Secrets About Gender Differences – Revealed!

By Dr. Carol Morgan

“If only he would pick up on my hints so I don’t have to spell it out!”

“If only he would talk to me about his feelings!”

“If only she would let me give her advice and not just want me to listen to her problems!”

Do these thoughts ever go through your mind? I’m sure they have. We have all had frustrations with the opposite sex at one point or another. It can lead to conflict, divorce, and pain if we don’t try to understand each other more. But no one ever teaches us about gender differences, unless you happen to come across a class like mine when you are in college.

I have been teaching gender communication for about 15 years, and it’s my favorite class. Why? Because my students become mesmerized. They have so many “Ah Ha!” moments. I love that!

Here are eight research-proven facts about gender that could be helpful to you:

1. People start “gender-izing” before a baby is even born.

I know people who decorate their baby boy’s room with images of footballs, basketballs and anything else sports-related. And they decorate girls’ rooms with pink colors, flowers, and frilly things. And don’t forget the flower headbands on the girl babies! The point here is that we are all so obsessed with labeling our children that we automatically set forth these unspoken expectations even before they are born.

2. Gender ideals are culturally bound (and time-bound).

American women shave their legs and arm pits. But in some other areas of the world, this isn’t so. And back several hundred years ago, the gender ideal for a woman was to be overweight and have very white skin (because it meant they were rich enough to eat well and not work in the fields). Now it’s the opposite. So gender ideals are very relative — even within families. Some families expect traditional gender roles from their children, while others welcome challenging those boundaries.

3. We tend to model our same-sex parent’s behavior.

The Social Learning Theory suggests that we model the behavior that we see on a regular basis. Therefore, if your mom wore make-up, did all the household chores, and was a stay-at-home mom, then you are more likely to follow in her footsteps. However, if your dad stayed at home with the kids while your mom was CEO of a company, you are more likely to follow their behavior. This theory makes gender behavior a little more individualistic and relative to families.

4. Males and females learn differently and are not treated the same in the classroom.

I’m sure you’ve heard that boys tend to be better at math, science and spatial subjects. And girls are better at reading and language. But did you know that teachers also treat them differently? From pre-school to graduate school, teachers tend to focus more time and attention on male students. The reasons for this vary, but it is true.

5. Men and women tend to have different leadership styles.

Traditionally, men have dominated the public sphere (business world and everything outside the home), whereas women have dominated the private sphere. Because of that, there are different skills required to be successful in these different arenas. One of those differing skills is their leadership styles. While there is a lot of research on the topic, men tend to be more autocratic leaders — they “tell people what to do.” On the contrary, women tend to be more democratic leaders — they ask input from their subordinates and give them more of a voice. Of course, not every male or female leader falls into these categories, but those are the tendencies.

6. Many women use “powerless” language.

Females tend to use language that undercuts their power and authority, and it is also excessively polite. They often say things like, “This might be a stupid idea, but …” or “I’m so sorry, am I bothering you? I can come back later…” or “You’ll be home soon, won’t you?” These types of ways of speaking gives up the power to the other person to say, “Yes, that’s a stupid idea” or “Yes, you’re bothering me — go away” or “No, I won’t be home soon.” Women are socialized to speak like this because they are supposed to be nice and polite to other people, but it undermines their self-confidence as well.

7. Women listen to connect with another person, and men listen to solve a problem.

When listening to a woman, men often think, “Oh my gosh, can she just GET TO THE POINT?” And women are thinking, “Why can’t he just listen to me without giving me advice and trying to fix my problem?” This is normal. Women view listening as something that bonds people. Men, however, are very goal-oriented. They don’t really see the point of just listening to someone vent if they can’t help them. Neither style is bad, they are just different!

8. The media simultaneously creates and perpetuates gender stereotypes.

As I discussed in point number two, gender ideals change and are culture-specific. And a huge area where we get messages about how we should be as a male or female is from the media. For example, women are socialized to want to have extravagant weddings. And men are socialized to want their independence. It’s not true for ALL men and ALL women, but generally speaking, it’s true.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I teach an entire semester-long class about the topic of gender differences, so there is no way that I could fit it all into one little article. But hopefully I gave you some information that will help you be more tolerant and forgiving of the opposite sex!

8 Technological Tools to Improve Your Business

Many of you will probably laugh at me while reading this article! But that’s okay – you probably should, because I admit that I sometimes still live in the Stone Age. You see, I am a self-proclaimed “Technological Idiot,” and I have no problem with it. Many people love to make fun of me because of that – especially my kids. I’m not that old, but I am a creature of habit. So that means I don’t usually seek out technology if I can avoid it. But sometimes, I am either forced into it, or I have a strong enough curiosity that will lead me to learning the basics of something.

So I am going to tell you about some of the technological things I have learned to use that have actually made my life better. For those of you who are like me and prefer living in the Stone Age, here are some of the things you can try that you might think are cool too (once you learn how to use them):

1. Skype

When I was a kid, I always wondered if one day, we would have video phones. Well, fast forward a couple of decades, and here we are! From Skype to Facetime, we have video calling now. Honestly, I was forced into using it. Someone contacted me and wanted to interview me for their Internet web show, and they used Skype to do it. So I had to learn. But I’m so happy I did, because now I use it all the time. It’s not that difficult, and I have met so many people I have done business with using it (virtually, of course).

2. Video editing

The world seems to revolve around videos these days. If you are on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, you know that videos can go viral. But I wanted to use videos to teach people. But I knew I couldn’t rely on hiring someone to do all my editing, so I had to learn it myself. And honestly, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it! You can have a lot of fun tinkering around with any video you create.

3. Touching up photos and using Photoshop

It also seems like people take a lot more photos than they used to – mostly because they do it with their phones. But if you’re like me, you end up with a lot of bad ones, or at least ones you want to fix. Whether you want to fix them because you have to, or just for the fun of it, there are some cool things you can do to edit photos. And Photoshop can do wonders for your pictures too. But just like editing videos, there is a bit of a learning curve, but it’s worth it.

4. Power Point

Several years ago, I was still using transparencies in the classroom on an overhead projector. Until one day, a student said to me, “do you want me to teach you how to use power point so you can convert your lecture notes away from those overheads?” It was at that point that I knew I had to get out of the Stone Age. I was way behind most professors with the use of technology, but once I learned to use it, I can’t believe it took me so long.

5. iPads

I thought iPads were cool, but I never had any desire to have one. But as time went on, I saw how other people were using them. It could be a “phone,” a word processor, a camera, a video camera, an audio recording device, and many more things. Plus, it’s a lot easier to carry around than a lap top – especially when you are traveling.

6. Smart Phone

Okay, now I KNOW you are laughing at this one! But I actually resisted getting a smart phone for many years. My friends really had a field day laughing at me for this one! But it was only when I realized that flip phones would not be around forever that I actually broke down and got one. And they are very cool! According to research, 64% of the people have smart phones, so I guess I am not the last person in the country to get one, which is shocking!

7. Maintaining a YouTube account

Because I wanted to do short, “Motivational Monday” videos to share on social media, I knew I had to have a YouTube account. I had learned how to edit them, so now I needed to learn how to maintain a YouTube account. As with most of the things I have discussed, it takes some time to figure it out, but once I did, it was freeing to know that I can now share my knowledge with the world on the internet.

8. Creating a video class

I figured that since I was getting so good at making videos, I might as well try to create a whole class. So, that’s exactly what I did. But it was also difficult for me to figure out how to do it on the platform I was using. However, I eventually figured it out. After much blood, sweat, and tears, I finally created a whole class that hopefully will help a lot of people.

While most of you were probably giggling at me reading this (honestly, I am too), maybe some of you are “technological idiots” like me. And if so, I hope I have encouraged you to get out of your technological comfort zone a little bit and see how learning new things can actually benefit your life!

Fairy Tales & Expectations: Do They Harm or Hurt Us?

We all grew up watching Disney movies. While they are fun to watch, have you ever thought about what kinds of messages they give us?

I am a communication professor, and one of the classes I teach is about gender. This doesn’t just include how men and women communicate differently, but also the cultural expectations that we get from our society.

But let’s talk about the Disney movies. First, you have Cinderella. She was the “underdog.” She was poor, unwanted, and bullied by her Wicked Stepmother and her stepsisters. Her life is going nowhere, and she’s sad and miserable. Until one day, her fairy godmother appears and says that she gets to go to a ball. She meets her Prince Charming, and loses her glass slipper. Since Prince Charming has already fallen in love with her, he searches high and low for the girl who fits into the glass slipper. And of course, he finds her and they live happily ever after.

Then we have Snow White. The Wicked Queen was jealous of Snow White’s beauty, and so she orders her innocent stepdaughter to be murdered. Later, she discovers that Snow White is still alive and hiding in a cottage with seven friendly little miners – the dwarves. So she disguises herself as a hag and brings a poisoned apple to Snow White, who falls into a death-like sleep that can only be broken only by a kiss from the prince.

Do you see a theme here? The demure, beautiful, submissive female is hated by an older, uglier woman who tries to either punish or kill her. Then, the only way that she is saved is by having a handsome prince rescue her.

And then they live happily ever after.

When you break it down like that and make it a bit more literal, it doesn’t sound so romantic – or realistic – does it? Of course we know that Disney movies aren’t realistic.

Or do we?

Do we secretly hope that our lives will turn out like Cinderella or Snow White? Most of us would just chuckle at the thought and think “that’s ridiculous!”

But the subconscious mind is powerful. Many times, our beliefs and desires aren’t even part of our conscious awareness.

For example, how many women reading this played “bride” or “getting married” when they were young girls? It’s not that uncommon. Even if you didn’t do that, you probably dreamed of your perfect husband and fantasized about your wedding day. So you might not have verbalized your expectations and desires, but they were definitely there.

And how about the perfect proposal? I have a cousin who had her proposal planned out to the tiniest detail. She even told me, “When I meet the man I’m going to marry, you have to tell him this is the kind of proposal that I want, okay?” It consisted of a trail of clues and love notes…and a fancy dress in a hotel waiting for her…and then a limo taking her to some secret romantic location. And it all left her wondering what was happening. But all the while she really knew that it was her prince who was creating this elaborate proposal. And of course, they would live happily ever after.

The funny thing is that this cousin just recently got engaged. And did it happen like she wanted?

Of course not.

Maybe that’s my fault for not cluing the guy in. Whoops. Sorry, Michelle. But I’m still going to get you an extra special wedding gift.

But you get my point.

Our cultures talks about the prince and the proposal. It talks about riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after.

But it never talks about how to make that happen.

Once the honeymoon period wears off, then what? By then, you might be highly irritated that he never does the laundry. Or that he always watches sports. Or any other list of complaints that eventually emerge in a marriage.

Our schools don’t teach us how to deal with relationship problems. They teach us science, math, English, and even physical education, but not how to have a good relationship. Or how to repair one that needs it.

Sometimes our culture just sets us up for disappointment. I know what you’re thinking, “Gosh, she’s really bitter and unhappy!” Actually nothing could be further from the truth.

Did I have unrealistic expectations of romance and marriage? Absolutely. Did I know that I did? No. Well, maybe a little, but not enough. And just in case you’re wondering, yes, I am divorced. But I did really try to make it work.

But actually, I’m quite happy being single.

The point I’m trying to make in this article is that the expectations that our culture gives us about “happily ever after” are not accurate. Sure, the lucky few end up like Noah and Allie in The Notebook. But I don’t know a whole lot of them. I hope you do. But I don’t.

So instead of focusing so much on a fantasy, or the perfect wedding day, I think it’s more important that we focus on how to have a happy marriage. How to get along. How to love each other unconditionally regardless of our differences – and our expectations.

Real life is not a Disney movie. Even though we all know that, I think at some level, we all hope that we will be one of the lucky few who ends up being the exception to that rule.

If you got nothing else from this article, I hope that you will teach your children (or grandchildren) how to have healthy relationships. And realistic expectations.

Believe it or not, I think that we all can have our own version of happily ever after. But in order to do that, we need the knowledge, tools, and desire to keep putting effort into our relationship for the rest of our lives.

It can be done. I have faith that it can.

What about you?

12 Wrong Assumptions People Often Make About Their Life

By Dr. Carol Morgan

So you think you know how the world works, huh? Sure, we all do. We all like to think that we have it figured out. But do you really? Many times, people make assumptions about life that simply aren’t true. Here are 12 of them.

1. People are watching your every move and judging you.

We live in a world that is highly judgmental. Every time you open up a celebrity magazine, you read about how the latest beautiful actress has suddenly gotten “fat.” And if you’re not a superstar in your chosen field or your kids aren’t getting straight As, then you’re a loser. At least that’s probably what goes through your head. And you also think that’s what other people think. They don’t. Most people are so busy judging themselves that they don’t even give you much thought at all.

2. You have “failed,” when in fact you just haven’t succeeded yet.

Anyone who has ever achieved greatness has “failed” more times than they have succeeded. Donald Trump lost all his money many times, only to make it back again. George Lucas got Star Wars turned down by countless movie studios. And Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. If any of them had given up because they thought they had “failed,” then where would they be now? Nowhere.

3. If you ignore a problem, it will go away.

Ahhhhh. The ostrich. Keeping your head in the sand and hoping the problem will go away. Well, here’s a newsflash for you: It won’t. I don’t care what the problem is—it can be problems with your marriage, at your job, your kids—it won’t go away unless you take action to fix it.

4. You need to be perfect.

You don’t. Perfection is just an illusion. It doesn’t really exist! The problem is that we all think it exists. What is “perfect” for one person is not perfect to another. It’s all subjective. So instead of chasing perfection, how about chasing happiness instead? Do things you love. Spend time with people who make you happy. That’s a much better goal than non-attainable perfection.

5. Everything that goes wrong is other people’s fault, not yours.

Personal responsibility—it’s a lost art in our culture. We see this every time we hear crazy law suits where someone is suing a restaurant because they spilled their own hot coffee on themselves. Sure, other people contribute to problems. But it’s up to us to adjust our attitude and reactions to that. All you can control is your perception of the problem, and then take action toward personal responsibility.

6. You just can’t do it.

You can. You can do anything that you set your mind to. So stop making excuses. I don’t care what your goal is, if you want it badly enough, you will find a way. If you don’t want it enough, you will find excuses. Spend some time really examining what you want. Then go after it.

7. All of your expectations of other people are reasonable.

Expectations are deadly. If people don’t live up to your expectations, then you are disappointed and it creates problems. Think about this: how do you feel when other people place expectations on you? It feels suffocating, doesn’t it? So let people be who they are. If you don’t like it, then stop hanging around them.

8. You think “this” is permanent. It’s not.

I don’t care what “it” is: an unsatisfying job, unemployment, being single, or being in debt. It can all be changed. All you need to do is believe it. Then take action. The only thing that is permanent is death. All other things change. One of the sayings I love is, “And this too shall pass.” It’s true. Really, it is!

9. You’re not important.

Everyone is important. You don’t need to be a CEO of a company or Oprah to be important. We all have our own little niche in the world. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you are hugely important to your kids. If you’re a cashier at a fast food restaurant, you’re important to the people who are trying to buy food. Reframe “important” and believe that you are valuable in your own way.

10. You think you’re always right.

Perception is reality. That’s a motto I live by. And you should too. Just because you don’t agree with someone else’s point of view, well, that doesn’t make them wrong. And just because they don’t agree with you doesn’t make you wrong either. Everyone is “right” because it is their perception of a situation that matters. And that’s it. So agree to disagree.

11. Something is holding you back.

The only thing holding you back is yourself. Examine your beliefs. Do you think you’re smart? Capable? Worthy? That you can add value to the world? If you don’t, then you need to figure out why because those thoughts are like a cage that keep you stuck. Being stagnant isn’t healthy. So learn to get out of your own way and believe you can do it!

12. You can’t be happy.

You can. It doesn’t take money. It doesn’t take beauty. It doesn’t take fame. It doesn’t take any of that to be happy. But you know what it does take? A decision. A decision to be happy. Yep. That’s it! Another motto I have is, “It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem.” It’s all about viewpoint and attitude. You are in control of both of those. So changing your thinking will change your life and ultimately make you happy!

How To Be An Inspiring Leader

By Dr. Carol Morgan

So you’re the leader of a team now! Congratulations! Perhaps you’re a brilliant computer programmer, but if you suddenly got promoted to be a manager; you will need an entirely different skill set. Great leaders have good social skills, and they are adaptable. Here are 11 more things you can do to make sure you are the best leader possible.

1. Listen Effectively

Organizations value communication. But some leaders think they “know it all,” because they are the “one in charge,” so they don’t have to listen to their team members. However, this creates a negative atmosphere. Everyone wants their voice to be heard. So when your employees talk to you, lean forward, look into their eyes, nod, and then reflect back what they say to you. For example, if a team member just told you that a customer is angry and she is frustrated and confused about how to deal with him, you can paraphrase back to her and say, “What I hear you telling me is that you don’t know what to say to this customer to make him happy, and you would like my help. Am I correct?” This helps the employee feel valued.

2. Be Honest

Lying  or withholding information does not create a productive atmosphere at work. Everyone has an instinctual feeling and knows when they are not being told the truth. So if a leader lies or is not completely forthcoming with vital information, this will make his/her employees uncomfortable. When the team members aren’t comfortable with their leader, their performance decreases. So make sure you are open and honest with every person you lead

3. Have Confidence

Just because you are a person in power does not mean that you always have confidence in fulfilling that role. But remember, if someone hired you to manage other people, they must have faith in you! So have faith in yourself, too! You can do it. It all starts in the mind. Act like a leader. Think like a leader. Treat people with respect, and they will treat you the same. Have a “can-do” attitude. When your team sees your confidence, they will feel safe with you as their leader.

4. Be Direct and Specific With Your Language

Ambiguity does not get the job done. For example, if a team member asks you how to accomplish a task, don’t just say, “Oh I trust you. Do what you feel is best.” Instead, give them specific information. Say something like, “I would be happy to help you. What I would like to see is for you to first get all the sales statistics together. Second, merge them into pie charts, and then when you have that done, please write up a 3 page report and give it to me by Monday. Do you have any questions? And feel free to talk to me any time if you need more support and guidance. My door is always open.”

5. Lead by Example

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?” Words are empty. People really do believe your actions over your words. So if you want your team to be superior employees, you need to be a superior leader. If you need them to stay until 8:00 every night for a week to get a project done, you better be there by their side.  Employees emulate their leaders much in the same way that children emulate their parents. So make sure your behavior is what you want to see in your team members.

6. Plan Ahead

Procrastination, anxiety and feeling rushed does not make for a productive team. So make sure you look to the future and plan everything ahead of time. While some people can work under pressure, others cannot. Make sure you share the plan of action with your team members and show them the timeline you need to follow to accomplish your projects. When everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected of them, they feel secure and more willing to get the job done.

7. Inspire Them‒Don’t Force Your Team To Do Things

People do better work when they “own” what they are doing. In other words, when people are forced to do something, they will resist. So it’s important to give positive encouragement to your team. Tell them how important their work is to the project and that you have faith in them. Even if you know it’s a task they won’t enjoy doing, make sure you keep it positive. Also, give them the option of choosing which assignments they feel they are passionate about and capable of doing.

8. Show Appreciation

Doing great work is wonderful, but if someone doesn’t feel valued, then they will not want to continue to give their best effort. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, even in the workplace. So make sure you thank your team members regularly. Thank them for their timeliness, staying late to finish a project, for their creativity, for inspiring other team members, or for winning a contract. Notice and acknowledge all of the accomplishments, both large and small.

9. Be Positive

A great leader creates a healthy and happy team community. The best way to do this is by being positive. Don’t play into negativity. For example, if a team member says, “We’re never going to win over this customer, it’s impossible.” Don’t agree with them. Respond with, “Let’s not get negative about it. Anything can happen. We just need to figure out a way to handle this problem client in the most effective way possible. Let’s have faith about this. I know you can do it. We’re going to help you.” As the leader, your employees look to you for guidance about which direction to aim their emotions.

10. Think About Your Team’s Needs

People are not just employees. They are husbands, wives, daughters, sons, friends, mothers, fathers, etc. In other words, they have a life outside of work. A great leader recognizes this. It will be common for some of your employees to need to take the day off because their child is sick and has to stay home from school. Be compassionate. Acknowledge that they have other life commitments. When they feel like you understand, they will be more likely to give 150% effort when they do come to work.

11. Be Flexible

A sign of a great leader is being able to adapt your leadership style to your individual team members. For example, maybe your team member, John ,needs to be told exactly what to do or else he will accomplish nothing. If that’s the case, you should be more directive and authoritarian with John. However, maybe Jane would be insulted with that kind of style. She performs best when the leader allows her to express her creativity and lets her be self-directed. The best leaders are flexible and adjust their style for each employee.

Bottom line is this: you can be a great leader. You just need to learn how. It’s not difficult, but if you keep these 11 things in mind, you will soar.

7 Ways To Be Persuasive & Easily Get What You Want

By Dr. Carol Morgan

Does this photo look like you when you don’t get what you want? Do you become aggressive or argumentative? If so, keep reading.

We all like to get our way. I don’t know one person who doesn’t. But how do we make that happen? As you may have guessed, I don’t suggest emulating this toddler in the feature photo – unless you want to get what you don’t want. 

We all use persuasion every day, whether we know it or not. Getting someone to comply with what you want them to do can take place in many different contexts. You can persuade your significant other, your boss, your client, or even give a persuasive speech or presentation. Regardless of what context you are applying your persuasive skills, there are some useful strategies that can help you get what you want easily.

1. You need to give your “audience” what they want and desire.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “what’s in it for me?” And I’m sure most of you reading this have thought or even said it yourself! We all have. Let’s face it: we’re all inherently self-centered. If something doesn’t make us happier or our lives better, we are not very interested in it. So in order to persuade your “audience” (whether it is an individual or an audience of 1,000 people), you need to tell them how it is going to benefit them. You can’t just focus on yourself or they will tune out. If you focus on helping them achieve their wants and desires, they will be ready to sign on the dotted line.

2. Don’t require the “audience” to change too much.

Human beings are not only self-centered‒many of us are lazy too! Anyone who has made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more knows how difficult it is to change your habits or your lifestyle. Plus, it is much easier to persuade people on simple things (“Here! Try this new hot fudge sunday!” or “This new toothpaste is great! You should try it!”) rather than deeper convictions (“Hey! You should switch religions!” or “I love the president, but you hate him. Vote for him anyway!”). Audiences need to be exposed to a message multiple times before they even consider changing their attitudes or behaviors.

3. Make your audience like you.

Let’s say you are out at a furniture store to buy a new couch and love seat. A sales person comes up to you and starts up a conversation. You had already picked out your couches, but the sales person really annoys you. He smells bad, talks too much, and follows you around yammering on and on about nothing. Even if you were just about to whip out your credit card to buy the furniture, you might just want to make your escape to get away from the sales person. You might even do that and try to find another store that sells the same couches‒I think you get the point. If your audience doesn’t like you, they’re not going to buy into what you say. Be nice, friendly, and connected. Make sure you think about the impression you’re giving off at all times.

4. Make your audience trust you.

Would you vote for a political candidate who you didn’t trust? Would you lend money to a friend if you didn’t think she would pay you back? Of course not! People are more easily persuaded by others that they trust. That is one of the reasons Oprah has the “golden touch.” If she recommends a book to her audience, it automatically becomes a best-seller. Why? Because they trust Oprah! They trust her opinion, so they will automatically do what she says to do. So in order for you to get people to do what you want them to, you need to gain their trust as well.

5. Use emotional strategies to persuade them.

One of the easiest ways to persuade someone is to use emotion. Great examples of this are the television commercials that show the starving children in third world countries. They ask you to donate money to them on a monthly basis so they can have clean water, food, clothes, and schooling. The visual images are very sad, and so it makes people want to give money to help them. Even in personal relationships, we use emotion to persuade. However, you have to be careful doing this. Sometimes it is not ethical if you use guilt to manipulate someone on purpose. But appealing to positive emotions like love, happiness, belonging, or togetherness is a great way to get your “audience” to agree with you.

6. Use logic to persuade your audience.

Not everyone is an emotional person. Some people might be turned off by overly using emotion to persuade them. So it’s important to remember to use logic sometimes, too. If your “audience” is one person, try to assess their personality as best as you can. See if they seem to appreciate logic and rationality over emotion. But if your audience is a large group of people, you will have a mixture of different people. So the best thing to do is to combine logic with emotional appeals. That way, you will likely influence everyone in some way.

7. Use your personal qualities.

If you are an expert on the topic, make sure the audience knows. Dress the part. Look the part. Act the part. Be dynamic. Be engaging. Your audience will be much more persuaded if you give them reasons why they should pay attention to you. People are very easily persuaded by people they know or respect. That is why advertisements use celebrities so often. They are recognizable, and many people will buy a product simply because that particular public figure is telling them to. So selling yourself is key to persuading others.

Sometimes persuasion can be easy. Sometimes it’s difficult. But if you keep these 7 tips in mind, you will be very successful in getting what you want.

11 Tips For Dealing With Sudden Life Changes

By Dr. Carol Morgan

I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before: No one likes change. Alright, that statement may not be 100% true for everyone (some people love change). But when life changes suddenly — and in a negative way — it’s a difficult for most people. So if and when you find yourself in the midst of a sudden life change, remember these 11 things:

1. The only thing that is constant about life is change.

You can’t escape it. No one can. Life happens. People die every day, and their loved ones are left to mourn the loss and go on with life. People get fired every day. They have to learn to deal with their sudden financial losses and find a way to regain their security. Break-ups and divorces happen all the time too. But wallowing in your misery about it won’t help. At some point, we all just need to remember that change is inevitable. But how we deal with change is optional. So make it positive.

2. You’re not alone — everyone goes through changes.

I’m sure it feels like you are alone, but you’re not. There are probably thousands or millions of people out there going through a similar experience right at this moment. Even if you had the most horrific things happen to you, like being diagnosed with a terminal illness or having a loved one pass away suddenly, there are people who have been though it and survived. If you keep that at the forefront of your mind, it might give you some peace.

3. Feeling confused or upset is normal.

When life changes suddenly, you probably want to scream, shout, curse and plead with God. All you want is for life to go back to “normal.” You want your “old life” back. You would probably do anything to have that. But remember, these feelings are part of the grieving process. To NOT feel any of these emotions would not be normal. And to repress the feelings is not healthy. It can do physical damage to your body and mind.

4. The haze you are in now will eventually lift.

Like I said, you might be thinking that life will never be normal again. Well, it will never be the “old normal,” but you will learn to create a “new normal.” One of my grandfather’s favorite sayings was, “You can get used to anything — even hanging if you hang long enough.” While that might be a crude yet humorous quotation, it makes a point. Humans are enduring. We’re built for survival, so the haze will eventually go away. Maybe not as soon as you want it to, but it will eventually disappear.

5. Do some self-reflection and look at the change as a life lesson.

If you are religious or spiritual, you can look at life through a lens of a spiritual lesson. Even if you’re not, you can still use negative experiences to figure yourself out learn to grow as a person. I think absolutely everything that happens to us can be seen as a learning opportunity. But you have to train your mind to think along those lines first.

6. Focus on and appreciate what you do have left.

When my dad passed away, it was awful. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows how horrible it is. You feel like your world is crumbling down around you. However, as sad as it was to lose him, I was comforted by knowing that my mom and stepmom were still alive. And my sisters. And friends. And other family members. Focusing on who or what you do have left brings a little bit more peace to you during those difficult times.

7. You need to make the choice to keep going.

You might want to just never get out of bed again. You might think your life is over. But guess what? It isn’t. Life goes on. The world keeps turning. And if you “check out” of life, everyone else just keeps moving on. So you need to make the conscious choice to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and keep walking through life. Don’t give up. It’s a choice. It’s not an easy one, but it’s still your choice.

8. Ask for help.

Hopefully you have a network of family and friends who can help you. I know a lot of people who like to be strong and don’t like to ask for help. But being strong doesn’t mean that you don’t ask for help. Being strong means that you DO ask for help. If you don’t, it just makes you feel more isolated. Most people like to help others. So give them the opportunity to spread their love and kindness to you. Open your heart and your mind and let people in.

9. Just because things are bad now, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy again.

The best thing someone said to me after my dad’s funeral was, “You never get over it. You just get used to it.” I had never thought of it like that before. But it’s true. We never get over the loss of a loved one. But if your sudden life change is something like the loss of a job, divorce or a health problem, you will find a way to “get used to it” too. Sometimes you have no choice. So the only choice you really have is to choose how you are going to respond to what happens to you.

10. Eventually, things will become clear to you.

Someday, you will look back and know why it all happened. Here’s an example from my life: I was fired, once. There — I said it. Okay, I wasn’t really fired because I did anything wrong, I just got let go. And at the time, I was confused. I didn’t know what to do next. But if that hadn’t happened, I would not have ended up in the career I am in now, which I love. I am a big believer in “everything happens for a reason.” Even if it’s a negative life change, there might be a reason why it happened. Again, it could be another life lesson.

11. You need to mentally prepare for the next life change.

Hopefully your next life change won’t be sudden or tragic. It could simply be graduating from college, having your children move out of your home, or retirement. All of those changes are predictable and you can prepare for them years in advance. But the sudden life changes are different. Not that sudden life changes are as common, but if you mentally accept the fact that they can happen at any time, then you will definitely appreciate what you have right now.

Change doesn’t have to be bad. It can lead to something greater than where you are now. Even horrible changes can eventually be turned into something positive. So if you’re going through a sudden life change, remember these 11 things and hopefully you will get through it with ease and grace.

How To Have The Best Relationship Of Your Life

By Dr. Carol Morgan

We have all grown up watching movies where women are princesses, men are their knights in shining armor, and perfect couples ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. But no one actually teaches us the things we need to do to have our “happily ever after.” So that’s where I come in. Here are 15 things you can do if you want to have the best relationship of your life.

1. Try to talk with your partner about how you impact each other.

No one is a mind reader. And some people aren’t very good at knowing how their behavior affects other people. So you need to tell each other. Not only the negative impacts, but the positive as well. If you want your partner to change something, gently ask without criticism. If you think your partner is awesome, tell them. Thank them. Keep the lines open.

2. When you get in a fight, try to see the situation as if you’re an outsider looking in.

Try to step outside yourself and view the conflict as an objective outsider. This de-personalizes it and helps you see your partner’s point of view. Most people have a “me vs. you” attitude when it comes to fighting. They view it as a battle against the enemy. This could not be more destructive! Instead, have a “we” or team mentality. You’re both in this relationship together, so you have to come up with solutions together. Stepping back and looking at it from an objective perspective helps tremendously.

3. Invite your partner to build more closeness by practicing empathy daily.

Empathy is key to every relationship. This is the ability to see the other person’s point of view and show them that you value how they feel. You don’t have to agree with them, you just have to allow them to feel what they feel without making them wrong. One empathy “game” you can play is reflecting back each other’s words and feelings. This allows you to check your perceptions and helps you partner feel “heard.”

4. Tune into your emotions and see if you can each share what you need most.

It doesn’t help to repress your emotions. It might make your relationship seem peaceful, but it’s like trying to hold a beach ball under water forever. You can’t do it. Eventually, it’s going to come back up–and probably in an explosive manner. So both people need to keep their emotions in check and continuously share them with their partner. That way, nothing will be a surprise or get buried for a long time.

5. Be mindful of the fact that emotional damage can derail relationships.

It could be cheating. It could be ignoring your partner’s feelings. It could be withholding affection. Emotional damage can take any form. And they deliver brutal blows to relationships. So if there was an emotional injury that took place between the two of you, talk about it. Fix it. Don’t ignore it. That will only make it worse.

6. Discuss your main relationship goals for the next year and see if you find ways to achieve them.

When we hear the term “goal,” we don’t usually think in terms of “relationship” goals. But just as you would have a career goal, you must have relationship goals together. Do you want to get married? Do you want to buy a house? Have kids? Move to the west coast? It’s helpful to have shared goals, but if you don’t, then each partner has to be respectful of the other person’s desires and at least try to find a mutually satisfying solution.

7. Cherish and honor your connection.

Don’t take your relationship for granted. It’s sacred, so treat it that way! Too many times we get too comfortable and stop trying to make our partner happy. This doesn’t work. Honor what you have. Cherish it. And above all, communicate to your partner that you value their presence in your life.

8. Create small rituals to recognize your bond.

It helps to have rituals that you do together. It could be committing to go on a date night every Saturday or celebrating your anniversary each year at the same restaurant where you met. Or maybe it’s going on a picnic once a month. Anything that tells each other that you are committed to honoring a ritual or routine will help maintain a healthy relationship.

9. Do little things for each other.

Do the dishes. Rub her shoulders. Vacuum. Call just to say you love him. Bring home a single rose. These are simple things that don’t cost a dime (except for the rose!). These things are valued, especially by women. It shows attention and desire to help or nurture your partner.

10. Laugh. A lot. Don’t take things too seriously.

Who doesn’t like to laugh? I would guess pretty much everyone does. But as relationships get stressful, sometimes people forget to laugh. People start focusing on their partner’s negative behaviors and they get annoyed and resentful. Try not to take things so seriously. Try to look at everything your partner does (and in life) as amusing. This lightens the relationship. Couples that laugh together, stay together.

11. Grow your friendship with each other.

You are probably more forgiving of your friends than you are of your romantic partner. Why is this? Probably because you don’t put as many expectations on your friends. But a solid foundation as best friends is the best way to build a long-term relationship.

12. Support each other’s hopes and dreams.

Maybe you want to open a restaurant. Or your partner wants to go back to school for a Ph.D. Whatever your dreams, you both need to be supportive of each other. Even if you don’t agree with the dream or think it’s silly, you still need to be encouraging. Being your partner’s rock and biggest fan is essential to a healthy relationship.

13. Put your partner’s needs equal to or before your own.

You may not want to admit it, but there may be times when you are a little selfish. And that’s fine. As long as you aren’t selfish all of the time. If you only worry about your needs and you ignore your partner’s, then they will eventually grow resentful. People need to know that their partner loves them enough to put them first‒at least sometimes.

14. Give the relationship attention.

When I teach about relationships, I always use the metaphor of a plant. Plants can be beautiful, but they need to be watered every day. They need attention. And so do relationships. If you don’t “feed” your relationship, it will die. It needs nourishment just as much as a plant. You can’t ignore it and put in minimal effort and expect it to flourish. It takes constant attention.

15. Don’t expect perfection.

We all want to ride off into the sunset with that perfect prince or princess. But we all know that perfection is a myth. No one is perfect. So instead of looking at your partner’s faults and focusing on what they should change, accept them as they are. Focus on the good. Feed the good stuff. And then you will reach a place of calm acceptance and have a peaceful relationship.

How To Deal With The ‘Haters’

By Dr. Carol Morgan

Haters. You know who I’m talking about – the kind of person who will find fault with pretty much anything. You could be Jesus, Mother Teresa, or Gandhi and they would still find something wrong with you (or what you have to say). Well, if you have haters, then congratulations! You’re doing something right. My grandmother always told my mom growing up that “If your head is above the crowd, someone is always going to try to chop it down.” Unfortunately, she’s right. Luckily, most people in the world are nice. But when that occasional ‘hater’ pops up, what should you do? I’ll have some suggestions for you here in a bit. But let me first give you an example from my life.

I have written articles for many motivational websites, and they have been shared on social media over a million times. But I’m not telling you that to brag. In fact, it’s the opposite – I am truly humbled that so many people liked my articles enough to share them. And I hope my advice makes their lives better. However, recently I just realized that I had a lot of comments about my articles. So I decided to read them. Most of them were positive, but some of them that were pretty brutal. One of them said, “It’s amazing what can pass for a “Ph.D” these days.” And another called one of my points “asinine.” And another one called me an “egomanic.” I think that one was my favorite! Yep, it was. I have been called some things in my lifetime, but NEVER an egomanic! I laughed really hard at that one.

Did it make me feel good to read these comments? Of course not. I’d be lying if I said it did. But after the first initial “sting,” I just reframed it. I realized that these haters probably hate on everything. Not that my article was perfect, but it was written by me. So it’s my perspective and opinion. And anyone who knows me knows that I always encourage debate and disagreement. I don’t shy away from it at all. In fact, I think it helps us grow when we see other ways of looking at things. So I decided to take the high road and reply to everyone’s comments in a positive way.

I thanked them all for reading. And I never, ever, sunk to the level of the ‘hater.’ I won’t lie and say I didn’t want to write a few zingers back to them, but that would do me no good. I write so I can help people and set an example of love. So that’s what I did – I replied with kindness and love. I wished them happiness, success, and Godspeed. I really wish I could be a fly on the wall when they read my reaction. They were probably expecting a ‘hating’ response in return. But they didn’t get it.

Here are 4 suggestions for dealing with the ‘haters’ in your life:

1. Don’t sink to their level.

Rise above it and be the better person. Be an example of positive behavior for them to emulate. They probably won’t, but at least they won’t be able to say anything else bad about you.

2. Don’t care.

The more you let yourself get riled up about their negativity, the more you are hurting yourself. That’s what ‘haters’ want to do – hurt you. So if you allow yourself to be hurt, then you are giving them power. Don’t do that. Own your power and love yourself. Turn your attention away from their ‘hating.’

3. Feel sorry for them.

‘Haters’ aren’t made overnight. They come from a background where they have learned this behavior from somewhere. Perhaps their parents were unkind to them, so they have very low self-esteem. If so, then that’s sad. Be grateful that you are the kind of person who has had a more loving experience in life.

4. Respond with love, kindness, and respect.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Kill ‘em with kindness.” It works. Wish them well, send them love, and then keep it moving. Don’t give them another thought. Don’t allow them to take up room in your thought processes. Otherwise, they win.

There you have it. My formula for dealing with the dreaded ‘haters’ of the world. They will always be there, but that doesn’t mean that we have to play into their games. It takes two people to play the ‘hater’ game, so just don’t do it. Kindly and lovingly walking away from their game will disarm them and ultimately, make you much happier.

9 Ways To Raise Your Self-Esteem

By Dr. Carol Morgan

So, here’s a question: do you have high self-esteem? I’m assuming that you may not have said yes – and you’re not alone. We all  know that our world that is pretty destructive to how we feel about ourselves. We do things like compare ourselves to super models or think we need to make more money. Regardless of how you look at it, most of us think we need to be better. But the good news is that you can raise your self-esteem and work on being a better ‘me.’

Here are 9 things you can do, starting today:

1. Stop comparing yourself to other people.

If you constantly compare how you look to Jennifer Anniston or your bank account to your millionaire cousin, you will definitely feel bad about yourself. So here’s an idea‒don’t do it!! Instead, focus on how lucky you are. If you have a roof over your head and food on the table, you are among the luckiest people in the world. Be grateful for what you have. Don’t complain about what you lack.

2. Monitor your self-talk.

Do you have any idea how many negative thoughts go through your mind every day about yourself? Probably not. Even if it’s just something simple like, “My hair looks terrible today,” you need to monitor and control your thoughts. So get a notebook and write down every negative thought that you say to yourself, about yourself. After about a week, take a look. Then write down why each negative thought is NOT true.

3. Realize that fact and feelings are not the same.

You might think you are overweight, but you might not be. For example, perhaps you are average weight, but you grew up with two older sisters who are naturally skinny. If you constantly compared yourself to them growing up, you might have labeled yourself as “fat.” However, those are only your feelings. The facts might be very different. You might only weigh 130 pounds. That’s not overweight. Facts and feelings are different.

4. Stop thinking about the past.

Maybe you did something in the past that you are ashamed of, like cheating on your significant other. Well, you can’t undo it. All you can do is forgive yourself, decide to do better, and move on. Replaying it and beating yourself up doesn’t work. Or maybe your past was “The Good Ol’ Days.” Don’t dwell there either. We all age, and we all have the opportunity to make today and tomorrow the best we can. Move onward and upwards. Not backwards.

5. Grab a friend and support each other.

Anyone who has tried to change their habits knows it’s difficult. And your self-esteem is also a “habit”–it’s a habitual way of thinking about yourself. So it helps to have someone point out when we are being negative and help us steer in the right direction. Sometimes we don’t even recognize when we are being down on ourselves because we do it so much. Your buddy will help you, and you can help them.

6. Treat yourself as if you weren’t yourself.

We are all harder on ourselves than our friends are. While we tear ourselves down, our good friends try to lift us up. Well, try to act like those friends! Be your own friend. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself compliments and positive affirmations. You don’t need to rely on others to do that. You can do it for yourself, too.

7. Focus on your past successes and your good qualities.

Sometimes we get too focused on our negatives, and we forget to notice our good qualities! So take some time to sit down and write out why you are an awesome person. Are you a great mom? Are you smart? Do you have a career you enjoy? A great marriage? Whatever it is, write it down. What have you been successful doing in the past? Review these daily to remind yourself how you’re making a difference in the world.

8. Try visualization and affirmations.

Visualization and affirmations are powerful tools to reprogram your thinking. The more you repeat words or visualize something in your mind, the more your subconscious believes it. So repeat positive statements to yourself such as, “I am a good person. I am healthy. I am strong. I am lovable.” And then visualize yourself being and feeling that way.

9. Do something about it!

While I appreciate you all reading this article, it will do you no good if you don’t actually take my advice! Don’t just share this on your Facebook page and forget about it. Do something! Take action! Nothing will change unless you do. It all starts with a decision. So just do it!