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“Here I am” vs. “There you are” – Which kind of person are you?

Over the past few years I have been taking a little personal survey after being together with anyone where a conversation was had. This could be at school, church, conferences, going to the movies with friends, and other get togethers you can think of. What I am watching is how conversations go. My wife (Dawn) is a master question asker kind of person. She would pepper you with tons of questions if you are together on all areas of life, faith, family and other. She is genuinely interested in what is going on with people. What is weird to me is when people are not interested back.

How many times in the past year have you been together with someone and after you were with them you realize that they did not ask a single question about you, your family, your children, your job, your hopes, your dreams … basically anything at all about you?

For me I find this is around 50% of all of my conversations. It is like we seem to be losing the art of conversation. In my mind sometimes while people are talking I have the desire to say “Enough of about you lets talk a little about me!” I have yet to use that 🙂

Now my first response is to call people Narcissist’s.

Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from the Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

Calling people names does not solve anything and it also does not give anyone the benefit of the doubt. I sometimes wonder

  1. Have people been raised by parents who have taught them they are the only thing that matters?
  2. Are people just that bad at conversation that all they can talk about is themselves?
  3. Do people just not care about each other?
  4. Are people just Narcissists today in society?

I remember from reading a number of John Maxwell’s books that he always talks about “adding value” to people. The idea is that if you are going to spend any time from a few moments to a long conversation that goal is going to be to add value to that person’s life through your conversation.

When you begin a conversation with someone ask yourself which of these people you are going to be:

  1. Here I Am type of person – Is it all about you. What you can tell the other person about your life etc
  2. There you Are type of person – When you see someone you are thinking of how you can find out more about them. What is going on with their life, family etc. How can you “add value” to them in this conversation.

The truth is that all conversations should end up being a little of both of these. If someones ask you how school is going the next question you would usually ask back is “How is school going for you?” For people who struggle in conversation, you can just take any question someone has asked you and ask that same question back to them.

Process: Over the next week try and be very mindful of what type of person you are being: Here I am or There you Are

Take Away:
Below is a great article with some more thoughts on this topic. Enjoy

80+ questions to go through while you are dating

In my talk on dating I tell people that there is so much more to dating then just going out to a movie. There is a ton of stuff to learn about each other as you decide whether this person is a compatible partner for you as you begin to look towards your future … and marriage. This is a list of about 80+ questions that I think you should go through before you get married. Now please do not go out and start asking these questions on the first date. I had someone email me after one of my dating talks. On the way home from the conference he went to my website and found the questions below which are also on my website. He then turned to his brand new girlfriend and randomly pointed at one of the questions to ask her. It was a really tough question

“Is there anything in your past that I should be aware of?”

I had warned people not to just randomly ask questions because you do not know what you will get as an answer. He told me he pestered (his word) his girlfriend for 30 minutes on the bus ride to answer. She finally got angry and looked at him and said “You want to really know?” Her boyfriend smiling said “Yes”. Her response ” I was sexually abused by my uncle for many years growing up.” Probably not the answer he was looking for. This opened up a ton of conversations for them and a few months later I heard they were doing well.

As you start dating someone these are some great questions to guide you as you learn about each other. You can also just google “questions for dating couples” and find 1000’s more.

If you have any other questions you think should be added to my list please let me know. Enjoy!

What are your future financial goals?
How will you achieve those goals?
What kinds of debt do you have presently? Credit Cards/ Lines of Credit? School?
What kind of investments do you have?
What problems do you see in your partner in how they deal with money?
Will you move into a house? If so how will you pay for that?
Do you tithe? How much? To who do you give your money?
Do you also give any offerings when you feel led to give?
Do you pay credit cards off at the end of each month?
Who will pay the bills? Handle the money?
Are you going to pool your money or lead separate financial lives?
What is your attitude with borrowing money to buy things before you actually have the money?
Will you have a large wedding or will you use that money for a large down payment?
What questions do you have about money after this conversation?

What behaviour is appropriate for those who are going to practice sexual abstinence before marriage?
Will you get tested for S.T.D’s (S.T.I’s) together?
How do you presently feel about sex? Scared? Frustrated? Ready to Go?
Have you ever had any negative sexual experiences? Abuse? Rape? Former partner?
How important is sex on your honeymoon night?
Where do you lack information dealing with sex?
Can you talk freely about sex?
What questions do you have about sex after this conversation?

Religious Background
Will you go to church as a couple? If so which one?
How were you brought up? In the church? Fringe church? Non-Practicing Christian?
Are you a non-practicing Christian?
What is your parent’s religious background now?
What place does religion play in your life? Does your life reflect your answer?
What is the religious background of your boyfriend or girlfriend?
What are the differences in your beliefs?
How important do you think your faith will play in your future? Marriage?
Do you want a church wedding?
Do you want a Christian Marriage? Do you even know what this is?
Do you think it is important for you to go to church as a family? When you have children?
What are the differences in your beliefs?
Do you presently pray for each other? Together?
What questions do you have about religious background after this conversation?

When did you begin dating?
How many people have you seriously dated?
What does dating even mean to you?
If you have dated before how did your relationships break-up? Why did they fall apart?
What were the strong points in those relationships?
What were the weaknesses or conflicts in those relationships?
Is there anything in your past your boyfriend or girlfriend should be away of?
If your past boyfriend or girlfriend listed your negative qualities, what would they say?
What questions do you have about dating do you have after this conversation?

Family Background
Was your family ever divorced, separated, widowed?
Are your parents still alive?
How was your parent’s marriage? Happy? Rocky? Abusive?
How is your relationship with your mother and father?
What was your childhood like?
What are your parent’s opinions on who you are dating?
What are some family traditions that might affect your relationship later in life? Week
long Christian get-togethers? Vacations? Cottage?
What questions do you have about family background after this conversation?

Do you want any? 1? 2? 5?
How long will you wait?
Will someone stay home with the kids or will they be in daycare? If someone will stay
home – who?
If you want kids but are unable to, what will you do?
What are your feelings about adoption? Medical testing? In-vitro fertilizations?
How much should the man be involved in raising the children?
What kind of home do you want your children growing up in? Values? Rules?
What do you think your children will teach you?
What questions do you have about children after this conversation?

Professional Goals
What will you do?
Where will you live?
What comes with the job you have chosen? Travel?
What is one person’s job wants them to move but yours does not?
Consistent salary or commission?
What questions do you have about professional goals after this conversation?

Personal Growth
What books have you read lately?
What are your strengths, weaknesses?
What strengths could you be working more on?
What courses or seminars have you attended last year? Why?
What questions do you have about Personal Growth after this conversation?

Personal Health
What are your thoughts about each other’s physical health?
What first attracted you to each other?
Do you exercise regularly?
What exercise do you like to do together? Separately?
What turns you off sexually about the other person?
How do you feel about alcohol?
How do you feel about smoking?
What questions do you have about Personal Health after this conversation?

Christmas Season Sabbatical: Social Media and Blog!

I am going to be taking a break from all Social Media including my blog. I think it is important to have some time during the year where I stop, reflect, and try and be present in my regular life by shutting down everything in my online world. I am going to be off blogging and all Social Media from Thursday Dec 18th, 2014 until Jan 1st, 2015.

Anyone want to join me in this break?

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Worlds Apart (Brett Ullman) Update: Dec 2014

3 Times a year I am going to post a blog with an update to everything that has been going on at Worlds Apart the past 4 months. Welcome to the first update.

Here are some updates:

  1. Blog: The blog at went lives a month or so ago and it has been amazing to see the response. Some days we are having over 300 people a day come to the site. Amazing. I am also really excited that I am able to share ongoing resources with people in this one location.
  2. Health: This has been the busiest speaking season I have had since my breakdown. I have had 5 flights this fall (Halifax, Winnipeg and 3 trips to Alberta) as well as speaking dates throughout Ontario in schools, churches, camps and conferences.  I am still struggling with my sleep and anxiety and recently was put on another sleeping pill to try and combat my fragmented sleep . The results were not what I was hoping and find myself more dizzy than before and had to be taken off of the med. Always frustrating times. I continue to speak through this ongoing journey of my breakdown and find people all around who are talking more about their stories of burnout, breakdown and suffering as I share about mine.
  3. Walking Wounded DVD: The Walking Wounded talk is now available on DVD as well as rental and Digital Download. Really excited to be able to film this talk and get it out to people struggling. The trailer for this talk came out so good. Click here for the Trailer.
  4. Truth Tellers: This fall I was also also to film and release a talk for people interested in speaking called Truth Tellers. It is basically everything I have learned in my 17-18 years as a speaker. Click here for the Truth Tellers talk.
  5. Leanne Cabral: It is exciting to watch Leanne Cabral’s speaking dates start to roll in. Please check out here website for more information on the talks that she does. I think her talk on Blessing and Rites of Passage is one of the those paramount conversations most missing in the lives of our younger kids.
  6. The.Sex.Talk: This Winter and Spring I am hoping to raise the money to film the talk that I do on sex called It will cost around $10,000. If you are able to help with this you can donate through Canada Helps (Click Here)
  7. Prayers: I would also ask for your prayers as I begin a new project in 2015. At leadership events they often challenge people with the question of what is your BHAG: Big Hairy Audacious Goal. I have had one milling around in my head for years and this year is the year that I see if I can get it off the ground. Mine is based around trying to leverage the 50,000-70,000 people a year I speak too and start creating some statistics which we can use as leaders in our ministries. More information coming in the new year.
  8. Donations: As always as a small charity we rely on donations for about 40% of our income. We started this year to try and find 100 people who would support us at $100 a year. This would not change your tithe to your church or affect your other givings but that small amount would help us in the work we do here at Worlds Apart. If you are able to help please click the Canada Helps site here
  9. Speaking: If you are interested in bringing me in to speak to your students, parents or leaders please just send me a message and we can start that conversation.

Thanks so much for your ongoing prayers and support. If you have any questions please send me an email. If you want to come out to any future speaking dates please check out the Tour Dates section on

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Brett Ullman: The Walking Wounded DVD & Digital Download

So glad to let you know that my newest talk The Walking Wounded is now out in DVD format. Click the link below!

You can still rent or purchase a digital download from our Vimeo site as well.

If you have not seen the trailer for this talk it is also linked. Enjoy



dk Leadership: Dream it. Do it.

On my blog, I want to help parents with some of the best resources I know. I have weekly conversations with parents who mention that they are struggling with communication issues with their teenagers. I would highly encourage all parents to go to Dr. Karyn’s website. Go into her resources section and purchase her book (The Teen Years) and most importantly the Analyze your Teen digital download set. This is one of the best resources I have seen on this. Look at what is in these 4 modules:

Module #1: Self-Esteem
Learn how you can build your child / teen’s confidence

Module #2: Communicating Effectively
Learn how to communicate effectively so that they listen to you

Module #3: Managing Emotions
Learn how to deal with emotions (stress, anxiety, depression)

Module #4: Teaching Responsibility
Learn why and how to set boundaries and teach responsibility

She also has great speaking events that I will be sending my own children in the upcoming years.

Click here for her website.