Recently, when my phone had been silent for a while, I was surprised by the thought, “I guess no one loves me.” I urgently changed that path by picking up the phone to remind others that I loved them.
No more silence.
In that same week, my email box was empty of substantial mail and the thought crossed my mind, “I guess no one needs my services.” I quickly made a U-turn by initiating contact with people who might need me but were busy or something.
The inbox filled up within the hour.
How creepy that I had started using my electronic communications to “feel better about myself” instead of as a tool for making a difference.
I have found this simple lesson to have implications anytime I feel crazy about what I need.
Thanks, Willa Cather, for your inspiration to get on with living yesterday when a “boulder” dropped into the middle of my schedule. My body and mind wanted to writhe with rejection and condemnation of the obstacle. After holding myself accountable for 1,2,&3 below, I successfully used my energy for living instead of dying.
Things that keep me from living:
Disappointment with my health, body, or genetics, or circumstances
Discouragement with myself
Fear of the future
Dread of certain tasks
Irritation with people
Accept life with passion even if it includes pain
Smile at the future, don’t worry about it
Forgive myself, the world, and others for being imperfect
Rather than letting sickness, relationships, old age, or problems kill me, I’m gonna die from having lived…and look as peaceful as that angel!
According to research presented in Daniel Pink’s book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, the single best predictor of a good employee/boss relationship is how prompt the boss is at returning calls, texts, and emails.
In my experience, it is also a good predictor of…
- a successful client/vendor relationship
- a happy romantic relationship
- salesperson/potential customer relationship
- any other relationship I can think of
I have met some very brilliant and interesting people, many with whom I would have loved to work or get to know better, yet, if they failed to show a sense of urgency, stood me up, or constantly rescheduled appointments, I moved on.
The most common excuse is “I am too busy,” yet, the best bosses (salespeople, partners, etc.) are never too busy for their priorities.
When we wonder why relationships aren’t working better, it might be good to start here.
Maybe it was from my steady childhood diet of horror movies, but somehow I became one of the biggest chickens of all time.
- My heart races at the drop of a hat.
- My stomach turns at the slightest thought of trouble.
- Fear and resistance are my first responses to the smallest challenge.
To counteract these default settings, I have learned to review a mental “tape” of my bold-people heroes when in high-stake environments.
If I don’t, you will find me running for cover or whimpering in the corner.
What a difference it has made for me when…
- confronted with an undesirable task
- someone needs to go first
- there is danger
- I might be rejected or mocked
Jolted by a song?
Unexpected tears at a harmony?
Moved by Gregorian Chants?
Hearing a haunting melody in your mind?
Whether you believe this quote or not, music is mysteriously connected to our inner being and has the power to right our mind if we allow it.
Times when I need music most:
- Feeling lost and overwhelmed
- Surrounded by trouble and pain
- Out of energy and joy
The challenge is remembering to stop and make time for the healing.
When I do, the return on investment is astounding.
(This blog is not about losing weight, but I have to start here to get my point across.)
I got tired of hearing the broken record of my own complaints and reluctantly started Weight Watchers.
I began with these fears:
I will be hungry all the time
I will miss all of the food and drink I love
I already know everything they will tell me
It won’t work
My life will be boring
None of the fears were legit. In fact, I have been…
haven’t missed my old diet
learning new foods and tricks
losing weight, and, biggest surprise of all,
having a blast with the challenge!
What I didn’t anticipate was the fun in winning: winning against…
my long-term sucky habits
Knowing how to win keeps us all out of depression.
When we don’t know how to win, don’t have a plan to win, or don’t know specifically why we are not winning, we give up and settle sadly into a lesser life.
Whether personally or professionally, finding supporters who will help us with small wins makes all the difference.
Your life depends on it.
“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!
If you’re not hurting and not alone this season, don’t assume everyone is sharing your joy. Don’t assume it’s the hap-happiest season of all.
Invite people in you normally wouldn’t.
Ask more genuine questions.
Have honest conversations.
Value the people around you enough to ask about the ways they’re hurting.
Listen well, love well.
And regardless of your situation: lean in to relationships, to other people.
Adapted from Robert Vore (from The Mighty newsletter)
You interrupt someone’s story to tell yours.
You talk about how the world has wronged you.
You talk too much and listen too little.
You tell people what they should do.
You think so much about what people think about you that you are inauthentic.
You find things to complain about on vacation.
Your list of people and things you don’t like is growing.
You don’t ever wonder if you are annoying.
You complain about how annoying people are.