“But We’re So Different …”

What happens when you’re way into sports and you start dating a sports hater? Or when you find yourself dating an actor, but you don’t even own a television?

Are you a cat person going out with a dog person?

While it’s true sometimes opposites attract, how different is too different? Even Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog broke up. Is it possible to make it work with someone who is your opposite, politically, religiously, or personality-wise?

First of all, in dating we have to figure out what it is we’re really looking for and hoping to get out of it. Are you looking for long-term commitment and a possible future—or are you just looking to be social, engage with others and have a little fun? There’s no right answer and at different times in our lives most of us will probably be in one boat or the other. Being honest with yourself ensures you aren’t seeking out dates on different pages.

Then again, sometimes it’s still okay if you find someone who might not be looking for a “serious” relationship, when you are. You can still go out, engage with them, get to know them a little better and see where life takes you. As long as you’re being true to yourself and honest about your intentions and yearnings, it’s perfectly fine to date someone who’s not sure where things will lead.

What About Personality Differences?

The optimist versus the pessimist or the extrovert versus the introvert—these juxtapositions in the dating world give you an opportunity to really put those traits to the test and under the microscope. You may see them as red flags, but they’re really a chance to examine: are you truly an optimist because that’s the path you’ve chosen and it fits the way you interact with and see the world? Or, are you an optimist because you have anxiety about dealing with problems and you refuse to see them?

If you’re holding to your true personality and approaching differences from learning and engaging perspectives, it’s actually fun to date someone who challenges you and makes you go, “Wow—I never thought of that before.”

Highly energetic and extroverted people may have a hard time down-regulating in arguments or during conflict. For someone more analytical, less emotional or more introverted, this can be a little terrifying. It can also be a chance to grow a little in your emotional responses and to learn how to up-regulate yourself to meet their enthusiasm. You may want to explore what about the personality differences induces anxiety or causes you to be adverse. You’ll learn more about yourself and it just may end up being more exciting and exhilarating than dating someone “just like” you.

One fun thing we do in couples work is a game called “Sunshine/Clouds.” It’s about turning your perception of yourself on its head and viewing things from the other person’s perspective. If you’re struggling to find common ground or little “differences” are driving you crazy, try agreeing to reverse roles for a day. If she’s constantly late and you’re punctual to the second, mix it up. If you have a sunny outlook and she can be a Debbie Downer, try spending an entire date being a bit more of a raincloud. (Believe me—this one’s HARD.) It can actually lead to a little bit of laughter and an interesting perspective on the other person’s point of view.

Finding Common Ground

Don’t get bogged down by superficial “interests.” Yes, it can be nice fodder for conversation if you find you both love the Bears or Spain’s your favorite vacation destination. Things like sports teams, music, hobbies…those are all pastimes and they aren’t vital to connecting with another person. If you find someone you truly engage with and enjoy, then you might find your time is spent doing quality activities together and you don’t need so much “filler.”

Not to suggest, of course, you give up your hobbies or sell your season tickets once you start dating someone. Be true to who you are. Maybe it means you’re going to have to dial up your girlfriends to join you for a concert, or get your buddy to be your running partner. Dating doesn’t mean losing your identity or trying to conform to another person’s interests or preferences.

If you’ve done the work beforehand, you know yourself well enough to understand your deal breakers and non-negotiables. You also know what limiting beliefs might be holding you back from truly connecting with another person. Approach dating as a great social experiment—one where you should never compromise on your deal breakers, but you should allow yourself to grow and learn.

As we all know, there’s no such thing as “the one” and differences make dating explorative and fun. Get out there and learn a little bit about someone else and gain a little deeper understanding about yourself at the same time!

You’ll be able to read all about these ideas and more in Dr. Bob and Judith’s Wright’s new book, out now: The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer. (Available on Amazon now!)

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About the Author

Monica is the Admissions Coordinator and Marketing Specialist at the Wright Graduate University. As the admissions coordinator and head of marketing for WGU, Monica oversees recruiting, student admissions, customer services and marketing efforts.

Blog post image courtesy Flickr user familymwr.

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Why You Should NOT
Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

In the last ten or twenty years, we’ve heard a lot about having your elevator pitch polished and ready to go: a scripted “story” you can share with potential clients at the drop of a hat, a canned slogan and summary of what you’re all about.

Listen: that idea is outmoded and unnecessary. Drop the idea you need a script to follow. Instead, evoke your emotional intelligence and skip the lines.

If you’re trying to sell too hard, customers will see right through it. Instead of trying to perfect and craft your pitch, try engaging with each person you meet. Give yourself a challenge: ask five questions BEFORE you start talking about yourself. Finding out what makes them tick, what’s challenging to them, and what their biggest concerns are, will lead you to the perfect method for meeting their needs organically. You’ll find out all about them and you’ll be able get in sync.

Find out about them and they’ll be interested in you.

Social intelligence is the key to unlocking any conversation, with customers or with coworkers. Try making the conversation about them and not about you. The most talented salesmen and leaders learn to share their vision with everyone they engage with, leading everyone involved to a shared outcome.

Pause, Listen and Hear…

We’re excited about our message! We want to share it with everyone we come in contact with. We get so fixated on engaging, we do all the talking and sharing. Step back and give your audience a minute to find their voice. Conversation is a two-way street and if you’re finding it tough to navigate with someone, you might not be fully listening.

The quietest people are often busy analyzing their next comment, they might be thinking out what to say next. They might be weighing outcomes and measuring their thoughts and trying to gauge their reaction. When I’m faced with someone who doesn’t seem to engage, who is putting up a wall or holding back, rather than trying to “talk” him or her into sharing, I find it’s a sign I need to shut up and listen.

Often the thing they share can be the most profound because they’ve been working it over for so long. Listen to your quiet customers and you will find out many surprising things. If you hear what they’re saying, they will reveal the way to continue the conversation.

Great engagement is about connecting and being interested. People often ask how I get people to open up about personal and sometimes painful issues during coaching sessions. It’s surprisingly easy, when you listen. Most people WANT to be heard and they’re just waiting for the moment to tell you their story.

Find Out What’s Holding Them Back

If you’re facing an uncertain purchaser, trying to convince your boss to get on board with your vision or rally the troops, you may feel like you need to reach into your bag of pat lines. Don’t. Be blunt. Say, “You’re holding back—why?”

Then sit back, listen and figure out what you need to do to get them on your side. Don’t rush to fix things or hand them a response. Instead hear them clearly. Ask questions to open their concerns up and encourage them to keep talking.

Every customer is different. Every person is different. Until you know and understand each person, there’s no set “sales pitch” that will win him or her over. It’s obsolete and actually drives them away. We’ve evolved to a point where we expect developed relationships in business.

We expect to be understood. Our customers expect the same.

Be ready to share your vision and help them understand, but don’t be so eager you don’t listen to theirs. The strongest vision is shared. Listen to the way they envision a perfect scenario and work with them to make it happen. You’ll find you end up with more sales and become a natural, transformational leader to those around you.

Want to boost your career? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Deal with
Workplace Gossip

Gossip. Collusion. Backbiting. Whatever you call it, workplace gossip can be both addictive and damaging in the workplace.


While a certain level of watercooler conversation is positive (it keeps employees connected engaged and mission-focused), negative talk, complaining and whining is unproductive, even toxic. It can cause employees to pass the buck, spin their wheels, and generally waste time. If you’re overhearing negative buzz in your office, you need to listen up and resolve it.

Addressing Constant Negativity

As a manager or CEO, you should recognize there might be a lot of truth to your employees’ discussions (even if they seem needlessly negative). Is your mission strong? Do your employees sense you’re hypocritical, being unfair or not holding true to the vision and integrity of your company? If that’s the case, you may need to take a long hard look in the mirror and consider what caused the viewpoint and what needs to happen to turn around the negativity.

If your coworkers get stuck in a “bitching” pattern where everyone tries to outdo each other with complaints, it can have a devastating effect on your morale and the morale of the entire office. Don’t engage in the drama triangle and don’t participate in the cycle. Be mission and action-focused. If it’s not worth your time and it doesn’t put you on a track towards your personal vision, then it’s time to step back.

Examine your intention. Are you engaging with sincere intent? Are you being direct and expressing your goals and your vision for the company? From the mail clerk to the CEO, everyone should work together on a shared vision for the company. Employees need to have a voice and feel engaged and important to the mission. A transformational leader really listens.

Implementing Accountability and Ownership

If you’re fully engaged and focused on the growth of your position and your company, then you should feel comfortable being direct and having clarity on how to move your company forward. Whether it’s a personal issue with your boss, or if your employee isn’t meeting the expectations of clients or living up to the company mission, you need to address issues directly with the people involved. It’s your responsibility as you take ownership, get involved and stay engaged. Don’t shy away from conflict or confrontation. You may need to handle it gracefully, calmly and clearly, but tackle it head on.

If we’re contributing to the success of the company, we need to find ways to incentivize those around us and hold our team accountable for their success and their shortfalls. When possible, money talks loudly as an incentivizer. When it’s not possible, acknowledgment, attention and accountability go just as far (and sometimes even farther). Share successes with your employees and make the company’s triumphs their wins as well.

Getting to the Root of Workplace Gossip

If your workplace has a lot of gossip, you’ll need to examine all sides of the situation. Gossip is a way to blame others for our own shortcomings. It shows a lack of ownership and a lack of intentionality. It’s an excuse for failure and a way to pass blame.

Petty gossip is usually fueled by complaints and dissatisfaction. It’s a passive-aggressive way to deal with disappointments and resentments better addressed directly. It can be a way to damage someone’s reputation in a low blow, which may or may not be true. Spreading rumors and slander reflects a lot more about the speaker than the person they’re talking about. Don’t allow yourself to engage in conversation that’s not productive and reflective of your intentionality.

To reverse the cycle of spreading negative talk and to stop the drama triangle, you need to approach the situation with clear intentions and grace. It’s not about arguing, perpetuating the misconceptions, and passing the buck. Hear out your employees and be clear about the actions leading them to success. Break out the expectations and let employees make the choice on how they envision themselves meeting those expectations. Keep your outcomes focused and clear. A transformational leader helps those around them share a vision and come together to bring about the intended outcomes.

Oftentimes, workplaces are failing because the employees are focused on what will bring them individual success or what they view as the goal of their job, which may not sync up with the vision of management or administration. Instead, sit down together and discuss ways you can harness your intentions and work towards a shared outcome. Get on the same page and be clear with job descriptions, project goals, and what success looks like for all involved.

For more ideas on dealing with difficult situations and getting more out of life, visit Wright Now and explore our selection of courses and webinars. We offer resources to help you discover more about yourself, your relationships, and your career. So start living a life of MORE today!


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

What To Do About
The Relationship “Mehs”

Oftentimes relationships decline with a whimper, rather than a bang. Things are going along routinely, but then comes this growing feeling the love might be disappearing…

and suddenly you find yourself with a case of the “mehs.”

Unfortunately, some of us are strangling our relationship—slowly murdering it a little bit at time. Withdrawal, frustration, disengagement and stonewalling can inadvertently suck the love and life out of our relationships and this slow erosion has us waking up one day wondering, “Where has the love gone?”

Rather than giving up on a relationship veering towards life support, it’s time to re-engage. Take 100% responsibility and enliven your relationship. Raise your expectations and stop settling for a less than ideal connection.

Think about it: if your television connection were fading in and out, you’d get up, adjust the antenna, change the channel, check the connection and do something about it. You wouldn’t scream, whine and yell at the television and expect it to just get “fixed.” If your relationship signals are coming in static, it’s time to examine the cause. Get proactive!

An engaged, transformational and growth-focused relationship is going to experience conflict. The more engaged, the more conflict. Stop looking at it as a bad thing. Conflict brings out our yearnings and we can express those, rather than hiding or suppressing them. Conflict means you’re moving forward, rather than being stuck.

Let go of the idea of “perfection” in relationships. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship and love doesn’t solve problems and make everything okay. Limiting beliefs (like, ‘I don’t deserve an engaged partner’) can cause us to cycle through drama and create self-fulfilling prophesies—a vicious pattern. We feel we aren’t getting attention, so we push buttons to get attention, then we receive a negative reaction, reinforcing our belief our relationship isn’t giving us the attention we deserve. We then ignore our partner or give them the silent treatment, withdraw and stew about things.

Check Yourself First

We’re products of our upbringing: our relationships with our parents and our siblings formed our belief system before we were even aware (usually before we’re seven years old). We have to know ourselves well enough to understand where our feelings come from. What behaviors are we avoiding and what self-fulfilling prophecies are we carrying out?

If your parents were controlling, you might feel you have to rebel or lash out to get what you want. If your parents withheld affection, you may feel you aren’t worthy of affection or you have to prove yourself. Maybe your parents had a mythical “perfect” relationship in your eyes. Step back and consider what you might be ignoring or what sort of standard you’re holding your relationship to. Did your family just ignore problems? Did one parent dominate the other?

Speak Up and Get What You Want

Break the pattern. Express your yearnings to your partner. Don’t shy away from confrontation and conflict. Instead, tell them what you want. Oftentimes we fail to express our wants and then resent our partner for their lack of psychic ability or mind-reading powers. We hold unexpressed expectations and then feel disappointment they aren’t met.

Take responsibility for your role and focus on the areas where you need to improve. Remember in the rules of engagement: we must take 100% responsibility and no one gets more than 50% of the blame. That means we have to own our desires and yearnings. We can’t hold our partner responsible for things they don’t know they’re doing. We have control over our actions and the way we react to our partner.

Learn how to accentuate the positive in your relationship. Assume your partner has positive intentions towards you. One of the biggest problems I see in relationships is when one member of the couple literally feels like their partner is “out to get them.” In almost all cases, our partner wants the relationship to be a success as much as we do.

Yet we still focus on the negative, accusing them of “never” or “always” doing something, instead of noticing the moments things happen as we hope, and reinforcing that behavior with positive acknowledgement. It’s just like training: learning and growing together means we’re training each other.

Does this mean giving our partner a list of demands or requesting they do things exactly as we want? No, of course not! However, we do have to repeat the things we want and our important yearnings. Our yearnings should be crystal clear to our partner, to avoid withdrawal and the slow strangulation of our relationship.

Our history forms the fabric of our personality and affects the future of our relationships. We must express our yearnings and speak up to our partner before the “mehs” take over. We must reengage, roll up our sleeves, work on ourselves and get our relationship back to a place where we’re stimulated, learning and growing together. It takes practice and work, but it’s worth it!

If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, you can pre-order our new relationships book: The Heart of The Fight, coming out next February.


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How to Be More
Productive at Work

Being productive at work is about engaging—being more aware and present when you’re on task, as well as learning how to down-regulate and let go during times you’re not working.

It’s all about social and emotional intelligence.

Working on your social and emotional intelligence helps you become a strong leader. You know how to engage with others and you’re aware of the emotions they’re bringing to the table. As you develop your social and emotional intelligence, you’ll start to recognize key emotions in others, then you’ll be able to work with them to grow, learn and be more productive together.

A transformational leader is aware of the relative strengths and weaknesses of his or her team. They can assess those weaknesses and partner them with other people’s strengths to help the team work cohesively and productively. They partner with their team to create a shared vision, and then set goals with their team to bring their vision into reality.

Know Yourself

To know others you must know yourself—meaning you understand your own motivations and what’s driving you. You have a clear vision and outcome in mind. You’re able to create high, but attainable goals. You understand how to get yourself over roadblocks and de-motivators as well as distractions.

As you experience emotions in the workplace throughout the day, whether it’s anger, joy or fear—own those emotions. Note what you’re feeling and acknowledge those feelings. If you’re feeling frustrated with the actions of a coworker, an overwhelming assignment or a seemingly insurmountable task, allow yourself to acknowledge those feelings, but don’t dwell in them. Fear and anger are counterproductive.

Observe your reaction to a negative or frustrating situation—do you use it as an “excuse” to disengage? Instead engage in the situation. Express your frustration and get over it. If you’re angry, express why you’re angry and address the problem so it doesn’t prevent you from moving on.

Do You Waste Time?

Time is one of our most precious resources. Yet we always find ways to spend it or waste it—and we’re still always looking for shortcuts to save it. Slowing down time and using it fully means being fully engaged and not distracted by ruminations of the past and worries about the future. It means we’re productively using our time to keep us learning, growing and engaging with those around us. Embrace the task at hand and you’ll find time almost magically slows down.

Do you hold yourself back because you’re fearful of success? Do you fill your time with easy time-waster tasks because you’re afraid of tackling the big success-making or high-sale activities? Are you holding back because you’re afraid of failing?

Many of us get bogged down with the tasks that come easy for us. We do the things we know we’re good at and those that will garner praise and acknowledgement. We pick the low hanging fruit.

Once you know yourself well, you can push yourself further to reach for the loftier goals. Examine what’s holding you back—and let it go. We often find ourselves treading water rather than swimming, because we’re afraid to drown. When you have an understanding of your abilities and your emotions, you can say, “I’m going to dive in—I know I can do this if I just push myself out of my comfort zone.”

Make your goals clear cut. Make them high enough to drive you over the hump of what you can comfortably achieve and instead aim for what you can optimally achieve. If you know you can easily and successfully build 25 widgets in a day, set your goal at 28, and then 30. See how far you can go while still giving your best and without letting quality suffer. As humans, we respond to goals, as they can be a powerful motivator. Be sure your goals are stretching you to the top of your ability. Hold yourself accountable and if you have a team, hold your team accountable and have them do the same for you.

Learn to Grant Yourself Downtime

Just as you’re fully engaged when you’re working, when you have a break, fully engage in taking a break. Just like when we eat, we take time to chew our food, taste it and enjoy it. When you take a break, it’s giving you time to taste and mentally chew over the happenings of the day.

Meditation can be a powerful tool to help you decompress and clear your mind. It helps us process stressors and gives us a mental and emotional break to keep productivity and engagement high.

Just as you would with a meeting or a class at your gym—put meditation break time on your calendar. When you have a weekend, make it about connecting with your home life and personal time. Allow yourself to have a “Sabbath” or break from work, completely. As you train yourself to take breaks, you’ll find creating a ritual or routine—turning off the lights, repeating a mantra, taking off your shoes—whatever signals to your brain, “This is my time to renew myself.”

Many of us get so frenetic in our desire to achieve, we’re suddenly spinning our wheels, when instead we should set goals, hold ourselves accountable and become fully engaged. Take time to refocus and renew yourself and keep building up your social and emotional intelligence and you will find productivity easily follows.

Learn more about Wright Living’s Career & Leadership Coaching in Chicago & Career Coaching Courses in Chicago.

About the Author

Bob Wright

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Emotional Intelligence: Unlock Your Superpower

Emotional intelligence is very much a superpower. Having emotional intelligence makes our business interactions, our relationships, and our lives in general run more smoothly.

We human beings are emotional creatures and the ability to understand and control our emotions makes us more receptive to others, stronger leaders, better communicators and generally more successful.

So what exactly is emotional intelligence?

It’s the capacity to recognize emotions. It’s the ability to calm, soothe, and down-regulate oneself. It’s the ability to engage, become enthused, and up-regulate oneself, when appropriate. Self-regulation is the key. Emotionally intelligent people understand the reality of their emotions and use them to productively propel themselves forward.

Emotional Intelligence: Guts & Glory

Our emotions come from our gut. Our primary emotions are fear, hurt, sadness, anger and joy. They give us a sense when things are right and wrong, and make us feel appropriately. They help us learn and grow. They drive us towards pleasure and away from pain. They’re the primary drivers behind our interactions.

A greater grasp on emotions moves us towards learning opportunities, towards partnerships, and in positive directions. Emotions are the key to unlocking your potential, transforming and growing.

As babies, we move away from pain and hurt. We learn to move towards things that cause our mom and dad to react positively (resulting in joy) and we learn to avoid things that frighten us or cause us sadness. Remember the first time you felt truly angered by an injustice you experienced as a child? What did you do? Did you throw a fit, stomping your feet and screaming? How did your parents react and how did it set up the basis for your future reactions to similar situations?

How Emotional Intelligence Affects Leadership

In the workplace, we’re given a myriad of opportunities and interactions to experience different emotions. We may be afraid that our boss won’t hear us or that a presentation won’t go well. We may feel hurt by a comment from a coworker or anger when an interaction doesn’t go the way we hope. It’s that gut feeling we need to be in touch with.

As leaders, the regulation of our emotions and ability to up-and-down regulate as appropriate makes us stronger. When you hear someone is a real “people person,” it’s often because they’re able to successfully reflect and regulate their emotions to sync up with those around them. It doesn’t mean they feed off other people’s anger, fear or sadness, but that they’re actually able to take it in, down-regulate and reflect it back in their interaction.

Living and Learning from the Full Breadth of Our Emotions

Social intelligence moves us towards joy. We are able to recognize the ways to extract joy from situations and to be aware of all of the things going on inside of us.

Being emotionally intelligent doesn’t mean every emotion we feel is positive. It means we’re able to educate others about the reasons behind our anger, fear or hurt, and convey it in a way that doesn’t point blame but rather seeks to find resolution. This superpower creates better partnerships in our careers and better intimacy with our partners.

When you find yourself feeling fearful or hurt, explore the challenges behind the emotion and embrace them. What are your real concerns? Is the anticipated pain greater than the anticipated gain? Emotional intelligence is about facing the fear, the hurt or the source of your anger—and confronting it. Make it your friend and use it to propel you forward and drive your plans. Planning and preparing negate fear and forces it to submit. Don’t allow the fear to take over.

When something bothers you, confront it. It’s not about blaming and shaming the other party; it’s about laying out the concern on the table and finding a way to negotiate an acceptable scenario. Fight the fear of others disapproving of you. Having emotional intelligence means you’ll be able to separate out the times when confrontation isn’t necessary for little irritations and preserve the relationship. If it’s something eating away at you, get it out there in a diplomatic and productive manner and move beyond the fear.

As you learn to regulate your emotions, you’ll move towards joy and away from fear. You’ll find yourself engaging with others in a positive, leadership-focused manner and extracting the best emotional outcomes for all parties involved. Do the emotional homework to get a handle on your feelings and gain a deeper understanding so you can unlock your full potential.

For more ways to live your best life and learn how to master your emotions, visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses geared to help you learn more about yourself, your career, and your relationships. So don’t miss out on the life you want. Go for it now!

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.