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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Where Can You Find the Right Relationship--Part Two of a Series

This is the second in the Relationship Series that started last week, just in time for Valentine's Day. Haven't found your Valentine yet? This week's blog may help you figure out where to look.

Last week I wrote part one of this three part series about relationships. In that blog post, I talked about the importance of getting ready for a significant relationship, so that you'll recognize that important person when they walk into your life. I talked about the importance of knowing what your needs and values are, because knowing that allows you to be clear about what you want. I also mentioned the importance of getting rid of any baggage you might have from previous relationships-those beliefs you've formed or those negative experiences you've hung onto, which can sabotage and brand new relationship. (In case you missed that article, feel free to email me at and I'll send you a copy).

This week's blog post focuses on how (and where) to find that significant relationship. By the way, this information applies just as well to significant friendships as it does romantic relationships, so if you happen to already be married or in a love relationship with a "significant other," you can use this information to find some really meaningful friendships.
The first step in finding a meaningful relationship involves looking in places where you are likely to find people who share your beliefs about what is important. For example, if it is important that the person share your religious beliefs, you would most likely find them at church. If you value education, you'd find them in educational settings, lectures, alumni groups, libraries, or other places where educated people go. If you value family activities, you may meet other single parents at sporting events school functions and so on. Be aware that you are most likely not going to meet a Mr. or Ms. Right in a nightclub or bar. What you're likely to find there is a drinking buddy.
When you are ready for a relationship, or even a friendship, be aware that a good way to meet people is through your friends or relatives. If you are open to meeting someone new, let those close to you know what you are looking for: what qualities, what values and what type of relationship you want. Let them introduce you to people they know.
Put yourself in positions where you can meet people who share your interests. For example, join travel clubs, dance clubs, photography clubs, cycling groups, singles clubs through churches, or take non-credit classes on topics that interest you. If you are new to an area, join the Newcomer's Club. Volunteer to help with a cause you believe in. You may not meet the person of your dreams immediately, but you'll be establishing some connections with others of like mind.
You can also go to social events you might not typically go to. I've met some of my best friends (not to mention my husband) by saying "yes" to invitations or events that were not typical for me. For instance, I've made some lasting friendships by going to meetings by myself. When I wasn't able to convince anyone else to go, I went anyway, and have sometimes met a really special person.
The key is to have an attitude of openness to meeting new people. Your attitude is one of the most important things. Don't go "on the hunt" for that special relationship. Desperation isn't very appealing. Go with the intention of meeting and getting to know lots of new people. Finding a significant relationship is just like meeting any new friend. You won't fit with everyone. Recognize that just like with any kind of networking, the person you are looking for just may not be in this group. But someone in the group may know the person you are looking for.
Talk to people, get to know them, and be open to meeting new friends. You may need to meet a lot of people before you find the person of your dreams. That's okay. Don't get discouraged! Just keep meeting people.
The right person, whether it is a friend or someone who becomes your spouse is definitely worth waiting for. Good relationships are important. They can lengthen our life span, impact our health, and bring great satisfaction and joy to our lives. Isn't that worth waiting for? But remember, finding the right person, isn't about sitting around waiting for them to show up.

If you are ready to take the next step, here are some specific actions you can take:
1.  Identify the type of relationship you are looking for--friendship, business partner, love interest, spouse.
2.  Figure out where to go to find someone who shares your interests and values.
3.  For the new few months, stretch yourself by going there, attending an event or joining a group where you might meet someone new. You goal is simply to meet some new people.
4.  While you are there, make a point of introducing yourself and getting to know at least a few people you don't already know. Listen, ask questions, and share of yourself. Remember that you are there to make a few new connections, not necessarily to find the love of your life.
5.  Afterwards, evaluate the experience. Did you meet anyone new? Did you experience a connection with anyone? Is there anyone you'd like to get to know better? If so, call them, drop them a note or email, or ask them to get together with you for coffee. An important part of making relationships grow is in the follow up.
6.  Take it slow. Remember that significant relationships need time to grow. Even if there is an instant connection with someone, it will take months (or possibly, years) to really get to know each other well.
7.  Throughout it all, be yourself. Pretending to be someone you aren't isn't helpful in forming any kind of significant relationship. Being honest in a relationship and not having it work out is far better than faking it and having a relationship based on dishonesty, because that relationship definitely won't last.
Good luck! I'd love to hear from you about your experiences in finding the right relationship. You can email me at and let me know how it's going.
If you're struggling with any of this, feel free to reach out. I'll be happy to talk with you to see what might be getting in the way, and help you figure out what to do about it. You can contact me by phone at (865) 983-7544 or email me at
©   2008-2018 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Finding the Right Relationship--Part One

Since it's almost Valentine's Day, I thought it might be helpful to revise and release a series I did on relationship nearly ten years ago. This is Part One in the Three-Part Series.
Finding the Right Relationship. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? First of all, let me clarify something. I'm not a believer that there is only ONE "right" person for each of us. I think there may be a lot of "right" persons for you.
What makes a person "right?" I think it has to do with both of you bringing out the best in each other. When the relationship clicks, and you are in synch with each other, the things the relationship can be or do surpass what either of you can do alone. There is a synergy that takes the relationship beyond the individual, and allows each person in the relationship to grow as well. A relationship like that is truly something special.            
In my view, finding that right relationship first requires you to make sure you are ready for it. Why is this important? You need to be ready for this special relationship so that you will both recognize it and appreciate it when you meet this person. If you haven't done the work to get ready for it, you might think that someone is "Mr. or Ms. Right" just based on chemistry and attraction.   Relationships that last require much more than that.
How do you go about getting ready for a great relationship? This involves knowing yourself and what you want. First of all, you need to know what is important to you in a relationship. What are your criteria for having a relationship with someone? Here you need to look at what your values are about relationships.
For example, is it important to you to have shared spiritual or religious values? Shared interests? Is it important that you have similar educational backgrounds? Is it important to be in a relationship with someone who likes children? Is it important to have financial security? All these reflect things that could be important to a person about a relationship. I hope you realize that they are in no way a complete list of all the things that might be important. You'll need to determine what YOUR values are.
Next, you need to know what YOU NEED in a relationship. In other words, when you are in a relationship, what do you need in order to be your very best? Some people might need security. Some might need to be "romanced" to be their best in the relationship. Others might need to be told they are appreciated. Some might need positive attention. Others could need autonomy and independence.
Knowing what you need in a relationship and making sure the important needs are met allow you to be your best in the relationship. It allows you to feel good about the relationship, because your needs are met within it. Not every single need has to be met in the relationship, but the important ones probably do.
By the way, needs aren't right or wrong or reasonable or unreasonable. They just ARE. They are what you need in order for you to be your best. And doesn't it make sense to make sure that your partner brings out the best in you in this relationship?
The third issue that needs to be addressed to get ready for a relationship is to be completely honest about what type of relationship you really want. Some people are looking for companionship. Some want marriage. Others want a deep connection with someone, but don't care about being married. Some people want to have children. Still others want a sexual partner only. It is important to be honest about this.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make about relationships is going into it saying they want one thing, such as friendship, when they really are looking for a spouse. Of course it is helpful to be friends with someone you marry, but if you aren't honest from the beginning that you hope the friendship will end in marriage, you may attract someone who is willing to be friends, but who doesn't really want a commitment such as marriage. When that happens, there's a lot of heartache.
One of the most important ways to get ready to find that "right relationship" involves letting go of your baggage about relationships. Your baggage is usually the result of past relationships. There may be negative feelings left over from past disappointments or hurts. There may be beliefs you have about relationships based on your past history. If you carry that baggage into a new relationship, you are doomed to repeat the pattern of those past relationships.
Examples might be beliefs such as "Men can't be trusted;" "There's only one woman out there for me;" "Nice guys are boring;" "No one will want me;" "I'm too old." Such beliefs will keep you from being able to fully enjoy a new relationship without coloring it with beliefs from the past.
Another problem is that sometimes people get emotionally stuck in old relationships.   They are so focused on what a jerk their ex-spouse was that they aren't really ready to move on. Or if a spouse has ended in a death, they might be so focused on that past relationship, they aren't ready for anything new.
Suitcase-Baggage To be ready for a "right relationship," you have to let go of the baggage from past relationships, whether that baggage consists of beliefs, emotions or memories. Doing the work to get ready for a new relationship is well worth the work. A new relationship doesn't magically create happiness. The old issues from the past tend to come up over and over until we deal with them.
Want that special relationship? Want to find Mr. or Ms. Right? First get ready. If you don't, you might just miss a really special person, someone you won't even notice because of your unfinished business.
In the next few blog posts, I'll take this a step further to help you find the "right relationship" or at least begin looking in the right places, and discover ways to make those relationships last.
How do you do that? Follow the steps below:  
1.  Ask yourself the question, "What is important to me about a relationship?" Write down all the ideas that come. Keep asking yourself this question until you have totally emptied out all possible ideas.
2.  Next, rank order these in order of importance, with #1 being the most important and so on.
3.  Think about what YOU NEED in order to be your best in a relationship. Don't judge it as right or wrong, reasonable or unreasonable. Just record as many things as you can think of. Again, rank order them in order of importance. These are your needs in a relationship.
4.  Next think about what sort of relationship you'd like to have. Decide what the major purpose of the relationship is? Do you want companionship? Marriage? Children? Just sex? Friendship? A deep connection? A business partner? Someone to take care of you? Be totally honest with yourself.
5.  Hang on to this information. You'll need it as you start to meet people, and we'll talk more about it in Part 2 of this series.
6.  Next, think about what you believe about relationships. Write down these thoughts. When you think about past relationships, what words or phrases come to mind? These provide hints about what your baggage might be.
7.  Take steps to get rid of your baggage. Talk to a close friend. Discuss your baggage with your pastor. Find a therapist or a coach. Remember that you are likely to accumulate more baggage in your relationships unless you clear this away.
If you are already in a relationship, you can look at that relationship through these exercises. Knowing yourself thoroughly can help you have a more satisfying relationship with that person with whom you are already involved.
Satisfying relationships help us live longer. They help us live more satisfying lives, more magnificent lives. I want that for you.   So, get ready for that satisfying relationship. It IS possible, and well worth it!
If you need assistance getting rid of your baggage, or any of these steps, email me at or call me at (865) 983-7544 to discuss what might be necessary. It is important to work with someone with whom you can feel comfortable. If I'm not the best person to help you, I'll help you figure out who might be.
© 2008-2018 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

How Much Have You Changed?

Change Is Inevitable as We Grow

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of change in my life. Not necessarily change specifically in me, although I know that is lurking just around the corner. The changes seem to be all around me in people that I know or may work with as coaching clients.
I shouldn’t be surprised. In grad school, I minored in Developmental Psychology. That field encompasses much more than child development; its focus was on human development in the life span.

As some of you know, my mother is 94 and lives alone in The Villages of central Florida. I’ve known for some time that she was waning: losing stamina, having more difficulty with balance and walking speed. She still has a good mind, although now can’t remember as well, and occasionally gets confused. When she caught a cold just before Christmas, everything began to change in big ways. She’s now on oxygen, can’t (or shouldn’t) drive her car, and her life was become much more confined. She’s always been independent, and now must surrender a lot of that to depend on others.

I see the changes and know what they mean. My siblings and I are trying to come up with plans that she’ll accept, at the same time trying hard not to increase any stress associated with upcoming changes. Quite probably, there will be a move to Gainesville in the near future, so that she can be closer to family. But that means leaving the house she and my father built over 20 years ago, and leaving dear friends.

Watching her go through these changes has me thinking about all the different changes we go through in our lifespan.

As infants, we learn about the world around us. We learn to trust (or not). We gradually learn to speak and walk, and our experiences even at that young age helps shape who we will become in life.

We interact with the world and learn about self-control (that’s that potty-training stuff). Eventually we (hopefully) learn to express our needs without temper tantrums. We learn to interact with other children, maybe in our family, maybe in day care or nursery school.
Usually around the age of five or six, we start school. We learn about people who are different than we are, we learn to share. If we haven’t learned any yet, we begin to learn rules. As children we soak up knowledge, learning how to read, write, draw, and think. We begin to problem-solve in more sophisticated ways. We learn to differentiate emotions and their causes far beyond feeling “good” or “bad.” With luck, we learn to use our words. We develop friendships that may last our entire lives. We begin to suspect other families don’t do things the way ours does.

As we continue to grow and develop through adolescence, our bodies mature and we create or discover our identity. Friends become of overriding importance, and we learn how others may treat us. We begin to think about the future, even when it scares us. Gradually, we move towards greater independence. At some point, we’ll be ready to emancipate from our families and create a life of our own. Maybe this will be after high school; maybe it will be after college; maybe it will involve us getting married and starting families of our own.

As we develop, we move toward the work world, and finding ways to support ourselves. Currently, this stage poses difficulty for many young adults. They may exit college with massive debt and few prospects to work in the field they chose. Sometimes it’s necessary to move back in with their parents. Sometimes, to find a job, they have to move across country, away from their support systems.

Time marches on, and in the middle of life (whenever that is), you may develop a “mid-life crisis.” This is usually a dissatisfaction about how you are living. There may be a desire to change life circumstances—to leave a marriage, to move, to change jobs or even careers. This stage is about finding a way to live that will bring greater satisfaction. No matter what, this life stage usually requires change, whether big or small.

We continue to grow and develop throughout our whole lifespan, whether we’re aware of it or not. At some point, we reach the point where we’ve aged enough that we consider retirement or at least changing our work life in such a way that it is no longer central to our lives. When this is, and what form it takes often depends on a person’s financial situation. Have they saved enough to retire? Are they ready mentally, emotionally, and physically to change to a slower paced life. This can be an especially tough life stage, filled with changes in your daily life.

Grandparents may want to live closer and be involved in their children’s lives. Physical impairments may necessitate different living situations, such as living where there are minimal stairs. At this stage, there’s a lot of thought about what the future will bring. People facing the retirement stage will ultimately be making big changes, and may be anxious about the timing of their retirement decision as well as what their daily life will bring. They wonder: “What am I going to do with myself now?”

At some point, you’ll probably reach the stage that my mother faces. Feeling tired, worn out, or possibly sick. That’s when you may feel grateful for the good years, but ready to leave your fragile body as the quality of your life declines.

The timing of all the changes that occur in a lifespan isn’t always precise, and often happens when we aren’t ready for it. Illnesses can happen in midlife. Relationships can sour, changing your emotional well-being as well as your financial stability. Jobs may be lost as industries and businesses change to adapt to societal shifts.

Although there may be plenty of unpredictability, we always have the ability to change. It may take some time to accept the changes. It may take time to see how to create a different life that will be even more satisfying than the path you were on before.
Whatever life stage changes occur for you, you can make it. You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you definitely can change your reaction to those changes.

It’s definitely helpful to have support in the process. Whether you get this support from family or friends, or whether you seek out someone to help you find your new path, I think it’s important to get support.

I also think it’s vitally important to realize that we’re all in the same boat. Change happens to all of us, and when we help each other through the changes that life brings us, we help others as well as ourselves.

If you need help with the life stage changes you’re facing, feel free to contact me at 865-983-7544 or email me at We can put our heads together and figure out how you can best get the support you need, even if it isn’t from coaching with me. I’m committed to helping people find the resources to change their lives in positive ways. That’s why I call my business the Inner Resource Center, LLC. We all have resources to help us weather inevitable life stage changes. We just have to figure out what they are. I’m happy to help.

© 2018 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 15, 2018

What’s Your Vision for 2018?

If you haven’t already done so, now is a perfect time of the year to create a vision for 2018. You don’t have to do it at the beginning of a new year, but you creating a vision—in other words, figuring out what you want this year to look like really can make or break your success.

When we create a vision, we’re creating a picture of what we want our life to look like. We usually think of a vision as a picture, but you can also create a vision using your other four senses. Here are the questions to ask:

  •  What do I want 2018 to look like?

  • What do I want 2018 to sound like? What do I want to hear others saying to me?  What do I want to say to myself this year?

  •  What do I want to feel inside my body? What do I want to touch this year?

  •  What do I want to smell in 2018? What scents help define what I want?

  •  What do I want 2018 to taste like?

Some of these, like taste and smell, might seem unusual or far-fetched, but they really aren’t. For example, will you be socializing at your favorite restaurant, smelling and tasting your favorite meal? Will you be tasting champagne as you celebrate some goal completed? Will you be relaxing over a good meal with someone you love?

Our senses are important in defining our vision. When you’ve achieved your vision, what will you experience in all five senses? Thinking about this now will help you create the special outcome you’re seeking.

The whole purpose of having a vision is to be crystal-clear in your own mind what you want to happen, what you want to create, what you want to design, and what success in that looks like. When you have clarity about your vision, it allows you to utilize it to move you forward, and helps you minimize uncertainty. When you are faced with an opportunity, you can ask yourself: Does this fit my vision? If the answer is “not really,” you can say “no” and move on.

Just as someone building a house starts with blueprints or a description, your vision guides you. It allows you to ensure that you end up with exactly what you want, not a haphazard, slapped-together version. It sets a course for you to follow, or at the very least, provides direction in some or all areas of your life.

Your vision is important and unique to you. While others may give you some ideas, you ultimately decide what you want your results to look like. When you’ve personalized your vision by making it truly yours, you’ll know it fits you, and reflects what is most important to you.

The other thing it is important to realize about creating your vision, is that it can be context-dependent. What that means is that your vision may be specific to a certain context. When I’m thinking about what I want my coaching practice to look like, that may be different and unrelated to what I want my home life to look like.

I always recommend that you figure out your vision for all of your contexts:
·       ~Health—Physical and Emotional;
·       ~Work/Career;
·       ~Physical Environment;
·       ~Relationships;
·       ~Financial;
·       ~Spirituality;
~   ~Fun/Recreation;      
`   ~Personal Growth.

Why? Because you will want to integrate your vision for one area with the others. When your vision with one area is consistent with other areas, that vision creates an incredible unconscious power to move your forward in that direction. When they are in conflict, the chances of successfully achieving those visions diminishes. 

To create a vision for some area of your life, allow yourself to dream about what would make your life absolutely wonderful in 2018 in each area. Ask yourself what that would look like, sound like, feel like, taste like, and smell like. Write these things down or create a way to capture them. Some people like to create Vision Boards with pictures representing their vision. Sometimes people like to choose one word that will represent their vision for all areas for the whole year. Some people make a personal mix of songs that represent their vision. Use your imagination.

If you’d like help with this process, contact me at or call me at (865) 983-7544. We can set up some time to work on determining your 2018 vision in each area of your life. If you’ve been feeling stuck or confused about where you want to go, determining your vision is definitely the most important first step.

(C) 2018 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.