The first step I must take in order to become the very best version of myself is to pay attention to my thoughts and words. Besides catching myself saying negative things, I also review my conversations to catch the times I exaggerated, wasn’t completely honest, or talked too much.
When I take the time to really hear myself, it is sometimes painful, yet, that pain gives me more incentive to grow and change.
…I pinpoint the one thing that has improved my relationships more than anything else. It is the realization that people don’t need to hear what I have to say nearly as much as they need me to hear what they have to say; my presence much more than my advice, and my acceptance much more than my analysis.
In fact, this one insight has saved me from multiplying my regrettable errors. Duh. Yet, yet, yet, I still forget and think it is about me being heard.
Thanks to those of you who were patient with my words in 2017.
“You learn something new every day.”
That’s easy to say, but, can we prove it?
There are many “knowers” in the world. Fewer learners.
Real learning involves using information.
So, a New Year’s Challenge to myself and whoever wants to take on a 2018 adventure:
Record What We Learn Everyday and How the New Information Will Be Used
Try it for a week. In a journal, notebook, Word doc, OneNote, or, even on your calendar. Make a point to record what you learned. (I’ve been doing this and it is harder than I thought it would be, but, wow! it has been worth it.)
Jan 1: I read a Brene Brown quote: “We orphan all the parts of us that don’t meet up to the ideal.”
My application: Use the quote this week to remind me not to be so hard on myself.
Happy New Learning Year to all!
Reading Julie Lythcott-Haims memoir, Real American has skillfully prodded me toward important awareness of:
- my inadequacy to see the world from others’ points of view
- how many moments I have wasted in self-absorption instead of seeing others and their obstacles
- how long it takes in a lifetime to really understand that compassion toward others is everything
- the importance and long-term impact of all people (especially people we discount)
- the terrible pain people of color have endured due to the callousness and ignorance of others
“You live life forward, but understand it backward. It is only when you stop and look in the rear that you see the corpse caught under your wheel.” – Abraham Verghese
This quote craftily describes that sickening, sinking feeling that comes with the awareness (or the memory) of having made the wrong decision.
If I had only…is the plague and the gaping wound of our human condition that will not heal…unless…we grab the tourniquet of today, wrap it tightly around the bleeding past, and step with resolve into tomorrow.
I can only do that when I remember:
It is no crime to be fallible.
Redemption dwells in strange places.
Power belongs to the present, and
If I have been given breath, there is hope for tomorrow
(Initially posted in 2012. If you haven’t read the book, it is quite enlightening.)
Who is responsible for your unhappiness?
Your Cheating Partner?
Mean Sibling or Rebellious Child?
Incompetent Boss or Co-workers?
This is another quote by researcher, author, and professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. When we are suffering, it feels terribly callous. Yet, if we doubt its validity, we only have to think of those amazing people we have seen or known who have overcome unspeakable horrors without becoming miserable. When we decide to make excuses about how special our personal brand of misery is, we will never find the author of happiness.
I love this “Turkey Visits the Psychic” cartoon because it reminds me that friends and associates (who want to remain in that relationship) are often not saying to us what we need to hear. Maybe they have tried before and we have:
- blown up
- disagreed with them
- given them clear indications that their honesty will not be rewarded
In order to get helpful truth from those with whom we live and work, we must make a commitment to…
- ask frequently for feedback
- prepare for uncomfortable info
- honor truth-tellers instead of justifying our behaviors
- say “thank you”
- make changes based on feedback
It’s easy to talk self-improvement, hard to demonstrate it.
Here’s to a day of revelations and corrective actions!
I used to get very insulted and angry when someone implied that I had more power than I was using.
How could they know what it was like to be me?
How could they possibly know what obstacles I was up against?
How could they know what if felt like to have no options when they seemed to have so many?
Later, I would discover that changing my mindset from one that was defeated to one that entertained the existence of unseen possibilities was the mandatory first step to experiencing more power and a much better life.
In our world, there is an obvious shortage of leaders; so much so that we give power to people who are pathetically underqualified.
For this one reason alone, it is imperative to believe the call for leaders is for anyone.
Answer the call.
Leadership belongs to those who take it.