2013 is the Year of Trust

Now that we’re past the halfway point in January and the motivation and buzz of the new year has passed, it’s up to us to keep the momentum going throughout 2013.

The best way to start is by taking your resolution list, and burning it.

I would love to see someone take a picture / video of this.

Not only do I hate resolutions, some people are just awful at remembering their 30-item list. Just look at the dropoff of gym-goers since January 1st. The truth is, the longer the list, the more overwhelmed you'll get and less likely you'll take ACTION, let alone accomplish anything.

The important thing here is to keep things simple -- and the easiest way to do that is focus on a theme for the year. So for 2013, the theme we’ll use to guide our development and future success is TRUST.

When I asked members of the Wingman Labs (my newsletter) what they’re theme was, I got an amazing response but there was one email that stood out,

“...I think that 2013 should be the year of Trust. Trusting that the systems put in place will guide us toward success. Trusting gut instincts. Trusting friends to set us up.  Trusting that we deserve more. Trusting our [new] partner, no matter how badly we have been hurt before. Trusting that voice in the back of our mind saying it's time to call in support/professionals. Trusting that the world is a beautiful place full of love -- because, after all, we only see what we look for, and we only get what we ask for.”

For some of you, that might be too much “flower power,” but the truth is when you trust yourself, it’s hard to come short of success. In other words, doubt and skepticism for any reason other than to challenge the status quo will hold you back. This is not only important for your dating life, but for other aspects as well.

Here are three points to building trust that we’ll focus on throughout the year.

1. It starts with you 

When you focus on your own personal development and create more consistentcy in your life, you trust yourself more and project that out to people. People want to be around those they can trust. It’s imperative when building comfort with a woman you're attracted to.

2. Do what you say 

Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Follow through is so important in dating, from telling someone you’re going to call them, to other levels of commitment you agree to. Being unreliable is one of the worst characteristics anyone can have.

3. Make your actions bold and assume the best in others

Speak openly, honestly without apology, and explain your reasoning. And unless she proves otherwise, assume she is trustworthy. When you see the good in people and shift focus from what you think might be bad, it makes it easier to have genuine connections with people.

Trust and risk go hand-in-hand

And yes, there is great risk in trusting -- but think about the risk in NOT trusting. When you extend trust, it becomes contagious; people extend it back to you. When you hold trust back, people tend to hold theirs back, leading to distrust.

But in order to extend trust, trust needs to originate from within. This isn’t about going into situations blind or believe everything you see / hear. This is about being smart with your judgment so you can minimize the risks you take and open up new doors filled with possibilities.

This the global theme. On Tuesday, we'll get into specifics. 

Power of Trust [Video]

Whether or not you're a sports fan, you will appreciate this commercial created by Duracell, featuring Patrick Willis, an all-pro linebacker in the NFL. I watch this video every morning. Here's what he says,

“Looking back on it, on how I got to where I am, I don’t know if it was because I was running towards something, or running away from it. But that didn’t matter. What I did know is, when you run into something -- something bigger, something meaner, something with the power to knock you down -- you have to trust in yourself. Trust that you can get back up -- and not give in. Ever. Because power isn’t just about going forward. It’s about not letting anything hold you back. You find it in yourself, you can go anywhere you want.”

Here is the video.

This week, I've been crowdsourcing ideas for what people would like the focus of 2013 to be on. I'll announce what it is on Monday -- in the meantime, let this inspiring video serve as a hint.

Giving and Taking: The Win/Lose Philosophy of Relationships

This is a part of a new series that I am doing about the different paradigms of human interaction in relationships.

These paradigms are based on Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. So far we have done,

Win/Win or No Deal

Today we are talking about the Win/Lose philosophy.

“Win/Lose is the authoritarian approach: ‘I get my way; you don’t get yours.’ Win/Lose people are prone to use position, power, credentials, possessions, or personality to their way.”

Most people feel as though they are in that kind of relationship already so they inherently have that mentality most of the time. It’s a very common mentality to have since we are raised from birth to compete with everyone and everything. Even in some of our families, you may have had to compete with your siblings for the attention of your parents.

In school, you were given a grade because you were compared to other students in the class. The “A” was the benchmark and if you got anything less than that, you practically was told, “you’re not as good as this student.”

At work, you may be competing to meet numbers so you can get a bonus. Not everyone can make those numbers. So while some of your co-workers are splurging on an island Christmas vacation, you’re wondering what he did to meet the numbers and how come you can't get a bonus.

You lose.

The idea of being conditionally rewarded in a relationship is a difficult topic. From the intial approach, you have to earn the trust and love of your significant other. If you do certain things, you will slowly gain the trust of your mate. But here lies the difference. If you are constantly being tested and reward for your actions - several months, years down the rad - then you are still in that Win/Lose dynamic. Eventually, you will want to get into a Win/Win dynamic. This is where conflict occurs.

The reason why is because by taking the Win/Lose method, you are deeming someone invaluable or lovable. As a result, he or she will have to constantly validate him or herself with their actions and never feel secure with internal validations from you.

Make sense?

I remember my ex-girlfriend – God bless her soul – was the embodiment of the Win/Lose mentality. If she didn’t get her way, it would be hell for everyone, even for those who cared about her. I realized that it wasn’t her fault. How she was raised and the kind of environment that she grew up in caused her to be that way. In the end, it wasn’t healthy for me in the long run, no matter how much I wanted to be with her at the time. You can’t approach a relationship with a Win/Win attitude and expect someone to change from his/her Win/Lose habits. Just doesn’t work like that. It takes communication, patience and consideration – if you think it’s worth it. I would constantly push to make her happy because I didn’t want to see her in any emotional pain. In the end, I was on the losing side more often than not.

We’ll get into that tomorrow.

Obviously there is a time and place for Win/Lose situations in life, such as sports, law, perhaps, and video games. Never in a relationship. Basically you are saying that you have a low level of trust for that person and isn’t trust one of the pillars that keeps a relationship intact long-term?

I make sure I let my girlfriend know that I am in it for Win/Win all the time. When we both have that approach, it makes it so much easier to work together to make us both happy. That's why it's important to be a good team in your relationship.

Competition is healthy in a relationship if you are making your significant other a better person and it doesn’t affect him or her negatively. But don’t use it to gain an upper hand or unnecessary leverage over someone you supposedly care about.

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Elements of Communication: Element #2: Giving Space & Trust

I wrote this article in early January and it a response post. I loved this article and I wanted to add it to the Elements of Communication series. Here is the first one:

Element #1: Having an Opinion

And here is the article explaining Element #2: Giving Space & Trust

This is a follow-up post to lisaq’s post on 20-forty answering the question, “is it okay to go out with the girls or should couples always go out together?” You should read her post.

When I read this post, it brought me back to so many moments when that issue came up in my previous relationships. Whenever my girl would want to go out without me, there were so many different things that went on in my mind.

“Why does she want to go out somewhere without me? “

“What’s wrong with me that makes her not want me there?”

“I wonder what’s she is going to be doing since I’m not around. Actually, I wonder what her friends will make/let her do with me not there.”

Then the usual sequence of ideas goes from that to wondering what drunk idiots will do when they see my girl with her friends, without her man. And then what she would do. Needless to say, it would cause a lot of problems in my relationships. What I would confuse for showing how much I care and don’t want anything bad to happen to her was actually showing a lack of trust in her, her friends and most importantly, insecurities about myself.

Never again.

I think it’s important that we talk more about relationships, as it is very important not only to gain one but also to maintain a very healthy one. This is one issue that proves to be a deal-breaker. If you haven’t read my post about fulfilling a woman’s emotional needs, I highly suggest you give it a good read. By far, one of my best.

In any relationship, it is important to establish two important things – trust and space. Yeah, trust is a given but it’s so easy to give off the feeling that you don’t trust her inadvertently. That whole “not trusting the drunk guys out there” thing is a lame excuse (just like Lisa said). If you really trust her, you’ll also trust the fact that she’ll know how to handle those drunk men. And what if she gets drunk herself? If you have to worry about her actions being different when she’s drunk, then that is something that you will have to confront her with, but ONLY if you have seen or heard that she does things while drunk that can be questionable.

On the same note, I feel as though trust can be related to space. Most people have different test levels of trust. Sure, we can trust someone we like with some personal secrets, or with some of our personal belongings, and of course, our love, but then when it comes to being separated – even if for just a few hours – it becomes a different test of trust. If you feel good about your relationship and actually trust her, I think it’s good for both of you to have other things to do in each other’s lives that don’t involve the other person. A typical example is a girls’ night or a guys’ night. But other examples may have to do with hobbies that only you enjoy.

Remember in high school when you had your girl but you played a sport and had to dedicate a crapload of time practicing and playing your sport (for me, it was football)? Your girl wasn’t around that much – unless she went to see you play at a game, but still, she couldn’t talk to you until after the game was over. With practice everyday, you she rarely had a chance to see you. But, whenever she did have that chance to be with you, you could tell she really appreciated the time with you – and vice-versa. I strongly believe that you need to find something like that and continue to hold on to a good chunk of your world as you two slowly merge them together.

When I talk about building your life, making yourself interesting and doing things that YOU love to do, once you get into a relationship, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up any of those things. Logically speaking, if you did give up those things, you wouldn’t be interesting and you certainly wouldn’t be the attractive person that your girl fell head over heels with – which is not what you want to do, right? Plus, you won't feel obligated to have to do everything with your girl if you have other activities going on in your life (I don't see anything wrong with that, just as long as it doesn't interfere with your relationship.).

So if there is anything you take from this it should be a few things.

1. Read lisaq’s blog, 20-forty.

2. Allow your girl to have nights out with her friends and without you. If she doesn’t invite you, chances are it’s a girls’ thing and be ok with it. Give her the benefit that she has nothing up her sleeve. Don’t give yourself reason to doubt if she hasn’t done that for you, already.

3. In the meantime, go and have your poker nights or your beer and wings nights with your boys.

4. Make sure that you are still having a life and doing things that you love. Remember, your whole point of wanting to be with a woman may be to actually share those things about yourself with her. Not doing those things and changing your life would be counter-productive.

I’m sure we could get deeper into this but I’ll save this for another post.

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