Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two Simple Keys to a Happy Family

Family Ties Need Commitment
By following two simple rules, anybody can have a happy family life.

Happy Family Rule 1: Think like a salesman
You may not agree with me here, however a good family life is a lot easier if you try to think like a salesman. It depends on how you sell your ideas to your family. You’d have tried to sell your ideas to others-your boss or colleague-at some point in your career.

Successful, happy families are built on solid values and self-discipline. When you, your spouse, children, and other members cooperate with one another in living these values, it’s a successful family life. But they may be ignorant of your cherished values, which are your ideas now. Your family is yet to accept them. You need to sell your ideas to your family.

Everybody needs to sell.

If you are a candidate for an interview, you need to sell yourself as an employee to the interviewer.
Before marriage, you need to sell yourself as a life partner, to the person whom you have chosen.

At home also, you need to sell your ideas.

Sometimes this can require you to do some creative thinking. For example, you may need to persuade your three-year-old to brush teeth before going to bed. Don’t rely on arguments here. It’s more a matter of listening and speaking from your heart.

Just as important as creative thinking, or even more, is putting yourself in the other’s shoes. If you do this, you will be quickly able to identify their needs. Insights and solutions follow naturally. That creates a win-win situation for both of you.

For instance you may want your son to drive responsibly, or you want to ensure your teenage daughter turns in at home on time.

It is easy to give commands to those who are junior to us in the family, but that’s very one-sided. The way of shoulds and donts doesn’t accord much respect to the receiver, and can get into arguments and ego conflicts. It may not make a happy family life, but may actually worsen relationships.

This is where we need to take a cue from salesmen.

Imagine I am trying to sell you something. Do I barge in on you, start my sales pitch and demand that you listen? No! You must feel like listening! How? I listen to you. I ask you for your opinions, comments on things, about what interests you, what you don’t like. And if you find that I’m putting on an act, just for my sale, you’d detect it easily and back off. Sincere interest is the key. I need to relate as a trustable friend to you.

That’s right. To convince you, I need to respect you. We can’t demand that our family members listen to whatever we say. Some people still go by that rule. If such families stay together, it is because they have no other choice. What will happen when each member in the family has an option, like a source of income or a person to support them emotionally or financially?

You need to take the first step by giving respect by first listening to them. Just listen patiently, hear them out. Let them express their feelings and opinions. Let them begin, and finish their sentences.

You will be amazed at the change this will bring in your family relationships! Just because you have acknowledged their value and space as individuals.

HOWEVER: Listening does not mean you have got to follow thorough their every whim.
How to handle it if you have urgent work to do, and your spouse or child wants to talk? Discretion is needed here. If it’s urgent, they need to be given time. If it’s not critical, promise another time and see that you remember.

Which brings us to Rule No. 2.
Happy Family Rule No 2: Self-discipline.
If you’re to practice Rule No1, sharing time with your family, you need to be organized which means self-discipline.

Try to master your own self. Be a self-discipline model for others in your family to follow.

Well you may not be a perfect role model, none of us are. But it goes without saying, if you are the thinking member of the family, it begins with you.

Children may not listen to everything you say, but they sure will not miss anything you do.

I'd say your family members may be behaving unreasonably, but we need to start with ourselves. Let’s do the best we can.

That can create a win-win situation for both of you.
If you'd like to further improve your selling capability using a very simple technique, see How to Improve Your Sales.

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