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Consequences for Hurtful Behavior

consequencesWhat a loaded subject.  But, it really is simple.  Bad or wrong behavior needs effective consequences. What is bad or wrong behavior?  Simply defined it is when a person’s actions, words or behavior hurt themselves and/or others.  Obvious examples are, but not limited to, lying, cheating, stealing, bullying, abuse (all kinds), breaking laws/the rules, and disrespectful conduct. If Bobby is caught cheating on his 3rd-grade spelling test he is mostly hurting himself. If Susan, a wife and mom, is in an adulterous affair, she’s hurting herself, her husband, their children (even if they don’t know about it), her affair partner’s wife and children. The ripple effects could last generations.  If Tom hangs up on a customer he hurt not only the customer, but the company culture, the employees and himself.  So, what are appropriate consequences?  I have a simple definition: whatever gets the perpetrator’s attention so they won’t do it, again. This is different for each person and each situation.

The hard part about consequences?  There are three parts, actually.

      1. Confronting the offender.  Many people, I would venture to say that most, are afraid of conflict. But, you need to find a way to get over that discomfort and vexation.  Not confronting someone over slight or egregious misconduct will cause you tremendous frustration and aggravation which eventually leads to unresolved anger.  As much as we’d like it, people can’t read our minds and often don’t even know they upset you. Some may even think they got away with something.  Even if they could read your mind, they would probably bungle “fixing” it because they don’t know what you need.  So, accept it that you need to talk to the perpetrator.  If the idea of confronting them sends you to an apoplectic state, then you need to find a thoughtful intermediary (pastor, rabbi, priest, wise friend, boss, therapist, co-worker, etc) to help you bring this issue to the forefront.  If a conversation, even with help, is still overwhelming, consider writing a letter.  Or draw a picture. Or write a screenplay.  Anything that will get your point across in a respectful way so they can hear you.  If they don’t respond or get defensive you have a bigger problem than the recent behavior issue.  And yes, that needs to be addressed, too. 

 

      1. The punishment needs to fit the crime.  An appropriate consequence for Bobby cheating on his test is to have him print or write in cursive his misspelled words 100 times each.  An inappropriate consequence is not allowing him to go over to his best buddies’ house for his birthday party.  There’s no relation between the offense and the punishment. That’s what we call in my house, “taking away Christmas.”  Also known as a knee-jerk, punitive reaction.  Not smart, thoughtful or effective.   SIDEBAR: Taking away a friend’s birthday party invitation is appropriate if the offense included hurting another through words or physicality.  If your employee hangs up on a customer, then the employee is either fired or no longer talks to customers for an established period of time.  Yes, it is probably burdensome to the other employees, and to you, but that caustic conduct cannot be tolerated. You’re defining the culture and the expectations you have of your employees. In the long run, your company and your customers will appreciate it.

 

    1. Sticking to your guns after meting out a consequence.  If you say, “No sleepovers till next month.” Then no sleepovers till next month.  If you say, “You will not answer the phone for 30 days.”  Then make it 30 days.  No exceptions.  That’s why it is very important to be thoughtful about the punishment.  Make sure you can carry it out. It is OK to say to the offender, “I need to think about this.  Give me X hours and I’ll get back to you.”  Then get back to them with the appropriate consequence.

Hopefully, the situation with an adult is an “event” rather than a character defect (more than once). If the latter, you need to seriously consider severing ties with that person.  Children are not little adults.  Please take age development phases into account.  For example, most children go through a phase where they lie/embellish.  You must call them on it, each time, so they learn lying isn’t acceptable behavior.  But, just because they lie more than once doesn’t mean they’ll end up in state prison.  Relax.  

Live, Love and Serve,

Annette de Lancey Giacomazzi

 

 

 

 

Announcing the book, “Till Business Do Us Part, How To Thrive In Your Business & Survive Your UnSupportive Husband”

The book, “Till Business Do Us Part, How To Thrive in Your Business & Survive Your UnSupportive Husband”  is tentatively scheduled for release, February 20, 2020. Yep, 02/20/2020. There is significance in the number 2. More on that later. 

My quest is to shed light on this never-discussed topic. If a woman business owner is struggling with an unsupportive husband, not only is her family suffering, but the risk to her business is great. It may stall or fail and the effects can be significant. Her struggles can reflect negatively on economic development, for the people she employs, the taxes she pays, and for the contributions she makes through direct donations or donations-in-kind.

My research is demonstrating that the number of women business owners who deal with unsupportive husbands is staggering and the spectrum of that lack of support is wide. But, the one common denominator they all share is the shame and isolation. Shedding light on this dicey topic will give women business owner’s a place to, well, breathe, and find solutions.

This book will not throw husbands under the bus.  Quite the opposite, in fact. The book’s message is getting laser-focused on growing a profitable business and how to accomplish it with everyone’s best interests in mind. This is not a memoir, but I do have empathy and deep understanding of this sticky subject. Any stories I share personally will pale in comparison to the courageous, amazing women business owners I am featuring and the strategies I offer to navigate these tricky waters.

Please share your respectful thoughts, below, or if you wish to contact me personally I respond to all courteous emails at annette@tillbusinessdouspart.com.

Your Happy Warrior (a person undiscouraged even in the face of difficulties; plucky crusader),

Annette de Lancey Giacomazzi

P.S. For those of you who have known and have been eagerly anticipating the release of my book, sometimes life throws you curve balls.  Sometimes those curve balls deck you out cold. But, then you get up and finish the game.  And hopefully, the game is better because of your time out.  I am in my time out.  But, there is a benefit! I am collecting more information and case studies to make the book even more valuable for you!

Reflection: What is Your Intent?

Do you know the reason you acted or spoke the way you did?  Take a moment of Reflection.  Think strongly about what may have caused you do react that way.  What was your intent when you did this?

When harshly confronted, when listening to another’s malice or spite about others (think heated opinions about traffic or politics or…), or when someone unexpectedly fesses up about some transgression, human’s typically counter 1 of 3 ways: Flight, Fight or Freeze.  My personal modus operandi?  I freeze.  I am stunned when someone lashes out at me, is spiteful about something or someone (who isn’t there to defend themselves) or is even mildly surly.

To combat this, I internalize 1 question, “What is/was your intent?”  At worst, they huff and puff and storm off. At best, someone may reflect on their reaction and rephrase their statement.  My children, while growing up, heard me ask this question all the time.  It was and still is powerful.

IntentLOOK IN THE MIRROR:  Think of the last time you overreacted.  What was your intent? To vent, to hurt, to dominate? None of these add value and causes ill-will with your partner (spouse, co-worker, parent, child, boss, or friend).

Business is redemptive

Business is redemptiveRedemption to some is a charged word. But, for me, it means new beginnings. Redemption means literally to save.  But, it doesn’t have to mean saving others.  Flight attendants have taught us for decades to put on your oxygen mask, first, then turn and put it on others.  Why? Because we can’t help others if we passed out, or more bluntly, died, from lack of oxygen.

So, then, how can we save ourselves? But, more importantly, why do we need saving? If you’re in a narcissistic, abusive relationship, you need saving.  You also need saving if your husband has poor communication techniques that leave you feeling drained, confused, and rejected. But, first, you need to discover who you are. Why? Because how can you save what you don’t know or isn’t there?  What better way to find out through full expression of creating something new or rediscovering what you’re about. Take, for example, Sophia, who owns a bakery.  Her head and her heart are divided between placating her husband’s constant negative doubts about her and her bakery or focusing on becoming the best bakery her town has ever experienced. What does she love to do? Bake. Not process payroll.  Not package the products. Just bake.  To do that, she needs to put the right people in the right positions.  Even if that means making difficult decisions such as letting some people go or scaling back the business.  She needs to get back to her passion so her business can grow to meet her vision. When Sophia synced with her passion, again, she knew her truth: she is the best baker and is creating the best bakery in her town.  She has a lot more confidence to respectfully defend her husband’s criticisms and intelligently engage in a difference of opinion.

Then, there is the story of Tessa, a vibrant young mother of 3 rambunctious boys, who is caught in the cross-hairs of a verbally and emotionally abusive husband and her desire to transition her exquisite silverware hobby into an income producing business.  Her husband actually said to her, “What makes you think you’re so special? I work hard. I don’t want to hear another word about your stupid silverware s**t, again. In fact, I don’t ever want to see it either.”  Tessa, bless her heart, foolishly thinks that she is doing something, anything to control the circumstances from making that ugly beast come at her, again.  She tries to manipulate the situation by literally putting her business in the closet before he gets home every night.  The truth is her creative, loving soul is tortured with self-doubt and self-flagellation stealing her creativity.   How can someone create something new, something great with messages like that filling her heart, soul, and mind? Without a doubt, Tessa is in a damaging, unhealthy, abusive relationship and needs to not only get out (so easy to say) but she desperately needs to be saved.  Creating her beautiful custom silverware, hearing her customers accolades, and building an environment of support and beauty may just provide the redemption she needs.  But, first, she needs to know her truth.  She needs to correctly label her relationship, so she can move away from it and quit trying to fix it or excuse it away. An alcoholic doesn’t fall asleep on the couch, they pass out.  Chronic complaining isn’t venting, it’s a poor attitude of the heart.  Tessa’s husband isn’t just having a bad day, he is an abusive man and they are in an unhealthy, destructive relationship.

Business redemptive? Absolutely! Hallelujah!

 

7 Questions to Determine if His Apology is Real

Is His Apology Real? 

Apology RealYour husband just apologized, but you’re unsettled by your mental gymnastics that doubt his sincerity.  Perhaps these sound familiar, “He sounds sorry.  Can I trust his apology? But, I’ve heard this before. I wish he had just said, (fill in the blanks). What if he does it, again?” and on and on your monkey mind travels.  The answer may seem complex and difficult due to personal expectations, and personal and relationship history.  To avoid more mind-twisting ruminations and to finally get some peace, ask yourself these 7 reflective questions:

  1. Is he empathetic to your emotional pain? Will he listen to your pain until you get closure?  If so, it’s worth considering accepting the apology and moving on, together. But, if he just wants to move on, stop talking about it, or tells you to, “…get over it. I said I was sorry.” Then, yes, you may need to get over it and fast.  “It” being the relationship and him.
  2. Is he remorseful? I’m not talking about he’s sorry he got “caught.”  I’m talking about real regret for making a decision that wounded another human being.
  3. Is he accepting full responsibility for his actions? Or is there blame involved such as, “If you hadn’t/had, I wouldn’t have (fill in the blank)?” If blame is part of the apology, his apology isn’t sincere.
  4. Will he do what it takes to repair it? I’m not talking giving you flowers or calling/texting you incessantly to ask how you’re doing. I’m talking about voluntarily giving you the information you need to feel safe with him, again.
  5. Was restitution given freely? If physical compensation or restoration is needed to make it right, was it freely offered and completed on a timely basis without your involvement?
  6. Is there true repentance? Now, before you turn from this thinking it’s a religious term, give me a moment. Repent literally means to turn from.  So in this case, it means the “event” never happens, again.  It’s actually a great way to live: do something wrong/hurtful, acknowledge it, apologize and never do it, again.
  7. The over-riding factor you must consider regardless of the sincerity of the apology is this: was the transgression a 1-time event or was this a repeat offense? if the latter, then you’re dealing with a character issue and you need to seriously consider moving on. This also applies if the offenses are different.  Poor choices in multiple areas signify a serious character flaw.  This is not an opportunity to “love him through it.”  It’s time for you to have enough self-respect to be only with people that cherish, honor and support you.  This includes family, friends, and co-workers.  But, more importantly, you need to be with someone who has enough self-respect that he wouldn’t put himself in situations that could hurt himself or wound others.

If your husband meets all the above criteria for a sincere apology, then it is time to put it to rest and rebuild together.  And refrain from revisiting it.  It’s tiresome to keep hearing about something that happened years ago.  This is especially true if it never happened again.  We ALL make mistakes.  His mistake isn’t worse than your transgressions.  They are all the same when it comes to a hurting heart.

Apology RealA look in the mirror:

Have you hurt someone?  Reflect on the questions.  Be brutally honest.  If you need to sincerely and honor someone’s pain due to a bad decision/action on your part,  ask for forgiveness. Then be completely accountable.  Please read my other related blog post, “How to Help Those You Hurt

Disclaimer: the above is a compilation of blog posts, transcripts, columns, etc… often titled the “The 4 R’s of an Apology.”  Because I’ve been on both ends of apologies and wrong-doing, please watch for my other related blog posts, “How to Help Those You Hurt” and “7 Ways to Mess Up an Apology.”

How to Help Those You Hurt (when you made a BIG mistake)

We all make mistakes.  Even my totally cute, perfect friend, Jan.  I don’t know when she did, but she’s a human being so I’m sure she forgot to put the butter away some time and her dog got into it.  Love ya, Jan! <3  But, the other 99.999% of us have made many mistakes and some of them are big, hairy, icky, makes-you-want-to-shake-the-memory-out-of-your-head mistake. How do you get that out of your head? How do you shake that guilt, embarrassment, and yes, shame? How do you know you won’t do it, again?

trust is like paper once its crumpled its not perfect

As a woman of faith, I am thankful Christianity gives me the gift of grace.  It’s God’s “do-over” plan. But, here’s where the rubber meets the road.  Just because I was forgiven by my creator doesn’t mean I can take a pass and commit the offense over and over.  I need to be remorseful and turn from committing the same crimes/sins/mistakes.  Christian or not, that’s a great way to live a life.  Only when we are released from that guilt and shame can we be and do our best.  

If you made a BIG mistake, which sadly means usually hurting those we love, there is a formula to move on:

  • Quickly ask for forgiveness from those you hurt.
  • Never, never say, “because you did “y,” I did x.”  That is deflecting.  Also known as blaming.  That’s what children do.  Take responsibility for your actions, own up to your faults. This is not giving in, it’s growing up.
  • Repeat your mistake, and how you hurt them, in your words. You may not have the exact words, but it shows you’re trying to understand their pain.
  • Let them speak their pain regardless of how uncomfortable it makes you feel.  Sit with it. Your discomfort is fairly low on the “we care” scale, at the moment.  It’s part of the process.
  • Empathize with them.  You must feel their pain for you to grow.  If you don’t feel their pain, seek counseling.
  • Give those that you hurt time to heal on their time-frame, not yours.  If that means getting fired, put on administrative leave, losing someone or something, or any kind of separation, accept it.
  • Let those you hurt re-hash the “event” for awhile.  It’s part of their recovery.  But, after some time, they and you need to move on if healing is going to occur.
  • Make restitution when necessary. Even if it takes the rest of your life.
  • Recognize some mistakes and hurts can’t be overcome.  Be prepared to lose the one(s) you hurt.  This may be the lesson you need to grow and learn.
  • Get help if you need it.  Don’t wait for a court-mandated order or your loved one insisting on it.  Take the initiative and seek professional help. This is taking action.  Action is always esteemed over words.
  • If the relationship continues, recognize it will be different.
  • Don’t do it, again.  Actions speak louder than words and memories fade more quickly if not repeated.

Blessings and Joy,

Annette

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! How to say, “I love you.” Even when you don’t feel like it.

I love youHow many of you have stood in front of the greeting card section at your local grocery store, just days away from Valentine’s Day, snorting or hrmphing at the prose expressed on romantic cards?  I have.  In fact, one time I snorted and mumbled “Yeah, right!” loud enough so that the woman next to me broke up in raucous laughter.  I apologized and walked away lamenting (quietly) about the state of my marriage mind.

There are times in any relationship when the shine has worn off, the dents and dings show, or worse, rust and corrosion has undermined the very foundation of who you two used to be.  Here is a short list to still honor the man you married, regardless of the state of your relationship:

  1.  Do something completely different, together.  If you’ve never golfed, go to the driving range.  If you haven’t been to a library, lately, sit quietly flipping through magazines and watch who uses it and talk about the future of libraries.  Try cooking a brand new dish, together.  Walk quietly through a cemetery, in the daylight. Go to a jazz festival, because you’ve never been to one.
  2. Watch and listen to him and find out what he’s been reading, listening to, watching and suggest he read a chapter to you, listen to a track or two with him, or watch an episode.  Just sit and be there.
  3. Get out of your city/town for the afternoon (evening puts too much romantic pressure on a stifled relationship).  Schedule a babysitter, if needed.
  4. Tell him to describe 1 hour, 1 meeting/job/project that he was involved with or responsible for and 1 drive/bus ride/walk to work.  You’ll be surprised by what you learn…about him. You’ll also be surprised at what you didn’t know…about him.

Did you make some suggestions and he poo-pooed them? Did he insinuate you’re nuts?  Then go and enjoy yourself, and come back and tell him how much fun you had.  Feel good that you tried.  Or did you two reconnect in even the smallest way?  Like a smile or you held hands or it was just simply quiet between the two of you?

What are your ideas? What worked?  What didn’t? Please add them in the comments section.  Remember the rules:, no bashing, swearing or griping. Only helpful solutions and tips, please! Hurting people may be reading this.

Don’t forget, you are loved and lovable!

Is your business your lover?

Is Your Business your lover?Valentine’s Day is in 4 days.  Remember the first few months of being in love?  All you could do is think of HIM. Talk about HIM.  Dream about HIM. Give HIM your best. Be your best for HIM.  Think about out-of-the-box creative plans for HIM.  Spend a lot of time with HIM even to the point of forgetting you had a life outside of HIM. And boy, did HE respond.   It was thrilling, exhilarating, even seductive.  You’re smiling, aren’t you?

Now, let’s replace HIM with YB, aka Your Business. All you can do is think of YB.   Talk about YB.  Dream about YB. Give YB your best effort, attitude, and hours.  Be your best for YB.  Think about out-of-the-box creative plans for YB.  Spend a lot of time with YB even to the point of forgetting you had a life outside of YB.  And boy, did YB respond.   It was thrilling, exhilarating, even seductive. Are you smiling? Or squirming?  Listen to that.

If you’re like me, you love to go to work, you love to work in your work and you love to work on your work.   It’s the place where the amount of effort you put in is often rewarded by a factor of X.   For me, work is my happy place. I invest in my employees, my customers, my systems, and my product/services.  And by invest, I don’t mean just money.  I mean I invest all my resources, including my most valuable of resources, my time and energy.  But the real seduction?  I can create the environment and a culture. Talk about an ego boost! I’ve been described as a workaholic. The term has even been hurled at me, repeatedly.   It’s something I wear as a badge.  A big badge. And I’m proud of it.

But, that’s the problem.   When pride enters the picture, love leaves.  The devotion I have to my business may be a source of provision, a creative outlet, and in my case, a safe and happy place (read: an escape from the hurt at home). But, denying those that love me, and sacrificing my most important relationships can have devastating consequences.  Give to your business.  But, save the best for those that love you and those you love.

I look forward to reading your helpful comments and observations, below.

Your Happy Warrior (a person undiscouraged even in the face of difficulties; a plucky crusader),

Annette de Lancey Giacomazzi

 

Communicating is not the answer

CommunicatingHow many times have you said (or thought) after an altercation, of any degree, with anyone, “This would be so much easier if we/he/she could just communicate!” Communication is when two or more people are trying to get their point across.

What’s missing is the lack of trying to understand the other’s point of view, perspective, or opinion. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, but instead, they listen with the intent to reply.

A genuine effort to try to understand is accomplished by asking relevant, thoughtful questions.  For example, asking leading questions, such as, “Why do you think that?” or “What aspect are you referring to?” or “How certain are you of this?” or “Why did you say that?” will go a long way in forging communication a connection.

It’s only with connection that you can touch the heart.  Think about how you feel when someone asks you thoughtful questions.  You feel cherished, valued, important.  Do the same for those you love or are close to.  Heck, try it with the grocery clerk.  You’ll be amazed at the heart print you’ll leave behind.


CHALLENGE:  For the next 3 days, I challenge you to put down your need to reply/defend/say something pithy, witty or funny and just listen to everyone you have a conversation with. Don’t listen with the intent to reply, but listen to ask more questions.  Really try to connect. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Let us know what happened, below, in the comments section.