The inability to say “no”

NO

 Jon Tyson  Unsplash

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“Freedom comes when you learn to let go, creation comes when you learn to say no.” Madonna Ciccone

Stress, technically, may not be a “norm” (yet?) in our society but it sure is a very common experience for a vast number of folks. Many of them, consciously or unconsciously, actually choose to live stress-filled lives. One reason is their inability (or unwillingness) to say “no” – choosing, rather, to not slow down and stop living life at 90 miles an hour, or unwilling to make healthy choices for the sake of their own mental, physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological well-be-ing. For these folks, a lifestyle change that includes saying “no” is an overwhelming and fearful challenge? Why?

The need to keep all options open
Rather than reducing or eliminating choices in the face of overwhelming stress, an obsessive need to say “yes” to juggling unmanageable and untold options seems to be an everyday, self-defeating self-management tactic that has so many feeling trapped, exhausted, overwhelmed, depleted, fearful, and over-medicated (chemical and non-chemical) at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

Why do folks need to keep every option open and consider everything and everyone – as one client said to me recently about an event he was considering -“a definite maybe”? A definite maybe! What is that?!

The pain of saying no
Why is saying “no” so painful? Why does every door have to remain open? Why does one need to consider every possible option?

Consider:

Whether it’s an attachment or add-on (one will never use) for a new digital camera, or a continued relationship where both partners have nothing in common, or staying connected to a blog, or social network to which one hasn’t contributed in weeks, months or even years, or an event to which one has season tickets but never attends, and the like, there’s a “story” that keeps folks feeling attached, a strong pull which seems to prevent one from disconnecting or detaching. Loss feels overwhelming. They use their “story” to rationalize their hanging on in the face of loss.

Exhausted and overwhelmed by daily decisions about, for example, where to eat every night and whom to socialize with, or exhausted by the panoply of activities that are depleting one’s physical, mental and emotional resources, folks either cannot or will not choose to step back and see the self-destructive results that come from their obsessive need to “keep all my options open.”

What is this attachment to staying open, to making every option a “definite possibility?”

FOMO-Fear of missing out
For many, when options go away or when doors close, they experience a certain sense of loss (fear of) of “missing out.” This can be a deep, visceral (they feel it in their gut) and frightening experience. In order to feel they “belong,” or they’re connected, or they’re not missing out on life, or to maintain a much-needed sense of emotional and psychological security and control, they make up stories about why they need to “keep all my options open,” and refuse to let go.

Their attachment to unlimited options, to unlimited choices, unlimited activities – even when they are overextended and exhausted by the limitlessness of it all – is driven by the fear of what might happen if they eliminate just one option or close just one door. For them, this fear is infinitely greater than the distress, anxiety, overwhelm and exhaustion they experience from keeping all their doors open.

Mentally, emotionally and psychologically, many folks would prefer to die slowly from their stressors than face the emotional loss of opting out or closing a door. It’s the devil they know vs. the devil they don’t. Fear of the unknown is too painful.

So, folks work more hours, longer days, take on more and more tasks and responsibilities, spend an inordinate amount of time in constant contact (online and in real time) or texting and phoning on their electronic leashes, draining their time and energy in social networks and blogs, going out eight nights (up until the last few months) a week, spending inordinately on “stuff,” possessing every add-on bell and whistle, staying connected with toxic folks who deplete their energy, agonizing obsessively over social, career and work changes and opportunities just because they need to “keep all my options open.” One person recently told me they “narrowed down” possible choices of places to move to “twenty-five!” Twenty-five! Why? Curious if such folks have an obsessive need to feel engaged and be in control so they don’t “miss out.”

There it is – overworking, overbooking, over-engaging, over-spending, over-socializing, over-exercising, over-committing, over-doing, and in a word,  over-obsessing, driven by their fear of loss from giving up an option, or closing a door.  Stressful and debilitating. It doesn’t have to be. All it takes is the strength and courage to say “no.” Simple, but not easy. You have the right to say “no.”

And, that’s worth thinking about.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Is it painful for you to give up options? How so?
  • Do you take an “everything is possible” or “everything is a definite maybe” approach to life to the extent that you’re mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually exhausted, and/or paralyzed, by having to choose among possibilities? What does that approach get you?
  • What would happen if you closed one door, or eliminated one option to a life or work choice you (s/he ) is considering today, this week, this month or this year? How does that thought make you feel?
  • Are you in relationships that are draining or toxic? Why do you choose to stay?
  • At work, do you take on more and more tasks and responsibilities to the extent they are affecting your health?
  • Do you (honestly) engage in blogging and social networking to stay connected and feel you “belong?” How would you feel if you stopped, or cut back?  Is social networking and blogging detracting you from other work, life and family responsibilities? What does social networking get you? Honestly?
  • How do you feel about being alone? Do you feel comfortable and secure in your own skin? Are you OK being in silence?
  • Growing up, were you surrounded by a sense of abundance, or lack?
  • Do you need to have “all the information” before making important life/work decisions/choices? How do you feel when you don’t have all the information? Does it lead you to continually procrastinate?
  • Is decision-making at work, at home, at play or in your relationships generally an “OK” or stressful experience for you? How so?
  • Is your outlook on life generally happy and pleasant, anxious and fearful? Why? (At least up until the last few months, how would you characterize your outlook on life?)
  • Do you always need to be “doing something?”
  • As a child, did you ever believe saying no was impolite, or rude?
  • On  a scale of 1-10, to what degree do you feel you need others’ approval?

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(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

The need to figure everything out

curiosity

Jeremy Bishop   Unsplash

 

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(I first sent this out in 2015. Given today’s uncertain times, I thought it may be relevant, with some edits. But, of course, that’s for you to decide.)

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” – Maya Angelou

Developmentally, most folks grow up in a “cause and effect” environment. We learn that when this happens, or you do that, something results and vice-versa. Our brains become wired to this phenomenon – cause, effect and connections. We search for patterns with people, places, events and circumstances – at work, at home, at play and in our relationship.

“Why?” and the world of illusion

Along the way, we become curious, not only wanting to understand the “what” and “how” of things, but the “why” as well.

So, what happens when we don’t know why? What happens if there is no pattern? What happens when there is no connection, no “permanence?” How do we respond/react?

Essentially, most folks attempt to create patterns when there are none – they create illusions. Illusions are connections, causes, and otherwise nonsensical and, sometimes, irrational “reasons” to explain “why.” Many of us are unable or unwilling to live without answers. That’s not bad or wrong. It is what it is.

We have to have a handle on the natural order of the Universe. For example, we have an intense obsession (perhaps unconscious) to know the “why” of earthquakes, tsunamis, etc., and now, the current pandemic (the latest in the history of pandemics that changed the world). We want to know why someone was affected and the person next door went untouched. Why? Why? Why?

Living with the unknown
For many folks, living with the unknown is uncomfortable, even unfathomable. The unknown for them is troubling and raises feelings of disharmony, imbalance, anxiety and even deep fear. It’s like taking a psycho-emotional bungee jump. It’s about the need for control. And when folks feel out of control, well, it’s akin to dying. The unknown is the antithesis of feeling whole, complete and “safe” or “held.”

So, rather than live with the unknown, we have this tendency to explain “what happened” with a “faux reality” which gives us a “faux” sense of comfort and safety. We construct an illusion and substitute this illusion for reality. Historically, folks have reached out to “Natural Law,” “Natural Science,” “God’s will,” “Karma” and the like for explanations, for comfort, for the feeling of control in the face of the unknown.

The antidote to not knowing
The ironic piece of this puzzle – the illusions we create to make ourself feel safe in the world – is also the cause of our pain and suffering. Letting go of the illusion and being comfortable with the unknown – not knowing – is what ultimately results in freedom and empowerment.

Not knowing is an opportunity to take a deeper look inside – to explore and examine what’s underneath our wanting to know and the effect this wanting has on our life – at work, at home, at play and in our relationships.

Intellectually, we grasp for answers – our developmental, biological, psychological process at work. On a soul level, however, there can be a greater sense of distress about encountering the unknown. However, this distress is actually the “way in” to comfort, safety and security. Exploring our need to be the master of the unknown, exploring the “stories” and illusions we create to explain the unknown – explorations which are often challenging – can bring us to a place where we can rest with not knowing.

As the Biblical story of Job points out, our lack of understanding can lead us to trust.

Our constant need to figure everything out, our constant self-sabotaging mantra that we “should” be able to figure everything out, only leads to greater pain and suffering.

We often hear “trust the process.” And it’s an operating principle worth taking to heart. Life is moving at ninety miles an hour, natural phenomena abound daily, and social dynamics and social upheavals occur in the blink of an eye. The mind is not always capable of understanding, of having all the answers. So, stop efforting to figure everything out.

It’s NOT to say we stop trying to understand life. But it does mean that we take the time to reflect on the inner turmoil and havoc we inflict on ourselves by wanting to know everything. It means that true well-be-ing does not depend on being a know-it-all.

The obsession with trying to figure everything out actually takes us away from our experience in the moment. Preoccupied with figuring everything out keeps us from the inner space – below the neck – where we can learn and grow from our immediate experience by being present to it, being consciously aware of what we feel and sense, not think.

Engaging in the mental gyrations of trying to figure everything out keeps us from actually having an experience, feeling that experience, being in the experience, instead of being next to our experience. And, even if we think we have it all figured out, it’s usually but a short time before “buyer’s remorse” sets in – spending precious time and energy wondering if we’re “right,” or feeling guilty, blaming, or stressed in some way that we may not have the answer, or the right answer.

Rather, if we set our intention to do our best and to learn on the fly, in the moment, we’re more apt to understand not only the “why,” but the “what” and “how” from another, different, more realistic perspective.

When we “are” the experience, inside it, we don’t need to make assumptions about what’s “right.” We have an “intuition, a felt-sense, and inner knowing that, curiously, arises without having to “figure it out.”

When we are the experience, we give up the tendency to allow the past to predict the present; we allow context, the experience itself, to guide us. We can “reflect” on the past, even look for patterns, but without having to have a “right” answer.

We’ve all had the experience of discovering how wrong our assumptions can be. And we’ve also had the experience of self-sabotage when we allow our assumptions get in the way.

Surrender and letting go
Surrender and letting go, as uncomfortable as that may sound and feel, inevitably allow us to meet our experience, naturally, without guilt, without shame, without stress, without blame and without pain and suffering.

Surrender and letting go are aspects of trust – not resignation, despair, or giving up – but trust in the knowing that one’s life force, not mind, is trustworthy, that there is no real reason to struggle or to effort to figure everything out.

Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be Revelation.” – Eileen Caddy

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you feel you always need a “script” to deal with uncertainty in your life. What does not having  a script feel like, look like and sound like for you?
  • Are you using “black and white” thinking to find your way through this pandemic experience?
  • Are you aware of your inner resources?  How do you tap into them?
  • Do you find yourself resisting your experience much of the time? How do you resist? Why do you resist?
  • Have you ever just surrendered and let go? What was that like for you?
  • How did you learn about trust as you were growing up?
  • Have you ever known exactly what to do without having had to “figure it out?” What was that experience like?
  • Do you engage in constant research, deliberation or obsessing when you have a decision to make?
  • Do you trust your “higher” self, your inner intelligence?
  • Do you think all clarity comes from “inside your mind?”
  • Can you trust that your life circumstances, even though you can’t always explain them, are here for your awakening?
  • If you ask yourself, “Why is this (pandemic) experience happening FOR me (not TO me),” what comes up for you?

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(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Whose Success Is It Anyway?

success

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Just launched – three exciting new products

“Reflection is one of the most underused yet powerful tools for success.” Richard Carlson

If you Google “success definitions,” you’ll find about 1,790,000,000 links.  “Success in life?” 1,840,000,000 results. No wonder we’re often confused, and frustrated by what constitutes success.

Folks also love success quotes. Google has 90,500,000 results to ponder. Here are a few:

  • “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” Bob Dylan
  • “Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.” Albert Einstein
  •  “Just as the tumultuous chaos of a thunderstorm brings a nurturing rain that allows life to flourish, so too in human affairs times of advancement are preceded by times of disorder. Success comes to those who can weather the storm.I Ching No. 3
  • “The successful man is the average man, focused.” Anonymous
  •  “Getting what you go after is success; but liking it while you are getting it is happiness.” Anonymous

So, what do you think these quotes have in common?

For one thing, what they have in common is that they’re all someone’s else’s idea of success.

Many folks love success quotes – they’re cool, neat, pithy, catching and the like. However, often they don’t “work” because the folks who love to quote them most often never personalize “success” – that is, success remains a “nice idea” but at 9:00 Monday morning they’re caught in their own confusion, self-doubt and mis-perception – striving to experience “success” by mimicking another’s dream idea of success, lost at the 50,000-foot level.

In my experience, the most important tool that supports experiencing true and real success is reflection – a deep contemplation which many are unable or willing to undertake. Thus, frustrated, many experience life as consistent indecision and dis-harmony as there’s no alignment between what they say, feel, think and do when it comes to “success.” Success remains a notion that takes up real estate in the smallest of molecules in their brain. Never to see the light of day – 9:00 Monday morning day.

On the other hand, others define success simply as “results.”  But, getting results without discovering something about one’s self in the process often leads to an unhappy and “un-success-ful” life in the short or long term. Why? “Doing” in and of itself, without be-ing, is not a solid formula for success. The “successful” Bernie Ebbers of Enron, or the Bernie Madoffs of the hedge fund and banking world are testimonials to this type of “success.”

Many folks actually do create results (“success?”), often without personal growth – yet wonder why they don’t feel better, alive, fulfilled – admitting, as Deepak Chopra writes, they don’t experience “good health, energy or enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, or peace of mind.”

The idea of success can be quickly obliterated just as if it was written in the sand – wiped out in a moment by a wave (of uncertainty), a hurricane, health issue, job loss, divorce, accident, old age, bank failure, etc.).

Or, can it?

It depends.

For some folks, success can disappear in an instant; for others, not so, regardless of the circumstances. True success comes with discerning its true and real meaning.

So, there’s “success” and there’s “success.” Are the rich successful? What about the starving artist? The person in the corner office on the 52nd floor? The person in the mail room in the basement? You? Me?

Being successful requires a conscious exploration of what success means to you – creating your own quote. Until and unless you take the time to define success for yourself, there’s a  good chance someone else is defining success for you. Often a self-limiting and self-defeating experience.

So, if you lack you own success quotation, perhaps today is the ideal time to begin to create your own.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you consider yourself successful? What criteria are you using?  How do you measure it?
  • Are the standards you use to define success, your own, or are they standards you “were given?
  • Are you ever jealous or envious of others’ success?
  • Do you ever feel empty, unhappy, or unfulfilled even though you are a success? If so, why do you think that’s so?
  • How do you define “rich”? “Wealthy?”
  • Is your self-worth defined by your net worth?
  • How much of your life is spent doing what you think you “should do” as opposed to doing what you “want to do?”
  • Do you find meaning, fulfillment and happiness in your life at work, at home, at play and in relationship?
  • Do you plan your vacations with more care, attention and detail than you plan your life?
  • Do you ever fear success?
  • Do you have true and real fun in your life? If not, why not?
  • Do you learn from your mistakes?
  • How did you come to be a “success?”
  • How did you learn about success as you were growing up?
  • Are you ever bothered by persistent thoughts of not “being good enough?” When did you first notice these thoughts? How do you deal with them?
  • Do you have models for success? Who are they? How did you decide to use them as your models?
  • Do you think successful people are happy or happy people are successful? How so?

“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it’s the same problem you had last year.” – John Foster Dulles

“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” Vincent Van Gogh

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(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Living With Opposites

yin yang

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Just launched – three exciting new products

The Indian philosopher Krishnamurti remarked that “the highest form of intelligence is the ability to observe without evaluating.”

So, a few questions:
Are some of the people around you lazy, or do they just do lazy things?
Are some kids you see stupid, or do they just do things differently from you?
Are some of your co-workers uncreative or do they just approach tasks in a way you wouldn’t?
Are some bosses cold and calculating or do they just manage in ways you might not?
Is your spouse or partner too independent or do they just have a different way of viewing a relationship?

Judging as the cause of disconnects
One of the major causes of disconnects and conflict between people – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – is our tendency to not only make observations about their behavior, but to use our observations as the basis make snap judgments about their character.

When we observe someone and instantly label them on the basis of some behavior or other, we move away from seeing the wholeness and totality of that person.

Many of us engage in knee-jerk, judgmental reactions of others who, in some way, appear “different from me.” We are quick not only to point out the “bad-ness” or “wrong-ness” of another but to evaluate who they are based on observations of their behavior, their differences.

So, Peter’s lazy; Dan’s a procrastinator; Julia’s unhealthy; Susan’s angry; Mario’s a narcissist, Jane’s aggressive; Art’s a complainer.

None of these judgments is an (objective, non-judgmental) observation. None of these criticisms points to a simple, objective behavior. All of these are judgments we feel we need to make about a person based on what we have observed.

The next time you find yourself making a knee-jerk reactive judgment, perhaps ask first, “What is that person doing or saying that makes me feel some sense of discomfort (or feel threatened in some way)? And then ask yourself, “Why can’t I seem to just notice their behavior without needing to make a judgment or offer an evaluation?”

In fact, it would be interesting if during your day you could actually discern between your observations and your evaluations. Many can’t, because the habit of observing and judging is so ingrained.

Why we judge rather than observe
When our ego, rather than our heart and soul, is left to do the driving, our GPS is based on looking at the landscape from a like/dislike, right/wrong, or good/bad perspective. Built into this mode of reacting, is an evaluative process based on ego-based emotions, feelings, character, qualities, and styles, etc.

So the more someone is “not like me,” the more we feel a tendency to push away from them. All of this is based on our need, often unconscious, to “be right.” When someone behaves – in thought, word or deed – in a way that does not sync up with what we feel is right, we feel challenged or threatened. And when we feel challenged or threatened, we feel the need to defend our beliefs, our “rightness.” In doing so, we’re looking to support our psycho-emotional safety and security with a singular focus on  “who I am.”

Making judgments about others is how we defend our self. If we can make them “bad” or “wrong,” then we’re right or good. This dynamic is also the underlying foundation of bias and prejudice. And for many, this dynamic is characteristic of living in a world of duality – good vs. bad; right vs. wrong; intelligent vs. stupid, etc.

Moving beyond duality
The way we move beyond this dualistic tendency is to suspend judgment – to observe without evaluating. When we transcend our ego and come from a place of presence – simply observing – we can start to see the essence of another individual.

From this place, we can suspend what we like and dislike and allow our soul to look at the truth (not ego-based subjective “truth”) – a deeper and intuitive sense of another person based on respect, tolerance and understanding, rather than judgement.

And when we’re open and accepting of others, we start to find that we are similar; we are able to accept their personalities without discomfort, resistance, resentment, or difficulty – as we’re relating on a level where love and understanding, acceptance and inclusivity, tolerance and appreciation fill the space between us. Rather than making judgments, we acknowledge other points of view and respond with a “hmmm, that’s interesting” and move on without reacting.

Not by 9:00 tomorrow morning
Being able to accept and understand like this isn’t something that happens overnight, especially for those of us who have a deeply-ingrained tendency towards making judgments about others.

But there are behaviors we can focus on and develop to help us to accept others who push our buttons: patience, understanding, appreciating differences, recognizing the essential nature of others, and being empathetic, being open to, and valuing and allowing the uniqueness of, others.

When we focus on these behaviors, like and dislike stop being part of the relationship equation. Gradually, they will be replaced by compassion, empathy, acceptance and understanding.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you know the difference between an observation and a judgment?
  • Are you quick to judge? What would your friends, co-workers, or spouse/partner say? How so?
  • What do you “get” by being judgmental?
  • Do you blame others for much of your discomfort?
  • Do you become defensive in some way when you encounter people who push your buttons?
  • When you were growing up, were your parents, primary caregivers or others judgmental? How so?
  • Can you envision a world where people can observe one another without evaluating or judging?
  • What is your most recent experience of being judgmental? Of being judged?
  • Do you consider yourself to be an empathetic person? How so?
  • Do you spend lots of time ruminating about other’s behaviors? If so, why?
  • Are you someone who “takes things personally?” If so, where and when did you first notice you did this?
  • Do you tend to gravitate towards “people like me?”
  • To what degree do you give people “the benefit of the doubt?”

———————————————————
(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a (virtual) bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

How authentic are you — really?

frame

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

Why is it so challenging to show up authentically, as we really are? Why do we hide behind masks, personas and appear fake and phony so much of the time?

Everyone is born authentic. The human condition, i.e., life, often requires many folks to separate from their innate, authentic, natural and spontaneous self – beginning in childhood and moving through adolescence and into adulthood. So, “Who am I, really?” becomes a meaningful and purposeful question.

Many of us don one mask or personality when we’re alone and other masks in the various groups, settings, events and circumstances we encounter along life’s path – at work, at play, at home, and in our relationships. We often become confused souls. Role-playing is stressful and exhausting on many levels – mental, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.  The truth is, many of us don’t really know who we really are.

Everyone experiences insecurity – everyone. It’s part of the human condition. Growing up, learning how to please mommy and daddy or primary caregivers, to get their love, approval, and acceptance is not an innate capacity. It’s learned behavior. We’re taught how to act and not act; be one way and not another; speak one way and not another; think one way and not another, feel one way and not another, etc.. When we behaved in ways we, but not our parents or primary caregivers, felt were OK, we were punished or rejected, even abused, in some way – verbally, emotionally or sometimes physically.

So, as we grew, matured and ventured into the world, we weren’t always sure how to be, or what to say, or how to feel to gain the acceptance, approval and acknowledgement of others. Instead of being our natural and authentic self, we began to play out some ideal or image of who and how we thought we should be – images we learned at home – which would help us feel safe and secure.

This initial, internalized inner insecurity around adhering to the way our parents or primary caregivers wanted us to be (do, think, feel…) – their wishes and demands – led many of to grow up as actors “trying to appear as our selves,” rather than just “be myself.” This constant efforting to “play a role,” or live up to an “image,” leads to self-deceit and being inauthentic. Ironically, as adults, many folks invest huge amounts of time, money, effort and energy searching for who they really are, often to no avail.

Many folks thus are (consciously or unconsciously) obsessed over how they appear to others, jumping through hoops to gain others’ approval, acknowledgement and recognition. They do, “what I have to do” – which most often means showing up as a fake and phony, role-playing the images they “imprinted” or “hard-wired” into their brains early on.

What is it that gets in the way of being authentic? The greatest obstacle is identifying with the self-images we have taken on as a result of early interactions with parents or primary caregivers, extended family, friends, school-mates, teachers, clergy, etc. – “images” we take ourselves to be.  Being authentic morphs into living a life of “mistaken identity.”

So, here’s an exercise to explore this dynamic. Suppose you had a gallery where 15 portraits of you are displayed. Under each is a blank label. Your task is to write on that label descriptor you believe depicts you (e.g., superwoman, superman, best mother, excellent leader/manager, smart and well educated, life of the party, great lover, spiritual, wealthy, etc.) And, take your time.

There’s a fair to good chance most of these labels/descriptors represent self-images you created early on – not from a place of authenticity, or natural-ness, but out of the need to identify as “someone,” an imposter, to gain others’ acceptance and approval. Unfortunately, when you expressed your true self, your authenticity, there were often times you did not sync up with your parents’ or primary caregivers’ expectations of who you should and should not be, and were denied love and acceptance. Your solution? Jettison your true and real self and role-play the child your parents wanted you to be, to feel safe and secure, i.e., loved.

So, early on, we became actors and, absent the conscious, deeper-level work of self-awareness, personal growth, or the psycho-emotional work of emotional mastery, we remain actors to this day. The downside is that if we forget our role, “our lines,” we think we will lose out on the accolades, recognition, and approval of others.  Many of us feel we have to be “on” 24/7, 365 and have become conditioned to obsess with our self-image, ending up being someone we’re not. Our fear of rejection is just too great for many of us to bear. So, we resist showing up as our authentic self, for fear of not being “seen” or “heard.” We fear being “invisible.”

When we let go of our “mental” self-images, do the “inner personal work” to re-discover our True and Real Self, and allow our real self to arise, we can be authentic, natural and spontaneous.

Some of us are unable or unwilling to do this deeper exploration, to look at the “psycho-spiritual” truth of who we are. We choose to wear masks and don personas that obscure our authenticity, natural and spontaneous expression.

When we separate from our authentic self, this disconnect manifests largely as our ego personality which is constantly experiencing states of low self-esteem, low self-value and low self-worth which we then try to recover “outside” ourselves – the progressive drug of fakery and phoniness.

One of the reasons honest, safe, trusting and conscious relationships are so challenging – at work, at home and at play – is because many folks are living this “image of mistaken identity” of themselves and can not or will not show up as real and authentic. For them, living the “ideal” is impossible.

What is possible, however, is living a life from a place of authenticity, and allowing others to be authentic with us as well.

What would that take?

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Who are you – really? Would others agree with you?
  • Do you play roles and wear masks in certain circumstances or with certain individuals? How so?
  • Have you ever been judged – directly or indirectly – as being a fake or phony? How did that feel?
  • Do you tend to judge others as fake or phony? How so?
  • When are you at your authentic best? What’s that like to be/act that way?
  • How did you learn roles, and create images about your self, as you were growing up? Which roles, specifically?
  • What would it be like if you were authentic all  the time? How so?
  • Do you ever feel shame or guilt because you can’t or won’t be yourself? How does that affect you?
  • Are you ever curious about your motives, values and intentions?
  • Do you ever give up parts of your self in order to “fit in?” How so?
  • Are you often driven by internal “shoulds?”
  • To what degree do you fear rejection?
  • Are you aware of a lonely, frightened part of yourself? How do you experience that awareness? What do you do with that awareness?

—————————————————————————–
(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Whose mind is it anyway?

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“Man is made or unmade by himself. In the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”James Allen

Developmental psychologists tell us children, progressing through various stages from prenatal to age about nine, discover (mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically – depending on the stage they’re in): (1) whether or not it’s safe for them to be here; (2) whether or not it’s ok to make their needs known; (3) whether or not it’s safe for them to explore and try new things; (4) whether or not to trust what they’re learning; (5) whether it’s ok to learn to think for one’s self; (6) whether or not it’s ok for them to be “who I am,” to find out who others are and to learn the consequences for their behavior; and (7) how to build an internal structure that supports them, and to develop the competence to master the technical and social skills needed to live in their culture.

Our psychological and emotional orientation to our world, then, is pretty much in place by the time we are nine or ten. In fact, many psychologists say our emotional and psychological make-up is set by the time we are six.

Consider:

So, as a “physical-age, that is, chronological, adult,” the question is: “When I’m being emotionally reactive to my life, who is it who’s responding and reacting?

There are two choices: (1) my 3-4-5-6 child-ish self  or (2) my emotionally and spiritually mature-adult self.

The answer for 98% percent of the population (though they may disagree) is (1).

Generally, developmental psychologists largely agree that many “adults” – emotionally – are actually 3-4-5-6-year-olds, in adult bodies, wearing adult clothes and that while people, places, events and circumstances change from age six well through adulthood, our psychological and emotional orientation and reaction to them is often still that of a 3-4-5-6-year-old.

Whose mind is it anyway?
Let’s use the metaphor of a motherboard, or a systems board – the piece of electronic equipment that
“thinks” or “drives” the behavior of a computer or electronic device – and let’s allow this motherboard to represent our brain or mind.

A motherboard is not flat nor smooth; rather, items are attached to it – nodes, diodes, small metal, plastic or rubber-wrapped items. These various structures contain all the programming, databases and commands that allow the computer or electronic device to function –  i.e., react, to events, circumstances, etc.

During the stages between pre-birth to about the age of six, we take on our “programming” – e.g., our emotions, feelings, ways of believing about, thinking about, and reacting to our world and the people in it, ways of negotiating our world that keep us safe and secure, ways or behaving that initially bring us love, acceptance and approval from our primary caregivers and then other authority figures (e.g., extended family and friends, teachers, clergy and the like).

So, now as an “adult,” you – i.e., your motherboard – possesses a database of thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, emotions, feelings, worldviews, assumptions, perceptions, understandings, expectations, inferences, biases and values – of a young child, i.e., your younger you.

So, is your present emotional reactivity to your world a function of your “adult” you, or your “little boy/girl” you?

The next time you become reactive (i.e., fearful, angry, rageful, jealous, resentful, confused, lost, apprehensive, and the like) about some aspect of your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship – ask yourself these questions:

What am I feeling right now?
How old do I feel (emotionally, not chronologically)?

(NOTE! – It’s important to actually name the emotion (see links above). If you are prone to say how you’re feeling by saying something like, ” I feel that…,” “I feel like…,” or “I think that…,” and follow it with some type of statement, you are NOT expressing an emotion…you are expressing a thought, or a belief, or a conviction or some such, but you are NOT expressing an emotion. Our airways, offices, social gatherings…are full of folks who constantly say, “I feel,” but what follows is anything but a feeling. A belief or thought is not a feeling  – ever; it may and often does trigger a feeling but, in itself, is not a feeling – ever.  Every emotion has a corresponding physiological sensation in the body – thus, the list of physiological sensations. HINT – if you’re ever curious about how you are really feeling, sense into your body, (instead of thinking about it or tying to ‘figure it out.” Your body is your best barometer of what is actually going on in your – emotional- life).

The emotionally immature adult thinks and reacts with the mind of the 3-4-5-6-year-old. The emotionally immature, child-ish, adult often is experienced as: acting out, throwing tantrums, being overbearing, micromanaging, fearful, scared, needy, controlling, disrespectful, angry, resentful, pushy, bullying,  judgmental, critical, jealous, envious, abusive, shut down, withdrawn, dishonest, insincere, defensive, argumentative, grandiose, and  focused on the self and ego.

How does this happen?
When we experience consistently loving, caring, and emotionally nurturing parents, we are more likely to create strong, positive ways of doing and being in the world. In reality, such consistent behavior comes from few dedicated, focused, mature, healthy parents whose parenting efforts were continuous. Few “emotionally conscious” folks were raised in such families. Few of us had our social/emotional/psychological needs met adequately. The result is that uneven parenting produces children who were neglected – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and/or psychologically. Many children were not raised to develop strong centers – the result is some flavor of emotional immaturity or child-ish-ness.

“Child-like” behavior – Growing up again
For most folks, the path from “child-ish”-ness to emotional and spiritual maturity – becoming an “adult” adult – requires some type of process – i.e., developmental  “work” – which support us to “grow up again.” This process (it is a process, not an event) supports one to come into their own True, Real and Authentic Self in their life – at work, at home, at play and in relationship. The process of growing up again supports one to access their True and Real Self – the Self that was ignored during childhood.

What does a mature, “child-like” (as opposed to child-ish) adult look like?
Presence, mindfulness, emotional mastery and “process” work for the adult usually focuses on awareness of our past programming and how that programming adversely affects our present state. These types of “work” also teach us to be with what is, right here and right now – with a focus on “my self” in the moment, unencumbered by past emotional and mental baggage we have carried through life. These types of “work” also focus on the heart – where our True and Real Self abides. The idea is to be in the moment, not in the past – and walk through life  with a smooth, clean motherboard.

Eckert Tolle in his work around presence (the Now), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his work around flow, Buddhist practices around meditation and achieving a state of “no mind,” or other spiritual traditions that focus on a still point, are meant to support us to experience life right here and right now from a place where we are real and authentic in the moment – unencumbered by “our motherboard” – i.e., our past programming.

From a place of presence, no one owns any real estate on your motherboard. It’s smooth and flat. In fact, we don’t really need a motherboard because our heart and soul are driving. We are connected to our True Self – a singular node or diode – our Center or Core – our True and Real “ME”- that informs us of “right knowing,” “right understanding” and “right action” – all from the “inside.”

Presence draws on our heart and soul’s capacities, resources and qualities, allowing us to experience true emotional and spiritual maturity and a “child-like” (vs. child-ish) state.

Presence deletes our “little child” programming – which often creates states of feeling: lost, angry, abandoned, confused, unloved, etc. In a state of presence, we access “no mind” – and we resource what our heart and soul give us in this moment. Presence results in a True and Authentic Self who is: loving, compassionate, lively, nurturing, excited, firm, fair, helpful, juicy, respectful, adventurous, self-responsible, curious, non-judgmental, wondering, joyful, honest, sincere, happy, allowing and accepting.

So, the next time you’re feeling triggered, or reactive, consider what it would be like if you didn’t react from that place of your little boy or girl. What might the “mature adult” you feel like, look like, sound like and be like?

Some questions for self-reflection: 

  • What are some of your strongest beliefs about money, career, friends, family, appearance, health, and relationships? Are these your beliefs? Do they help you experience fulfillment and well-being?
  • Are you open to viewpoints different from yours?
  • When your internal judge and critic judges you harshly, whose voice do you most often hear (primary caregiver, other)?
  • Were you encouraged to be curious, “think for yourself,” be spontaneous and display your emotions (whatever they were, but knowing there would be consequences for acting out) as a child?
  • Did you experience emotional neglect as a child? How so? How does it show up in your adult life?
  • How and when do you experience, “presence,” “flow,” a state of “no mind…?”
  • Are there ways you detached or de-programmed yourself from early childhood beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, etc. that you took on early on and discovered to be more self-limiting or self-sabotaging as you moved through adolescence or adulthood?  How so?

—————————————————–
(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Questions for Self-Reflection

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“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” –  Francis Bacon

From time to time I receive feedback on my “food for thought” readings – the feedback usually in response to the reading itself, but, not always. Sometimes, folks respond to the list of “questions for self-reflection” following the reading. These latter comments can take the tone of: “interesting,” “different,” “provocative” and the like. However, from time to time, someone comments that the questions make them feel uncomfortable. It’s to these commenters that I reply, “interesting.” Why?

Fundamentally, no true and real growth, change or lasting transformation can take place while one is in their comfort zone. For true and real change to happen, one needs to experience discomfort in some way, shape or form –  a discomfort that awakens them to an “Oh, this is me and I never saw or felt that part of my self before”-type of experience – an AHA moment, an intuition, a “seeing, ” knowing or discovery. And, the process of seeing, knowing and discovering can often be uncomfortable, even painful (physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and/or spiritually). In fact, real change does not usually arise without some discomfort.

The beauty of self-reflective questions is they draw us out – me, included – and support us to go deeper and deeper inside (if we choose) to see what our truth is below the surface – and it’s not always a pretty sight. Self-reflective questions introduce us to the parts of us that are unfamiliar – parts that live in our subconscious and in our intuitive self – parts that need to be seen, acknowledged and explored if we choose to experience true and real change and transformation.

I came across a book that blew me away – a book with questions. It’s called If – Questions for the Game of Life and is authored by Evelyn McFarlane and James Saywell. (I have no connection with these folks in any way.)  The four volumes contain hundreds of tantalizing and provocative questions that make you think.

So this week, rather and my usual reading and my “questions for self-reflection,” I want to offer you 20 self-reflection questions from their books. See where they take you, and enjoy the journey.

(Hint: once your initial, perhaps even knee-jerk, response comes up, consider taking some additional time- self-reflection time – to see if that’s really, really your final answer, i.e, the truth). Maybe ask and answer the question ten to fifteen times  (an exercise called a “repeating question”) to delve deeply into your subconscious. and uncover the real “truth.”

Here goes:

1.If you found out for certain there was a Heaven and a Hell, how would you change your life?

2.If you had to name the one most important ingredient of human beauty, what would you say it is?

3.If you could rid your family of one thing, what would you choose?

4.If you were to prescribe a cure for grief, what would it entail?

5.If you were to select a moment when you were convinced an angel was watching over you, when would it have been?

6.If you could have had one person in your life be more candid with you than they were (or are) who would it be?

7.If you were going to die in ten minutes and could confess only one thing in order to pass with peace of mind, what would you say?

8.If you could change one thing about the way you were disciplined as a child, what would you alter?

9.If you had to eliminate one emotion from your life, which would it be?

10.If you could stop loving someone, who would it be?

11.In retrospect, if you cold have been nicer to one person in your life, who would it be?

12.If you could free yourself from one burden in your life, what would it be?

13.If you had to name the single most important thing in your life, what would it be?

14.If God were to whisper one thing in your ear, what would you like Him/Her to say?

15. If you could tell your mother or father one thing that you haven’t, what would it be?

16.If you could have your spouse(partner) say one thing about you to friends, what would you want him or her to say?

17.If you had to describe yourself as a child in one word, what would it be?

18.If you could go back in time and undo one injury you inflicted on someone else, what would it be?

19. If you could change one thing about your marriage (relationship), what would you alter?

20.If you could be emotionally closer to one member of your family, who would it be?

“We accept many notions because they seem to be the logical answers to our questions. But have we asked the right questions?” – Harold L. Klawans

—————————————————–
(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Heaven and Hell At Work

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One night, a man (generic) had a dream, and in the dream an angel comes and takes him on a tour of heaven and hell. They visit hell first. It turns out that hell, surprisingly enough, is a huge banquet room, with tables full of all the food and drink one could possibly want. The people at the tables, however, are angry, frustrated, rude, despairing, depressed, stressed, thin, emaciated and wasting away. The silverware in hell is about four feet long and can only be picked up at one end. Thus, all these folks, who are interested only in feeding themselves, are unable to do so, are unable to manage a four-foot utensil in such a way they can bring the other end to their own mouth.

They leave hell and then go to visit heaven.

It turns out that heaven, surprisingly enough, is also a huge banquet room, with tables full of all the food and drink you could possibly want. The folks in heaven are joyful, happy, content, engaged, and manifest a healthy sense of well-being. The silverware is exactly the same as in hell, four feet long and can only be picked up at one end. The difference? Here, in heaven, the people are reaching across the table and feeding each other.  (Attributed to  Rabbi Haim, of Romshishok, Lithuania

In every conscious, healthy social system, in every work environment, everyone, yes, everyone, makes a contribution – overtly or covertly, actively or passively, consciously or unconsciously and, most importantly, for the “good of the order” or, conversely, for the “ill of the organization” – but everyone, i.e., you, contributes one way or another.

Your beliefs about yourself and your colleagues, about work and how you see others, contribute to whether you are creating heaven or hell in your life in some way, shape or form.

How do you experience life in your organization (or, in your family or relationship)?

Who are you feeding?

Is your life at work centered on feeding your self?

Consider:

Is your life at work “all about me?”  Is “What’s in it for me?” your MO, your mantra when you relate to others?
Are you a bully, gossiper or blamer? Do coercion, dominance, power or control characterize your leadership or management style?
Are folks expendable in a “take no prisoners” approach to project management or meeting deadlines? Do you hoard information?
Are you negatively critical of others’ behaviors?
Are your motives based solely on promotions, raises, corner offices and bonuses?
Do you sacrifice integrity, trust, ethics or morals to garner money or prestige?
Do you show favoritism? Do you see others as “stupid?” Do you ignore others’ requests, emails, and questions?
Do you shun accountability for your actions and behaviors? Do you focus only on your own immediate tasks and responsibilities? Do you avoid conflict?
Do you exhibit bias or prejudice? Are you disrespectful or uncooperative?
Do you have hidden agendas?
Do you make more statements than ask questions? Do you engage in irrational or argumentative thinking or emotional reactivity?
Are you inflexible, selfish, arrogant or egotistical?

Or, perhaps your life at work is centered on feeding others?

Consider:

Do you encourage and inspire your colleagues?
Do you live in integrity and authenticity? Do folks experience you as decent, honest, respectful and trustworthy?
Do you assume accountability for your actions and mistakes?
Do you think more about supporting others than about what’s wrong with others? Do you feel everyone has a right to a seat at the table?
Are listening and coaching hallmarks of your leadership or management style? Do you show confidence in your direct reports? Do you exhibit empathy and concern for others’ well-be-ing?
Are you energetic, upbeat, enthusiastic and optimistic?
Do you encourage others to experience work-life balance? Are you self-aware and master of your emotions? Do you take time for self-reflection and encourage others to do so as well?
Do you lead and manage with your heart as well as your head? Do you exude self-confidence? Do you live your organization’s values? Do you encourage others to contribute their thoughts, ideas and wisdom?
Do you treat others like adults?
Do you engage in open and honest communication, and give honest and timely feedback? Do you praise in public and deal privately with problems? Are you fair in your dealings with others?
Do you act as a facilitator and guide? Are you an advocate for others? Are you humble? Do you make an effort to understand before being understood? Are you comfortable with conflict?
Are you aware of your own limitations? Do you understand the challenges folks are facing and what frustrates them?
Do you encourage collaboration and information sharing? Do you point out folks’ strengths?
Do you honor your commitments and keep your promises?

Cooperation, collaboration, caring, concern, and compassion are the qualities and capacities that allow one to “reach across the table” and serve and support another for the good of the order.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Are you contributing to your own or your colleagues’ experience of hell in your workplace?  If so, what story or stories do you make up to rationalize/justify your attitudes and actions to allow this to happen?
  • Are you contributing to your own or your colleagues’ experience of heaven in your workplace? What attitudes and actions support your contribution?
  • How might your colleagues answer these two questions regarding you, your attitudes and behavior? Honestly.
  • How about life outside of work  – at home, at play and in relationships – who’s feeding whom? How so?

—————————————————–
(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

What Does It Mean to be Soulful or Spiritual?

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I’m often asked what I mean when I refer to spirituality in the context of life at work, at home, at play or in relationship.

As an overview, I want to make a distinction between “knowing that and “knowing how…”

Knowing that – refers to spiritual programs, practices, schools, concepts, theories, tools, techniques and the like which one grasps mentally, intellectually and cognitively.

Knowing how – refers to the actual observable and  measurable manifestation of information that one has grasped cognitively – actual do-ing and be-ing spiritual or soulful.

For me, being spiritual and soulful has nothing to do with “knowing that” at the 50,000 foot level but in “knowing how” at 9 o’clock on Monday morning – how one actually shows up as one who has integrated, internalized and processed what they have studied, what they have learned, etc.

Here’s what I mean.

For me, spiritual describes the Essential, Innate Force or Energy that lives inside every human being. Being spiritual means living one’s life according to a deeper meaning that results from a lifelong practice of self-reflection, inquiry and exploration.

Soulful Moments
No one I personally know lives life spiritually 24/7/365.  However, many spiritual folks experience moments of joy, communion, connection, love, compassion, gratitude, silence and the like wherein they “transcend” their ego-personality self.

In this spiritual place, these folks experience a kind of “knowing,” a kind of “connection” to the whole of the Universe where they access a “wisdom,” where they really “see” or experience life from this larger dimension or perspective – where all the ego-based “masks” and false personas and appearances melt away.

These moments are not “mental.” These moments are more like being “in the zone,” or in a state of “presence,” where we know how to do, be and have but not from a “mind”-directed perspective. In this place, we are “out of our mind.”

Spirituality in the ‘Real World”
Experiencing spirituality in the real world – at 9:00 Monday morning – means treating others with dignity and respect, kindness, and compassion. It means we respect the world and all that the world contains – its abundance of plant and animal life – by not polluting, destroying, or degrading the flora or fauna of the planet by our everyday decisions about how we live and work. Spirituality means telling the truth, being self-responsible, accountable, forthright and in integrity with all those with whom we deal – at work, at home, at play and in our relationships – acting with full disclosure, transparency and honesty.

Spiritual means coming from a place of balance and harmony – an equilibrium or alignment between what we think, feel, say and do. And taking an Inner Approach to prioritizing our life – work life, family life, personal life – in the pursuit of activities that nourish and enrich every aspect of our life. That we choose, honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly to focus on the well-being of our mind, body and spirit.

Spirituality means we choose to live life as a steward of the planet, that we come from a place of “we,” not “me,” and continually reflect, and then act upon, what “we” want and need, how “we” want to be acknowledged and appreciated, and how “we” can contribute to the well-being of all of us. As a steward, we explore how we can make a difference for the greater good, and how we serve to enhance the well-being of others.

Passion and Purpose
Passion and purpose are hallmarks of soulfulness – our heart drives and gives us direction. When we live from a heart-based place, then we are up-front, honest, sincere and in integrity at work, at home, at play and in our relationships – no dishonesty, shortcuts, collusion, deception, co-dependency or underhandedness. We live from a place of joy, enthusiasm, appreciation, collaboration and community.

Ingenuity, inventiveness, imagination, discovery, creativity and innovation are soulful and spiritual drivers. We look for new ways of do-ing and be-ing. We exude boldness and initiative. We are open to new ideas and are continuous learners in all of life. Continued self-awareness is paramount.

Finally, soulfulness and spirituality are about being conscious –  in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We seek an ever growing awareness of our motives and values our “why” that informs our “who.” We are intentional in every moment. We see the “truth” of what is happening and know the difference between the “truth” and our projections, fantasies and “stories” that we make believe are the truth. Consciousness is the lifelong process of increasing self-awareness about “who I am,” “how I am” and “what I’m here to do with my life” – ever seeking to bring our unconscious self to conscious awareness.

My take is that our life at work, at home, at play and in our relationships is more honestly served, and truly rewarding, when we focus on ethics, values, motives, integrity and principles that emanate from this place of soul or spirit.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? If so, how does your spirituality play out in your life at work, at home, at play and in your relationship?
  • Do you ever feel you want to make a difference? What would that difference look like, feel like and sound like?
  • Do you feel your self-worth is defined by your net worth?
  • What do you feel the planet demands of you?
  • Are you a change-maker? How so?
  • How do you nurture your mind, body and spirit?
  • Does your life reflect harmony? How so?
  • What do you not know about yourself? Are you curious about what you don’t know about yourself? Do you feel a kind of discomfort or anxiety when it comes to what you don’t know about yourself? How so?
  • Do you ever reflect on your spiritual nature?
  • What is necessary for your spiritual growth and development?
  • Do you ever feel guilty you’re not doing the things necessary for your spiritual growth?
  • How much time do you spend in self-reflection?
  • What was your experience around spirituality (i.e, not religion or theology) like when you were growing up?
  • Can you envision a world where folks’ motives and intentions are spiritually-based?

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(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Where Do You Find Your Gold and Diamonds?

prospecting

 

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“Only by much searching and mining are gold and diamonds obtained, and a person can find every truth connected with his being, if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul.”  – As A Man Thinketh

The classic book Acres of Diamonds is the story of a person who sold his home and land to travel far and wide in search of diamonds, only to die penniless. As the story goes, the new owner discovered diamonds on the very property that the old owner had ignored.

Looking outside
I’m often curious when I come across folks who act in similar ways whenever they try to “fix” something in their lives – at work, at home, at play or in their relationship. Whether it’s happiness, peace of mind, or a greater sense of self-worth, self-esteem or love they seek, they seem to spend an enormous amount of time and energy looking “outside” themselves to search for the answers, the “fix.”

The void
They look to their spouse or partner, their friends (both “people” friends and “object “friends such as a new, expensive car, boat, clothes, food, alcohol, sugar, the latest plasma TV, gambling, the country club membership, etc.), children, or parents to fill the “hole,” the void, i.e., their inner sense of deficiency.  They become workaholics or obsessed with exercise, or shopping, or “going out,” for example, always expecting and hoping the answer will, poof!, come from their pursuit of their occupation or other “outside” interests. Sadly, nothing “outside” ever satisfies their “hunger,” in the long term.

Like the poor farmer in Acres of Diamonds, their search comes up empty-handed and they continue to sleep-walk through life with a sense of emptiness, with a low-grade-fever type of subtle agitation that courses through their bodies, continually feeling frustrated, angry, sad, empty, joyless, resentful and isolated from life, and from themselves. And just like the story, diamonds are waiting to be discovered right in their own back yard. The reality is that the only way to find the gold and diamonds is, as James Allen says, to “dig deep into the mine of the soul.” To go “inside” and stay there for a time; in one’s own company

One of my favorite authors, Jim Rohn, says, “The greatest source of unhappiness comes from inside.” Conversely, that’s also where the greatest (and only) source of happiness comes from.

Instead of searching far and wide, perhaps spend some time every day exploring inside. Instead of expecting something outside to fill you up, learn to fill yourself from within. Make a commitment to read more of the material that will help you discover who you are. Make a decision to grow your self over and above your role and position. As Jim Rohn also says, “What you become directly influences what you get.”

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you take time out to explore yours self, your life on a consistent basis? How so?
  • Do you take time for meditation, reflection, contemplation, journaling, walking in nature?
  • How would you characterize the “gold” in your life? The “diamonds?”
  • Do you find your self constantly looking for happiness “out there?”  How so?
  • Do you read for self-improvement, self-growth and self-development outside of your “business- or profession-related” readings?
  • Do you ever feel empty inside, lacking in some way, deficient in well-be-ing and inner peace?
  • Are you comfortable being alone in your own company for extended periods of time?
  • Do you find silence to be soothing or deafening? How so?
  • Do you really, really, really know yourself? How does that question make you feel?
  • Are you resistant when it comes to exploring and discovering who you are “inside”?  If so, why?
  • Growing up, did you, your parents or primary caregivers ever take time out for self-reflection?

—————————————————–
(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that thing is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering