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Help! My Job is Ruining Our Relationship!

Help! My Job is Ruining Our Relationship!

Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT is a Denver marriage counselor, career coach, and executive coach at Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She specializes in emotional intelligence coaching, and is skilled and experienced in working with individuals and couples dealing with the challenges of managing work and family life.  She sees clients in our Denver and Broomfield Colorado office locations, as well as online.

 

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Don’t Let Job Stress Ruin Your Relationship

“My Husband’s Job is Ruining Our Relationship!”

Having a tyrant for a boss is a nightmare for anyone and bad news for a spouse as well.  Every night when my career coaching client “Matthew” came home from work his wife “Jennie” dreaded their exchanges.  What used to be a fun and light-hearted time became non-stop complaints, threats of quitting the job or worse yet, an excuse to drink as a way of coping with the stress.

For months Jennie listened. Then she began to offer advice including, “Why don’t you just quit if you’re so miserable?” Or, “You should schedule a meeting with your boss and tell him what you think.”  This advice wasn’t helpful, and often Matthew became annoyed or defensive in response. They started fighting about it. Both Jennie and Matthew started to believe that Matthew’s job was ruining their relationship, but they didn’t know how to stop his job stress from negatively impacting their life.

Over time more arguments happened, Matthew’s drinking increased and the mood at home shifted from being negative and irritable for Matthew to negative and irritable for Jennie and the entire family.  This is called emotional contagion and it sneaks up on you.

Job Stress = Emotional Contagion

Did you know that emotions are contagious? Yes, both good emotions and not such good ones affect those around you. So when your spouse comes home every night with a load of complaints and negativity, this will affect you along with everyone else in the household. If you’re looking for one culprit to keep a job from ruining your relationship, this is the one to focus on.

5 Tips to Keep Your Job From Ruining Your Relationship

  • Be aware of emotional contagion and make it a priority to shift your mood when you’re off duty
  • Consider ways to create more effective boundaries around work and personal life.  
  • Take time to decompress from work–changing from work issues to home is often a deliberate process.
  • If your partner frequently brings home work frustrations and stress, try detaching your emotions from your partners.  This doesn’t mean you don’t care about your partner’s challenges but instead are keeping the emotional contagion out of your relationship.  
  • Suggest putting time limits on “work” talk at home.

 

The good news:  Positive emotions are contagious as well!  Think back on the feelings that you may have shared at the end of a run or walk you’ve done for charity or a football game where you’ve been on your feet with hundreds of other fans cheering that winning touchdown. The positive shared experience is truly contagious. Your brain would like more of this, thank you.

Thankfully, things turned around for Matthew and Jennie. Matthew and I engaged in career coaching as he seriously considered his career options, and whether he should quit his job. He decided not to. Instead, our work shifted to executive coaching (particularly around emotional intelligence coaching) and Matthew learned how to manage his mood. He made some important changes to his job, specifically around setting boundaries, learning how to delegate, incorporating some new personal productivity strategies, and learning how to say no.

Furthermore, he began deliberately focusing on how to be a more positive partner for his wife. Relationships that feel good, are a place for fun, adventure, support and trust are more likely to stay strong during times of stress and tough challenges. He learned that by intentionally boosting the positive interactions you have between you and your partner, you can protect your relationship from the times you’re feeling off. So even though not every day was perfect, Jennie was much more patient and compassionate with Matthew during his stressful times.

I hope that my sharing this story helps you incorporate some positive changes to your work / life balance as well. If negative moods follow you home from work and you would like help sorting out a better approach before they become harmful to your relationship or family, it may be helpful to talk with an experienced career coach / life coach or therapist — particularly one who is well versed in emotional intelligence coaching. You can learn how to make positive changes at your job, manage stress more effectively, and even set some boundaries around your time and mental energy.

 

 

Why Group Therapy Turbocharges Your Growth

Why Group Therapy Turbocharges Your Growth

Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC is a therapist, life coach, and relationship counselor who with a gentle, compassionate approach. She specializes in helping people grow their confidence and self esteem, and increase their empathy for themselves and others.

Questions About Group Therapy?

Curious about Group Therapy? Intrigued by Group Therapy? Worried about Group Therapy? Maybe all of the above?

So normal to feel this way. While there are so many benefits and advantages to group therapy, the idea of meeting a group of strangers and sharing deep and personal information can, understandably, sound dubious and bring up feelings of anxiety.

But what many who aren’t familiar with groups don’t yet know is that therapy groups are not only structured to create a safe space for sharing, but can also promote growth and relief more immediately than individual therapy.

Here’s a little bit about what to expect from a therapy group experience:

Group Therapy Feels Safe: First and foremost, just as in individual therapy, what is shared in a therapy group remains confidential. All therapy group members agree to respect each other’s privacy and anonymity. What happens in group stays in the group! In a high-quality therapy group your facilitator will create clear boundaries and expectations. They will discuss with everyone the focus, objectives, and rules of the therapy group so that everyone is on the same page and can feel safe.

Group Therapy is Flexible: It’s also important to know that, while you will benefit most from sharing in the group, what you share and your pace of opening up is entirely up to you.  Feeling particularly vulnerable today? Not in a great mood? That’s okay. You can show up to the group as you are and find support.

Group Therapy is Supportive: It is, in fact, the opportunity to find belonging that contributes to the unique benefits of a therapeutic group. As wonderful and helpful as individual therapy can be, it simply doesn’t offer some of the growth opportunities you will find in a group therapy setting.

Just Some of The Benefits of Group Therapy

You are not alone.

Often we feel that our struggles are unique. This contributes to a sense of ourselves as an outsider, intrinsically flawed, impossible to understand or maybe even help. While it is true that we are all unique, we share common challenges. Hearing that others, too, feel insecure, have anxiety, or repeat the same relationship patterns helps us to believe we are not so abnormal after all. If experience is the best teacher, listening to the stories of our peers is an experience that can change our own idea of ourselves in a profound and direct way rarely found outside of the group therapy setting. This can be especially helpful if you’re going through something really hard, like a breakup or divorce.

You give and get support.

Belonging to a group immediately expands your support system. Being exposed to fresh perspectives, inspired by the struggles and triumphs of others, brainstorming together, and the genuine expression of curiosity and concern are just some of the ways group members support each other. Stepping out of your own struggles to support someone else is also cathartic and therapeutic in itself, providing a special feeling of purpose and contribution.

You learn new relational skills.

What better place to put new skills to task, to practice them, than in a group of those with whom you’ve bonded and feel understood, not judged? The group experience lets you not only talk about what changes you want to make, but also give these new changes a try in a safe, more comfortable atmosphere. The therapy group enables us to “dip our toe in the waters” of change with others who, themselves, deeply understand and even share the nature of our struggles.

You find your voice.

For those of us who would like to improve our relationship skills (basically all of us), becoming part of a group propels us forward. In a therapy group, we increase our self-awareness, learn how to articulate our thoughts and feelings, and become competent at carving out a space for ourselves within a team. This unique opportunity increases our confidence with others in ways we can put to use practically in our daily lives.

You listen and learn.

Even if you are having an “off” day, have less to share, or are feeling a bit sheepish, you can benefit from listening to the other members of your group. Supporting them, just being there, creates growth, insight, and new, fulfilling relationship experiences.  Come as you are, whether that means eager to get things off your chest, wanting to ask for help, or ready to let your support system take the lead.

Group therapy costs less.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Due to the nature of groups and participation of several members, they simply cost less than private therapy. [How much does therapy cost?] This means that therapy groups make support, growth, and change available to many who wouldn’t otherwise be able to take advantage of therapy.

Groups aren’t just for therapy.

While traditional, Yalom-style group therapy is enormously helpful for people, coaching groups are also a fantastic, effective, and affordable way to launch your personal growth.

What’s the difference between group therapy and group coaching? 

The differences between group therapy and group coaching are subtle, and more about the intention and format of the group than the actual experience. Group therapy is wonderful in helping you identify your old patterns and gain insight into how you interact with others. Coaching groups are affordable, effective ways to set goals, learn skills and strategies, and get accountability.

However, therapy groups also provide skills, strategies, and accountability, and group coaching also gives you insight and self-awareness. The biggest difference between group therapy and group coaching is that group therapy can be used to help people struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, (as well as personal growth.) Group coaching is for the purpose of self-improvement and goal attainment, such as improving your relationships, or advancing in your career. 

While group coaching has many of the benefits of group therapy (i.e., group coaching offers support, guidance,   “the group experience,” teaches you skills and strategies, provides accountability, and is less expensive than private life coaching or career coaching) group coaching has one significant advantage over group therapy: You can attend group coaching online.

Online Group Coaching

An online coaching group allows you to attend the group from the privacy of your own home, and is often more convenient for many people. People can attend their coaching group at home after the kids are in bed, while they’re traveling, or even during a lunch break. You can also attend your coaching group if you’re in a different state or a different country. This leads to an increased diversity of perspectives and opinions, which is a major advantage to coaching group participants.

Both Group Therapy and Coaching Groups Turbocharge Your Growth

You can probably see how effective and encouraging groups can be, particularly around helping us understand, improve, and even like ourselves more in the context of relationships. Interacting with others is such an integral part of our happiness and wellness. Finding our place in a group helps us create more fulfilling and meaningful relationships, both in the short-term (within the group) and in the long-term future we dream of creating. Effective groups also provide us with insight, guidance, new ideas, skills, strategies and accountability — all more affordably than private therapy or life coaching. Groups offer value, meaningful experiences, and and effective tools for growth: What’s not to love? 

Best,

Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPC

Facilitator of Growing Self’s Denver Therapy Group

Current Groups @ Growing Self

Powerful, Affordable Groups to Improve Your Life

Denver Therapy Group

Are you ready to transform the way you feel about yourself, your life, and your relationships? Our Denver Therapy Group experience is designed to help you understand yourself, grow in your strength and self-confidence, and help you have healthy, happy relationships. (Available in-person only).

Online Design Your Life Group

If you’re ready for a fresh new chapter in your career, your health, your relationships, and life satisfaction, our online Design Your Life Group can help you get clear about your personal and professional goals, and create a path to attaining them.

Online Personal Growth Group

Everything in your life can change, when you do. This powerful online coaching group experience will give you new insight into yourself, help you feel good about yourself and your life, and teach you skills and strategies for developing healthy, meaningful connections with others.

Online Breakup Support Group

The aftermath of a bad breakup or divorce can feel as isolating as it is painful. Our online breakup support group will connect you to others on the path of healing from heartbreak, and give you support and resources to heal, grow, and start a new chapter.

Designing Your Life: How to Create The Life You Want

Designing Your Life: How to Create The Life You Want

Maggie Graham, M.A., LPC, CPC is a life coach and career coach with Growing Self. She is one of 45 international coaches certified in the Designing Your Life curriculum that is based on the New York Times #1 bestselling book. She specializes in helping people create their ideal careers, and attain their personal and professional goals.

It’s Time to Grow…

The fall season is nearly upon us, and with it comes fresh, transformational energy. If you’re like many people showing up at Growing Self for life coaching, career coaching or therapy right now, it’s because this is the time of year to let go of the old, get re-aquainted with yourself, and design new goals for the next chapter of your life.

To support you in your quest for personal evolution, life coach and career coach Maggie Graham will be sharing her advice for how to move forward fearlessly in your career, your life and your relationships.

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast Maggie is talking about:

  • How to organize your life around what brings you the most energy and fulfillment
  • Identifying the self limiting beliefs that may be holding you back
  • Avoiding the common, self-sabotaging traps of perfectionism and negative self-talk
  • Resources to help you to get clear about your values and your goals
  • Key skills to making good decisions about where to go next with your life
  • How to transform your personal and professional relationships

Here are the links to the life coaching and career coaching resources we discussed in this podcast:

All the best,

Maggie Graham, M.A., LPC, CPC and Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Designing Your Life: How to Create the Life and Career You Want

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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The Power of Praise

The Power of Praise

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Catch People Doing Something Right.

Did you know that you have the power to perk people up, appreciate their wonderful, unique selves, and make them feel good about what they’re doing? And… that you have the power to make yourself feel that way about YOU, too?

It’s as simple as noticing what you, and others, are doing right.

Something I’ve learned from years of being a therapist, a life coach, and a couples counselor (as well as a wife, mom, colleague and friend) is this: Noticing, and commenting approvingly on positive behaviors not only makes you and others feel good, it also encourages more of the same.

Too often, people try to create change in others — and themselves — through criticism. They only speak up when something is NOT working. This leads their partners to feel that they “can never do anything right” (which I hear about all the time in marriage counseling) and it leads them to feel badly about themselves, and even doubt their competence and worth (a common topic in the therapy and life coaching room). [For more on this subject, check out “Creating Self Confidence.”]

When people feel bad about themselves, or like they’re always going to disappoint their partners, it’s nearly impossible to muster up the energy and try harder to do better. It feels like it doesn’t matter anyway, so why try?

Have you ever trained a dog? Do you scream at it whenever it does something you disapprove of, and ignore the instances when it behaves beautifully? No! Exactly the opposite is true: When your pup obediently sits / lays down / comes to you on command you lavish it with praise and reward with a treat. “Who’s a good dog? Who’s the best doggie? You are the best doggie!”

In contrast, think about your own internal dialogue when you don’t do something just right: You miss your workout, eat the donut, or make a mistake at work. If you’re like a lot of people, your inner critic berates you, calls you names, brings up all the other times you disappointed, and paints a bleak future. [For more on how to get a handle on your inner critic, check out The Happiness Class].

Now, think about your inner dialogue when you did make it to the gym, ordered the salad (dressing on the side!), and did your work just right………. Crickets. Chirping. Most people glide right by their own awesomeness, and that’s a shame.

Same goes for your partner. It’s so easy to jump all over people, or automatically radiate disapproving energy when others fail to meet our expectations. It’s also very easy to completely miss all the times — which are probably most of the times — that your partner is kind and generous.

You could certainly indulge the, “Why should I compliment them for just doing what they should be doing?” school of thought. But you’re probably reading this article because you want a next-level type of relationship. If that’s the case I invite you to imagine what kind of love-fest might ensue were you to slather on the praise and positivity when your partner is actually being great.

A simpler way to connect with the power of praise is to think about how YOU feel when your efforts are noticed, your specialness is admired by others, and your gifts are celebrated. It’s affirming. It’s validating. It makes you feel like you’re on the right track, and that you should keep doing more of what you’re doing, right?

Here’s one from me to you: I think that it’s fantastic that you’re browsing around online for articles that will help you build yourself up, feel happier, and have better relationships with others. Not everyone does that. Many just complain about their circumstances or blame other people.

But you understand that knowledge is power, and you’re open to new ideas. You are aware that you’re in control of your life, and you have the power to shape the results you get. You get that what you do, matters — and you’re committed to putting in your best effort.

That is a pretty great thing about you. I hope that you remind yourself of that fact as you go about the rest of your day — tossing around positivity and praise like you were the mayor of happy-town.

Much love,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

P.S. While you’re at it, try this one with a kid. Comment on something they did well, (like, “Good job listening!” or “I really like it when you look right into my eyes when I’m talking to you!”) and they will not just puff up with pride, but often fall all over themselves to get more of your approval. They’re hungry for it.

P.P.S. Everyone is.

How to Increase Your Confidence

How to Increase Your Confidence

The Currency of Confidence

Who wants more confidence? Everyone! As a therapist and life coach, one of the most common goals most of my clients have is to increase their confidence, and feel more empowered. [Check out: Creating Self Confidence]

Seriously, even our most confident seeming friends will say they need more confidence. Funny thing about confidence, it’s one of the most desired things in the world, and we all have the funds to pay for an unlimited supply of it, so why don’t we?

The Currency to “Buy” Confidence

It’s the currency that gets in our way to accessing the unlimited supply of confidence available to each of us. The currency to unlock greater confidence is the engaging in acts of courage. What’s the “currency of confidence?” Courage.

Act with courage = increase confidence

The more a situation calls for courage, the more confidence is offered in return. A little courage delivers a little confidence.

Where does this happen? In the land of the unknown, it happens outside of our comfort zone. The place that we often spend our lives avoiding, learning to stay in the safety within what is known, familiar and predictable. To be honest, our brains were developed to seek this. If we are safe, we survive and from a biological and evolutionary perspective that has been our job: Survival, and we’ve done well (obviously).

There are many ways we can expand our experience of confidence. Here are two practical ideas to get you started.

1. Write a “what scares me” list: Include the small things (spiders) and the big things (standing up to my boss, asking someone on a date, skydiving)… and then face the fears. Start slowly and with small steps… looking at a picture of a spider… or dive in with big jumps (when safe and appropriate) like signing up for a skydive. The key is, the more time that you spend feeling the seconds of discomfort for being outside your comfort zone, the more confidence you experience.

2. Start asking yourself this question when making decisions. “If I had access to all the confidence I would need to see this decision through, then I’d choose to…. “ (and do that one, because you know you have the unlimited courage funds to spend).

Is it easy? Not usually, especially at the beginning. But does it feel good to be living in an abundance of confidence? Worth every penny.

Finding a Career You Love: Career Change Advice

Finding a Career You Love: Career Change Advice

Maggie is a therapist and certified coach with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She specializes in career coaching and executive coaching, and loves helping people get clarity about their life’s purpose, and the skills and strategies to overcome obstacles and create a life — and career — they love.

Career Change Advice to Move You Forward

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

— Mary Oliver

Finding a Career You Love

Have you been considering a career change? Sometimes, the first, hardest step is getting clear about what it is that you want to do. But even with that clarity, there can be other obstacles that need to be worked through before you can find a career that you love. Questions like:

  • Should I go back to school?
  • How will changing careers impact my family?
  • What career is congruent with who I really am?
  • What am I truly capable of?
  • Should I take a leap, or should I make an incremental change?
  • Should I just focus on improving the career I’m currently in?

How — Or If — To Change Careers

Today on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I have the great pleasure of speaking with one of Growing Self’s amazing career coaches: Maggie Graham. Maggie is a master career coach, an executive coach, and a life coach. [Check out Maggie’s article about how layoffs are like breakups, and how to deal with both]. Today she’s sharing her wisdom and experience to help you figure out if it’s time to make a career change, and if so, find your ideal career and transition into a job you love.

Expert Advice From a Master Career Coach

On today’s show, Maggie’s career advice includes:

  • How to figure out if you’re having “escape fantasies” and if so, how to avoid making mistakes in your career.
  • The myth of the perfect career, vs what a realistic “career experience” should be.
  • Escape fantasies vs making slight shifts
  • Differences around career changes between men and women
  • The utility of taking a career assessment test, or career placement test
  • How to use your dark emotions to illuminate your career truth
  • How to manage career challenges unique to different stages of life

No matter if you’re a recent graduate looking to get clarity about what you want to do with your life, if you’re in an established career that you’re feeling dissatisfied and discouraged with, or if you’re getting back into the workforce after taking a break, or dealing with a layoff, you’ll definitely want to hear Maggie’s great career advice.

Here are a few of the career resources we discussed on today’s show:

We hope that our conversation and these resources help YOU create a career that you love.

All the best,

Maggie Graham, M.A., LPC, CPC & Lisa Marie Bobby, PhD, LMFT, BCC

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