We advance when we’re willing to stretch ourselves further than anything we’ve ever done. But it’s prickly and sticky there. Risky. We might fail. Yes. Fail. Hmmm. And then what? Did we die? Get physically hurt? Lose anything of great measure? Likely not. But we do have our feelings to deal with. So we allow them. These two are the hardest:
1. Judgment from others.
What really holds us back is perceived judgment that comes from perceived failure - from practicing failure in our heads before it happens.
When we turn away from the discomfort of difficult emotions, unfortunately we armor up with self-sabotage traits of perfectionism, assumptions, comparisons, expectations, more judgment and busyness which only lead to exhaustion, hopelessness and disappointment.
When we notice the judgment and accept that “this is just me judging” without self-criticism (What is wrong with me that I can't stop doing this?) and that...
Corporations calculate success by metrics – return on investment, productivity, key performance indicators, cost savings, balance sheet, cash flow, retention, number of goods sold, quality metrics, speed to market, profit margin. Goals are created in the aggregate of these measurements. Performance at work is tied to goals. Goals are always measurable. If it isn’t measurable, it is only a notion, not a goal.
When a corporation doesn’t place the same value on its people as it does on its metrics often employees get sucked into believing that their personal worth is tied to the goal. And if they fail to meet the goal, they are a personal failure. There could be many circumstances that affect the realization of goals – resources, team culture, time, talent, a crisis, market share, competition. Yet individuals often lay expectations on top of goals, leading to despair. I am expected to hit the goal, or I...
You’ve read what the experts say. You’ve collected the necessary tools. You are committed. You are trying. Yet nothing changes. And you feel stagnant.
When I was a divorced single mother of four children under seven-year's old on welfare, food stamps and medical assistance, homeless and without an automobile I didn’t have time to go back to school to learn a new profession. I had four hungry mouths hanging open in front of me like baby birds.
Failure wasn’t an option. I decided to cease seeking what was “fair”, stop throwing money away on lawyers and accept that it was a far better use of my energy to focus on succeeding as the sole provider for my children than to expect family court to give anyone a conscience.
I had to put a plan together to hold my family together. I felt anxious, rejected and exhausted. I can’t tell you that I thought much about planning. There wasn’t time for ideal, only real. There wasn’t...
Life and career transitions carry some of the biggest heartaches of our lives – relocation, divorce, job loss, aging parents, relationship changes, health challenges, death of a loved one, friends who move way. We feel lost, rejected, angry, afraid, abandoned, alone. Often the biggest influencer in these situations is not the transition itself but, the story we attach to it. When the story generates from a place of fear we get stuck.
Define your perception of the situation – the version that you relive over and over in your head. It might be fear of what will happen in the future. It might be about health, relationships, career, financial security. It might be guilt about the past. You may feel like a victim or alone and that things will never change. What is your stuck story? Who is in it? Who do you blame for where you are? What is the worst possible outcome that could happen? We can dispel what we own. If we can’t face and own the...
You’ve seen it at work and at home. Someone is anxious about something and suddenly you are feeling anxious too. You know this isn’t healthy and that you shouldn’t feel this way which only makes it worse. Now you’re self-judging for not distancing yourself from the drama and begin to doubt your own effectiveness. You start losing sleep and wake up in the middle of the night, running the day’s conversations over in your mind.
Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and sucked in by another person’s angst. Drama is created when a person can’t accept the way they feel so they try to externalize it or put that feeling off on others, usually in a highly demonstrative or desperate way. This behavior provides them a temporary yet unsustainable relief from their discomfort. Thus, they continue the drama dance to try to unload their despair.
I notice I have been feeling anxious and assuming the anxiety of this person. I’ve...
This week I was refelcting on having had the good fortune of visiting the beautiful town of Copacabana and the city of Rio in Brazil for New Year’s Eve. Ten barges of fireworks are parked in the water all day on New Year's Eve awaiting three million people of all socioeconomic levels from all over the world to descend on the beach in white clothing at sundown. As the late evening approaches, seven cruise ships pepper the water behind them perched for the perfectly coordinated midnight extravaganza in perfect unison. I’ve never seen anything like it. I now know why they call it the best New Year’s Eve celebration in the world.
In Brazil I was profoundly touched by the natives' desire to work hard and thrive. The lust for life is palpable. There are no entitlements in the country so indeed there is poverty too. But the people are not an angry. They have light hearts, play soccer all over the beach, collect empty cans for money, work tirelessly at whatever they...
Recently I listened to a client who is struggling in her marriage discuss how difficult it is to watch other happily married couples. I understand the feeling. I spent a lot of time in my first marriage wishing I had what others had and comparing myself to them as well as enabling bad behavior by making excuses for him. Then my third child was born with a developmental disability and I used to sit at playgrounds comparing her to other children while somewhat insensitively pushing her and her therapists like machines because I became so outcome focused.
What I realized is that when we compare our lives to others and grasp at what isn’t ours we lose sight of all the good things we do have and this strips our fulfillment. This “less than” focus keeps us from letting go of what boundary maven Dr. Henry Cloud calls ‘necessary endings’ to allow for things to bloom in our lives. A healthy rose bush needs to be pruned for new buds to grow. If not,...
What do you actually want to happen this Christmas? Are expectations already making you tense? After all we have been fed for two months via television, radio and print what the ‘perfect’ Christmas should look like. You know you don’t want to feel loneliness, fear and anxiety. Be the creator of what you want.
The Happy Holiday’s Plan