“Embrace the glorious mess that you are.” Elizabeth Gilbert
“Doggone It, People Like Me” Jack Handey
I spent a lot of my younger years thinking that I was crazy, a mess, not that bright… very negative self talk. It took me many years to realize that everyone is a ‘hot mess’. That being a gloppy, bumpy, goofy, awkward human means that I am alive. That I am taking risks, putting myself out there, getting my hands dirty.
And that’s how it should be.
Change Your Self-Talk
So if you think of yourself as a mess, you’re probably doing it right. Work on changing your negative self talk to something positive:
- Lighten up
- It’s all good
- I am enough (I used this affirmation for years)
- Other people feel as awkward as I do (believe me, 95% of people do)
- Easy does it
- How important is it?
These days, I say, “it’s all good” nearly every day. The things I used to spend hours worrying about either never happened or whatever DID happen, I never could have predicted or prepared for. Sure there are lots of things that happen in the world that are not “all good”- e.g. war, abuse and hunger. Today, I work to figure out what can I do something about and then do it. The rest of my awkward, weird, silly, ridiculous, lazy, lame and ludicrous self… I give her a pass.
Image credit: Enjoying the cake Hoyasmeg
Oh, Oh… I Got Fired
If you’ve been fired in the past year or two and it was your first time, you might still feel bad about it. I was fired 3 times (well, technically fired twice and laid off once). The first time, I worked in a shoe store in high school. They wanted me to recommend other stuff when people bought shoes. Couldn’t do it. So, I was fired. The next time, I had been promised by my boss’s boss that things would change in the workplace…they didn’t change, I was insubordinate. The third time, I had pre-negotiated a leave date so technically it was a lay off. (I was never fired for cause!)
The first time I was devastated. The second time I thought the world would end. The third time was, no big deal. Every time I left a job involuntarily, something better turned up next.
I’m In Good Company
For inspiration, glance at this article, “21 Great Successes Who Got Fired.” The list is pretty impressive …
- Abraham Lincoln
- Oprah Winfrey
- Walt Disney
- Truman Capote
- Lady Gaga
The list of athletes who failed is long but one stands out… Michael Jordan. He was cut from his high school basketball team. Think about Jennifer Hudson. An American Idol loser who went on to win Oscar.
Whatever is happening with you right now, know that good things are going to happen for you. Hold on for one more day. I believe in you.
Image credit: Getting Fired: A Blessing
Let’s Get Comfortable
Here in America, we spend a lot of our time, energy and money on getting, being and staying “comfortable.” Think about it.
If we’re hungry – we eat, if we’re cold – we turn up the heat. I’m not suggesting that we sit around hungry in the freezing cold; but I am suggesting that we live with and appreciate discomfort. This may sound counter intuitive. How could a person possibly appreciate discomfort?
The Power of Discomfort
When the baby is learning to talk or walk, they have to garble words and trip over their own feet. They aren’t “comfortable,” they are learning. When we are learning, we are uncomfortable. When we are growing, we are uncomfortable. When we are stagnant… we seek comfort more and more.
This isn’t a complicated idea…it’s pretty simple. Pay attention to how comfortable you are. On a scale from 1 to 10, right now, how comfortable are you? Are you warm/cool enough? are you under pressure? is the pressure self-imposed? Are you learning new things? Or are you just complaining? I’m not suggesting that you run yourself ragged in order to be uncomfortable so you can learn and grow. I’m suggesting that you look at your discomfort. Is it teaching you something?
It’s good to be a little cold, a little hungry – to think a little more about putting ourselves in situations where we can learn versus staying a safe warm cocoon where nothing changes. Go ahead, embrace the discomfort. Let me know how it goes.
Image credit: Louis CK – Why we must learn to embrace discomfort
“I feel you, Fear, and I’m moving forward.” Chris Brogan
Fear and Failure
These are 2 sides of the same negative coin. We are taught to deny fear and fear failure. In my experience, this is self-defeating. Think about this other quote from the wonderful Chris Brogan, “Use fear to inform you, but never let it guide you.”
Get It Out
While it’s hard to face the fear, you can make it work for you. Here are few ways:
- Use role models – If you think people who accomplish great things are not afraid, please think again. They are just as terrified as everyone else. Maybe more. But they use the power of fear and even anger to move forward. If you have a ‘hero’, read their story. If you can speak to them, ask them about fear. You’ll learn a lot and get fuel for your own fear-crushing fire.
- Get an outlet – some people sing, some write, some punch something, some talk it out. Others just keep it inside, this is the worst. Find a way to let it out. Here are some of my favorites: hit a tennis racket on the bed, take the car out to the highway and scream (really loud), put on loud music and dance around with big motions and lots of stomping, take plastic containers and whip them at the wall. They make a satisfying noise, they bounce around and nothing breaks.
- Once you’ve got it out, focus on moving forward. If you need help, Chris Brogan has a program – Twenty Minute Plan.
I believe in you. Believe in yourself.
Image credit: Inspiring quotes
I Hate Asking for Help
I HATE asking for help. In my world, asking for help is not only a sign of weakness, but, as I learned from an early age, asking for help often means I won’t get any. My family tried, but they just were not in a position to be there for me. So as a result, I’m lousy at figuring out what I need and then asking other people to help me.
Independence Is Overrated
The problem with thinking that I have to do everything myself is that:
- It’s tiring
- I’m not that good at a lot of stuff
- It’s lonely
- Other people resent it
- I don’t give people a chance to show their support and love for me
Is It My Ego Talking?
There’s also an element of ego in “not asking.” As if, when I reveal a need and someone helps me, I might owe them something and then I can’t do whatever I want. Ego is very bad reason not to ask for help and tricky to recognize.
Balance Is The Goal
Being too dependent is equally bad. Not stepping up, getting too comfortable, manipulating others to do my work, etc. This is very bad also. This, however, isn’t my problem. I try to solve my problems and everyone else’s. Even if people don’t want my help. So now I work on paying attention to what I need and help others in a way that I can (when asked).
While it’s painful for me to ask for help, I have to keep trying. It takes more confidence to request help than it does to ‘go it alone.’ Arrggghhh. I hate it!
Image credit: Asking for help
Everyday people tell me, you gotta try this. You’ll LOVE this. Watch this, wear this, smell this, read this, blah blah blah.
I don’t have to do anything except breathe. And you know, for a human being, I think I do a rather poor job of it. Check this out from the always wonderful Chris Brogan.
“I had a quick chat with the Universe. It was in a rush but it wanted me to share something important with you. ‘You would do well to breathe deeper. In general. Take deeper breaths. In fact,’ said the Universe, ‘did you know that learning how to master slow, deep, controlled breaths is one way to master anxiety, fear, frustration, and many more feelings and emotions?'”
For today, you and I don’t need to master anything. But what I can do is remember the joy and release from just breathing. So right now, wherever you are, stop everything. Take a breath. Now take another. Just feel yourself breathing. Feels good doesn’t it? I’m trying to figure out a way to remind myself several times a day. Got any hints?
Chris Brogan quote is from his weekly newsletter that he sends out on Sunday. You can subscribe here.
Photo credit: ellephysio
Why We Judge Others
Did you judge someone today? Maybe you’re not even aware of it. It’s a habit and way of thinking in modern society. Anytime we think we know what someone “should” do, we are judging. In the quote above, Einstein gives us an idea of how to check if we are being judgmental.
Judgement is a problem because it makes others feel “less than” and doesn’t give room for live and let live.
There is a difference between stating your position and putting someone else down. My aunt Dorothy (b. 1899 d. 1998) taught me by example that judging people is not only a waste of time, but also, doesn’t contribute to one’s overall well being. Here’s an example.
Don’t Try Harder, Try Different
Let’s talk about the rights of gay Americans. Whether you like it or believe it’s ‘natural’ is beside the point. Let’s talk about the right to carry a gun. Whether you like it or think its good for society is beside the point.
The point is to listen not judge. If I judge the person who is gay or who wants to carry a gun everywhere, then I miss the opportunity to grow, to see the world from someone else’s point of view. I miss the opportunity to keep an open mind, to learn, to change, to adjust. I just dig my heels in and build walls. I judge that fish by it’s ability to climb a tree. Not. relevant.
There Is No Grapefruit at the Hardware Store
You can’t get grapefruit at the hardware store. If I am always mad when I leave the hardware store (for it’s lack of ANY fruit) – whose fault is that?
The point is to find a balance between having an opinion/belief and being open minded enough to get along, go along and help make things better. The key word is compromise. Lighten up a little. Pay attention to when you “judge”. What are you afraid of that makes you dig your heels in?
Image credit: You’re a genius all the time.
What does love look like?
Let’s talk about how we show people that we care. Do we buy things for them? Do we cook for them? Clean up after them? Provide a home? All of these things take a lot of time… and energy.
Attention, the rarest of commodities
What is one of the most important (and ‘cheapest’) things we can do for our children, spouse, friends, relatives, employees?
We can listen to them. Look them in the eye and give them our full attention. Try to do it for one full minute. Is it difficult? Do you feel like you ‘should’ be doing something else? email, texts, reading, exercising, paperwork, etc.
Giving someone our full attention isn’t easy in the age of distraction. Check out this terrific post by the wonderful Beth Kanter on improving focus (simple ideas to practice) when there’s too much going on.
Just for today, pick one person. Turn everything off. Sit down with them and ask them a question and then listen to the answer. Can you repeat back to them what they said? Did you really hear them? Were you able to ask follow up questions? Did you understand how they felt, whether they told you or not? Be generous with your ATTENTION, with the people who mean the most to you. Let me know how it goes.
Image credit: Listen closely photographer credit: 20 questions
Quote credit: Simone Weil Image credit: Quotesville.net
Be Strong not Stubborn
Firm not Harsh
Flexible not Fickle
Humble not Proud
Helpful not Showy
Affectionate not Hurtful
Annoyed not Resentful
The Glue and not the Crack
Being You yet Accepting others
Brave yet Grateful
Helpful yet Modest
Right yet Wrong
Successful yet Grounded
Angry yet Composed
There are a lot of benefits to being a grown up and there’s a bunch of sh*t too. In reading this ‘definition’ of maturity, I was struck by the list of ‘opposites. “be the glue, not the crack.” The reality is that sometimes we are the crack. No matter how hard we try NOT to be. It’s complicated to be right yet wrong, successful and grounded, firm and not harsh.
The reality is that some of us will mature more fully. Lots of things get in the way of being mature… #1 is ego and I equate a big ego to someone who isn’t confident. They push and pull their way through life. The sharp edges never wear off. No. Matter. What.
My favorite saying on this list and the one I’ve worked hard on is “angry yet composed.” Being raised a ‘girl,’ I was taught, shown and constantly reinforced – girls don’t get angry. It’s ok for boys, after all, they’re boys. (Yeah, I feel sick too). Growing up in a very dysfunctional home, it was easy to be angry. I was good at it. I had a lot of practice. so what was I supposed to do with it. Channel it into new lipsticks and hairdos?
Remember, I was born before the legislation that changed the lives of American women forever, Title IX (pros and cons article).
The law that sports had to be equal for men and women. Prior to Title IX, sports were not available to women. Hell, we’ve only had the right to vote since August 26, 1920. 95 years! There are women alive today who couldn’t vote in the early part of their lives. It’s hard for me to imagine.
So now that traditional outlets for learning, growing, understanding winning and losing, choosing our own destiny, etc. are available to us, finding a way to be angry and composed is easier. Not easy, but at least today, I’ve got a clue.
Now that I am old(erish), I thought my curiosity about the world would decrease. After all, it’s gotten me into plenty of trouble.
When I read, “The Routine Gene – Can Productivity and Creativity Coincide?” I knew that my love of ambiguity/curiosity was alive and well. That’s because I have a high CQ (curiosity quotient). This is in contrast to my IQ (aka Intelligence Quotient) or EQ (Emotional Quotient).
Our “curiosity quotient is measured by how inquisitive and open to new situations we are. People with higher CQ, dislike routine, but embrace ambiguity and have a knack for finding simple solutions to complex problems.”
The following quote (from the article) describes my approach to routine and creativity:
“The art is finding the balance between turning everything you do that is repeatable into a well-oiled machine (call it ‘a routine’) whilst keeping all your attention and senses open for serendipity and creativity. The best entrepreneurs zip through life on autopilot where their creativity isn’t needed and bring intense focus to those areas where they can make a huge difference.” This manifests itself in various ways; I generally eat the same thing for breakfast. Steve Jobs wore a black turtle neck and jeans.
If you are bored with your work or your life, maybe you need to figure out how to up your CQ. I like to ‘feed’ my curiosity. Here are few ways that I do it:
- Watch a movie and imagine I am the director. What would I have changed? Who would I have cast?
- Take a walk outside and appreciate the simple complexity of nature. I look very closely at tree bark, rocks, flowers. I look at the pattern, the texture, the color and I smell everything.
- Listen to someone talk about what they love to do. Somehow, watching and witnessing their joy and passion is completely inspirational.
How do you feed your curiosity?
Photo credit: Eugene O’Neill Quotes