Dear 'GMA' Advice Guru Top 20 Finalists: Lissa Coffey

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Lissa Coffey from Westlake Village, Calif., is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest. Read her application below!


No one has all the answers. But I do have a lot of them! And I definitely know where to go to get the answers I don't have. I'm known as a relationship expert and life is all about relationships: with yourself first and foremost, with others, with your community, with your work, and with your environment. With five self-help books published, a website that includes an online advice column, and personal experience including marriage, divorce, re-marriage, kids, step-kids, volunteer work with foster teens, and work in both the corporate arena and as an entrepreneur, I've pretty much been there, done that with any question that comes my way. Want to know what to wear to your 20-year high school reunion? How to feng shui your bedroom to bring in romance? What natural remedies you can try for AD/HD? How to throw a baby shower this weekend? How to recover from a bad break-up? Ask me! I graduated from UCLA in 1983 with a degree in sociology. I've followed up with certification in hypnotherapy, meditation, ayurveda, and more. I've been a teacher, a life coach, a consultant, and a mentor. We're all connected, and we're here to help each other learn and grow.

What's the best advice you have ever given? What was the result?

"Be the dog!" My sister was having trouble fitting in at her new job. Her co-workers were aloof, and unfriendly. I said, "They're acting like cats, defending their territory. My advice is this: Don't be catty like them. Instead, be the dog. Bounce in with your tail wagging, approach these people with warmth and enthusiasm." It worked! Tensions melted away, my sister made friends and thrived in her position. The whole environment changed to be one where the group worked as a team. It benefited everyone in the office.

Lissa Coffey is Finalist in GMA Advice Guru Contest

What would you tell this person: "Whenever there is an issue between my mother-in-law and me, my husband refuses to stand up for me. How do I get him to value our relationship more than the one with his mother?

You've set yourself up for competition with your mother-in-law by putting your husband in the middle. There can be no winners in this type of a competition, only resentments from any or all of the three parties involved. These are separate relationships, and your husband values each in a different way. What you need to do is to work on your relationship with your mother-in-law, and how you resolve issues that are between the two of you. Start by focusing on what you have in common: You both love this man! Be honest and sincere in your communications. Spend time with your mother-in-law , and let her know that you appreciate her presence in your life. Set the groundwork for a healthy relationship so that "issues" don't come up as often, and when they do, you can handle them gracefully.

What would you tell this person: "While cleaning my son's room, I accidentally saw on his Facebook page threatening remarks from his friends. I fear he's being bullied. What should I do?"

"Accidentally"? A Facebook page is public, so you should not feel like you are violating any trust by looking at your son's page. Looking at a Facebook page is not like reading a diary. It should actually be a family prerequisite for any child under 18 when setting up the page that the parent is either a Facebook "friend"or that the page can be viewed at any time. This is just good parenting. Talk with your son and express your concerns. Ask how he feels about the situation, and ask if he wants you to get involved. There are many options to pursue, from merely blocking these "friends" to informing the school. Present some choices to your son, and work with him to decide how he wants to handle things.

What would you tell this person: "My boss keeps taking credit for my ideas. What should I do?"

First, pat yourself on the back that you've got all these great ideas! In a corporate environment, you're working for both your boss, and for the company. Your boss obviously thinks highly of your work. But it sounds like your real concern is that the company will value your work. Keep documentation of the projects that you've worked on and your various contributions. That way when it comes time for evaluations, or when you go after a promotion, your input will be recognized. You can be a team player, and still toot your own horn at the appropriate time.

Submissions have been edited for length, style and clarity.