Five Practices of Successful Thinkers

There are several dimensions to how successful leaders think that are important to know, but I want to focus on five especially. If you want to develop your thinking, the following practices will serve you well….

Adapted from Dr. John Townsend’s book LEADING FROM YOUR GUT: How You Can Succeed by Harnessing the Power of Your Values, Feelings, and Intuition.

How to Think about Your Thinking

So how can you become a wise, sober-minded person of good judgment—one who thinks rather than reacts and routinely utilizes internal as well as external data? Start by becoming an observer of how you think. It may sound strange to think about thinking, but it is important and helpful. You can begin to pay attention to your thinking by routinely observing your thoughts and by recognizing any cognitive distortions.

Life is chaotic, and sometimes too much information can cause confusion in an organization. As a result, leaders are under great pressure to think with focus and direction….

How to Confront Your Mother in a Loving Way

It is easy to be indirect with parents, given all the emotional complexities involved. Sometimes a person will even think, “She is my mom. She should know I need this without my being blunt about it.” But if what you have said is not getting through, you have to be direct and clear, though not mean.

Confront your mother from a stance of being an adult, rather than from a position as being her child. The basic difference is to make your discussion more about the relationship and less about your needs.

How to Discern Hurt from Harm in a Relationship

Great relationships are fulfilling.
Great relationships involve risk.
You can’t have the first without the second.

Great relationships require that you be open to taking risks—risks of being misunderstood, of alienation, of someone being hurt by you as well. It doesn’t mean relationships aren’t worth the risks, for the good ones are. It is simply the price of the course. No pain, no gain.

The challenge is …

You Can’t Always Get What You Want, but You’d Better Try

Telling other people what you want is key to feeling alive in a relationship and keeping things vibrant for both people. If only one person is getting his or her desires met, the relationship suffers. Unfortunately, many people do not get what they want in a relationship. But, they could if they knew how to communicate their desires.

For example . . .

Help Your Children Develop a Balanced View of Themselves and Others

When children come into the world, they are confused about the nature of their relationships. They do not think they are dealing with one person. In their minds, there are two mommies, not one. Or, two daddies, not one. There is the “good” mommy and the “bad” one.

The good one is the one who gratifies them. When they are hungry or needy, they protest, and the good mommy comes and relieves their stress. When they are gratified, they see this mommy as “good.” But if something they want is not forthcoming and Mommy frustrates their wish, she is seen as the “bad” mommy. . . .

What to Do When Your Teen Is Struggling at School

Make no mistake. Your kids are under more academic demands than you were. For better or for worse, the learning curve is steeper, and they have to study more than we did. Subject matters are more advanced. Projects, reports, and term papers require much more advance planning and steady work over time. If you don’t build boundaries with teens early, the situation can get out of control.

I (Dr. Townsend) can remember how jarred I was when my kids started bringing back homework assignments from junior high and high school….

How to Fail … in Healthy and Redemptive Ways

God designed your self-image to be your friend and ally, to help you make great choices, to find your passions, and to succeed in all walks of life. And it was designed also to help you fail well. This is one of your self-image’s greatest benefits. You need to learn to fail in healthy and redemptive ways, because fail you will.

People with a healthy and accurate self-image don’t have a big problem with failure. When they don’t get a promotion at work, or their spouse gets mad at them, or their kids don’t respect them, they …

Your Next Hard Thing

You have never received a winner’s trophy before playing in the championship game. You have never been offered a promotion before you excelled in your job. Your parents never instructed you to make sure you ate your dessert first and not worry about the vegetables, since they would take care of themselves.

Why did none of these things happen?

Are You the “Easy Mom?” How to Build Boundaries with Teens

I (Dr. Townsend) remember overhearing my kids and their friends making plans to go to a movie. It was one of those last-minute decisions that teens often make. None of them were of driving age yet, so they were trying to solve that first obstacle.

One boy, Ted, said, “How are we going to get there? The movie starts in fifteen minutes.” His friend said, “Call your mom; she’s easy.”

It was true. Ted’s mom, Andrea, is easy. She is a loving and easygoing person who also lets herself be taken advantage of by her teens….