of a shy person. They struggle to see how someone can be frightened of speaking to some they don’t know because they are so comfortable with it.

So, thank you Dee and the Block for illustrating so beautifully such a common communication problem. If you relate and have struggled to deal with a Strong Communicator, to be assertive or say ‘No’ then check out our course on how to Master difficult conversations

You can learn some really simple and powerful strategies so that you are able to deal more effectively with such situations both at work and personally. Don’t put it off any longer; you deserve the freedom that speaking up for yourself brings.

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.

The Steady, the Analytical and Stress

Did you know that 92% of Australians feel unfulfilled in their jobs?  Much of this may be attributed to stress and feeling disconnected in the workplace.  Continuing our discussion on stress and how it affects each Communication Style today we will look further into the Steady and Analytical Communication Styles.

The Patient and Steady Communicator is the quiet, people focused, consistent team member that loves harmony and for everyone to get along.  They avoid change and conflict like the plague.  When stressed, they will retreat further into themselves and try to pretend nothing is going on.

This style is very difficult to read so most often won’t show the signs of stress until it has been going on for quite a while.  Unfortunately, you won’t get a warning until the volcano blows!!   As you can imagine this is really hard for team members as they have no warning and seeing a usually quiet Patient and Steady style do their block is a sight to behold.

If this happens it is important to remember that the pre cursing event is one of MANY that have lead to this blow up.  This is one of the complications of the “Patient and Steady” letting everything build up until they cannot take any more.   It is very important for the “Patient and Steady” communicator to feel supported after a blow up happens, as they are always willing to support others.  They will appreciate a willing ear and a friendly smile.

If this is you, remember it is ok to ask for help and to say “No” when you need to.  If you are a “Patient and Steady” communicator you will respond to stress by needing to sleep more.  So take the time and allow yourself to do this when you need.

Many Patient and Steady Communicators do well in learning how to be more assertive, particularly when dealing with a more assertive style such as the Powerful and Direct or Playful and Influencing communicator. If this is you or someone you know check out our upcoming course on how to Master the Art of Difficult Conversations, in Sydney this November.

The “Perfect and Conscientious” comes across as highly detailed, organised, wanting perfection and quite task oriented.  When stressed they become even more task focused, they demand perfection and can become quite critical of others.  As you can imagine if your bench mark is perfection this is already a recipe for stress.  So if you notice your “Perfect and Conscientious” style team mate becoming more critical than usual, more controlling, if they seem tense and more anxious than usual it could be a sign that they are under stress.

Don’t take their criticism to heart, it is an outward sign of their inward battle.  Ask them if they need support, offer to help them get a plan together so they can get through whatever is causing them stress too.  If this is you, be kind to yourself, you will usually need some quiet alone time to deal with your hectic inner world.  Make sure you do this so that you can effectively deal with the cause of your stress.

For all of us, awareness of our own stress levels is key.  Realising that the people around us are affected by the way our behaviour and communication changes under stress is important.  I think it funny that when we are under stress, we behave differently toward others, they may not respond well and our stress can increase!  What a vicious and unhelpful cycle!

When you notice your stress increasing the best thing to do is acknowledge it, ask for support or help and get a plan.  Ignoring it is never the answer.  Ensure you allow yourself to do what helps you when stressed whether it be exercising, socialising, sleeping, quiet time or a combination; do what works for you.

I noticed a few years ago when my Husband and I were both stressed at the same time for different reasons.  When he is stressed he likes to socialise and I need a combination of exercise and quiet time.  He was really pushing to go out and it was honestly the last thing I wanted to do.  What did we do?  We compromised.  I said to him that I needed an hour to walk and think on  my own, when I got back I felt so much better and was able to then socialise as he so badly needed.

It is so important to take responsibility for your feelings, be able to share them, acknowledge and respect the needs of others.  In relationships, the whole mind reading thing really doesn’t work!

Next time we will look at a current and real life example of these interactions and how different communicators respond to stress.   Please share this information with friends and loved ones so that all of us can dial back the stress and begin to enjoy life more.

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.

Are you a Dominant communicator?

We all have different communication DNA styles.  They are a combination of task or people focused and then outgoing or reserved.  Powerful and Direct styles are action based, outgoing, task focused, results oriented and for the rest of the population they can be quite challenging.  If this is your style, however, chances are you are not even aware of the effect you can have on others.

This person is motivated by the challenge, they love to solve problems can be highly competitive and extremely strong willed.  If you want something done, give to this person.  However, be aware they may leave bruises.  These guys really have no idea how straight down the line, no fuss, in your face they can be.  To the average person they can come off at times as aggressive, even like a bully. Sadly this is not their intent at all.  They are just after the result and if people get in the way, then that’s where the damage can occur.

This is my strongest style and I have been known to mow people down in the supermarket, I literally don’t see them.  I am focused on the task and the task is to complete the shopping.  It’s not to say “Hi”.  To see who I know, to window shop.  No, its get the items bag them and get out of there!  I have had friends come up to me days later and say they felt really upset when I ignored them, I honestly did not see them. This style gravitates to leadership and management roles where they can make decisions and have control.

Unfortunately unless enlightened they can cause trouble for those in the workplace that have a more people focused, gentle approach.  We will discuss this in more detail in coming editions.  It’s just because they are so fast paced, quick thinking, decisive and you got it – different from you.

So, in summary, the dominant, Powerful and Direct styles are after results, they don’t mess around, they are straightforward, task focused, they like to make decisions, are big picture thinkers and think their way is the ONLY way. They can come across as aggressive, competitive, sometimes bossy and harsh.  However, they get loads done, are goal focused and won’t give in.

Don’t be too hard on a Powerful and Direct style if there is one on your world, they really have a good heart and don’t realise how pushy and direct they can be at times.  Why?  Because I don’t think anyone has been courageous enough to tell them! Next time we will look at the full of fun, people focused style.

If you are a Powerful and Direct communicator and are struggling checkout our resources page or contact us with your specific questions.  Perhaps you’ve been told you are difficult t to work with, or you are just not connecting with others.  Perhaps you tare wondering why your colleagues won’t approach you or work with you.  You may have even been told to get help. For support and training to learn more about your style and how to get the most out of your relationships visit

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.

Why is communication so difficult at times?

Have you ever tried to explain to someone an issue or concern and they just don’t get it? have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever tried to support someone only to find you have offended them?  You are not alone.

Communication is the art of “being heard and understood”. Communication is a two way street, you need to not only construct the right message but also for it to be received in the way you intended.  This sounds simple, but believe me it s not.  Why?

Firstly, many of us don’t think before we speak, we just send words out into the either and expect it to work.  We mistakenly think that because we know what we mean then of course everyone else will.  This is not the case at all.  It takes many years and a lot of honesty and trust to get to know someone that well that we get that they mean.  Even then we can still be hurt by the words and actions of others.

Secondly, we have our own intention when we do communicate,which is usually not clear to the receiver.  This was a real struggle for me.  Being such a strong personality when I intended to be gentle I would come across as confrontational.  When I tried to be inspirational I would come across as a bully.  Not my intention at all!  Even worse I did not realise this for a very long time.  People would not tell me how they felt because they were scared of confronting me.

As you can imagine this caused havoc for me personally and professionally.  Thankfully I was able to learn from this so I could improve my ability to communicate and relate with all types of people.  Hence my determinedness to share my experiences with you so you don’t have to struggle anymore.  Learn from my mistakes please!  This allows my struggle to be useful and make a difference in the lives of others.

Next time we will discuss how different communication styles make or communication even more complicated.

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.

Why listen to me?

Why? It’s simple really, I’ve made many mistakes.  So many, I couldn’t count them for you.  BUT I have learned from them.

How do you feel about the f word?  Have I got your attention?

The f word I am referring to is the word failure.  What did you think I was referring too?

Definition of Failure: to not meet expectations, to mess up, to disappoint, to fall short.

Lovely images hey?  However, You’ve done it, I’ve done it.  The common thread is that we all fail.  We all don’t like to fail but the wise ones learn that failure is a wonderful opportunity to learn.

I have an awesome example of a horrible situation I found my self in many years ago  … please  read on…

I was a young manager of a team of about 12.  We were all professionals and I was very proud of my team.  I believed we did very valuable work helping people.  One day I was in the ladies, when about 6 of my team walked in.  They did not know I was in the loo.  They began having a huge gossip session about me!

Lesson number 1: Don’t gossip.

Lesson number 2: If you are going to anyway, check who is in the loo before doing this.

I was sitting there with my heart breaking as they go on and on about how bossy I was, how they could not talk to me, how it was my way or the highway, that I thought I was better than everybody, how I was unapproachable.  Each sentence was another dagger to my heart.

So I sat there thinking what do I do?  Do I stay here and wait until they are finished then slink away?  Do I walk out and confront them?  Both options were sounding awful to me.  However, in that awful moment I realised that I had a very important choice to make.  I could face this “failure” or I could run away and hide.  Now anyone who knows me knows I am not one to run from a challenge.  But this was really hard!

I did not know how on earth these people that I worked so hard to support felt so negatively toward me.  I thought I was approachable, easy to talk to, helpful and I certainly did not think I was better than anyone, if anything else I struggled with self-esteem.

So, what did I do?  I got up walked out and faced them.  You should have seen their faces mid slander; it was priceless.  Each one of them had their mouth and eyes so wide.  There was complete silence; no one spoke a word.  I am sure they were waiting for me to just tell them off.

Then I simply said “Thank  you”.  Now this they were NOT expecting.   Think they’re mouths and eyes got even wider.  But the truth is I meant it.  As awful as it was to hear what I had heard them say about me.  I knew that something had to change.

I continued, “ I am so sorry that this is how I have come across to you.  This was never my intention and it changes today”. 

They still were not sure what to say to me, they tried to say a very uncomfortable sorry and left as soon as possible.  I then knew that I had to work out how to change things.  I was so confused as to how I could be seen so differently to how I thought I came across.

What i realised was, my impact did not match my intent.  When I thought I was helping, they thought I was being bossy.  When I was being proactive they saw me as thinking I was better and more capable than them.

This is one of the primary causes for poor communication, impact not matching intent.  It stems from us all having different communication styles.  I am quite a direct and proactive person.  When I think I am inspiring some people find me scary.  It is something I continually work on.  Especially with people who don’t know me well.

This awful, heart breaking experience was what motivated me to understand how I could get it so wrong.  So in a major way this experience lead me to where I am today, sharing this information with anyone who will listen so they don’t have to have such experiences.

This experience drove me to work out how different people communicate, it taught me many models of communication and the one I have persisted with is the DISC model that I share a lot about through these articles.

Things did change at work, gradually the weirdness disappeared and those relationships became very strong.  I think mostly because I kept my promise and things changed.  I am forever grateful to that experience as painful as it was it was am amazing lesson.  This lesson has blessed me many times over.

So next time you face a failure, be brave, look at what you can learn from it and keep moving forward.

Perhaps you tare wondering why your colleagues won’t approach you or work with you.  You may have even been told to get help. For support and training to learn more about your style and how to get the most out of your relationships visit

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.





So why do we miscommunicate?

So, why do we miscommunicate?? Our lives imprint on us, with each experience.  Good, bad or indifferent each if our experiences leave their mark.   Our lives become like a scrapbook with a theme; for example, you may think  “I am a well liked, confident person who makes good decisions”, or “I am worthless, people don’t care about me and I am alone”.   Two very opposing views but you get my point.

It is really important to understand this because our life theme and experiences colour each communication we have.  This is our frame of reference.  It is your reality and is difficult to change especially if you are not even aware of it!  The more “positive” or optimistic you are, the less likely you are to be offended by someone because a negative view does not match your internal story.  The same goes for the opposite, if you have a poor view of yourself then you may feel the need to defend yourself and that people attack you, when they are not. So, if you think everyone is out to get you then each communication will distort to fit your theme, your frame of reference.

The way you view the world will therefore affect and drive your response to everyday experiences.  I am being very simplistic here just to illustrate the point.  I raise that each person is far more complex than this in the big scheme of things. Your reactions, your mindset are coloured by your filter.  A really simple example of this is the translation when you are an optimist versus a pessimist.  This would translate simply to being a hopeful if you are an optimist and feeling hopeless if you are a pessimist. When you see the world differently to someone else it affects your perspective, your expectations and your assumptions.

A common example I have noticed is in a team environment when you have the “quiet” people versus the more “talkative” people.  I was working with a team recently and there was one team member who was so socially anxious he would not make eye contact or say “hello”.  In fact, he struggled so much that even if a colleague said “good morning” to him, he was unable to respond. His team mates responded to his behaviour with resentment.  They thought that he felt he was too good for them, that he was just plain rude.  This meant there was quite a tangible tension in this team.  This environment only made the relationship stress worse.

When in a workshop, this fellow was able to communicate that he is frightened to make eye contact and to even say “hello”, everything changed in his teams assumptions and expectations of him.  Their resentment changed to understanding and almost sorrow for him. With time, and trust building, he became more able to make eye contact with his colleagues and to say hello.  In fact, at the last workshop, he was a significant contributor to the discussion that was so great to see.

What is important for you to remember is that everyone has a story, and we all have our own struggles.  We all see the world in a unique way and we all want to connect and be valued.  So if you are not connecting with someone, if there is someone who is ticking you off or pushing your buttons, they may not be intentionally making your life difficult. It may simply be because they are wired differently to you.

In coming posts we will discover more about the different communication styles and what makes them tick.  You will relate more to a particular style and you will see traits from other styles in your colleagues, friends and family.  So sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.

Until next time, Care, Connect and be a Courageous Communicator.  Let’s change the world we live in one conversation at a time.