Courageous Conversations for Life

I bet you’ve heard the statement, “Leave your personal life at the door.” Wouldn’t it be nice if it was just that easy? I agree that a business environment requires whatever is going on for us personally to be manageable enough to allow us to conduct ourselves professionally with clients, patients, and our team—or we should stay home. But we don’t leave it at the door. We either have it in us to manage our emotions and concerns in spite of the reality, or not.

I believe it works the other way as well. We often bring the stress and strains we experience at work into our personal life and pile them upon the shoulders of our family members and friends who can generally do very little to help us solve it. We rarely “leave it at our front door.”

But here’s the good news:  It stands to reason that if we help ourselves and our team members to better navigate conflict and manage themselves and their relationships at work, we’ve also helped them to do it at home, which then allows them to return back to work a bit less burdened.

I’ve always contended that the leadership communication skills we teach to audiences and client teams are not just for work environments but are, in fact, essential life skills. Whether at home or work, the skills are the same to help you to muster the courage, calm your energy, find the right words, set boundaries, resolve conflicts, all while leaving those involved feeling whole, if not better, for the conversation.

This is why I’m excited to introduce to you Kelly Case, my longtime business manager. Many of you know Kelly as LionSpeak’s master of details and all things financial and organizational. But what you likely don’t know is that Kelly holds a master’s degree in counseling and, in a previous life, was a very successful marriage and relationship coach. She always loved helping to save and nurture better relationships but hated the time constraints of the traditional 50-minute appointment model. So, she’s fixed it. Kelly has just launched First-Class Marriage which is an online course for couples who are interested in enhancing and strengthening their relationship. In it, she models how to have “courageous conversations” at home as well as improve trust, intimacy, and fun between a couple.

It’s really hard to be happy at work and miserable (or even disenchanted) at home, or vice versa. I’m proud of what Kelly has developed and wanted to share it with all of you. I believe the skills she teaches can have a direct positive effect on our home life and an indirect positive impact on our professional life as well.  I hope you’ll check it out and share it with your team.  Tom and I will be right there with you, doing whatever we can to grow and develop as individuals as well as a couple. I’m positive that doing so will spill over into becoming a better businesswoman and professional. We have one life that splits time between home and work.  Let’s make it the best it can be, wherever we are.

Did You Marry the Wrong Person?
by Kelly Case

Lizzie looks over at her husband who’s sitting in the driver’s seat. He’s staring straight ahead at the road, and she wonders what’s on his mind.

She takes some guesses, silently to herself. He’s probably thinking about tomorrow’s golf trip with his buddies or his 401K or maybe even the accessories he wants to buy for his truck. The point is, he’s probably thinking about anything except her, their relationship, or the kids. It’s like he doesn’t even care that she has pulled away from him.

She wonders, “Did I marry the wrong person? Truth is, it doesn’t seem like we have anything in common these days. Maybe there’s someone out there who I can really connect with. I mean, why did I ever pick someone like him anyway?”

She closes her eyes. She might as well take a nap since he’s not providing any conversation for the 6-hour drive home.

Jim looks over at Lizzie, asleep in the passenger’s seat. He knows she has been irritated with him. Why is she always unhappy? It seems like he can never do anything right. He wishes she could just be content and easygoing and enjoy their life. Instead, she always has something to complain about, and it seems like everything he says is wrong.

Jim and Lizzie keep trying to get what they need from the relationship, but every action seems to make it worse. Then, they blame each other and believe if their spouse could just become a better person, they wouldn’t be in the mess.

You see, most people don’t have the tools to create a First-Class Marriage. How could they? Where would they have gotten them from? There’s no high school (or even college) class called, “How to Have a Great Marriage.” On your wedding day, the pastor didn’t hand you a manual for “How to Live Happily Ever After.”

Your parents probably didn’t do a great job of modeling it for you, and half your friends are in the same boat as you, living in less-than-ideal marriages. So, where exactly are you supposed to get these tools?

When I (Kelly) observe couples like this, my heart hurts. I look in the back seat at little Maddie & Tyler and know how crucial it is that mommy and daddy figure this out. Oh, if only I could wave a wand and fix everything for them! Then, Maddie & Tyler would have tools to use in their marriages someday. But, it just doesn’t work like that. What’s the answer? Where do we begin?

I used to sit down with couples like this and have them bring up their most recent issue so we could use that as an example and sort through it one step at a time. That often resulted in them re-fighting an issue they already fought about, but apparently never truly resolved. This could easily escalate into a 30-minute argument and end with them asking me to tell them who is right and who is wrong. That’s not counseling. And that’s not helpful. A 50-minute session once per week isn’t an effective way to save a marriage.

So, I took some time off, became Katherine’s business manager, and re-thought the entire thing, top to bottom. How can I revolutionize marriage counseling? What would be more effective?

I locked myself away in a hotel room and thought about all the couples I had ever counseled. What were the root issues? What did they really need? What would have made a lasting change for them?

What they really needed was more like a college class on how to have a good marriage, not someone who will listen to them argue.

So, I started writing everything I knew about how to have a good marriage and how to be a good spouse. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote until I had essentially written a book (125 pages!). Then, I laid those out in order of what concepts are foundational to other concepts.

In essence, I’ve created the college course or the manual that everyone wishes they had!

It’s not that the information doesn’t exist. It’s just that people don’t know how to access it.

In my course, you not only learn how to do it but you are given daily action steps and weekly activities to cement the knowledge and implement it in your life. I incorporated all the concepts of adult learning that Katherine brilliantly teaches in her courses so that couples could create real and lasting change in an environment that actually works.

And if they need more help, virtual coaching sessions with me are just a click away.

So, if you relate with Jim & Lizzie, I invite you to experience the First-Class Marriage program so you can stop the injury to your relationship and start to rebuild the connection you once had.

You didn’t marry the wrong person. Your person just doesn’t know how to be what you need. You can help them discover the path to a better marriage, one step at a time.

Take this quiz to assess how close you are to a First-Class Marriage.

“Remember that no relationship is a total waste of time. You can always learn something about yourself.”

~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


  1. Way fabulous and so important Kelly! To enrich a union of Love will only make the world a better place.

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