Sunday, January 31, 2016

How My Cat is a Reminder Of How I Want to Show Up

Sometimes, when I'm working hard, on my laptop, 10 tabs open, focused on a goal, I'll find myself irritated that my cat is walking on my keyboard, sitting on my notebook, or entwining herself among my legs. My first instinct is to push her away so I can just get DONE with the stuff on my list.
Then I realize, I love that she comes to me for attention. I want her to keep doing it and if I push her away when she asks for attention, she's not going to come to me anymore. I will become the person that pushes her away; not the one that gives her love.
Psychologist, John Gottman, calls these interactions bids for emotional connection. Each bid can be reacted to in a variety of ways but they boil down to 3 simple categories:
  1. turning towards - receptive & reactive
  2. turning away - ignore
  3. turning against - aggressive
Each of our relationships are like this. In every interaction, we are defining who we are to the world and so, what anyone can expect of us.....and it's so important when we do this "contracting", we know what we want because we might just end up pushing the cat away when it was the laptop that should have been closed.

For more information of Gottman's findings, check out this article.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Structure is Important in Times of Change

An acquaintance of mine tells a story about how she was on the verge of leaving her corporate job and explore a new life when her barista gave her more than a cup of coffee. He offered these words of wisdom, "Structure is important in times of change." Those words have remained with me and continue to prove helpful.

When big changes happen in your life, they disrupt the habit of life. Sometimes, without that old list of things to do dictating your days, it's difficult to figure out the right new list of things to do. That's not to say that you won't find a way to be busy. It's just figuring out the right busy. So where do you start? I have long preached that you should start with your wants. Who and how do you want to BE? What do you want to DO? What do you want to have? Thanks to Danielle Laporte's The Desire Map, I'd add asking yourself what you want to feel.

Start with these simple lists and you'll find some goals. Once you have these goals, you can start figuring out what needs to be done to achieve them. Then, you can start chunking up your days accordingly so that your days don't become a slide into non-purposeful doing. Even unstructured doing should take place within a structure.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Beautiful Bravery is all around you.

How different would your work environment be if you paused for a moment and tried to see each of your co-workers as brave warrior of life? Beyond all of the office politics, who are they, really? I bet if you saw just a kernel of the REAL person, your interaction would change. Bravery comes in many forms and when I look around and try to find it, I'm amazed at how much of it there is. You don't EVEN need a viral video to see it (LOL). Beautiful bravery. Look for it.

You are not here merely to make a living.

"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand." ~Woodrow Wilson

I find this sentiment to be quite lovely and one that resonates deeply with me. Each of us play our part in this world. It's your job to contribute the beauty of your uniqueness. beYOU! ‪


Sunlight or clouds. You choose.

I had a realization one day on a plane as we were preparing to land. We were moving from the spot above the clouds where the sun was shining brightly into the cloud layer. It came to me in an instant. Your whole view of the world could change in just in a few feet. You could believe the world was sunny and be right. AND you could believe the world was grey and cloudy and be right. So, if those truths exist simultaneously, I can choose which one I want to live with. I imagined myself suspended in the clouds, peeking my head above the clouds to find sunlight and then leaning down into the clouds. Sunlight. Clouds. Sunlight. Clouds. The same was true when I looked at the ground. Some places were sunny and others were dark. I could choose to go to sunny places. So, where will you choose to be today? Sunlight or clouds?

Insatiably Curious & Rarely Bored

I keep waiting for LinkedIn to list curiosity in their skillset listing. I know it's something I value in employees. And it's not because I think those employees are more likely to come up with creative solutions. I find that people full of exuberant, insatiable curiosity not just at work, but in life, just feel more fun to be around. Maybe it's because I believe curiosity their curiosity is a basic indicator that they care. If you stop to ask a question, to wonder why, dive deeper, be driven to understand, it feels like you're honoring someone with your time, energy and mental bandwidth. I also think that curious people are a lot more likely to be engaged more, interested, and seeking & finding connections.

Maybe I'm not objective on the topic because I consider myself insatiably curious. I'm not saying it doesn't come with its drawbacks. (Here's where I say sorry to all of those close to me for the unending questions!) I've wished more than once that I could wonder less but I'm thankful that my curious brain is rarely bored. ~Michele

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Applying the Concept of Relevance to Achieving Life Success

I remember in the early days of the internet when the concept of relevance was preached as a key contributing factor to becoming successful in the medium. I think it's also an important factor in being successful at life. I'm not saying, by any means, that you should define yourself by whether others find you relevant; rather you should define who you want to be relevant to and purposefully devote energy to creating that relevance. Assuming that you've already got a grip on identifying key people in your life, as a change manager, the first step I would take in becoming relevant to someone else is to determine what motivates them and how they "hear" those motivations. I'm reminded of Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages. Once I understand how they hear, I can frame up the topics that are important to me to share in a language they understand and hear. Sounds like work, right? It is. Just the same way it's work for all of those websites trying to figure out how to appeal to their target customers. ~M

Monday, January 4, 2016

Back To Who I Am

Somewhere along the way, I lost the essence of me. I miss me. I know what it's like to bloom in my existence and I'm determined to find my way back to who I am. I'm starting now. I'm starting with a place that I know is a very real place for me. It's the place where I start eliminating the shoulds that have sneaked into my life making my life a list of things I should do, not a list of things I want to do. The end result is that the state of my life has become something I don't truly own deep, down inside because it doesn't feel like me. I don't connect with it. It's become something I manage but not something I'm immersed in. I can think of a lot of reasons for it but they don't matter. What matters is what's next.

The first thing I'm going to do is give myself permission to spending some time on regrouping....figuring it out, asking myself some questions and giving myself some answers. Ground rules: Trust my gut. Honor my wants. Remember it's okay.