Last week my 2 daughters were in a play at school called Nanny Claus. Our older daughter got the lead role and our younger daughter got a total of 9 words to say. Our younger started with 3 and she was proud when she was able to get more.
In addition to the entertainment, or maybe because of this it was entertaining, I saw something in how both of my daughters participated in the play. They both had presence. Not only were they there on stage, but they showed up. You could see a playful intention and commitment in the participation.
I can see this being the case with our older daughter who had the lead role, but it would have been easy enough for our younger daughter with the 9 words to check out. She could have dismissed her contribution because of the number of words she was able to say. And yet she did not, she was engaged just as much as her older sister – and I could see how that impacted the play. She was on and she had enthusiasm to do her best and it was obvious. She added to the energy, joy and entertainment of the play.
I write about this because we all have a chance to show up. Regardless of our part in the play of life – we can all add to the energy, joy and entertainment of each others lives.
Stand. Step forward. Show up – fully. Let others see you. Let you see you.
What can you do today or tomorrow to show up? Make it simple and easy. And then do it again.
Five Tips for Maintaining Your Sanity
Last year I introduced our then 8 and 10 year old daughters to Christmas Vacation. It was fun to see the look on their faces during all of those crazy antics. I still love that movie. So much drama which no one in the movie seems to escape unscathed.
One of my favorite parts is when the brother-in-law is standing out in front of the Griswold’s house in his robe, a beer in his hand, draining his sewage into the rain runoff drain with a huge smile on his face – the look of bliss! The look on the neighbor’s face was priceless!
Ok, most of us won’t experience this level of chaos during the holidays. And yet, with all the energy that can surround this time of year many of us will find ourselves considering some type of escape from reality (like grabbing a beer). So I want to share some tips I included in an article I wrote for the Boulder Center for Conscious Community (BC3) newsletter.
Speculating I am not alone in my experience of big feelings during the holidays…I have five tips to share with you in support of your self care during the holidays. Reminders to…
- Take time to envision with intention the experiences you want to create over the holiday season.
- Take time for self care; time out for yourself in the midst of busy schedules and celebration.
- Allow yourself to have and accept whatever feelings you are experiencing, to acknowledge them with tenderness and care.
- Create a space, a pause in the midst of high emotions (when we are triggered?) to feel and be present with your feelings before you respond or react.
- Hold all of your feelings as an experience, not good or bad, but feelings that are like passing clouds, letting them pass along with any stories that may be triggered.
Here is wishing you the best this season, whoever you are and wherever you are!
What might this list of thoughts have in common? I don't want to look foolish. I don't want to fail. I don't want to miss the deadline. I don't want to lose money. I don't want to lose my client. I don't want to stay stuck in this job. I don't want to have my kids talk back to me. I don't want my kids to fail. I don't want to hear my neighbors lawn mower. Etcetera.
When a thought is reoccurring we have an investment in it. These thoughts continue to occur because we continue to focus our energy on them. If we had no attachment to them they would cease to come to mind. In reality we are choosing these thoughts by continuing to focus on them. Given we are choosing to invest energy in them one could argue we want these thoughts in our life.
When we focus our energy on what we don't want we are missing opportunities to focus on what we do want. Yes, we want to make room to acknowledge what we don't want. Once we acknowledge what we don't want we have a choice. Do I continue to focus on what I don't want or do I focus my energy on what I do want.
What if there is a correlation between what we get in life and the energy we invest in thoughts of what we want and what we don't want? What could you be focusing your energy right now?
When a "I don't want" thought persist take time to see if there is a feeling below the thought that you could explore. There is a process of exploring and releasing the feelings that anchor these thoughts. I have frequent webinars and teleclasses that cover these issues. Check my up and coming Events page.
Some suggest that conflict is inevitable. I personally cannot agree or deny that idea.
What I have seen in others and experienced personally, is that speaking our truth – wants, needs, likes, dislikes and feelings about ourselves (versus others) goes a long way toward naturally dissolving what might have otherwise appeared as a irresolvable conflict.
Trying to maintain control might look like: You are always working or spending time with your friends. (The focus is on the other person.)
Letting go of control might look like: I like to spend time with you. I want to watch a moving with you this weekend. (The focus is on the speaker.)
If speaking our truth can be so effective in resolving conflict why don't we speak it? Because it means we must let go of our perceived control of the situation or outcome of the situation. Although it may be exactly what really needs to happen we are reluctant to let go of the known and step into the unknown. And yet, there is a powerful aliveness in letting go of the known.
Do you want richer, more satisfying and loving relationships? Let go of what you perceive to be control and safety and step into speaking the truth about you.
I can sell them on my ideas but am I all talk with no substance. I think too highly of my capabilities so it is bound to fall apart. Ouch. Not a real pick-me-up dialog with one's self in the morning. And yet this type of self talk can be so old, subtle and unconscious we do not even realize we are saying it to ourselves.
Do you know what is so intriguing to me about this self talk? We have chosen it and we continue to choose to keep it going. How?
Our negative self talk comes from our beliefs. If you did not believe what you tell yourself why would you continue to repeat it?
So how do we change our beliefs? First, by owning that it is our belief – no matter how we came to develop the belief, it is ours. No one can force us to create or keep a belief.
And second, by challenging the validity of our beliefs. If your beliefs are punishing you, don't you owe it to yourself to challenge the validity of them?
Who does not want more success – in relationships, business, income or in a more “balanced” in life. We set goals, intentions, make commitments and start in the direction of our goals.
And then the city calls to tell you your new commercial property needs a runoff pond which you did not budget for, the money you had planned on for the project is not there or your sister calls to tell you your mother is in the hospital.
Situations like these happen in life. We set an intention and things come up. Life is a creative flow rather than a linear formula.
The big question is how will we respond.
I was reminded this past week by Julie Colwell about the impact of our thoughts on our energy, our openness, our view of ourselves and ultimately our ability to succeed in achieving our goals.
I am the most creative, see the most opportunities and possibilities when I am seeing the best in others and myself. It is one of the fastest ways I know to shift into a frame of mind that brings me success. When I open my mind to what is possible my energy goes up. When I start down the path of critical thinking everything begins to slow down and my vision narrows.
When you find yourself stuck or making slow progress toward your goals, stop and check out your thinking habits and if need be, shift your frame of mind from critical to possibility.
Have you ever gotten so into something you were doing that you lost track of time? I have, particularly when I was enjoying what I was doing. But what about those things we don't necessarily look forward to doing? It is possible to enjoy and get satisfaction out of those things that we may not be looking forward to doing?
I wrote an article the other day for The Good Men Project. To date I have only written one other article that was published. The thought of writing this article was daunting in many respects. I started working on it several times but I did not get very far. And then I sat down and decided I was going to really write it.
At first it was slow going, but as I gave myself to the task my article really began to unfold. All of a sudden I began to see my theme come to life and it began to flow in a natural progression. I was so into it that I did not even think of time or how much I did not want to do it. When I did realize how much I had gotten done I realized how jazzed I had be feeling once I really got into it.
Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor E. Frankl
What could we experience if we chose to really get into everything we do? What if we could turn any activity into a satisfying and even energizing experience?
What if your experience was your choice?
A mentor of mine once told me that I needed community. I had no clue what he was talking about. I might have even went as far as to say I don't need anyone. I once prided myself on my "I can go it alone", "I'll do it myself", "I don't need any help", etc. Somewhere along the line I developed the story that it was better to go it alone.
Not too long after my mentor suggested I needed community I learned what he meant. In the course of 6 months I started a new career and moved away from a community of friends that I had developed deep bonds. With so much change in my life and so little in the way of supportive relationships, I went from feeling like I could conquer anything to feeling practically helpless. I went from having rich connection and support in my life to feeling like I was swimming in the ocean alone.
There is power in connection, in relationships, in community. They ground us. Our relationships can support us powerfully when we are climbing to that next peak or falling down a slope.
Do you want to make something happen in the world, in your life – connect, develop and cultivate relationships and communities that support you, that enrich your life.
The relationships that made the most profound impact on my life where not always the most comfortable. I sought out individuals that I could respect and trust to see me clearly. I want people in my life that want the best for me and who care enough about me to hold the bar up when I am unable or unwilling to do so myself. Love comes in many forms, tender and strong.
I should have had it done already. What a jerk, he drove up ahead and cut in front of everyone. They should get more involved and do their part. I should have a better job. I am so tired of it raining so much. They should stop talking so much. She's always working
There is a pattern in these thoughts, a theme. The theme is that I am wanting it to be different than how it is now, different than reality.
Early on in my career I came across this idea of loving how things are in the moment. I remember thinking how impossible that sounded. I was living in Chicago, Lincoln Park and making just a little more than minimum wage. I moved from East Lansing, Michigan where I could get a hair cut for less than $10 to Chicago and paying $26. I had goals for my life but it seemed my progress toward them was slow or non-existent. I was definitely wishing things were different for me, especially in the income department.
And then I started applying the idea of loving what is to my life. What I noticed, as I kept at it, choosing to appreciate how things are in the moment, I had more energy. I found myself smiling more and generally much happier. When I found one of those thoughts pop into my head, wishing some situation was different or being frustrated with some aspect of my life, I redirected my thinking.
Interesting enough, I started being more productive and taking on more responsibility with enthusiasm at work. As my attitude improved my relationship with those around me improved. As my relationships improved and I was able to create more of the results I wanted I was noticed more by those that could give me opportunities to take on even higher levels of responsibility. In the fours years following my realization that I could choose my view of life I attracted exciting new career opportunities, I more than tripled my income and I met my wife.
I have come back to this realization, that I can choose how I experience my life, over and over again. Inevitably, each time I made the decision and commitment to redirect my thinking, I experienced big shifts toward creating what I wanted in my life.
"Everything can be taken from a man but …the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
Anger does not need to be aggressive or hostile. In fact, aggressive anger is more likely to create separation, division and pain. The assertive expression of anger on the other hand, holds the prospect of bringing people together, creating positive change and drawing healthy boundaries.
Not everyone will respond positively to either hostile or assertive anger. And we should not try to control others reactions. In fact, in expressing anger in any form we cannot hold onto a given outcome. When we need someone to respond in a specific way we are trying to manipulate or control them.
When we let others react without expectation we are more likely to stay clear as to what we want or don’t want. Staying clear allows us to dynamically work through the situation or make decisions that change the situation to create what we want or don’t want.
One approach to expressing assertive anger can look like this:
1. When this happened (action/inaction/behavior/)
2. I felt ….. (mad, sad, angry, excited, happy, tender)
3. Because… (the impact or effect of the action/inaction/behavior)
4. My judgment (or story) about the situation is…
5. What I want (or don’t want) is….
Notice in this approach the focus of attention is placed on behavior, impact and me (using I statements). People are more likely to get defensive when we make the situation about them personally.
As you take this type of approach to expressing anger you increase the odds you will create a healthy outcome for you and those involved.
I am designing a online 12 week training program that will support individuals in expressing and responding to anger in a constructive way. If you interested contact me at ted (at) pivotalgrowth.com.