entrepreneurial couples

Couples Who Dream Together: Insipre a Shared Vision in your Relationship

The importance of inspiring a shared vision as a leader and at work has been well-documented.  Leaders who can inspire that vision among team members can more easily motivate for success, re-organize in conflict, and see the vision through to completion.

Why wouldn't a shared vision be just as important in personal partnerships?

This week I'm leading a workshop with 22 entrepreneurial couples to help them apply business success principles in their personal relationships.  We'll be talking about the importance of shared dreaming (join us here).  

Business leaders who succeed prioritize visioning by setting aside time to create and nourish a vision among their teams. You can do this in your family by spending time imagining what things will be like for all of you in a year, and five. Dream up detailed stories of the adventures you'll take and the lessons you'll learn together. 

SHARED DREAMING

Another way to develop your vision as a couple is to start a relationship dream list. A shared dream list is like a bucket list. It collects the dreams you have for this lifetime in one place. If we fill this dream list with interest, growth, and adventure it can help us live life fully, courageously, and intentionally.

Most couples informally share ideas and dreams over time, but clearly committing to shared dreams can be a must more powerful action step in creating a shared future. The act of writing anything out longhand helps you focus and remember it.

WRITE IT DOWN

Use the page below to start your shared list. Dream up all the possibilities you want to experience together and write them down. No dream is too big or too small- if it’s yours commit to it on paper.

This is a list that grows with you, so when you know you want to add something, simply write it down on your list, make it real in your mind, and then consider how to fulfill your dream today, tomorrow, or someday...your list is there when you’re ready. You can reorganize together it any time- I recommend you revisit it together every year.

Having a dream list helps you invest in making them come true. Keep it in a visible place to remind and motivate yourself to reach for your lifelong goals. Every day is a new opportunity.

Download the free worksheet below to help you create a relationship dream list at home.  If you'd like help strengthening your partnership please give me a call for couples coaching.  I'd love to help you!   


 couples coach | couples who start businesses | successful couples | couples who work together

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Five Questions to Create Your Elevator Pitch

I read a blog recently that outlined "how to create your elevator pitch" and have been spending a lot of time thinking about how to clarify my interests to help clients find me.  I have always been a dabbler, multiple interests and talents pulling me in seemingly different directions.  Marie Forleo calls me a "multifaceted entrepreneur."  Which has led to a rich and fulfilling life filled with wide-ranging adventures.  I don't regret this life at all, and of course my varied travels and studies influence my work.

So how do I explain that quickly to potential clients and referral sources?

I don't.

It's not that the range isn't important when connecting, but in that 60-second elevator speech conversation or intro, it's just not helpful.  Just as it has left me unclear about my expertise, too much information leaves my contacts confused.

I have spent these first two weeks of 2013 meditating on my professional purpose in private practice using these five questions to guide me.  Maybe they can help you.

1.  Who are you?

2.  What do you do?

3.  How do you do your work?

4.  Why do you do this work?

5.  Who do you love to work with?

I've used these questions to guide coaching sessions with new clients in the new year and have had great results helping awesome people find clarity.  One client said it renewed his creative energy and a fabulous couple said it helped them understand each other better.

I recommend writing the questions on large blank pieces of paper.  Read them aloud and then sleep on them.  Take a walk.  Let your mind wander.  Come back to it later and without censor or critique write the words and phrases that come to mind (I did the writing for one client while he spoke, which helped him process faster).  There are no wrong answers.  Let them rest again, and come back again to refine them into phrases or sentences that resonate with you.  You'll know when you find your fit.  I'm happy to help if you'd like.

I'll be posting pictures on my Facebook page soon so you can see the wonderful ways people have made this process their own.  I look forward to hearing about how this works for you!

Top Ten Reasons to See a Relationship Coach

Relationship coaching helps couples reflect and take intentional action to create relationships filled with happiness, connection, and shared vision.  It is a little different from couples counseling, only in that it is very forward thinking, positive, and action-oriented.  I blend counseling and coaching in my work

There are many reasons couples decide to start working with me.  Here are ten of the most common:

1.  Sweethearts considering marriage.

Pre-marital counseling and coaching is some of my favorite work.  You know you want to be together, now, the question is, HOW do you want to be together?  What kind of future do you want to build?  How will you navigate life changes with grace?  Working with a relationship coach can help you get clear about the life you want to build as a committed couple.

2.  Keeping the relationship fulfilling long term.  

You have probably heard me say it already, every relationship needs a tune up from time to time.  Keeping your relationship a priority amid the many responsibilities and obligations that come up can be difficult.  It's not uncommon to lose a little luster over time.   Couples coaching can help provide time to re-assess how to sustainably keep the home fires burning for a long long time.

3.  Getting back together after taking a break.

Little known fact: LOTS of couples break up and get back together.  When you are deciding to return to partnership it can be really helpful to work with a relationship coach to both repair any gaps from your break, and work on forgiveness.  Your relationship coach will also help you determine how you want to move forward together.

4.  Thinking about becoming parents.

Parenting is an amazing journey, but it isn't for everyone and co-parenting doesn't come naturally.  Who do you want to be as a parent?  Is parenting something you both really want?  When you and your partner are ready to start thinking about a family it can be a good time to bring in a coach as a facilitator to help guide you through the decision-making and planning processes.

5.  Starting a business with your life partner.  

So we know you and your partner have great ideas and can manage projects together well (that home remodel looks beautiful!) but are you ready to start a business together?  And if you are, how will you maintain your relationship strength as your business dreams come true?  Contact a relationship coach to help you as a consultant for your business partnership when it's also our romance partner!

6.  Opening your relationship to non-monogamy.

Polyamory and open relationships are much more common than people think.  However, because we have strong cultural taboos around talking about open relationships, most couples are without support as they begin conversations about openness.  You can find poly-friendly relationship coaches and couples or marriage counselors in the national Poly-friendly Professionals or the Open List.  You can find me there too!

7.  Adventuring in new sexual or sensual territory.

Dan Savage coined the phrase GGG meaning one should strive to be good in bed, giving "equal time and equal pleasure" to one's partner, and game "for anything—within reason."for things sexually and sensually.  For some people meeting this GGG standard is not easily done.  Working with a relationship coach or couples counselor could help you and your partner explore new sensual connections and be even stronger together in the bedroom (and wherever else these adventures take you).  Check the Kink-Aware Professionals national listing for a sex-positive (non-judgmental) provider near you.

8.  Repairing a relationship after an affair.  

An affair doesn't necessarily mean you have to end your relationship.  Many couples decide to stay together.  However, repairing from a violation of trust can require professional support.  Contact a relationship counselor or couples coach to help you rebuild connection and trust and decide if staying together is the best option for you.

9.  Re-imagining the relationship after things go blah.

Lets face it, relationships take work and it is not easy to razzle-dazzle your partner every day (nor is it a realistic expectation).  Work with a relationship coach or couples counselor to help reignite that spark and fascination that brought you together in the first place.

10.  Deciding to move in together.

I have worked with many couples deciding if and when to move in together.  Many people struggle with questions of balance  privacy, space, and independence during these conversations.  It can be very helpful to have a neutral party's support and guidance as you transition to or from living together.

The bottom line is, if you are going to stay together for a long time, you are going to weather many changes to your life and relationship.  Relationship coaching is like a vitamin boost for your relationship's health during times of stress and transition.  Why not give it a try?

Change Your Life In Ten Minutes

At this time of year many of us "adults" are asked to give advice to younger people at graduation parties and other celebrations.  Think about a younger person you care for and share some of your wisdom.  Answer the following questions:

- Looking back on your own life, what advice would you give them on how to live a fulfilling vibrant, rich life?

- How should they bring more meaning and connection into their life?

- What would you have done differently in your days to bring in more abundance and love and joy?

Then write it down.  Whats your top ten list of how that young person could live life more fully?  

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Well done.  That sounds like a life well-lived!

Now look at the list again.  Why aren't you doing the things you listed?  What could you do more of to make your life even more fulfilling?   How could you take steps today to live more vibrantly?  What tiny action could you take tomorrow to move your life in a more colorful meaningful way?

We can't expect the young people we love to move in a direction different from that which we model for them, now can we?  

Start now and go confidently in the direction of your dreams.

Couples Communication Roadblocks

Today I'd like to welcome guest blogger Andrea Cashman, a private practice counselor from Holistic Counselling Services. She is writing about common communication roadblocks that occur in relationships as well helpful techniques to overcome these common patterns couples may find themselves in. Andrea resides in Ottawa, Ontario. Feel free to explore her blog further here and subscribe to her facebook page.  I'll be back Friday with Couples Conversation Starters!

Communication Roadblocks in Relationships - Andrea Cashman

One of the major relationship breakdown factors is communication or lack thereof. As a society, we may think it is easy to communicate with one another; however, this is a difficult and sensitive area for us. We just don’t want to talk about it, no pun intended (okay maybe a little intended).

With all this new and accepted technology of texting, emailing, skyping, twittering, facebooking, we are falling into a deeper abyss of communication difficulties. It is easier to misinterpret people’s intentions in cyber world than face to face. However, most of us seem to have difficulty even mastering conversation with loved ones that leave us in an argumentative state that leave us feeling confused, angry, hurt and so forth.

I recently took a course that explained communication barriers and was astounded to find that there are many communication roadblocks and that I am guilty of some in my own life. There are many issues that can enter into the relationship and chip away at the relationship foundation which may or may not cause its demise. These issues can include: financial pressures which may include one or both partners being unemployed, social pressures, intimacy and sexual issues, unresolved childhood difficulties, unresolved emotional difficulties, substance abuse, and work or family life issues to name a few.

The way we communicate with our partners, especially in a crisis, is vital to maintaining our relationships.

There are twelve communication barriers that are broken up into three categories: Judging, Sending Solutions, and Avoiding the Others’ Concerns.

Under the Judging category falls criticizing, name-calling, diagnosing and praising evaluatively.

Criticizing is making a negative evaluation of another person. For example, telling them they can’t do anything right. Name-calling involves putting down the other person or stereotyping them. For example, telling your wife “stop being a blonde. Stop being such a woman”. Diagnosing is when someone analyses why a person is acting the way they are by trying to play an amateur therapist. For example, when someone says “I think you are just doing that to start an argument with me. It’s what you always do.” Praising evaluatively involves a person making a positive judgement about the other person’s attitudes or actions. For example, “I know you will help me tonight because you are always so helpful”. This can be perceived as manipulation.

Under the Sending Solutions category falls ordering, threatening, moralizing, excessive/inappropriate questions, and advising.

Ordering involves commanding the other person to do something. For example, “Do your homework because I said so.” Threatening occurs when someone is trying to control the other person’s actions by warning them of negative consequences that will ensue. For example, “Stop patronizing me or I will leave you.” Moralizing involves telling the other person what they should or ought to do. For example, “We shouldn't divorce because the children will be devastated.” Excessive/Inappropriate questioning are close ended questions that present a barrier in a relationship. For example, “are you sorry you did it?” Advising is giving the other person a solution to their problem. For example, “If I were you, I would leave your husband”.

Under the Avoiding the Others’ Concerns falls diverting, logical argument and reassuring.

Diverting occurs when a person pushes another person’s problems aside using distraction. “Let’s stop talking about this issue. Let’s focus on something more positive.” Logical Argument is an attempt to convince the other with an appeal to logic or facts without considering their feelings. “Let’s analyse why we shouldn't invest in a new house because clearly you are not getting the big picture of our financial situation.” Reassuring is trying to stop the other person from feeling negative emotions they are experiencing. For example, “Everything works out in the end”.

These communication barriers are more likely to block communication, thwart the other person’s problem solving skills, and increase the emotional distance between the people involved. There is no easy solution to fixing these communication barriers. The first step to resolution is acknowledging the ones you use in conversations or arguments. Having awareness is a powerful change agent. Individual and Couples’ counselling is beneficial to working out the communication barriers. For couples’ counselling, your counsellor will be able to hear the communication barriers in the session and offer helpful alternatives to break the patterns.

Some other helpful techniques include:

  • Changing your usual conflict patterns. Do the opposite you would do in argument. For example, if you normally yell in an argument, use a quieter tone of voice.
  • Catch your partner doing something right and acknowledge that to them.
  • Change your pursuer or distancer pattern. For example, if you normally walk away from an argument, stay and try to work things out and vice versa for the pursuer.
  • Change your complaints into action requests. For example, instead of saying “you never spend quality time with me.” Saying something along the lines of “I would love it if we could make a weekly date night together. I enjoy spending time with you”. This is a chance to express your needs in the relationship instead of coming across as demanding which may appear to your partner as a control measure.
  • Compassionately listen to your partner without interruption. This can be difficult to do but will be valuable to the relationship.
  • Focus on how you can change (and not your partner). It can be empowering to know that if you makes changes in yourself, that changes in the relationship can occur. We cannot force partners to change or even come to counselling, but self-improvement is a great start to assist in changes.