Big Fish, Little Pond

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Just launched – three exciting new products

Big Fish, Little Pond.
https://youtu.be/-ZVqhBZC7sU

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(c) 2021, 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

Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Maturity?

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Just launched – three exciting new products

It’s now widely acknowledged that Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a key skill for managers and business leaders and that getting in touch with your emotions and managing them when interacting with others plays a major part in managerial effectiveness.

But despite this awareness, old habits still die hard. Even when an individual has worked to improve their In other words, they may have learned the concepts of EI at an intellectual, cognitive level, but they still find it hard to manage their emotions or emotional reactivity and quickly revert to old, self-destructive emotional habits and reactive patterns when certain triggers are pulled.

So why is EI so hard to embrace in our day-to-day lives?

One reason is that many people who worked on their EI have (consciously or unconsciously) failed to deal with the root causes of their emotional reactivity. They haven’t explored the deeper nature of their emotional history. This history of their emotional evolution is a prerequisite to understanding how they “futurize their past” – i.e., how they interpret the present based on their history, experiences and memories.

Without this understanding, it’s often very challenging to separate our present from our past – “that was then; this is now.” So we’re not able to see the present – people, places, events, circumstance and objects – as “fresh” and unencumbered by our past emotional history. We’re unable to experience the present in a positive, neutral way and so we experience many of life’s events shrouded in a mist of negativity, judgment and fear.

In other words, very few of us actually “process” our emotions. Few of us allow our emotions to just be – watching, witnessing and observing them and asking, “What are you teaching me, about me?”.

Finally, many of us choose to bury our emotions. And we ought to know that when we bury our emotions, we bury them alive. They will return to rear their ugly heads, sooner or later.

Emotional maturity
So instead of focusing on emotional intelligence, perhaps we would be better served by focusing on emotional maturity.

The difference between the two is important. Emotional maturity is not “intellectual” but refers to a higher state of self-awareness – something that lies beyond “intelligence” – where we are guided by our senses, intuition and heart.

Emotional maturity is characterized by five principles:

  1. Every negative emotion we experience as an adult is a childhood emotion overlaid on a current person, circumstance, place, event or object.
  2. Emotionally, many adults are 3-4-5-year-old children in adult bodies wearing adult clothes.
  3. No one can make you feel a way you don’t want to feel.
  4. An adult can be emotionally mature and child-like, or immature and child-ish. Big difference.
  5. Mindfulness, focus and presence are the keys to emotional maturity

Emotional maturity focuses on our emotional history, beginning with our interactions with our parents or primary caregivers, extended family, teachers, friends, etc. We learn that around the age of seven, our psychological and emotional “programming” is set. Our emotional reactivity (anger, sadness, fear, shame, hurt, guilt, loneliness, etc.) that was triggered early on in life becomes stored in our cells and arises when “related” triggers pop up later in life.

Emotionally intelligent, but emotionally immature
Being emotionally mature means we seldom act out on, or suppress, our emotions.

Emotionally intelligent, but “immature,” adults are often unable to identify or manage their emotions. They usually avoid their emotions by intellectualizing, explaining, analyzing, disagreeing, attacking, flattering, joking, apologizing, evading, going silent, becoming aloof or suspicious, rejecting, criticizing or judging. They often come across as superior, arrogant, stubborn, defiant, hostile, people-pleasing, wishy-washy, phony, resentful, intolerant, self-pitying or victimized.

Because they haven’t explored their emotional development, many folks aren’t aware that they superimpose their childhood emotions on to their adult life. Their past is leaking out in the present.

In contrast, the emotionally mature adult understands that “my emotions are not me, but mine – I’m in control, not my emotions.” So they are more objective are less judgmental. They are better able to detach themselves from triggers that would normally provoke an emotional reaction. They experience states of equanimity, serenity and inner peace. Blaming others is no longer a strategy they use to make themselves feel safe.

That’s not to say that an emotionally mature individual isn’t chid-like. In fact, they are often lively, excited, adventurous, joyful, happy and open. But they are also nurturing, supportive, firm, fair, helpful, respectful, self-responsible, non-judgmental, honest, sincere and focused on the well-being of themselves and others.

The emotionally immature adult, however, is often childish, rather than child-like. They are reactive and throw tantrums. They are fearful, scared, needy, angry, resentful, pushy, bullying, jealous or envious. They can be quiet, withdrawn, defensive, argumentative or grandiose. They can come across as overbearing, micromanaging, controlling, disrespectful, fearful, angry, negative, judgmental, critical, abusive (mentally, emotionally, psychologically, physically), dishonest, insincere, narcissistic and focused on the self and the ego.

The most visible quality of emotional maturity is the capacity to be in the moment, to be present while being non-reactive or non-judgmental.

This “being present” supports our true and authentic self to guide us. We intuit “right knowing,” “right understanding” and “right action”. We experience our emotions without “becoming” our emotions. We grasp that the “trigger” for our reactivity may be “outside me,” but the “cause” of my emotional reactivity is within me.

So when we’re triggered, we watch, witness and observe but don’t succumb to a childish reaction. We accept our experience as it is. Practicing mindfulness, presence, focus, trust and surrender, we allow our heart and soul to push aside negativity or reactivity and bring what is needed – a considered, emotionally mature response.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you ever feel you need to change the way you respond/react emotionally to others? How so?
  • How do you feel when others challenge or disagree with you, or give you feedback?
  • Do you ever find yourself feeling fearful, angry or anxious? Do you know why?
  • Do you ever feel afraid about exploring your emotions? Why?
  • Do you consider yourself to be emotionally mature? What would others say? Would you ask them?
  • How did you learn about emotions when you were growing up?
  • Do you take responsibility for your emotional reactivity? Do you tend to blame others far making you feel a way you don’t want to feel? How so?
  • Do you know the difference between “feeling sad,” and not being sad, between “feeling angry” but not being angry,” between “feeling fear,” and not being afraid?

—————————————————–
(c) 2021, 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

Collusion, Culture and Bad Management

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In my understanding of human behavior, there are only two reasons (but lots of excuses) why managers behave unethically or inappropriately. Either they are unable to behave ethically or appropriately, or they are unwilling to do so.

The antidote for number one?
Provide requisite, specific knowledge and hands-on experiential training. Then follow-up in both the short- and long-term to check that the message has gotten through and that appropriate behavior is now “business as usual” – and if it isn’t, ensure there are consequences for bad behavior..

The antidote for number two?
Well, that’s a bit more complicated. When someone has the requisite knowledge and skills but still decides to ignore them, what’s going on?

One possibility is the individual has chosen to behave otherwise because they fear that behaving ethically or appropriately will result in some personal loss – be it loss of friendships, loss or prestige, loss of a bonus, loss of control, loss of recognition or loss of security (mental, physical, emotional or psychological).

It’s not unusual for a manager to behave unethically or inappropriately of their own accord when driven, consciously or unconsciously, by these sorts of fears.

Another possibility is that a manager may choose to behave unethically or inappropriately because there is a tacit “unwritten rule” that such behavior is acceptable. This tacit agreement is known as collusion and often exists where there is a culture or subculture of collusion.

Collusion takes hold when two (or more) individuals co-opt their values and ethics to support their own – and/or others’  mis-deeds. Allowing another’s collusion, by omission or commission, is a mis-deed! Think enabler.

When colluding or enabling collusion, we allow ourselves and others to engage in unethical or inappropriate (not to mention potentially self-destructive) behaviors in order to gain acceptance, approval, recognition or security and to feel emotionally and psychologically safe.

Collusion is saying (but not out loud), “I’m going to let you behave the way you want or need to, so I can feel good about our relationship even though I know my behavior and your behavior are unethical, inappropriate, self-destructive, and out of integrity.”

Collusion is behavior we commonly associate with “fraud.” Workplace collusion is fraudulent as one is living a lie and supporting another to live his or her lie. Colluding is “fraud” on a deeper level as it relates to who we are and how we conduct our relationships with others. Think integrity.

What Does Collusion Look Like?
In the everyday working world, there are various flavors of collusion. General expressions or behaviors that reflect collusion are: “giving to get,” “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” “going along to get along” and “one hand washing the other.”

We collude when we support and pledge allegiance to an unethical or incompetent leader, manager, supervisor, direct report or co-worker so we both can feel emotionally safe with each other. If I collude, the other(s) will appreciate my support and feel seen and I’ll experience his/her appreciation, which allows me to feel seen and accepted or be “OK” in some way in this unethical and inappropriate (dysfunctional or co-dependent) relationship.

We collude when we share insider information with only a select few so we’ll be viewed as caring about them and they will feel they’re special. When we collude with them, we feel in control, and secure; they feel acknowledged that we chose them. We are being duplicitous, self-deceptive and inappropriate in our actions of giving and receiving. Think narcissist or hypocrite.

We collude when we verbally gang up on a third party through bullying, sarcasm, or gossiping, experiencing a false sense of connection and camaraderie with our co-colluder at the expense of the third party.

We collude when we withhold honest and forthright comments about inappropriate behavior in a feedback session for fear of alienating another whose work we respect. By resisting the truth, and perpetuating another’s false belief that their behavior is acceptable, we “play the game” of mutual respect while perpetuating our phony relationship of mutual “like.”

Why Do We Collude?
Collusion is about lying to protect our oft-fragile egos instead of showing up in integrity. The curiosity is why we collude.

We all experience a degree of deficiency – some more, some less. We all sense we are not “enough” or are lacking in some way. It’s the human condition. However, we have two options in dealing with our sense of lack or deficiency:

1. We can choose to “work” on our colluding to understand it and our underlying motives for colluding, and take conscious steps to effectively reduce and eliminate it so we can show up authentically, in integrity, sincerely and self-responsibly. Or,

2. We can deceive ourselves and ignore, deny, and resist telling the truth, hoping to keep our relationship with our self and with others emotionally intact. We ignore “the elephants in the room,” wearing blinders to what needs to be done, said, heard, felt and seen – hoping that denial will “keep the emotional peace” and perpetuate the co-dependent or dysfunctional relationship.

The Basic Problem with Collusion
Collusion is a progressive drug. We need to lie and collude more and more to maintain the false feeling of emotional safety. When we collude, we are ever “vigilant,” fearful with whether we will be “found out.” We are constantly worried and concerned whether our co-colluder(s) will have a “conversion,” fearing we’ll be “outed.”

So colluding is exhausting, requiring an inordinate amount of physical, emotional and psychic energy, continually shoring up relationships that have no true foundation built on trust or truth.

The Antidote for Collusion
Colluding is corrosive to one’s head, heart and soul. The antidote is twofold: to seek understanding of the reasons (excuses) why we refuse to tell our self and others the truth, and then set our intention to tell the truth when often we would rather resist.

Truth-telling requires empathy, compassion, acceptance and courage. Behaving appropriately is freeing – emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically. Behaving ethically and appropriately allows us to show up authentically, honestly and in integrity. Behaving ethically and appropriately is the only way to experience true and real relationships with others.

From a workplace research perspective, meaning, happiness, and true friendship most often appear as the top responses to the research question, “What’s really important to you at work?”

University of Virginia, Darden School of Business professor Mary C. Gentile, in “Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right,” says: “One of the most powerful lenses through which to view values in the workplace – and one of the most powerful sources of the strength and confidence to act on those values – is the lens of self knowledge. A knowledge of oneself allows the crafting and embracing of a desired self-image. Managers at all levels in their firms report that a significant enabler of values-based action is the clarity, commitment and courage that is born of acting from our true center, finding alignment between who we already are and what we say and do.”

Think internal coherence and integrity. Most folks say they want to experience “meaning” in their work, to behave appropriately and ethically, and align their life at work in the direction of “True North.” Yet, many of these same folks find themselves conflicted every day – their values, ideals and expectations up against those of the organization.

Simple, but not easy – you can’t collude and expect to find real meaning, real happiness and real relationships at work. Thinking you can is the epitome of collusion and self-deception.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What keeps you from telling the truth at work? Are you afraid to tell the truth? How so?
  • Do you collude? If so, in what ways? What does colluding get you?
  • Do you find yourself lying and being phony to maintain specific relationships?
  • Do others collude with you, not tell you what they think you need to hear, for fear of how you might react?
  • How do you feel in the moment when you know you’re colluding?
  • What’s “right” about colluding? What does colluding get you? Is there another way to get that result without colluding?
  • When and how were you first introduced to the notion of colluding? How old were you? What was going on? How did you feel about that experience?

—————————————————–
(c) 2021, 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

Listening to fix

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How often do you fall into self-doubt, or into a place where you’re doubting others?

When someone relates to you an issue that’s challenging them, or problem they’re facing, how do you respond? Do you respond in a knee-jerk fashion that communicates, “The way forward lies in my advice?”.

When someone is experiencing painful feelings, how do you react? Do you robotically assume that the person will never be able to deal with their feelings successfully by themself? Do you assume that it’s not OK for this person to feel what they’re feeling?

When a person takes responsibility for forwarding the action of their life, what is your response? Do you ever feel that they’re not capable of taking responsibility, or moving forward? In other words, do you assume that it’s your responsibility to “save” that person, to keep them from failing?

And, with respect to yourself, how do you react when you encounter a problem, a challenge, a feeling or the thought that you need to assume responsibility for yourself?

Believing in self and others

The question here is, do I believe in myself and others? Do I allow others to have their power, capabilities, and capacities? Or, rather, do I give power and energy to the problem, the feeling or the irresponsibility?

It’s important for us to be aware, to be conscious and to be alert about how we respond both to ourselves and others. It’s important that we check ourselves out and learn to think before we respond. For example, “I’m sorry you’re experiencing (what you’re experiencing – the problem, the feeling…). I know you can find a solution that will serve you. It sounds like you’re experiencing some deep feelings. I believe you can work through them.”

Each of us is responsible for our own self. This does not mean that we ignore or dismiss others. It does not mean that we don’t care about others. What it does mean is that we care and love others, and support others and ourselves in ways that work.

Listening to fix

One behavior many of us are guilty of occurs when we hear of another’s challenge and we morph into a “listening to fix” syndrome. When this syndrome is activated, we might respond to another’s comment by saying, “Why don’t you (follow my suggestion, take my advice and the like)?” i.e., the need to prescribe to, or “fix” someone.

To believe in others, in their abilities and capacities to think, feel, and find solutions and take care of themselves is a gift we can give and receive.

The antidote – awareness

A first step toward becoming free of our “listening to fix” filter is to become aware of it. Many of us have a flavor of this “need to fix” listening filter. It may also be that we engage in this listening filter with certain people or in certain situations. For example, you might “listen to fix” with your spouse or partner, co-workers, direct reports, parents, friends, or neighbors, etc.

The moment you become aware that you’re listening through a filter during a conversation, your awareness expands beyond the filter. It’s like consciously removing the filter that covers your ears. You can then “hear” what other people are actually saying. As you “hear” what other people are saying, you can better relate to their experience and engage with another on a higher level of true and real connectivity. At work, for example, you might even “hear” another as a “person” rather than a “function.”

As your awareness expands beyond your “listening to fix” filter, you can also make new communication choices. For example, you might respond to “I’m feeling upset right now.” with, “I hear that you’re feeling upset. How are you experiencing that right now?” or “What’s that like for you?” or “Can you say more about that?” These kinds of filter-free communications can meet the other person’s experience and open the door for the conversation to evolve in new ways, rather than as a “fixer.”

So, be gentle with yourself and give yourself plenty of time to discover and work with this listening filter. Make it a game to notice this filter, love and appreciate yourself for having it and explore the ways you can shift out of it. If you’re like me, when you do this, you may experience true and real “hearing” for the first time.

Consider the following “fixing” filters and be curious if you use one or more of them in your conversations: (when/if you do, there is no way you can be truly and sincerely “present” with the other person):
“advising”: “I think you should…” “How come you didn’t?”
“educating”: “This could work out very well for you if you…”
“shutting down”: “Don’t worry about it; cheer up!”
“interrogating”: “Well, why did you…”
“explaining”: “What I would have done is…” (also “hijacking”)

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Would your closest friends say you’re a good listener? How so?
  • Can you think of a recent conversation where your “listening to fix” filter was engaged? What was that like?
  • Do you know someone who listens to you without attempting to fix you? What is that like?
  • Can you remember some of your earliest childhood experiences with either wanting to fix someone or someone wanting to fix you? 
  • Did your parents or primary caregivers listen to you with a “listening to fix” filters How so?

—————————————————–
(c) 2021, 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

Between you and me…

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“An avoidance of true communication is tantamount to a relinquishment of my self-being; if I withdraw from it I am betraying not only the other but myself.”Karl Jaspers

I don’t get many cold calls these days. Today, I did. Two, in fact – about five minutes apart. What struck me, as do most of these calls, is the perfunctory, scripted, energetically flat, “How are you today?” immediately after the caller states their name and company.

Kiss of death

In my mind, those four words are the kiss of death. Why? The energy of, and between, the words usually communicates, to me (1) the question is really not about me, and (2) the caller is basically feigning interest and (probably) unconsciously jumping through a requisite hoop to get to the pitch, and, hopefully, to a sale. It’s all about them; not really about me. So, after a quick, albeit polite, “No, thanks.”I hang up.

So, let’s take a look at this dynamic from the perspective of how we meet and greet others at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

Do you care? Really care?

If you look back on your day today, or the past few days, or week, can you recall moments where you asked someone “How are things going?” or “What’s goin’ on?” or “How are you today?” Do you recall their response? And, more, can you recall actually stopping and listening, really listening to their response? Did you probe more deeply when someone responded with more than an “OK”? Were you actually interested? Did you feign interest? Were you respectful? Were you sorry you asked?

In our fast-paced interactive world, many of us have a tendency (often unconscious) to actually “diss” the person to whom we’re speaking – even while asking how they are. Unconsciously, we assume that our perfunctory “What’s up?” or “How’s it goin’?” falsely allows us to check off the “I acknowledged him/her” box on my “how to have positive relationships” check-sheet. For many of us, it’s actually an unconscious, knee-jerk question we ask and, truth be told, we could care less about how they are. I’m sure more than a few of us, when we’re greeted this way, have an internal response of “yeah, like they really care!”

Intersubjectivity

Between two people, or you and a team, or you and a group, even between you and your partner/spouse there’s space – physical space. Here, we’ll focus on the space between two individuals. This space between the two is not empty space. Actually, it’s filled with energy. What kind of energy? An energy which, on a continuum, ranges from warm to cold, soft to hard, relaxed to tense, strong to weak, love to fear, etc. Get it?

The energy reflects the psycho-emotional “temperature”” of the two who are interacting – your thoughts (conscious and unconscious), and your moods and emotions (conscious and unconscious) in that moment. This energetic phenomenon is called intersubjectivity and it’s what occurs when two souls meet. It’s about how you’re psycho/emotional state – often based on what you’re thinking (again, consciously or consciously).

The experience of intersubjectivity is what allows your own “internal landscape” and that of the other to come to the fore, consciously. Intersubjectivity reflects the degree to which you allow yourself to open up so the other has a deeper sense and experience of you in the moment.

Intersubjectivity is a “conscious” and intentional experience. The experience of intersubjectivity allows you, in real-time, to be curious about who you are, who you’re taking yourself to be in the interaction, and how you experience yourself and the other person – emotionally, physically, energetically, spiritually and psychologically – from a perspective of “Who am I?” right here and right now in this smoment. We’re not talking about role, position and the like, but of a deeper sense of “who I am.” All with curiosity – not judgment or criticism of self or other.

Intersubjectivity questions

What am I feeling like (perhaps using a metaphor)?
What does the space in which I/we’re immersed feel like?
What’s my experience of “ease of be-ing” during this interaction?
How old do I feel?
What’s my heart center feel like (not the physical heart, but your spiritual heart center area in the middle of your chest)?
What quality does the ground have?
Am I “in my head” or somewhere else in my body?
How connected to the other do I feel?
What physiological sensations am I experiencing in my body?
What stories about this experience am I telling myself?
How grounded (vs. “spacy”) do I feel?
Do I have a lot of ego/mental activity going on?
Am I trusting myself/the other right now?
What’s my breathing like, heart rate?
Am I sharing my truth?
Do I feel I’m being influenced by the other?
Am I feeling authentic? Safe?
Do I feel I want to be in this interaction?
Am I needing to be/feel accepted?
Do I feel supported by my Higher Self?

Why is intersubjectivity useful?

Intersubjectivity is one way to see yourself as a barometer that points to how you “show up” in relationship, to assess the degree of your authenticity, to look at the quality of your interactions – feelings, emotions, physiological sensations – and give you a sense of the quality of that “space” between you and the other.

Focusing on the quality of the space between you can and will – if you’re intentional and sincere – help you know yourself, who you are, during interactions. It’s as if the “content” is irrelevant; the “context” is everything.

What awareness of intersubjectivity does is support you to be “conscious” of your interactions. When you’re more  conscious, you become aware of how your, heretofore, “unconscious” interactions, (e.g., walking into a room, office, kitchen, family room, restaurant, store, classroom, meeting room, etc. and uttering a quick “how’s it goin?” and making believe you care) will become less and less a part of your robotic “relationship repertoire.” It allows for “personal-ness” – a quality sorely missing from many of our daily interactions – at work, at home, at play and in relationship. And, from this place, you can be curious about how you’re meeting and greeting others, and why. 

So, if you don’t mean it, or don’t care, then don’t ask.

But, also, don’t deceive yourself that you’re “good at relationships.”

“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.” – Krishnamurti

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Think about some folks with whom you interact regularly at work, at home, at play and in relationship. As you reflect, how would you describe the “space” between the two of you generally? What do you see about how you show up in these interactions, as a result of this reflection? How so?
  • Do you, consciously or unconsciously, distance yourself from others (through avoidance, being antagonistic, etc.)? What stories do you tell yourself to make this happen? Do you often feel “separate” when in dialogue with others? How so?
  • When you’re in dialogue with someone about whom you can’t, or won’t, see their good, or beauty or truth, how can you “warm” the space between the two of you and allow their truth?
  • All things being equal, if someone attempts to create a “safe space” between them and you (i.e., being open, honest, authentic, disclosing emotions, feelings, etc.), how does that make you feel? How so?
  • Did you experience the quality of intersubjectivity among your family members as you were growing up? What about now? How so?

—————————————————–
(c) 2021, 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

Valentine’s Day – Not Just Candy and Flowers

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Just launched – three exciting new products

Valentine’s Day is quite upon us. It’s a time when the majority of us turn our thoughts to hearts, flowers, cards and candy. For many of us, it’s a time of expressing through “things” what we find hard to say with words. For many of us, speaking from the heart and expressing our sentiments in an intimate way is challenging or uncomfortable,.  So, “we say it with flowers.”

Many of us long to be able to look our partner in the eye and say what’s in our hearts, to be completely open, to be transparent. Many of us long for the intimacy that allows connecting without words, an intimacy that allows connecting with but a loving glance or a loving touch.

Many of us long to be in relationship…not just “acquaintanceship.”

Many of us long to be wrapped up within each other’s heart and soul and not just caught up in the wrapping of our partner’s “packaging.”

So, this Valentine’s Day, it might be a welcome opportunity to take some time for self-reflection and consider what your ideal relationship would really, really be like, right here, right now…not somewhere down the road…in the future. After all, the future begins now. (More on conscious relationships, here.)

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you see your relationship as a “problem to be solved,” or as an adventure to embrace together? What would your partner day?
  • Do you see conflict in your relationship as a friend and opportunity for growth and connection, or as a pain in the butt? Would you partner agree?
  • Does your partner support your becoming “whole,” or as someone who keeps you from being all that you can be…on every level? How so?
  • Are you willing to cross the bridge to “meet” your partner, or are you only waiting for your partner to come to your side?
  • Do you recognize that your partner’s bewildering behavior is a cry for your help, or do you see his or her behavior as an irritant that only results in your resistance or resentment?
  • Do you recognize that every frustration is a gift for your relationship? (i.e., Why is this frustration happening FOR me(us) – not TO me(us))? What is frustration teaching you, about you?
  • Do you and your partner honestly, sincerely and openly dream your dreams together? How so?
  • Can you and your partner gently and lovingly hold one another’s hand, or do you need to grasp on tightly and chain your partner’s soul to your way of be-ing and do-ing? Either way, what is that like?
  • How do you view love? Does love allow you to stand tall and upright or does love mean “leaning” on the other? Does a thread of co-dependency run through your relationship?
  • Do you accept your defeats and defects with your head up and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman or a man, or with the grief, resentment or begrudging of a child?
  • So, on this Valentine’s Day, can you plant your own garden without waiting for someone to bring you the flowers?
  • On this Valentine’s Day, can you experience your own sweetness without waiting for someone to bring you the candy?
  • On this Valentine’s Day, how are you in relationship with your own heart? Can you look in the mirror at your own reflection and say: “I love you with all my heart; I am complete?” or do you “need someone else” to complete you?
  • Do cards, candy, and flowers create your sense of well-being, or can they simply be the icing on the cake of a full, and complete heart, your own full and complete heart?
  • On this Valentine’s Day, are you in a true and real relationship or in acquaintanceship, in a “roommate” situation, or two ships passing in the night? How do you know?

—————————————————–
(c) 2021, 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

Reality vs reality

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Just launched – three exciting new products

“I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another.” – William Shakespeare

If you put 200 people – diverse in as many ways as possible – in a theatre and then project the world going by in real time, no doubt these 200 folks will have 200 different opinions, reactions, observations, judgments, or takes on what they’re viewing.

Reality vs. reality

As these folks sit and watch, what’s informing their interpretation, their perception, is their internal map of reality. While “Reality” (capital R) is what’s passing by on the screen, most everyone is seeing that reality from their own “inner” reality – their beliefs, assumptions, perceptions, misperceptions, premises, “stories” they’ve created, paradigms, that is, their history, memory and experience, describe what they’re viewing. No two people are “hardwired” the same; thus, their views about life and living are products of their respective life experiences, beginning at birth.

So, then, what is “real” reality and what is the reality we create in our immediate experience? The answer to this question can help us understand why we experience so much conflict in dealing not only with ourselves but with one another – at work, at home, at play and in relationship. 

Koan

In Zen and Buddhism, a “koan” is a challenging question or statement that prompts one to engage in reflection – the intention is to lead one to a higher state of understanding or awareness. There is a Zen koan that says: “Show me your original face before you were born.”

This koan asks us to stretch – in a way that allows us to access our True, Real and Authentic Self – the self we are/were before being born. In this process, we transcend our “database” of thoughts, concepts, beliefs, etc., and move to a place of no-mind – where we experience Reality as it truly is, experience our self as we truly are. Our true face before we were born is actually who we were (and still are!) before we were shaped and crafted by our “life experience.”

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

The koan is not meant to cause a reactive: “How can I have a face, or exist, before I was born?” It is a question of “Who am I without my set of beliefs, or my image of myself or an identity that I’ve adopted for myself?”

Reflecting on the koan can help us see how attached we are to “my reality,” – my beliefs, assumptions, theories, perceptions, perspectives, etc. Deep reflection can also support us to flow in a space of no-mind, an “original space” of mental quietude, unencumbered by our thoughts and thought patterns – our history, memory or experiences. 

Letting go

The point is that when we become more natural and internally quiet, and we are able to let go, we can better interact with others, not as a robotic, human collection of beliefs, opinions, or assumptions, etc., but as one who is open, curious, and accepting in the way we experience our world.

“False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” – William Shakespeare

We sort of “re-birth” ourselves each time we draw a conclusion about “who I am.” Each time we make a decision/judgment about our self – “I’m not good in social situations with others,” I’m a great leader,” “I have problems with difficult people,” I’m not very smart,” – we create our identity, our “subjective face and move farther away from our “original face.”

But, each of us has an “original face” – the face of who we were before we identified with anything or anyone. And, the good news is we can return to our original face, the place of inner peace and well-be-ing, if we learn to let go of our “false face.”  Our “original face” is not only devoid of the superficial, surface elements of make-up, but the “false face” of beliefs and assumptions about who we think we are, most often, beliefs that really don’t serve us and cause us pain and suffering.

Don’t take it personally

When we don’t take the people, events and circumstances of our world personally, we can move into a place of deep relaxation and peace – our “original face.” Here, we can watch the projection of the world go by right in front of us – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – without the need to become reactive. Rather, our experience is one without tension, pretension, fakeness, or phoniness – none of the “shoulds” telling us how to be or what to do.

“Don’t laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find his own.” – Logan Pearsall Smith

Surviving

So, what takes us away from our “original face?” In a word, survival. First, as young children our survival – physical, emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual – depended on our unconsciously taking on others’ beliefs as to how we should behave. If we behaved accordingly, we “survived.” If not, we lost out on love, recognition, approval and for some, safety and security. As we developed, we took on more and more beliefs, assumptions and ways of do-ing and be-ing that we felt would help us “survive” – at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

Now, as adults, we no longer have access to our “original face.” We wear masks, and have various personas we take off and put on daily so we can “survive.” Having lost our “original face,” we’ve become unconsciously controlled by our ego mind as reflected by our inability to just let the world pass by as we sit in that theatre. Rather, we have an unconscious need to react, judge, compare, contrast, offer opinions, and be “right.”  We put our best face forward, to survive. We hold on to all our faces so we have them just in case.

“Solitude: sweet absence of faces.” – Milan Kundera 
When we let go of our false faces, of our need to “survive,” and habitual and patterned ways of thinking, do-ing and be-ing, and allow ourselves to sink into and penetrate deeply into our core Self, we set ourselves free -free to allow our “original face” – free from self-limiting, self-defeating, and self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs, “stories” and identifications. In this place we can sit in the theatre of life and experience the world – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – without needing to take it “personally.”

Our “original face” is what supports us to see the freshness of life, in every moment, free of conflict and the need to be judgmental, confrontational, combative or controlling.

Some questions for self-reflection are:

  • When was the last time you experienced your “original face?” How so?
  • Aside from physical elements such as make-up, surgery, or hair coloring, etc., what mental, emotional or attitudinal elements obscure your original face?
  • Do you tend to take people, events or circumstances “personally?” If so, how so and why? 
  • Do you recall behaving in ways you didn’t want, as a child, to get your parents’ or primary caregivers’ attention, love, acceptance or approval? Do you behave in those ways now to get others’ acceptance and approval?
  •  If you were sitting in that theatre, would you be able to simply watch, witness and observe without feeling the need to judge, critique or inject your $.02? Be honest. How about in your everyday world?
  • In addition to your closet of clothes, do you have a closet of faces and personas you take out and put on for different events, circumstances and people? Why is that?
  • Would folks describe you as authentic? How do you know? Would you ask them? If not, why not?
  • What was being authentic like for you when you were growing up? Were you able to have your “original face?” Were you encouraged to have your “original face?”
  • Can you envision a world where everyone wore their “original face?”

“There are people who think that everything one does with a serious face is sensible.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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(c) 2021, 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 stops us from self-actualizing?

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Just launched – three exciting new products

Those familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs know that self-actualization – be all you can be – is the highest level human need. The needs in order from lowest to highest are: BASIC – physiological (i.e., health, food,  sleep, sex, water, etc., and security (of the body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of property, insurance,  etc. If basic needs are not met, there can be no movement towards self-actualization. Over and above the basic needs are the SOCIAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL needs: belonging (i.e., love, affection, friendship, family, sexual intimacy, etc.), esteem (i.e., self-esteem, esteem from others, personal worth, social recognition, confidence, achievement, etc.) and self-actualization (i.e., morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts, etc.)

The Basics come first

According to Maslow’s theory, if you want be on the path of true self-actualization, you need to take care of your BASIC needs first. That is, if you’re hungry, you need to get food. If you feel unsafe, you constantly have to be vigilant and on guard. This is where you spend the plurality of your time and energy.

Truth be told, only about two percent of the population is actually, proactively, consciously self-actualizing, according to Maslow.

So, the question now becomes, what is it that is preventing me from being all I can be, from self-actualizing?

Here’s an exercise

Draw a stick figure of yourself. Then draw four straight lines, horizontally, each about two-to-three inches long, extending out from the center of the body, each one about an inch and a half away from the other lines (you’re going to write on these lines, so leave room above and below each line).

On each of the four lines, write one of Maslow’s needs: physiological, security, belonging, and esteem (don’t use self-actualization here).

Look above, in the first paragraph, at what constitutes each of these needs. Take some time and reflect on how much of your total available time and energy  (i.e., physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, social, financial, etc. as a totality) you expend on fulfilling each of the four needs and write that percentage at the right of each line.

For example,

Lillian is experiencing low self-esteem issues, so she is spending a majority of her time engaged in social networking and the like which makes her feel “like somebody” and wanted. She writes 40% at the end of the “esteem” need. Her physiological needs are fairly well met so she writes 5% at the end of the “physiological” line. She has concerns about her job, so she writes 30% at the end of the “security” line. Belonging is an issue as she and her partner are having intimacy challenges (different from the “sex” element in the physiological need area), so she writes 25% at the end of the “belonging” line. Total energy expenditure – 100%. We’ll return to this in a moment.

Wilson is experiencing the aftereffects of a terrible tornado. There’s huge damage to his home and automobile. Although his insurance will cover the material damage, he’s devastated emotionally over the loss of family heirlooms that are irreplaceable but more stressed about the rebuilding of his home and how it will compare with his neighbors.

He writes 30% on the “security” line. In addition, he feels he’s being “shut out” by his friends at the local golf club. He feels he “doesn’t belong” and he’s not sure why. He spends a fair amount of time obsessing about this so he writes 25% on the “belonging” line. Wilson feels that if he’s not “socially networking” every free moment he’ll fall out of the loop and lag behind others who know “what’s the latest.” So, Wilson writes 20% on the esteem line as he’s feeling lacking, deficient and being “left out.” Finally, he feels he’s not living up to his parents’ expectations, so he writes 25% on the belonging line.  Total energy expenditure – 147%. We’ll return to this in a moment as well.

Get the picture? Now do this exercise for your self – be honest and sincere with your exploration and your scoring. Tell the truth. And, not everyone’s expenditure will add up to 100%; some might even go beyond 100% and that’s OK.

Qualities of self-actualization.  

According to Maslow, self-actualizers exhibited a number of qualities:

They are reality-centered – they know the difference between what is fake and what is real; what is honest from what is dishonest.
They are problem-oriented – they see life as solution, not problem, oriented; they are not victims.
They don’t necessarily have an “end” in sight;’ they see the journey as, if not more, important than the end.
They enjoy solitude; they are comfortable in their own skins; they enjoy fewer close personal friends than shallow relationships with a host of acquaintances.
They enjoy being autonomous – being free from or independent from physical and social needs.  They consciously resist social pressure to “fit in.”
They have a healthy sense of humor – not engaging in sarcasm, put-down humor or humor at the expense of others.
They accept others just as they are. They don’t try to change others, or themselves if they have a quirk or other non-harmful quality.
They are spontaneous and simple – eschewing pretension or artificiality.
They have a sense of humility and respect towards others, all others and a strong sense of ethics.
They have a sense of wonder and appreciation, are creative and have more peak experiences (being one with life and/or God) than most.
They transcend common dualities or dichotomies: spiritual/physical, selfish/unselfish, masculine/feminine.
They need truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, completion, justice, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, playfulness, self-sufficiency, and meaningfulness in their lives.

So, you ask, everyone wants these qualities, right? Yes, most everyone does. And, here’s the deal.

What gets in the way?

If you are striving, efforting or struggling to satisfy your Basic needs, then movement towards self-actualization will be halted or quite slow. If you’re starving, without financial support or need a roof over your head, you’re not concerned with the qualities of self-actualization, and rightly so.

BUT, if your basic needs are pretty well met, and you’re spending an inordinate amount of time and energy on your social and psychological needs – at the expense of self-actualizing – why? What is it about belonging, friendship, sexual intimacy, self-esteem, esteem from others, self-worth, confidence, achievement, and the like that takes much of your time and energy?

And, you, what did you see with this exercise? Are you on or near the road to self-actualization?

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Which of your needs are being met and which aren’t? How so?
  • Where do you spend the majority or plurality of your time, effort and energy? Why?
  • Do you often feel stressed and overwhelmed? How so?
  • Do you have time and energy to move towards self-actualization? If not, who or what prevents you from doing so? Is that OK?
  • Do you know folks who exhibit some or many of the self-actualization qualities Maslow describes? What’s it like to be around him, her or them?
  • What did you see about yourself from this exercise?
  • How much time and energy do you devote to social/psychological needs? Why?

—————————————————–
(c) 2021, 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

Insurrection 1-6-21- How We Got Here.

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The root cause of the 1-6-21 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington DC was not the November 3rd election. The election may have “triggered” the violence, but the “cause” is seated in the psycho/emotional foundation in those perpetuating the violence, a makeup that was created many years ago in the form of childhood wounding..

—————————————————–
(c) 2021, 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