Growth and Mentally Tough Mindsets– 4 ways to help your kids develop their potential and overcome obstacles for growth

Daily Quote:

“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”
Carol S. Dweck

As a parent, you want your kids to grow up to be confident, happy, and successful adults, able to face the world head-on and make the most of every opportunity. But what can you do to help them overcome the fears that might hold them back? It’s worth remembering first that fear serves a purpose; it’s a natural human emotion to warn us of possible harm – a call to action to protect ourselves. However, in our modern world, fear often tends to be out of proportion to risk and can prevent us from achieving as much as we would like, and are capable of.

Growth and Mentally Tough Mindsets– 4 ways to help your kids develop their potential and overcome obstacles for growth and development.

  1. It is okay to fail and try again. The most important thing to teach your kids is to remind them that thry don’t have to be perfect to be loved. Provide a strong support system and deliver the message that they don’t have to face difficulties and fears by themselves. Build on their natural nature of helping and cooperation. Send the message we are a team. If they feel secure in the knowledge that you will be there for them whatever the outcome, this will grow their mental toughness mindset and help give them the confidence to keep trying and learning.
  2. Build trust by teaching the lesson of small steps for change. Show them how learning usually takes place in small-deliberative steps through challenging, effort and perseverance.

Sometimes the best way to overcome a fear is to jump right back on the bike when you fall, other times though it’s better to tackle a new challenge slowly and with persistence. Be guided by your child on this, if the fear is overwhelming for them, and then show them how it can be approached in small stages, only moving on to the next phase when a certain comfort and competency is reached. Plan the stages with them ahead of time so that they are clear on expectations and what is going to happen, and don’t spring surprises on them or they won’t trust you next time.

  1. Remind them of previous times they learned something new and overcame their fears and doubts. Reminding your child of a previous occasion where they were afraid to try something, but ended up working hard to learn and finally learned to be successful and enjoyed the challenge. This approach will boast their self-efficacy and believe in their ability to try new things and overcome discomfort and fears. This will boost their confidence in their own abilities.
  2. Avoid comparing them to others

Focus on your child, and what fears it is that they are aiming to overcome. Making continual comparisons to their brother or sister or other kids can be unhelpful and may make your child feel inadequate and lower their motivation for tackling new challenges that encourage a “growth” rather  than “fixed” mindset .

Listening with Half An Ear–Message is…

Daily Quote: “Man’s inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively.” Carl Rogers

Reflection: Ever zone out during a conversation or check your email while you’re talking to someone on the phone? You may think you’re being clever, but the other person can almost always tell and it sends a message that they’re irrelevant and what they have to say is unimportant.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Giving someone your full attention by listening is the best way to connect. This is what I call being “Being fully present”. It says ‘I really care about you and what you need. You are my top priority right now. So your challenge is to practice more effective listening at home this weekend with your partner or your kids and capture in your Learning and Growth Journal what you learned and how can you make the practice of listening a key cornerstone of who you are and how you want to be perceived.  Want to learn more about active listening or checkout this post

Importance of Empathy on Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

Empathy is a building block of one’s interpersonal connections.—for people to cultivate empathy skills, it helps if they can stop and take the time to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. It is also a key ingredient of successful relationships because it helps us understand the needs, priorities and desires of others. Here are some of the ways that interpersonal communication research has testified to the far-reaching importance of empathy. 

  • Empathy is good for bonding and team development: Managers who demonstrate empathy have employees who report greater job satisfaction and engagement 
  • Tied closely to empathy is the concept worker engagement and positive work climate this  recent trend towards positive psychology, where the concern is positive aspects of employees’ behavior. According to Maslach and Leiter (1997), when there is a person and positive job match, employees experience engagement with their work, characterized by high energy, involvement, and positive efficacy. As per Schaufeli et al. (2002), employee engagement is a positive, work-related state of mind characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption. In this regard, attention is paid to human strengths, optimal functioning, and positive experiences at work (Seligmen and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004) not on negative feedback or focus on weaknesses. While, disengaged employees display incomplete role performances and task  behaviors become effortless, automatic or robotic (Hochschild, 1983). According to the author, disengagement may be result of employees who lack positive social interaction and support, who experience little autonomy in work roles, or who feel their work and contribution is unimportant to others.  

So the question is -How often do you stop to listen to and engage your fellow workers? Or Do you focus on the task and getting the job done? 

Want to improve social-emotion connections cultivate empathy in your relationships.

1 Model empathy. Show people what mens to appreciate them. Observe and show interest in the lives of others. Listen to other people’s experience and opinions. Talk about your experiences practicing empathy, and about the times you forgot to act with empathy.

2. Start with safety and security. Fear and self-centeredness interferes with the development of empathy. Learn to stop and demonstrate consideration and toward others.

3. Practice self-regulation skills. Self-regulation skills are the foundation for empathy. By learning to calm yourself, regulate emotions, delay gratification, persevere, and stay focused on the right things, fellow workers and family members develop the skills which allow them to look beyond themselves.

4. Notice other people’s feelings without judgment or put downs. Talk about these feelings and assure the other person they are okay to share and have these inner experiences. Learn to use words that focus on the so-called “soft things” in life and avoid only the “hard stuff” like project schedules, profit, or task activities.

5. Follow the Golden Rule of relationships and empathy  “ Treat others in the same way that they themselves would like to be treated because relationships matter. Relations emphasizing empathy are built on focused attention, active listening and demonstrated caring and trust. For example, most of us would like to be listened to and understood by others.

Poem: Living in the NOW. Now. Now.

 Poem: Living in the NOW. Now. Now. MW Hardwick

Listen for understanding.

Stop. Reflect. Act.

Explore other people’s point of view

Take an imaginative trip into their world.

Withhold judgments.

Be thankful for there willingness to share.

Try be more accepting.

Catch them when they are falling.

Embrace change.

Trust in yourself and others.

Do what you love.

Follow your own drummer.

Dance to your own music.

Be caring and thoughtful.

Let go of control.

Embrace the unknown and ambiguous.

Say thank you more often.

Be open-minded and flexible.

Be the change you wish to be.

Make peace with your enemies.

Play with a 5 year old.

Break the rules once in while.

Live and Life of No Regrets.

Do Random Acts of Kindness.

Forgive and let go even when it’s hard.

Compliment others.

Live a balanced life—time for work, for family and yourself.

Be creative –paint a picture, write a poem or throw a pot.

Don’t count the minutes enjoy the “here and now”.

Laugh, cry and smile more.

Be grateful for all you have.

Help others rediscovery there brighter side.

Enjoy being creative and playful.

Conquer your fears by “leaning-in”.

Learn to pick yourself up after failing or falling down.

Clean up your messes.

Take your first step to living your dreams—Now. Now. Now…

Creating Trusted Business Relationships: Be a Person for Others

Daily Quote: “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” – Jackie Robinson, First African American Major League baseball player

“The friendships which last are those wherein each friend respects the other’s dignity to the point of not really wanting anything from him.”- Cyril Connolly


Core of Respect for others is a mindset that fosters building effective and long-term trusting relationships.  In this instance, it involves listening to and understanding the other person, noticing details about them and their situation, and then taking an active role in doing something about it. I really consider this to be a strong Quality of worklife (QWL) culture where respect + solution oriented action =friendship and loyalty. Taking action is about participating rather than observing which is essentially communicating disinterest or not caring behavior. Unique connected behavior has the benefit of the concept many are calling purpose-centered behavior which is the reward system for doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Everything we do, say and act on has a reaction –there are no neutral moves. Because we are connected, almost as quickly as one positive happens the next is sure to follow. This concept is so important, it will change the way you think and do things indefinitely as well as everyone you come into contact with.

Call for Action: What can you to today to create trust and respect at your work place?  Use the Stop-Think-Do technique to get started in creating a more respectful climate and more trusted relationships.   

Revised Poem: My Mission–Art of Purposeful Living

My Mission: Art of Purposeful Living by M.W.Hardwick

To be alive is to have a Mission to dream and do…

to let go of fears and criticism and still act

to see beyond the obvious and mean-spirited…

to give credit away…make others feel important

to anticipate and articulate my vision, mission

to be enthusiastic, passionate and on PURPOSE…

to focus…to flex and be authentic

to challenge, collaborate…produce results 

to confront in a caring way…respect differences

Above all to keep my promises

Even in an uncertain world I don’t control

I act on purpose by respecting, being responsive  .


and say THANK YOU, thank you, thank you…

and  PLEASE ….more often …

and…and… and … remember

To not blame others and put them down

to know  my stregths and limits


And as Picasso once said “Action is the foundational key to all success”

to use my inspiration to discover new adventures…

Think big ideas and achieve through small smart-steps …

All of us are here for a purpose… Dare to create it

And wake up to the Art of the Possible …

Start today to forge your path…

Your unique path…

New Poem–On Making A Difference by M.W.Hardwick

Poem:  On Making A difference

I can only do what I can do

The world needs more awareness and caring

What can I do?  give more time—

Some food to the food bank, volunteering and

Advocating for more shelter for the homeless

Be more kind and pleasant in my daily interactions

I will do what matters and what I can do.

I can give of my abundance,

And show others that I “walk the talk” of selflessness

I can can sit there and do nothing when others plea for help

But it will reduce who I am and reduce my connections

And reduce my happiness…

We all have choices–we can belittle and criticize

But selfishness is never justified

Caring has no limits

For it is upon giving we come together

Share your special gifts…

We cannot do all the good for others

And we can give and do more…

For our brothers and sisters need all the good that we can do…

Do it now…Do it now

For what the world needs is more kindness and healing

Through…and more love…

Others are waiting…waiting…waiting…

Daily Quote and Reflection: Meaning in life not something you stumble across…

Daily Quote: 

“You just don’t know what’s ahead for you. And remember the words on the bronze plaque “Some men and women make the world better just by being the kind of people they are.”  To be that kind of person would be worth all the years of living and learning… Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.”  John Gardner 


Daily Quote and Reflection: Living with the Two Wolves in Our Hearts

Daily Quote Native American Folklore: “In my heart, there are two wolves a wolf of love and a wolf of hate. It all depends on which one I feed each day.”

Reflection: I find this quote fascinating and if I am honest with my self, these two tug always for attention and action. I find the quote both hopeful and a bit disturbing. The Wolf of Love is hopeful and popular myth in our culture because we all need love and affection to survive and thrive in life. The “Wolf of Hate” or as I call it the “shadow side” is to be feared because it harbors evil and dark thoughts. Not many people admit to this dark or shadow side yet it has powerful implications for how we live our lives. In trying to live without awareness of our “Wolf of Hate” we are vulnerable to impulsive behaviors and unconscious evil actions. We can observe these “wolves” on the individual, group and societal levels; such as, Wars, Mass Movements like Nazis, smaller groups like the John Birchers, Father Divine, Tea Party, Black Panther’s or Weathermen or closer to home our anger, frustrations with co-workers, the boss or even with our loved ones. With this said, I believe that through self-awareness and understanding an optimistic view is present by the Wolves story and happiness. The optimistic narrative  is that we all have the choice and power in our daily interactions to be more empathic, compassionate, generous and understanding while advocating for less WARFARE, FAMILY VIOLENCE,BULLYING AND OTHER EVILS IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS.

Keys to Relationship Building: Listen, Empathize, Exploration and Partner

Listen,, Empathize, Exploration, and Partner.

Listening requires active listening, not passive hearing and relaxing. In this process, the active listener hears and tries to understand what the other person is saying and checks understanding of the content and feeling  by mirroring back and restating what the person has communicated. At this level of listening the listener is not interrupting or interpreting what the person is saying.  Your goal is to get on the same page with the speaker. To question or state disagreement undermines your ability to connect and build trust with the person. For many people this level of listening is difficult and uncomfortable because it seems like the conversation is moving to slowly and feels like you are  accepting and confirming the other person’s point of view. They don’t realize that there will be plenty of time to present their view after trust and acceptance is established. As a effective listener you can’t rush rapport and trust building .Empathizing involves aligning yourself with the patient’s angers, fears, and frustrations. You ask, “How does that make you feel?” You show you

understand, for example, that what the person is saying or their reality.xperience.

Agreeing is the difficult point. The patient will ask in relation to the

delusion or to his denial of being ill, “Do you believe me?” Of course, you must be

honest, or trust will be lost. So the point is to delay answering that question. You

say, “I will answer that, but first tell me more.” Or, “What I think isn’t important, I

want to know what you believe.” Or, “Your opinion is the one that matters.” And

finally, if the patient has memory problems, you can distract him or her and hope

the question will go away. When you finally do answer that question, you can

“agree to disagree” about the specific elements of delusion and whether the patient

is or is not ill. In this discussion, you try to focus on the problems that the patient

sees, not that you see.

Partnering is the last step. If the patient understands that you are

trustworthy and feel there’s a need for medication, therapy, or hospitalization, then

you can work together to begin planning the treatment.

Not My Fault–Why we find it Difficult to Apologize

Eight reasons  we find it difficult to apologize. 

1  We think we are right and there is no need to apologize. We like to validate our point of view.

2  We don’t want to admit we were wrong or acted inappropriately.

3. We don’t want to let the other person off the hook—they must  suffer for a while.

4  If we forgive and apologize we think the behavior will happen again.

5  When we want to feel superior or one-up on th other[person

6.  We want them to take responsibility for their actions and learn from the impact of their actions..

7. We want then to be willing to remedy the situation.

8. Dualist thinker (right or wrong) and little flexibility

Another reason why it is difficult to apologize is that in behaving badly we feel stupid and find it difficult to admit our weaknesses and failures. my challenge to you is to try within the next 24 hour hours to forgive yourself and apologize for what you have done. You find power in owning your behavior .  Forgiving yourself  can lead to a greater self- awareness, a shift in stuck energy and a happier, more meaningful life.

Want to Cultivate unique Connections? Eliminate the Empathy Deficit

“… I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit — the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us — the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this — when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers — it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.”  President Obama 

Cultivate a Unique Presence with Others through Empathy. Much has been written about what executive presence is but one thing is certain: those who possess it have “social attunement” We invariably walk away from them feeling energized and better about ourselves. This ability of making others feel important builds trust and shows sensitivity. People who are able to show this ability  are high on the scale of empathy, the quality that makes them sense our need to feel important. They see us not as we are, but as whom we could become. Simply put, they care about how we feel. What a wonderful gift it is, to be able to bestow this on those we encounter. One could argue that it is indeed impossible to have presence without empathy because a major requirement for a unique connection is the ability to be present with others without judging them.

Now new research by Dr Simon Baron-Cohen defines empathy in two parts—as the drive to identify another person’s thoughts and feelings, and the drive to respond appropriately to those thoughts and feelings. It is also, he says, one of the most valuable resources in our world—one which is currently woefully underused. “We all have degrees of empathy…but perhaps we are not using it to its full potential,” he said in a recent lecture. The lack of empathy is an important trait that affects the health of our relationships. The question is on a 1 to 10 how high are you on the empathy scale?

Essence of Healing–Do you Care?

Poem of Caring and Healing–M.W.Hardwick

I come with trepidation

Anxious about the message and words

Wondering about how many lingering sunsets

Are left to see.

Your nervous voice and frantic pace

Worries my heart

My brain informs me and my heart decides

Do you care enough…Are you too aloof

Can I trust you? Really doc where are you?

Are you here with me? Or just trying too hard?

I want to be confident in your knowledge, experience and wisdom

Where are the words of healing and hope…

Can we connect and lick this thing? Or am I alone?

My healing is a two-way street and

Your humility and humanness make all the difference

Show me the calm and tranquility

rhythms of healing start with friendship and trust

I now begin to feel your connection

My heart sings..

Love…Caring …overcomes both our fears

And together we can take this journey of healing

Facing it with trust, confidence

What is meant to be…

Will be… and comes with angst, hope

And final form of healing …

Caring leads the way to my

Cry of acceptance…

Peace of mind and heart…

Final Peace…peace…through

Unconditional Love…love…love


Empathy Glue to Connecting–by Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.


If not empathy, what?

Uncaring. unfeeling. coldness

If not Empathy now, when?

Distant goal or aspiration.

Empathy inspiration NOW…

Living in the HERE AND NOW


Seeing  and nourishing

Walking in their shoes

Empathy love and caring unconditionally…

One kind word a ripple effect

Spreading Unconditional Love and Caring

As different and unique selfs

We are all the same when

Caring, Caring, Caring not just trying.

Appyling the Make Me Feel Important and Wholeheartedness Rule of Constructive Living.

Mark’s Story

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down  and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to  finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one-handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each
student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what
everyone else had said about that individual.
On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments. No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature. The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin.The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin. As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Mark’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes.’ Then he said: ‘Mark talked about you a lot.’

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark’s mother
and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.  ‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’  Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two
worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him. ‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Mark’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Mark treasured it.’

All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’ Chuck’s wife said, ‘Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.’ ‘I have mine too,’ Marilyn said. ‘It’s in my diary’ Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times, ‘Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

All of our lives are hectic and filled with complexities but as caring individuals we can’t forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be. So celebrate your friendships now.

Constructive Living Assignment:

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.
Here are a couple of ways to accomplish this task:

1,  Forward this blog on.

2. Send an e-mail to one of your best friends telling them why thet are important in your life

3. Call afriend within the next twenty-four hours and in the course of the conversation tell how important they are to you and identify their strengths and virtues as a friend. .

Finally, as a little guilt nudge,  if you do not send you e-mail, or make the call, you will have, once again passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful– Saying thank you to dear friends for being there for you.

The more people who you send this blog to, the more you solidify a relationship with those you care about. Remember, what comes around, goes around. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own. May you from this moment on feel very important because you are unique and contribute in known and unknown ways to people feeling good about themselves. So today pick a best friend and send them an e-mail about their strengths and virtues and why you love them. Good Luck. You will feel empowered from this exercise.

Parent’s Reflection and Hope: Along the Way I did my best

Parent’s  Reflection and Hope–

If only I could “do over”…

If I had you to raise again,

I’d pay more attention, watch with my eyes and listen more.

I’d look for your strengths and be there for you.

I’d build self-esteem, respect your differences and guide you more.

I’d build castles in the sand and less castles in the sky.

I would do less correcting and more hugging and connecting.

I would care to have less material stuff and learn to care more.

I’d stop demanding respect and earn it

I’d shoot more baskets, take more hikes and play more often.

I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars together

I’d stop worrying and offer more direction and help sooner

I’d do more hugging and less shouting.

I would be stronger in setting boundaries and affirming much more.

I’d model more about the power of love and less about rules.

If only I could “do over” but I can’t…

So I hope you know I did the best I could

And you forgive any errors or hurts I caused

Along the way…Along the way.. Along the way

I only hope it’s not too late…not too late…For more father and son hugs…

And for you to find your way

For I did my best….my best…