Confidence vs. Cockiness

Confidence is always a main topic of discussion with my clients.  Regardless of who’s sitting in front of me is, there is always a common denominator between how good that person’ s life is and how confident they are.   Some of my clients seem afraid of confidence because they confuse it with cockiness, but the two couldn’t be more different.  Let me share with you the difference between the two:

  1. A cocky person is boastful while a confident person is humble.
  2. A cocky person has a low self-esteem and a confident person has a high self-esteem.
  3. A cocky person is a show-off while a confident person has no need for showmanship.
  4. A confident person has a healthy self-respect for himself.  A cocky person doesn’t.
  5. A confident person has nothing to hide while a cocky person has everything to hide.
  6. People envy confidence but despise cockiness.

Remember, confidence is a good thing.  It means that you have a healthy self-respect for yourself, and your actions are inspirational to others.  I hope these tips were helpful and remember, the next time you come across a cocky person, understand that the person is actually suffering inside.  And the next time you come across a confident person, don’t be jealous be envious.

Keeping Promises

Answer this question: Are you good at keeping promises?   I bet you answered yes. That’s because your brain automatically associates this question with the promises you make to other people.  Now what if I was to re-phrase this question as follows: Are you good at keeping promises to yourself?  Be honest now.  I’ll bet the answer is no for at least half of you reading.

Most of us are great when it comes to keeping a promise that we make to a friend, a co-worker or a family member, but we’re really lousy at keeping the promises we make to ourselves.  Why is this?  Think about some of the “promises” you’ve made to yourself over the years.  “I’m going to quit smoking.”  I’m going to lose weight.”  “I’m going to go back to school.”  “I’m going to stop eating dessert.”  Well, have you kept them?  Probably not!  The reason is that the promises we make to ourselves don’t have enough strength behind them.  They don’t have that same mojo as the promises we make to other people.  It’s called accountability.  The last thing we want to do is letdown a co-worker, a friend or a family member because we feel accountable to them.  Yet we have no problem letting ourselves down.  Does that make any sense?  Of course it doesn’t?   Get the picture?

It’s that time of year again folks.  January 1st is right around the corner and you know what that means; millions of us are about to transform ourselves for the umph-teenth time.  Here are a few tips that will help you keep the promises you make to yourself so that you will actually lose the weight, land the new job or steer clear of the midnight Oreo’s and milk.

  1. Write down your promise, your New Years Resolution, and post it somewhere.  For example, if your New Year’s Resolution is to get back to the gym, write it down on a post-it note in big black letters and stick it to the dashboard of your car or on the phone in your office or on your bathroom mirror.  You want to see your promise starring at you right smack in the face.  This way it is always in the forefront of your mind and there will be nowhere to run or hide.  This will lead to action.
  2. Have a conversation with yourself in the mirror every morning.  Stare at that image that is starring back at you and say, “Bob, I am going to lose 20 pounds.”  Say it multiple times.  Your reflection will become your new friend that you will feel accountable to.
  3. Set your cellphone alarm to go off every day at the time that best represents your new promise or resolution.  For example if your new resolution is to leave work every night at 6:00 P.M., set your phone alarm to go off at 6:00 and do this for a couple of weeks.  Eventually it will sink in.

The bottom line is this:  what you think about you bring about.  So the more focused you are on your personal promises the more they will resonate and bingo—transformation.

Grown-up Christmas List

This is the time of year that I enjoy my 20-minute drive to and from work the most.  All of the great Christmas music is playing on the radio and all the happy memories and feelings surface.  There’s a song that you’ve probably heard by Amy Grant called, Grownup Christmas List.  For some reason, I never took the time to pay attention to this song until last night.  I was driving home and accidently listened to the song.  I got chills down my spine.  The very first line of the song,  “Do you remember me, I sat up on your knee.  I wrote to you with childhood fantasies”, really hit me the hardest because I found myself regressing back to my own childhood and thought to myself, “gosh I hope my two children are having as wonderful of a childhood as I had.”   I also got a little sad thinking that I’m now a grown man and that all of my memories as a kid are just that—memories.  But I also felt a sense of joy knowing that as a father I have the opportunity to provide my own children with the same memories I now cherish and to also create my own new memories of raising my children.


The song starts out with an innocent little girl sitting on Santa’s knee telling him what she wants for Christmas.  That girl is a grown-up now and has a new Christmas wish list and it’s not filled with toys and games; it’s filled with wishes for peace and love not only for her, but also for the whole world.  Here are the lyrics to that part of the song:


So here?s my lifelong wish, my grown-up Christmas list.  Not for myself, but for a world in need.
No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start,(and wars would never start)
And time would heal all hearts.
And everyone would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end.
This is my grown-up Christmas list.


Folks our world is in need.  Why do lives have to be torn apart?  Why do wars have to start?  Why doesn’t right always win?  Why doesn’t everyone have a friend?  It doesn’t have to be this way.  We can change our world.  All I ask from everyone reading this is that YOU make a personal commitment, NOW, to change your flaws, your gripes and your outlook, to change your anger and your fear.  Look around and go out of your way to spread peace and joy and do what is right.  Look at your own children for that matter and learn from their innocence.  You were an innocent kid once too.  Take it all in.  If every person on this planet made this commitment we wouldn’t have any problems in this world.


Have a happy and joyful holiday season!!!!

Behind the Scenes of A&E’s “Monster In-Laws”

High School Rivals episode

I arrived at the Chepan home to tape High School Rivals not sure exactly what to expect.  The producers and the director informed me of everything going on with the family before I got there so  we had a game plan.  That changed the minute I walked through the front door and into the firestorm.

The first thing I noticed when I walked through the front door of Brian and Laurie’s home was Brian’s sister Elizabeth tucked deep into the corner of the couch as far away as possible from the two of them, acting like a three-year-old who’d just been told she can’t have dessert after dinner.  I pointed this out to Elizabeth immediately.   Her body language explained it all in the first 5 seconds I was there.   I could see anger, jealousy and betrayal in her eyes.  I saw a look of sadness and hopelessness in Brian and Laurie eyes; the same look you see in a person who’s just been informed that a loved one has been injured in an accident or something.

The first thing I needed to accomplish with each member of this family is the same thing I need to accomplish  in every episode and with every client of mine that I meet for the first time at my private practice, and that is to develop a rapport with each one of them, to connect with them so they know that I fully understand where they’re coming from and that I’m on their side.  This is an extremely important skill that a professional like myself absolutely must possess if I have any chance of helping a anyone.  They absolutely must trust me and have faith in me.   Elizabeth was no easy customer.

The main issue in this family was that Elizabeth desperately wanted to be heard, to be understood and to be accepted by her brother and sister-in-law.  And the irony is that she was.  She just couldn’t see it.  Her way of trying to get through to them was by throwing tantrums and keeping journals of all their wrong doings.  Brian and Laurie had had enough and it was up to me to put the pieces together and to somehow help Elizabeth “get it”.   It took me 5 twelve-hour days for crying out loud, about eight hours of footage and you only get to see 22 minutes of it.  Imagine what that was like for me dealing with this craziness.

The most eye-popping incident for me was when I had Laurie and Elizabeth do an activity that required them to write down on a big piece of white board all of the hurtful things that the other has said over the years..  I had them put a piece of string through the top of the white board and wear it around their neck and face-off with each another about these issues.  This activity was all about “seeing” the problems loud and clear, right in their faces.  You’ll see about 1 minute of this play out in the episode but it was really about an hour long shoot.  At the end of this activity I asked them what they wanted.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when Elizabeth looked at me, took the whiteboard off her neck, and began tearing to pieces.  Laurie reciprocated and the two of them embraced.  I was thinking to myself, “holy sh@t this is too early for a resolution; we still have 3 days of filming.”  That ended in a hurry because right after the hug with Laurie, Elizabeth reached for her journal and said, “but there is one last thing I need to get off my chest.”  I was stunned and so was Brian.  The camera picked up his response as he sort of rolled his eyes and drooped his head  as if to say, “I cannot believe this is really happening.  Did she really just do that?”  Great job camera guy.

Later we moved on to the swimming pool activity because believe it or not, Elizabeth’s jealousy of Laurie began back in high school as Elizabeth claims Laurie stole her spot on the swim team.  She was still holding on to that after all these years I  needed to settle this nonsense once and for all.  That scene took several hours by the way, even though it’s only about a minute of tv time.  When I had the two take their positions I could see that Elizabeth meant business.  From the word go Elizabeth catapulted into that pool like a torpedo.  She beat Laurie and to be honest with you I think Laurie let her win, which was probably a good idea.  The moral of the story in that activity:  who gives a crap who the better swimmer is and let’s bury this nonsense.  There are more important things in life to worry about.  Lesson learned.

As the week progressed, I continued to work with the family and drilled the importance of communication and listening into their heads.  The final day of the shoot is what we call, “The Final Decisions”.  I brought the three of them to a high school, which represented the starting point of where the problems began.  We sat in a semi-circle in a hallway for a long time, rehashing everything that was learned that week and what the next step would be.  Would Brian let his sister continue to be a part of his life?  Would he not?  Brian was very unsure what to do and actually did both during that long dialogue.  Elizabeth freaked out at one point and burst off the scene and into the bathroom.   I’d about had enough so I followed her and tv magic happened with “the mirror scene”.  I was in the woman’s bathroom with her trying to calm her down and get her to come back out and work things out.  This is when the mirror scene happened.  If you watched the episode you’ll see that I brought Elizabeth in front of a full-length mirror in that bathroom and asked her to take a look at her herself and how pathetic she looked.  I wanted her to see just how babyish she was acting.  Although I wanted to jump down Elizabeth’s throat, I had to control my temper and be gentle because Elizabeth was that fragile.   It worked and I got her back out there.  Elizabeth and Laurie agreed to work on their relationship and Brian accepted her back into his life, as it was clear that Elizabeth was actually trying.  The rest is history.

I’m going to write more of these posts to give you an idea of what really happens during the Monster In-Laws filming.