Talk, Talk, Talk

 

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One of the most frustrating and irritating experiences at work is not just the sheer number of unnecessary meetings – although they do test one’s patience – but the endless talk and sharing of thoughts that seems to last forever, yet lead nowhere.

Human nature being what it is, many folks have an inherent and insistent (often unconscious) need to talk, teach, tell, train or otherwise get their $.04 cents in during meetings just because they need to be seen and heard.

It doesn’t matter that they’re often expressing thoughts that have no direct bearing on the meeting’s outcome. It doesn’t matter that what they’re saying isn’t new, innovative, creative or pertinent. Essentially, they enjoy talk for the sake of talk.

As I began to write this, I came across a quote from the Master Krishnamurti: “Thoughts are like furniture in a room with the door closed.”

So, I thought I’d take a chance and stretch this metaphor and write about “meeting give-and-take” from the perspective of moving furniture around in a room in order, hopefully, to support folks to stand back, and take notice of what they do, and how they are, at meetings in order to add value to their “meeting” experiences.

So, taking the quotation and the metaphor of thoughts as furniture a bit further – here goes:

What often happens at meetings is folks are just moving lots of furniture (read: thoughts) – first here, then there, then here, then over there. Then folks decide to change the fabric on the furniture and proceed to move it here, there and over there. It remains the same furniture (thoughts), with different fabrics (think different, but not new, “takes”).

Some add new colors, then, new textures and move the furniture again, here, there, here, there. However, it’s the same furniture, perhaps, with variations on a theme, but nothing really “new” and still with the door closed. No oxygen. No breath of fresh air. Nothing new, creative, inspiring, productive, engaging, innovative or fresh.

So, perhaps you might find some time to visualize yourself in a room with other folks and your collective task is to move furniture. Rather than simply move stuff around, or change its appearance but not its substance, I propose you tug on your own sleeve and inquire into the following self-reflective questions.

The goal is to explore not only the value and worth of others’ and your contributions, but to explore what you learn about yourself in the moving process, that is, to see “what I am learning about me” in the process of moving furniture, in a conscious effort to learn more about “who I am” and “how I am” while moving, or just watching others move, the furniture.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What kinds of feelings/emotions am I experiencing as I move the furniture, observe others moving the furniture, or express myself??
  • How am I managing my feelings/emotions?
  • What insights am I gaining about myself as I move or observe other movers?
  • Do my biases, prejudices, assumptions, inferences, preconceptions, etc. limit me in any way?
  • How am I reacting to the furniture, the textures, the colors, the fabrics?
  • Is my moving affecting others? How so?
  • Do I exhibit a specific way of sharing or thinking that helps/hinders a healthy moving environment?
  • How are others’ moves affecting me?
  • How do I feel about giving feedback to others’ moves, choice of textures, colors, fabrics?
  • Am I seeking feedback for my choice of moves, colors, textures, fabrics? Why? Why not?
  • Do I find myself reflecting about me as a result of others’ moves or choice of colors, textures or fabrics?
  • Am I conscious of my reactions to others?
  • Do I consider myself the moving expert, and the expert of colors, fabrics or textures? How do I express my expertise?
  • Am I open to considering other, new possible moves, colors, textures and fabrics?
  • If others’ choices are not like mine, are they “bad”/”wrong”? Why?
  • Am I attached to my own agenda for how the furniture should be moved?
  • Do I lift the spirit of the other movers?
  • Am I being open-minded about moves, colors, textures and fabrics?
  • Am I judging others’ choices?
  • How is the energy of the room? Where are the blockages?
  • What kind of energy am I generating?
  • How would I describe my relationship with the other movers and their relationships with me?
  • How do I handle difficult moves or challenging choices of colors, textures and fabrics?
  • Does this experience push me past my personal boundaries and safety/comfort zones?
  • Am I safe opening myself to new ways of moving, or to new colors, new textures and new fabrics?
  • Do I prefer the old familiar way of moving, the familiar colors, familiar textures and familiar fabrics?
  • Do I know more about myself upon leaving this room than when I entered? Did I, in fact, learn anything?
  • What would happen if we all moved the furniture to another room and returned to this room, with its doors and windows open?

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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

BMW – Driven to Distraction

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“My days of whining and complaining about others have come to an end. Nothing is easier than fault finding.”Og Mandino

BMW – no, not the car.
BMW – bitching, moaning and whining.

How often are you driven to distraction, taken off your game or lose your focus – at work, at home, at play or in relationship – due to someone’s continual venting, whining, complaining, nit-picking and fault finding? How often do you choose to allow, to enable, someone to suck your time and energy resulting in your missing a deadline, decreasing your productivity, messing up on an assignment or interfering with your pleasure – because consciously or unconsciously you’re driven by some internal mantra that says, “I’m your friend and I need to be there for you?”

Do you enable BMW-ers because you feel that’s what a good leader, manager, co-worker, friend, partner or spouse is supposed to do? Do you enable these folks, again and again, even though it stresses you out or leads to passive-aggressive behavior on your part?

So, here’s the deal. MBW-ers always feel better after they’ve had the opportunity to off-load their stuff on to you. MBW-ers always feel better when they commandeer you to carry their load. Why wouldn’t they?

The important question here is, “How does your taking on their stuff, again and again, help you!?” “How does their sleeping better, feeling better support your experiencing well-be-ing?” In a word, it doesn’t. You don’t sleep better, feel better, become more productive, or experience a heightened sense of well-be-ing by taking on their stuff.

What actually happens, over time, is you begin to experience overwhelm, fogginess, confusion, upset, resentment and exhaustion – mentally, physically, emotionally and psychologically.

In reality, if you ask, “How is his/her life changing for the better as a result of my enabling their BMW-ing,” the answer (if we’re being honest, sincere and self-responsible) is, in all likelihood, “not at all.”

Venting is an addiction.

Most BMW-ers are very good at it. Most BMW-ers are addicted to their venting. It’s their drug of choice. Like most addicts, the capacity they lack is self-responsibility. BMW-ing is the venter’s way of avoiding taking responsibility for their life, for their feelings – at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

The venter’s strategy is denial – choosing to not invest time, effort or energy exploring their state in life. BMW-ers have no interest in exploring or admitting their contribution in creating upset or conflict. They have no interest in exploring the root causes of their pain and suffering. Venters hardly ever come to you and ask for support in gaining clarity about steps they can take to clean up their messes, become more mature in how they relate to life and living, learn what’s underneath their anger and anxiety. That’s what addicts are good at – denial – when it comes to self-awareness, self-management, self-responsibility and self-actualization. BMW-ers are risk-averse when it comes to change and forwarding the action of their lives. Dumping – that’s their juice.

Most folks – unless they’re enablers and thrive on dysfunctional relationships – will admit, deep down, their supporting BMWs’ venting does not work for them or for the venters. Most normal, healthy human beings have a felt sense that supporting BMW-ers is self-sabotaging, yet, are unsure as to what to do. They’re conflicted by wanting to be a good friend and not knowing how to deal with a venter.

Responding to a BMW-er

So, here’s a suggestion: how about, “Well, (name of friend and/or colleague), I know my listening to you again and again makes you feel better for a while. But, honestly, I end up feeling worse. I like (love/admire/respect/honor) you and I want to be supportive; but, from my perspective, it seems that your venting is not getting you anywhere; rather, your venting is an addiction, like sugar or alcohol that gives you a momentary sense of feeling better, but in reality you are not taking responsibility for (the issue.) If you want support in working to find solutions, I’m happy to help, but I don’t want to be on the other end of your venting any more.” This is your opportunity to be honest, sincere and self-responsible. Takes courage and strength.

The Buddhist monk, Pema Chodrun, likens enabling to “idiot compassion” – supporting others to your own detriment. An honest and self-responsible response to a BMW-er takes inner strength, courage, empathy, self-love and compassion for the other person. The question is, “Can you choose to respond in an honest, sincere and self-responsible way to a venter?” Even if the BMW-er chooses to become angry or resentful?

It’s all about the truth.

The truth is, most folks balk when someone calls them on their stuff, on their addictions, and refuses to enable them any longer. So, are you willing to face their upset, to allow them to be mad at you?

The truth is, listening to MBW-ers spew their stuff and vent is not loving yourself, and, frankly, is not loving to them. What is loving and compassionate is for you to stop enabling their addiction, even if that’s tough for them to hear, and tough for you to do.

The truth is, you may actually lose a friend or colleague if you call them on their stuff. How does that resonate with you?

The truth is, friendship – honest, conscious and healthy relationships – is a two-way street. Many BMW-ers drive on one-way streets using you for their selfish gain with no regard for you as a friend, colleague or partner. They drive through life at work, at home, at play and in relationship – with a blurred vision.

The truth is, if your friend, the venter, pulls their friendship because “you never want to listen to me,” there never was a friendship – a dysfunctional relationship with a “victim,” perhaps, but not a friendship.

So, what do you think? Do you choose to hang on to, and enable, an MBW-er in a co-dependent, toxic and unhealthy relationship, or engage with real and true friends, colleagues and partners with whom you can learn and grow, extending mutual support and respect to one another?

“Take your life in your own hands and see what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” Erica Jong

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Are you the “go-to” person others seek out to dump and vent? If so, why do you think this is so?
  • Do you “get something” from others seeking you out to vent? Are you addicted to others’ venting? How so?
  • Do you encourage and support others to explore solutions for their issues, rather than simply allowing them to vent?
  • Do you feel stressed by others’ venting? If so, is this OK? Do you put up with it? Why?
  • Are you a venter? What would friends, colleagues or your partner say?
  • Are you uncomfortable confronting others about their venting? Can you tell them you won’t passively listen to their venting?
  • If you are a BMW-er, what does venting get you? How has venting honestly changed your life for the better?
  • Do you prefer to vent rather than explore real solutions to your life’s challenges?
  • Were you around venters growing up? What was that like
  • If you tend to be a venter, where did you learn how? Who taught you? Who enabled you?

 

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(c) 2019, 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

Experiencing Well-Be-ing in 2020 – Facing the Truth about Change and Well-Being

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“The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.”
Herbert Agar

Think of change this way. Grasp a rubber band between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand and between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Think of this rubber band as change. Stretch the rubber band. Think of the right hand as representing new ways of do-ing, be-ing and having, i.e., stretching to move forward in your life. Think of your left hand as representing being brought back to old or current ways of do-ing, be-ing and having, i.e., pulled back to remain exactly where you are.

Each time you stretch (i.e., move beyond your comfort zone) to act in some new way (your right hand), your left hand (your mind, your body and your brain) are pulling you back into old patterns. We often allow ourselves to return to old patterns and continue old habits – even if they are self-defeating, self-limiting, and self-sabotaging – because we feel safe and secure. It’s a question of “the devil we know versus the devil we don’t.” The sole reason 98% of the folks who resolve to change in the New Year fail by Valentine’s Day, is their falling back into old ways, habits and patterns, of do-ing, be-ing and having. The pull to passivity, to the same old patterns of do-ing and be-ing is just too powerful. Their challenge of something new, i.e., change, or the unknown, is trumped by their need for familiarity, safety, security – i.e., their need to NOT change.

The truth about change
“The truth, like surgery, may hurt, but it cures.”
Han Suyin

Creating true and real changes in one’s life is challenging. If you decide your life is more interesting, more satisfying, happier and more worthwhile living by not changing, that is your choice. But, you can’t have it both ways – “I hate my life but I don’t want to change.” Or, “I want to change, but I don’t want to be different.” Remember the definition of insanity – doing the same thing in the same way, over and over again, and expecting different results each time. Insanity is a choice. Sometimes conscious. Sometimes unconscious. Wanting to change, and doing nothing about it, day after day, year after year is one form of “insanity.” And, you’re not bad or wrong for not wanting to change. You are where you are. The question is, “What is it about change that frightens you, causes you concern or feels threatening?” What’s the truth? Self-awareness.

If you are adverse to change, maybe take some time (perhaps five minutes, ten minutes or thirty minutes) on a consistent basis for a while to explore your resistance to change. Being honest and serious about your life is challenging. If you can’t take some minutes for yourself on a consistent basis to explore how you feel about where you are, be curious about that. Are you resisting, and why? What does resisting get you?

So, here are some truths around change and well-being I and my coaching clients have explored over the years, truths which have supported us to change and transform our lives in ways that have resulted in a greater sense of well-be-ing – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or psychological, not to mention personal and professional. Facing these truths in an honest, sincere, and self-responsible way, with love and compassion for yourself, can jump-start your journey towards meaningful change, transformation and a heightened sense of well-being.

Connecting to your life force supports well-being
Your life force is an energy. Life force is not a simple, mental construct. Life force is real. Your life force is what provides you with the qualities of, for example, self-love, compassion, forgiveness, strength, courage, will, discipline, steadfastness, stick-to-it-iveness, truth, deep listening, right understanding, right knowing and right action (notwithstanding those who say change is all about willpower. The truth? Willpower is rarely sustainable).

To connect to your life force, it’s important to engage in some type of consistent spiritual practice – meditation (sitting or walking), energy work such as yoga, tai chi or martial arts, self-reflection or contemplation, quietude and silence, or journaling. A spiritual practice is not about religion or theology. I know atheists who have a spiritual practice; I know avowed religious folks who don’t. The truth is, touching in on a regular basis to our deeper self, results in experiencing a deeper sense of well-be-ing that supports us in time of challenge and change, and gives us a sense of grounding, peace and well-being with which we approach life and make healthy life choices, decisions and changes.

Living in a real community supports well-being
If you find yourself spending more and more time engaged in online social networks, if you live much of your life communing with “friends” on Facebook, Instagram, and in virtual communities, there’s a better than average chance you’re real-world social skills may be eroding. You may find yourself turning down more and more invitations to “real” social events or feeling more uncomfortable when you do engage. You may find your social skills when engaging with “real” people are diminishing. You may find yourself “holding up” in your home more and more, venturing outside less and less.

The truth is, a healthy sense of well-be-ing comes from interacting and engaging in community; real, not fake, community. Our personal growth and positive mental, emotional and psychological health and well-be-ing feeds on the nourishment we get from conscious interaction with others, from community. There’s a host of information describing how belonging to a community, a real community, supports us to, for example deal with loneliness, improve our motivation, health, and happiness, feel supported and connected to and with others, and deal with the stress, challenges, struggles and chaos of daily life, not to mention the sense of camaraderie, connection and caring that can result from being in a community. Experiencing community, real community, is one way to develop and sustain a heightened sense of well-being.

Eating to live; exercising for health, support well-being
Do you eat to live or live to eat? What’s your diet like? Most everyone knows what a healthy diet looks like. The health of our mind-body-spirit unit cannot maintain without a healthy diet. I’ve come across countless folks over the years who exercise to extreme so they can “pig out,” gorge themselves, and eat unhealthily. So, in the morning, for example, they run, go to the gym, or exercise at home so they can dive into unhealthy food and drink at night. Then, it’s guilt and shame. A self-defeating vicious cycle. So, the next day, extreme exercise and unhealthy eating or drinking – a mental, physical, emotional and psychological roller-coaster lifestyle that results in anything but a healthy sense of well-being. Not to mention the emotional inner turmoil that erupts when one skips a day of exercising, but not a day of unhealthy eating or drinking. I’ve seen countless folks come out of the gym still being angry, unhappy and sad even after a “great workout.” They may be in good shape, but many are not in good psycho/emotional/spiritual health.

The truth is that being in good shape, but poor emotional and psychological health, is bound to lead to a life of self-hate, self-loathing, and utter unhappiness and frustration. Asking one’s self, honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly, “Why am I really been dieting and exercising?” can help one move into a diet and exercise lifestyle that promotes healthy well-being – physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. Is your regimen of exercising and dieting about truly and really healthy or something else? The “something else” usually leads to consistent emotional upset, frustration and failure.

Conscious intention, commitment and focus support well-being
“One must know oneself; if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better.”
Blaise Pascal

The reality is, without our being “conscious” of who and how we want to be, and why, without being intentional and focused in every moment of change, the forces of old habits and patterns will take over, reducing change to a small idea in a tiny brain molecule – magical thinking at best.

Some important questions around change and improved well-being we can ask are:

“Why am I choosing to change?”
“Do I have any hunch or instinct I won’t be able to keep my intention or change?” The truth is many folks want to change to impress or please someone else. If this is the case in your situation, a deeper exploration of what’s underneath your desire to please others is in order.
“Why do I need to please others and have others’ approval?”
“What does pleasing others get me?”
“Who would I be and how would I feel if I didn’t please others?”
“Do I love myself as I am, right here and right now?”

Understanding “my mind is not me, but mine,” supports well-being
On the other hand, if you’re honestly and sincerely committed and intentional about your choice to change, consistently monitoring your thoughts, and being self-aware, can support you in your change efforts. When you want to run faster, longer, and harder (when you know it leads to injury or burnout), when you want to eat the whole bag of M&Ms (when you know you’ll be upset with yourself afterwards), when you want to have another cigarette (when you know it’s unhealthy), when you want to spend the extra $100 (when you can’t afford it and it jeopardizes your credit score), monitor your thinking and explore what mental messages you’re hearing, what your Inner Judge and Critic is saying, what old rationale is arising to trigger your acting in ways that are self-sabotaging, self-limiting and self-defeating.

The truth is, you are in control of your mind, not the other way around. If you stay “awake'” and ask yourself questions like: “Why am I choosing this?” “Is this really supportive of my choice to change?” “Am I choosing to sabotage myself and if so why?,” you’ll come to a deeper understanding of your behaviors that are self-sabotaging and slowly be able to wean yourself away from old patterns and limiting beliefs that keep you from changing. Emotional mastery supports you to be clear about what you’re feeling moment to moment so that you are in control of your life and the master of your own well-being.

Consistency and specifics, not extremes, support well-being
Sustainable change comes with small, incremental steps. The name of the well-be-ing game is consistency – moving forward on a conscious and consistent basis, in baby steps. Wanting to create wholesale and quantum change overnight hardly ever works. Burnout and frustration – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological – are often what follow the need to change on a dime. How does a mouse eat a round of cheese? One small bite at a time. Some further suggestions here .

One obstacle that interferes with lasting and sustainable change is having a wrong motive for changing. For example, making the mistake of “moving away” rather  than “moving towards.” In other words, focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. The energy of moving toward a goal is more alive, juicy, positive, enthusiastic, exciting and motivating than the energy of moving away which is often heavy, negative, and unpleasant. Here’s a much more thorough exploration of the moving towards vs. moving away principle, with many practical examples.

Another obstacle to creating sustainable change and experiencing well-being, is acting in extremes, and “all-or-none” extreme approach to change, i.e, exercising every day (rather than, for example, starting with three days a week or a half hour at a time), meditating for an hour, rather than starting slowly, reading the whole book, rather than a chapter, etc. The problem here is that our Inner Judge and Critic gets in the way with all the “shoulds” and perfection-based ego-driven excuses that get in the way and, more often than not, doom us to failure. The secret sauce of  achievement is to start slow, baby steps, be gentle with ourselves, and move forward incrementally and consistently. Remember, how does a mouse eat a round of cheese? One small bite at a time. It works!

Another strategy that can lead to effective, lasting and sustainable change, is to use the word “choose” instead of want, need or should. Shoulds are burdensome and guilt-making; choosing is freeing. The energy of choosing is self-empowering and gives you ownership. The truth is change is about feeling light and emotionally free, not about feeling needy for security, control or others’ approval. Consistency allows the brain to create the new neurological pathways that have to be ingrained for new ways of do-ing and be-ing to become habitual. No consistency, no sustainability.  Extremes only lead to failure. More about should and choose here . The author writes from a Christian perspective, but you’ll get the point, whether you are Christian or otherwise.

Self management, not time management, leads to well-being
“Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you’re one who says your life is out of your control, that you don’t have enough time in your day to get things done, that you find yourself watching way too much TV or hanging out online to an extreme, the truth is that you’re doing a poor job at self-management. Time management is NEVER – ever -about time. Mismanaged time is a symptom; “me” is the problem. When we work on self-management and self-regulation from a conscious, proactive (not reactive), values-driven place, time then ceases to be an issue. How so?

The truth is, our values or lack of them play a large role when making choices as to what to do, how and when, or being clear as to whether we are spending our investing our time, energy and effort. When our choices are based on values that are murky, misguided or nonexistent, our efforts lead to confusion, mistakes, self-defeating multitasking and chaos that comes from juggling too many balls in the air at the same time. With respect to priorities, many folks ask the wrong question, i.e., “What’s next?” instead of the more-important question, “What’s first?” and why. Lack of self-management skills and clear values produce a lack of clarity and direction so everything is next, everything is urgent and important, and we know this perspective often leads to inner turmoil and outer upset and diminished well-being. Time management is, first and foremost, about self-management. So, what are some ways we can focus on better self-management?

Knowing when to say “no” supports well-being
To achieve peace of mind and well-being  it’s important to learn how to say no – to yourself  and to others who are asking you for something. This is a real discipline. How often do you give up your own aspirations, dreams, goals or tasks because you don’t want to upset someone? Or because you like doing something that is perhaps a distraction. And then you become distracted by all the things you say yes to?

Learn how to have difficult conversations with others so you can say no in a kind, respectful, gentle, compassionate and positive way and still take care of yourself without feeling guilty, ashamed or fearful. Know how to say no to yourself and not feel like you’re denying yourself.

Ask: “If I instinctively want to say no to someone or something, what am I actually saying yes to?” Go deep and connect with your heart. What’s the truth here? Sense into your higher aspiration, your purpose, which will make it much easier for you to learn how to say no.

Having a clear sense of purpose supports well-being
We want to be productive, effective and successful. But, many of us find it hard because we always feel we have too much to do. When you have a clear sense of purpose, when you’re clear about why you’re on the planet, it’s empowering because you’re clear about what you want from life. Many of us are confused about this. Purpose is your guideline, your beacon, as to your choices and decisions – e.g., what party to go to, what to read, watch. You become clear as to how you move forward, how to invest your time and energy. Purpose supports you to  clear out the clutter, simplify your life and create a heightened sense of well-being.

Purpose is empowering because it helps clarify our life choices and decisions, what we want from life, the path forward, how to simplify our life and how to invest our time, effort and energy which has a return on investment, as opposed to “spending” time, energy and effort which has no valuable return.

Support leads to a greater sense of well-being
I know of very few people who have been able to make honest and lasting change by themselves. Very few. Most folks who succeed with change have a support system of one kind or another. A support system helps us overcome the immune system many of us have towards change. The truth is going it alone hardly ever produces real and lasting change. Who is your support? Are they nonjudgmental? Are they affirming? Do you feel safe talking about your life with them? Do they help you gain clarity?

Find a professional coach or other professional support person to help you clarify your goals, the “why” of your life.  Working with this support, be guided by your purpose in your choices and decisions as to how you invest your time, energy and effort.

Living with awareness creates well-being
“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves into crustal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

When we are in touch with our deeper Inner Self, we become free(er) and this sense of freedom helps us make those change that bring lightness within, and a heightened sense of well-being. Awareness supports us to become more center-focused and allows us to discern (as opposed to judging) what serves us from what does not, what needs to change and what doesn’t.

The one major element that we can truly control in our life is self-awareness, the awareness that says “I’m the master of my life,” the awareness that brings meaning and purpose to our journey on the planet, the awareness that supports us to move forward along the right path. The truth is, without self-awareness, chaos rules our lives and with chaos comes unhappiness, unfulfilled dreams and unmet goals, finger-pointing, blaming, confusion, overwhelm and stress.

So, what’s the truth about you and your life? What’s the truth about the stories you tell yourself about why change is so hard and frustrating? What’s the truth about your definition of “insanity?”

Finally,
Most people are free-falling through their lives, ping-ponging from one crisis to the next. Living in this type of spiral or chaos leaves no room for conscious living.

The real truth about lasting change and transformation, and a true and real sense of well-being, is that true change, transformation and sense of well-be-ing comes with self-awareness and a healthy integration of body, mind, spirit. Change is a reality that can happen in every moment of our lives, every moment of every life – but only if we are aware of it and see the truth of “who I am” and “how I am” as I live my life.

In essence, experiencing a true sense and real sense of well-being comes when we know the truth about how we live our life, and why.  As Galileo said, “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

So the question we want to ask, moving forward, “If I truly want to experience a heightened sense of well-being in 2020, and I’m not, what’s getting in the way – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically?” What’s the truth?

Some questions for self-reflection:

 

  • Who are you (can you describe this without defining yourself by what you “do”)?
  • How do you feel when you define yourself?
  • What do you want?
  • Why do you think you’re on the planet
  • How do you feel when you define what you want?
  • Where are you in your life at work, at home, at play and in relationship and, why are you there?
  • How do you feel when you describe where you are and why you’re there?
  • Who are your allies in life?
  • What are the “truths” about you and your life?
  • How do you feel when you speak the truth of your life?
  • Do you have a spiritual practice?
  • Are you drowning in distractions of one kind or another? How so?
  • Is time your friend or enemy? Why?
  • At which end of the rubber band do you live most of your life? Why?
  • Is your social community more real or virtual?
  • Are you optimistic or pessimistic about your life in 2019? Why?
  • You feel you’re in control of your emotional life? Why or why not?
  • On a scale of 1-10, where are you when it comes to experiencing a real sense of well-be-ing?
  • Can you visualize a world where you are moving effortlessly and consistently toward personal change and transformation?

 

—————————————————–
(c) 2019, 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

One Down* – Two to Go**

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*     – Thanksgiving
**   – Christmas (and other seasonal celebrations) and New Year’s

The holiday season is often difficult to navigate – mentally, physically and emotionally. The frivolity, laughter, glitter and shine often turn to blue. For many, the holiday season is a season of darkness, not light, facing the challenges of resentment, jealousy, guilt, shame, quiet or overt anger, sadness, stress, loneliness, and unfulfilled longings – a time to get through, rather than truly enjoy.

Successfully meeting these challenges can be likened to the way white-water rafters approach their task. Beginners watch for the craggy rocks, the problems to avoid, the risks to circumvent, usually ending their runs feeling emotionally and physically drained. Experts focus on the flow line where the currents safely guide them through the roughest areas with a minimum of mental and emotional stress, ending their runs on a high, with energy to spare.

So, I’d like to share some perspectives and strategies to support you to create a nurturing holiday experience resulting in peace in body, mind, and spirit and a heightened sense of well-being.

Body:

Fall and winter are Nature’s time for hibernation -being quiet and lying dormant. The tendency to live frenetically – shopping, partying, and going at ninety miles an hour, is unnatural. The physical stress alone can affect your immune system, resulting in energy depletion, lethargy, and illness. It’s important to take time to relax and reduce stress, to maintain consistent harmony and balance. Some suggestions:

Your body monitors how you’re doing. So, notice levels of tension and/or fatigue. With a cupped hand, lightly tap your arms and neck, and other areas to relieve stress and to increase energy flow and vitality. Is your breathing deep and relaxed, or shallow and quick? Remember always to breathe deeply, especially when facing stressful circumstances.

Nurture yourself. Take time for reflection and being alone. Go to a movie, take a hot, soothing bath, treat yourself to a massage, cuddle up and enjoy your favorite music, take a quiet walk. And, breathe. Release the tether to your electronic devices.

The holiday season is defined by social gatherings and often the focus of such gatherings is food. People often overeat (often emotionally-driven) during the holidays, and then experience guilt or shame. In addition to the usual tips of eating before you go to a social gathering to avoid starving when you get there, and socializing away from the food center of gravity, you might:

Design a conscious eating strategy so you don’t fall prey to unconscious patterns of medicating with food and drink. Savor the tastes, the pleasure of the aromas, flavors, and textures of seasonal treats. Don’t beat yourself up or deny the pleasure. Harmony and balance are the keys. Plan your daily intake of calories, so you have room to indulge and still experience well-being, rather than indulge and feel badly both physically and emotionally. And, breathe.

Stress is a major excuse for eating. Reflect on what’s stressing you and reflect on how you can reduce or eliminate stressors, over and above eating or drinking. And, breathe.

Maintain a consistent exercise regimen to alleviate guilt about overindulging. Your body needs to move to feel well. So put on some music and dance, or shake out tensions and stresses so you don’t become stuck in a holiday funk. And, breathe.

Mind:

During the holidays our internal judge and critic bombard us with how we should act and behave. Listening to this onslaught of “I should” is enough to drive one to Grinch-dom. I must get the right gift. I should go to that party I must eat less. I have to send a card. I need (or don’t) to say what’s on my mind. I need to make this the best holiday ever. I should exercise more. I need to meet someone else’s expectations of me. I should be more joyful, sincere, outgoing, religious, appreciative, generous, peaceful, etc.

In family gatherings; you may feel a need to debate issues, feelings, or past memories. Instead, initiate a truce. Place resentments and grievances on the back burner. You can address them after the holidays with greater thoughtfulness and clarity when extra seasonal stresses won’t affect you.

So, beware of the “shoulds.” Rather than beat yourself up whenever your inner judge tugs on your sleeve, just allow yourself to witness and observe the “should.” Then, breathe deeply into your belly a few times and move on. Experiencing guilt indicates you’re allowing your inner judge to grab you and hold you up to some imagined or impossible holiday ideal. Let go. And, breathe.

The focus during the holidays, and all days, is being authentic, allowing your integrity to shine, to be yourself, and not struggle to meet either someone else’s expectations or some ideal you have of yourself that is impossible to meet. This is a good opportunity to practice the Four Ls of well-being: lighten up on yourself, laugh at yourself, love yourself, and leave yourself alone. You can defend against your internal critic and judge by telling it to back off, using whatever silent or oral language works for you.

You may overeat, or over drink, to take care of and nurture yourself, perhaps to find sweetness and comfort from food where you cannot find sweetness elsewhere, perhaps to distract yourself from boring people or events, or to deny what you’re feeling. So, be aware of what’s eating you and reflect on whether food or drink are the only alternatives. And, of course, breathe.

Spirit:

No one consciously wakes up and says: I’m going to be a jerk today. The opposite is normally true – almost everyone is trying to do their best and, in their own mind, operate from positive intention. So, when it’s easy to become stressed and react to what we perceive as others’ rudeness, insensitivity, or stupidity, take nothing personally. Use these opportunities for your spirit to come through, be accepting of others, give others the benefit of the doubt and look for the noble humanity in others. For example:

When a shopper inadvertently bumps into you or cuts in line;
When a driver cuts you off;
When someone inadvertently says something you take to be critical or demeaning;
When a family member brings up an embarrassing or unpleasant past event in your life;
When a retail/service person doesn’t meet your expectations for quality service;
When someone forgets to thank you for your gift;
When your family doesn’t decorate the house, or prepare food, exactly as you would;
When the priest, minister or rabbi offers a sermon you feel you could have given better;

Be appreciative and grateful for all you have, come from your heart, not your mind, focus on what you love and what truly gives meaning to you, and on what this season means to you – whether its family, community, or religion. Stressful events present opportunities to be bold and brave, allowing your light and joy to shine, no matter what anyone else is doing. Wherever you are, wherever you go, know that you are a blessing! And, breathe!

And if in doing your best to take care of yourself, you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Speak with a counselor, therapist, a coach, trusted friend or minister. Folks in the helping professions are aware of, and sympathetic to, the pain which people experience at this time. Yes, this too shall pass, but if you find yourself swept up in the blues of your holiday, it will pass more quickly if you seek support.

So, gift yourself and use this time to practice following your own flow line as you navigate the white waters of this holiday season.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you find yourself getting sick during the holidays? (Note: the main cause is a weak immune system. Another major factor is the stress of dealing with our families.)
  • What stresses you during the holidays?
  • Are you attached to how folks react to the gifts you give them? If so, why?
  • Do you tend to overeat or over-do during the holidays? If so, do you ever consider if you overeat or over-engage in too much activity to fill some type of emotional hole?
  • Are you really, really happy during the holidays? How can you tell?
  • Do you take time for, and care of, yourself during the holidays? If not, why not?
  • What are you doing differently this year to reduce stress during the holidays?
  • Who’s driving your holiday activities? You, your friends, your family, others? If it’s not you, why not? How do you feel about having others dictate how you spend your holiday time?
  • What were the holidays like for you when you were growing up?

 

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(c) 2019, 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

Age Quod Agis

whole person

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He who is false to present duty breaks a thread in the loom, and will find the flaw when he may have forgotten its cause.”  – Henry Ward Beecher

I recall a Latin phrase we were taught in elementary school – Age quod agis. In essence, the phrase means “do what you do and do it with all of yourself.” When we do what we do with our whole self, it means working from our center, our core i.e, our heart and our soul (not only from the neck up).

When we work from our heart and soul, we’re not talking about some airy-fairy, new-age, “soft,” religious, theological, or subversive approach to work. We are, however, talking about a deeper approach to work – what might be called a spiritual approach.

This deeper approach to work focuses on excellence, ethics and fairness. This deeper approach to work asks questions – sometimes tough, challenging and uncomfortable questions, such as:

How can business promote sustainability and the environment?
What is a fair and just compensation, wage or bonus?
When are outsourcing, downsizing, and layoff efforts justified?
How does business promote the family and/or social responsibility?
How can I find my true calling?
What is  “Enlightened Economics?”
How can we restore trust and integrity in the workplace?
Can our workplaces be more ethical and humane?
Does work have to be dull, boring, routine and meaningless?
Is the separation of spirituality and the boardroom a “given?
Can people do the “right thin” without “management control?”
Why do so many, when they reach the top of the ladder, find it resting against the wrong building?
How do we respond to unethical conduct?
How do we make money and meaning?
How do we resist the “bribe and kickback” way of doing business?
How do we avoid gossip and bullying and demonstrate humility and respect?
What will I do with the rest of my life after retirement?

Warren Buffet said, “I’ve seen a lot of not-very-good human beings succeed in business; I wish it were otherwise.””Now, there are probable many Warren Buffet-type-thinkers among us who would agree. Moreover, with the ups and downs in the economy, many folks are discovering not only are they doing just fine with less, and being happier, but now wonder why they needed more in the first place.

Age quod agis is about integrating spirituality with business. There’s no question people are becoming more introspective about who they are and how they are at work given the incidents of unethical, immoral, and illegal shenanigans we read and hear about daily.

Given an unhealthy, unhappy, fear-based, and worrisome workplace environment many folks find themselves in, the creative energy that flows from the heart and soul might just be one catalyst that can transform today’s workplace into a healthier, more engaging, more ethical place to spend the majority of our waking hours.

What we do with our “whole” self
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Research and self-reports show more and more workers are seeking calm and well-be-ing in the midst of the storm by “going inside” and reassessing their values and motivations, and discovering that when they come to work (or life) from a deeper, non-egoic place, they experience a greater sense of meaning, fulfillment, and well be-ing than what they formerly experienced when driven by ego-based needs and wants, driven by greed and speed.

Many are finding that spiritual and humanistic assets are becoming greater desires than wealth and material gain and serve as greater psycho-emotional supports than sustaining an “image” or “persona.”

Coming to work with our whole self means focusing on “who you really are” – your being and your character – within your team, your group, your silo, your organization and in your civic and social community.

Coming to work with our whole self means consciously and proactively dealing with the “tension” between spirituality and spiritual values, and work.

Coming to work with our whole self means choosing to take the time to look up from our spreadsheets to consciously focus on people and values, to speak out for what’s right, and by making an effort to act with compassion.

Personal discontent
In today’s workplace, constant competition, fear, vigilance, gossip, bullying and stress are leading to personal unhappiness, dissatisfaction and dis-ease – not a very productive way to live life at work.

Coming to work with one’s whole self fosters calm and provides a perspective that gives one an edge which is a genuine resource in overcoming angst, agitation, anxiety and aggression. Coming to work with a heart-soul-mind-driven focus provides mental, emotional, physical and psychological balance and harmony – a balance that supports a workplace characterized by “we” instead of “I” vs. “you,” and engenders a strong ethic of personal responsibility for, and self-management of, “who I am” and “how I am” at work.

Discernment
Coming to work with one’s whole self fosters a spiritual practice known as “discernment” – a way of quieting the mind and moving away from the constant din and chatter – internal and external – and allowing the wisdom of the “unknown” (intuitive “right knowing,” “right understanding” and “right action”) to arise from within instead of always forcing our “logical-contrastive -comparative” mind to answer questions and find solutions which are often quick, simple, easy and…wrong.

Dealing with people
The most intangible and complex element in any business equation is the people. Age quod agis means dealing with people by first dealing with yourself; as Socrates suggests, “Know thyself.” Having a firm grasp of one’s core values, inner motivations and purpose for being on the planet, coupled with a emotional maturity are what allow one to show up in integrity, authentically and real.

Age quod agis, when combined with effective leadership and management thinking, creates a high-performing workplace where ethical behavior, trust and trustworthiness, respect and meaning inform one’s day-to-day do-ings and be-ings.

Age quod agis means acting with wisdom, discernment, integrity, empathy and compassion – qualities that emanate from one’s deeper self – qualities that are not co-opted by greed or speed. Age quod agis means doing the right thing, from moment to moment, with your whole self.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you check your heart, soul and values at the door when you show up at work?
  • Do you deal with the “whole person” in your relationships with others at work (and at home, and play)?
  • Do you ever take time out during your workday to be quiet (walk mindfully, reflect, meditate, breathe…)?
  • Are greed and speed the two major driving forces at your workplace? How so?
  • Do you feel others see you at work as a “whole” person or simply as a “function” (how about at home)?
  • Do you feel workplace decisions are generally ethical and fair? What about your workplace decisions and choices?
  • Does your organization give attention to social and civic concerns, corporate social responsibility?
  • Do people commonly do the “right thing,” even when no one is watching?
  • Does your organization take your family into account in some way, shape or form? If not, how does that make you feel?
  • Does your organization make efforts to reduce the dull and routine and add meaning to work. Do you?
  • Do “not-very-good human beings” succeed in your workplace. How so?
  • Can you envision a workplace where the Age quod agis approach to work is “business as usual?”

 

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(c) 2019, 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

Intention + Attention — The Foundation of Healthy Relationships

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Just launched – three exciting new products

“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

Distractions

So, you’re in the midst of an interaction – perhaps on the phone, at the watercolor, on the elevator, golf course,  airplane, in a restaurant or store…and during any lulls (of a second or more) in the interaction you’ve been checking emails, texting, talking intermittently on your cell or been “otherwise engaged” with someone or something else. When the event is over, you realize, with some sense of either regret, surprise or embarrassment, you hadn’t been focusing very well.

The pity is that, truth be told, you may likely have no complete recall of the specifics of much of what you were doing or saying during that time – details about the who, what, where, when or why.

So, what’s happening here?
Many folks would say they’re multitasking – you know, “staying on top of things,” and the like. But if you drilled down, deep down, many of these folks, if they’re being honest, sincere, and conscious, would say they “abhor a vacuum” – silence (even of a second, or more) is deafening and uncomfortable. Further, if pressed, many (most?) would say that in times of silence, they often turn to negative or stressful thoughts. So, they choose to keep their minds occupied – engaged in anything that will fill the void. How about you?

Do you see yourself here?
Do you engage in other activities while eating, watching TV, responding to emails, talking on the phone, etc.? If so, why? Once you come up with your usual knee-jerk, “stock” answers, then ask yourself, “really, really, really, why?”

Contrary to what many folks believe (a belief or story that justifies their multitasking behavior), neuroscience research tells us that the pleasure center in our brains lights up when we’re fully and completely engaged in a single activity – when we’re focused on one task. The research suggests that intention and attention (both, not either/or), when focused like a laser, are what lead us to experience fulfillment, satisfaction and pleasure – whether it be a water cooler conversation, walking the dog, cooking a meal, folding the laundry, preparing the budget or watching “the game.”

If you’ve ever experienced a great teacher, counselor, coach, clergy person, health care professional, therapist and the like (what about your spouse/partner, hmmm?), one reason you called them “great” is most likely because they treated you as the most important person in the world when you were in their presence. Their intention and attention were squarely devoted to – you.

Dare to be great!
So, if in your own world, you want to be “great!” at relationships, invest your intention and attention on the person in your presence – even if you’re in a group – one person at a time – regarding them as if they’re the most important person in your life in this moment.

Oh, and one more thing – that “silence” thing
The next time you experience a “lull” in what you’re doing, don’t jump for the next gadget or distraction to “save you from yourself.” Take a slow, deep, quiet and nurturing breath (or two, or three or four) into your belly and listen to your intuitive voice and inner wisdom. It’s there, below the mental hubbub going on in your mind.

The more you take time to experience stillness and to direct your intention and attention inside, you can move below the inner din and negative thoughts and stories to a place of peace, contentment, equanimity, wisdom and well-being – the core of your Essential and True Self.

You might find the quality of your relationships moving to a higher level – even your relationship with yourself.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Are you generally “otherwise engaged” when you’re interacting with others? What story do you tell yourself to justify dividing your attention?
  • Do you ever get upset when someone is “otherwise engaged” when you’re having a  conversation with them? What’s that feel like?
  • Are you easily distracted? Is it hard for you to remain focused for periods at a time? Tell the truth.
  • When you were growing up, did you ever feel you were being an “irritant” or “bother” to your parents or primary caregivers because they didn’t give you their undivided attention when you wanted or needed it? How did that make you feel?
  • Do you know folks who make you feel you’re the most important person in their life when you’re engaging with them? Do you ever make an effort to treat others that way?
  • How well do you do with silence? On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable do you feel with silence?

“Human relationships are the perfect tool for sanding away our rough edges and getting at the core of divinity within us.”  – Eknath Easwaran

P.S. True story: a while back my partner (at that time) just walked in from a lunch date with a friend. In the course of our “So, how was it?” conversation, I asked her if the restaurant were crowded. She replied, “You know what, I was so focused on (friend) I didn’t even notice.” Intention and attention.

—————————————–————
(c) 2019, 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

Life and Problems – They’re One and the Same

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Just launched – three exciting new products

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” Helen Keller

The reality of life is that life comes with problems and challenges.

Secret Sauce of Dealing with Problems
The secret sauce of living with life’s problems and challenges is changing our orientation, our perspective. Rather than efforting to avoid problems, or be in denial about life’s challenges, we can shed the “victim consciousness” and choose to see what messages or learnings about life’s problems are offering us. A change in perspective often leads to the discovery of an inner strength, courage and will – an inner capacity or power- that supports us to persevere and meet life’s challenges.

Problems and consciousness
Each and every problem or challenge can lead to an expansion of our consciousness – but only if we choose. We can choose to allow problems to stretch us – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically- to break through the familiar and “safe” boundaries of our limitations. If we allow, problems serve to make the unconscious, conscious and in the process support us to reveal and heal past hurts and wounding. Renewed faith and trust are by-products of consciously dealing with our problems and challenges.

When we’re “problem-oriented,” it’s usually impossible to be “solution-focused.” When we’re locked into a “woe is me” world-view, our hands are tied, so to speak, to search for a way through. And, that’s a choice – to be problem-focused or solution-focused.

Blame game
If you’re one who’s caught up in the blame-game, always pointing to something or someone “out there” for your problems, now is the time to understand that the source of every problem is inside us. Every problem is a mirror reflecting back to us our own personal, internal issues we have not owned. The truth is when we consciously own and address our issues, problems release their charge, their pull, and their tendency to “trigger” us and no longer cause us upset or trouble.

So, there it is. The “problem” buck stops with us. When we own our “stuff” and take self-responsibility for how we live our lives, we reduce and eliminate much of the pain and suffering we experience from our “problems.”

Many folks are waiting for their “real” lives to begin in some way – once all the obstacles are out of the way. As Dr. Phil might ask, “How’s that been working for you?”

The conscious, self-responsible, person sees see that obstacles are, in fact, their life, right here and right now.

Raised self-awareness
So, it’s good to remember that all problems are the Universe’s way to help us move to a higher level of self awareness. Rather that shun problems, a healthy practice can be to explore how your problems can contribute towards your learning, growth and development. Once you’re on the “other side” of a problem, you’ll have a deeper understanding and clarity as to why that circumstance, that opportunity, i.e., that problem, was in your life. Why it happened “for” you, not “to” you.

Adversity can be a welcome guide and teacher. Life is all about “lessons learned.”

“All Life is Problem Solving” – Karl Popper

No problems = no learning. And we came into this life, we’re “down here,” to learn, grow and heal. All of us.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Are you generally “problem-oriented” or “solution-oriented?” What would your partner, spouse, friends or colleagues say?
  • What major problems/challenges are on your plate these days? Are you approaching them self-responsibly? How so?
  • Do you consistently think or feel “the grass is always greener on the other side?” How so?
  • The way to see problems IS the problem. Do you agree?
  • How do you create problems for yourself?
  • Are you a blamer? Do you often feel like a victim? How so?
  • Do you think hating problems will make them go away? Does it work? Do they then go away?
  • Have you ever found that what you thought was a problem, wasn’t? What was that like?
  • How did you come to see problems as problems, rather than opportunities?

—————————————————–
(c) 2019, 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 if you were a nobody?

nobody

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

Credentials are a fact of life – degrees (even honorary), certificates, diplomas, titles, qualifications and the like are symbolic “badges.” Credentials have their place in life. Credentials support us to feel confident (even when we aren’t), and support others to feel confident in us. Credentials allow us to assume responsibility and accountability, and support others – choices to allow us to lead, manage or supervise. Credentials communicate education and experience upon which others can rely.

When credentials get in the way

Where credentials get in the way is when they lead to obsession and preoccupation. How so?

Some folks become their credential. A new identity is birthed from their credential. They feel like a “somebody” as a function of their credential. They take their credential “out of context” and allow it to become bigger than life itself. These are the folks – at work, at home and at play – who can’t get out of the way of, separate themselves from, their credential. They wear it like a cloak. It’s become their “brand.”

Do you know who I am?!

When folks are obsessed with their credential, when they are their credential, they’re always “on” – in formal meetings, in informal workplace gatherings, in water cooler conversations, with clients and other stakeholders, in outside-of-work social situations, even when shopping at the local retailer – their conversations and their interactions are largely (often unconsciously) motivated by their need for recognition, acknowledgement and their need to feel emotionally secure, to be seen as “somebody.” And, for this “somebody,” it’s all about “Do you know who I am?” “Do you recognize ‘my credential that is me’?” Again, often consciously, more often unconsciously.

There’s an intellectual component of the need to be “somebody” – being cognitively recognized as important, knowledgeable, educated, having position, power, status or privilege – and there’s a psycho/emotional component to the need to be “somebody” – and a physiological feeling and sense of being “held” and “seen.” When any of these is lacking, an individual can experience a sense of being a “nobody,”  – a fate equal to death – unbeknownst to them, it’s an “ego death.” They might feel they don’t exist. Or they have no value or worth. They feel deficient. They feel lacking. They have no identity. They’re not “somebody.”

The psychopaths and narcissists who cross our paths in every walk of life are obsessed with the requirement, need and want to be seen as “somebody.” Their credential is the story line of their life, a statement about “who I am,” a “somebody.”

To these folks, the response to the question, “What do you do?” is an “I am?” statement. A “do-ing,” not a “be-ing.” Why? Because they are their credential – an announcement of “who I am.”

The credentialed often crave the limelight, to be the center of attention and the life of the party. Being at the center (of the Universe!) feeds their ego, and nourishes, not their sense of pride ( a good thing), but hubris, pride bordering on obsession (not such a good thing). Often when one of these folks feels they’re not heard or seen, they quickly react with a rough or unkind word, an inappropriate action or reaction that communicates: “Do you know who I am!!!!!?” “Can’t you ‘see’ me!!!!?” “What’s wrong with you!!!?”

The downside

Such reactivity is the downside of identifying with one’s credential. The point is when one of these folks feels unseen and unheard, their emotional and physiological response, underneath it all, is one of  anger fueled by sadness, and loneliness – not unlike the young child who is wet, but not diapered, or hungry, but not fed. Feeling unseen, unacknowledged and ignored, these folks, now as adults, are really reaching out to be seen and acknowledged – “emotionally wet and hungry,” wanting attention, not for diapers or food, but rather, to be seen, heard, held and recognized as “somebody.”

What would it be like if…?

So, what would it be like to consciously choose to be a “nobody,” to explore and be curious about what we see about ourselves if we didn’t need to be “somebody?”  That is, to be a “nobody” and show up authentically without the shoring up, the crutch of the credential?

What would it feel like if we went through an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, or a lifetime, without needing to be “somebody?” Just showing up as who I am, right here, right now, authentically?

Being authentic in our life means, simply, “I am me.” Not, “I am my job” or “I am my credential.” Just me. What might that be like, look like, feel like, sound like? What might others be saying about you?

Well, it might look like we own our mistakes. Or, we don’t become “too big for our britches.” Or, we don’t blame others for errors, or come across as arrogant, holier-than-thou, and super(wo)man. We shed the cloak of fakeness, phoniness and pretending. We allow ourselves to say, “I don’t know.” or ask “What do you think?” Or allow our embarrassment, our shyness or our vulnerability.

The qualities of a nobody

As a “nobody” we become more interested in others. We let go of our ego. We are inclusive in thought, word and deed. We are open and accepting. We operate from “I am one of you” and “We are in this together for our mutual good.”  We seek to understand before being understood. We stand back, inquire, observe and listen. We walk in others’ shoes. We let go of power, status, title, privilege and qualifications. We move away from “center stage” to “stage right,” maybe even move to being “behind the scenes.” We allow it to be OK to not need to be “the expert.” We become servant rather than master. We become flexible rather than rigid. We come from our heart in addition to our head. We become less important rather than self-important. In essence, we add a “spiritual” component to “who I am” and “how I am.” In a way, we become invisible. We get out of own way. We become “quieter” – more self-reflective, more self-observant. In a word, humble.

Humility, being a “nobody,” means looking up at the vast, vast Universe and knowing.that “I’m not the center of it.” – regardless of my credentials.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you rely on your credentials to be seen as “somebody?” Do credentials, yours or others’, get in the way of your relationships?
  • Are you ever jealous of others’ credentials? How so?
  • Do you ever feel like a “nobody,” or deficient, because you lack a certain credential? What’s that like?
  • What would a next credential “get you?” Do you feel like a “nobody” without it?
  • Do you use your credential to behave like a “know-it-all” or an expert?
  • Do you ever use your credentials to mask weakness, or deficiency?
  • Do you keep your credentials in a proper perspective?
  • Do credentials line your walls? If so, why?
  • When folks ask, “What do you do?,” how do you respond? As a “do-ing” or a “be-ing?”
  • Would you feel like the same person without one of your credentials? How so?
  • What would it be like to practice being a “nobody” next week, in thought, word and deed?
  • Do you always need to be “on”? If so, why?
  • Are status and title important to you? How so?
  • When did you first discover your need for status or title?
  • How do you practice humility?
  • When do you feel like a “nobody” and a “somebody”? How so?

———————————–——————
(c) 2019, 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

Tiger and Fame — Is That All There Is?

fame

 

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

“And what shoulder and what art Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?” – Robert Blake, “The Tiger”

Back in 2010, the media were tripping over themselves to cover and capitalize on the Tiger Woods story. Over the years, I’ve read about and watched many such stories. Typical of much of the media back then, they seemed to be focusing on the titillating, the gossiping, the business repercussions for Tiger, Inc. and his sponsors, and how his actions would affect golf, or perhaps sports in general.

Well, here’s a different take.

Tiger is but one point on the continuum of ambitious folks who’ve achieved success and fame and were still left “wanting,” who fell from grace.

Almost every day, we can find examples of successful folks in politics, in business, in sports, in education, in religion, in the arts and entertainment for whom fame represented a defective, lacking, incomplete brass ring. For whom, simply, fame was not enough. Fame did not provide them with a sense of groundedness, a deep sense of self, a “center that holds,” an “OK-ness” with the world as I like to frame it, or core sense of wholeness and self-love. Rather, amid all the glamour, glitz and groupies, some part of them was feeling alone, lonely, loveless or lacking – suffering.

And to ease their suffering, they act out in inappropriate, self-sabotaging ways – infidelity, crime, abuse, addiction, and other seeming “rational” (as no one who commits a “sin” agrees in that moment it is a sin)or other acts of stupidity – in an effort to fill a “void” that fame could not. Laughing on the outside, not so much on the inside.

For these folks, no amount of fame, or fortune, can ever suffice. Their deep desire or need for fame, more and more of it, is largely in direct proportion to the void or “hole” or emptiness they want to fill. As many have never taken the time to explore what’s really underneath their need for fame, for crowds, for adulation and acceptance, they tend to shy away from their “demons” – seeking escape outside themselves.

Why isn’t fame enough for these folks? Why doesn’t fame “do it” for them? Eckhart Tolle asks, “If there are so many seekers, why are there so few finders?”

One reason is their search for success and fame is misplaced. Their search for acceptance and approval is misguided, misdirected. Their heart’s longing for a sense of their “self” is veiled by their not knowing who they are. So, looking outside their self, they seek something/someone they believe they do not have now.

Our psychological condition – what we think, our attitudes and feelings about “who I am” and about what is happening in my life, the childhood experiences and conditioning we have had that we have not explored and addressed, and the shadow side of our self that we have avoided – are factors that affect how we deal with life, with success, with fame.

As author Orison Sweet Marden, says, “We cannot rise higher than our thought of ourselves”- about who we are – regardless of the amount of our paycheck, the size of our adoring crowds, lovers, World Series rings, Heisman trophies, recordings, books, Oscars, Emmys or glittering marquis pulsing our name.

The Tigers of the world in some way, shape or form feel separate, or lack True and Real love or a harmonious alignment between their personality and their soul within. In this place, healthy and conscious life choices and decisions are often elusive and hard to make. This is their challenge.

Successfully meeting one’s challenges requires a deeper, soul-based, approach that supports one to go within to explore, inquire and gain a greater sense and understanding of their self – “Who am I, really?”

For Tiger, and the rest of us for whom fame, fortune and success “don’t do it,” we’re being offered the opportunity to “work” on issues that seek resolution, for example:

  • Learning something new/necessary for our further growth and development that supports us in overcoming some limitation(s) imposed on our self, for example, by ignorance, by withdrawal from social connection or by not expressing our self on a deeper level
  • Healing relationships where dysfunction, disconnection or  disharmony exist
  • Clearing pathways of expression for Essential soul qualities that we need (e.g., love, compassion, will, discipline, strength, courage, steadfastness, wisdom…)
  • Discovering or clarifying our life’s purpose
  • Restoring order where disorder, or chaos exist in some way, shape or form
  • Understanding when we need to become at times more independent and at other times more interdependent
  • Restoring virtue where vice exists
  • Bringing thoughts into alignment with our heart/soul
  • Aligning our consciousness, understanding and behavior with universal laws
  • Awakening our conscience in order to make moral choices
  • Overcoming fear, terror and separation in order to experience greater unity within our self and with the greater whole of humanity
  • Learning how to teach or express unconditional love
  • Making connection with the Universe and trusting in its intelligence and love
  • Learning that soul is present within us and within everyone and that each being is divine in their own right
  • Supporting others when they need support

So, when the hubbub dies down, and we experience some quiet time before the next “star” falls from grace and captures all our attention, perhaps we can step back, take some deep breaths and inquire within, “Do I spend much of my life in a ‘wanting’ state? If so, what am I wanting? And, why? And what makes me think that someone or something outside myself will fulfill that wanting when I know, honestly, sincerely and and self-responsibly, that will never happen?”

“And what shoulder and what art
should twist the sinews of thy heart?”
-William Blake

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Is there a part of your life where you feel separate or lacking connection? Why do you think this is so? What might support you to overcome this separation?
  • In what part of your life do you lack understanding? What might support you to overcome this challenge?
  • Do you have a tendency to disempower yourself or others? What might support you to empower yourself and others?
  • Where is love (real love, not the concept of love) lacking in your life? How might you resolve to express love appropriately in those parts of your life?
  • How do you deal with success? Are you obsessed with success, fame, or being seen and acknowledged?
  • Have you ever acted inappropriately in order to feel like a “somebody?” Do you ever compromise your values to be successful, liked, or acknowledged?
  • Do you ever feel worth-less, value-less, unloved, or un(der)appreciated? How did that make you feel? When did you first notice this feeling?
  • What was success or fame like for you when you were growing up?

—————————————————–
(c) 2019, 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 Music of Your Life

music2

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

The Music of Your Life
Each of us is a work in progress. No one has “arrived.” We each compose the music of our own life.

The Disconnect
I remember once when I just began doing my personal psycho-emotional-spiritual work, one of my “teachers” suggested my “music” and “notes” may not be on the same page and perhaps this was something I might want to explore. I did.

What I discovered was a disconnect. Thus, my journey and work that continues to this day.

My take is for each of us, from time to time, our music does not reflect the notes on the page. When this occurs, it’s because we’re experiencing a kind of imbalance –  we’re out of harmony with our Self – in our life at work, at home, at play or in our relationship.

What is Harmony?
Harmony is a state of alignment or congruence among four elements: what we say, what we think, what we feel and what we do. Harmony arises when we experience alignment and congruity among our thoughts, feelings, actions and words.

Am I in Harmony?
A question I now explore consistently.

One way to become consciously aware of the degree to which we are or aren’t experiencing harmony is to sit quietly and reflect on our lives, where we feel grounded, peaceful, at ease and in sync with our Self – a conscious effort to explore how we feel about, think about, act around (or about) and speak about our various life areas, e.g., finances , career and livelihood, relationships at work, partnership and intimacy, personal environment and organization, personal, professional and spiritual development, health and wellness, family and friends and play and recreation.

When I’m not in Harmony
Imbalance and disharmony point to disconnects in the way we think, feel, speak about or act with respect to any of these life areas. For example, if I feel one way or think one way about money and yet my relationship to money is counter to how I think and feel about it, I’m bound to experience disharmony. If my behavior towards my colleagues, my friends, (former) spouse or partner in public differs from how I speak about them in private, when out of sight, I’m bound to be experiencing disharmony. So, for me, the question always is, “Does my music reflect the notes on the page called “me?” Are my notes out of sync? Off Key?

Folks who seem to be the most distressed, overwhelmed, confused, bored, frustrated, angry, or lost are most usually those whose music is out of tune – living a life that is out of tune.

In addition, when we experience disharmony with others, it’s usually because we’re not in harmony with ourselves. When we’re in harmony with our Self, we often find it quite easy to be in harmony with others – at work, at home, at play and in our relationships.

Feeling “out of sorts,” “foggy,” frustrated, lost or confused, most often reflects a state wherein we experience a disequilibrium among our mind, body and spirit – or head, heart and soul – between what we are thinking, feeling, saying or doing.

The major downside of being in a state of disharmony or disequilibrium is that, in this place, we often make unwise and unhealthy decisions or choices – at work, at home, at play and in your relationships. Disharmony results in our consistently sending ourselves mixed messages – messages that lead to confusion and self-doubt.

If we look back on some recent decisions that turned out to be self-defeating, self-sabotaging or unwise, there’s a good chance we lacked alignment how we were thinking, feeling and speaking. Personal, emotional, psychological and spiritual growth happens when we take time to consciously inquire into our internal conflicts – where disharmony lives.

Being in Harmony
When we experience harmony within – when our thoughts, words, deeds and feelings are in sync – we never have to look “outside” to blame, find fault, judge and criticize someone or some thing harshly. When we’re in harmony with our Self, we walk through life with a calmness, sense of inner peace and humility that says “all is right in the world” – our world within and the world without.

When we experience harmony, our song reflects balance and equanimity. Our notes are written with gentleness, mildness, respect, humility, modesty, tolerance and forgiveness. Inner harmony is what allows us to experience our soul qualities – courage, strength, wisdom, will, confidence, motivation, self-discipline, inner peace and love, compassion – qualities that consistently lead us to “right knowing,” “right action,”and “right understanding.”

Harmony supports us to live a life of honesty, integrity, sincerity and self-responsibility – no need for fakeness, phoniness, or deception. Harmony allows us to be at peace within our own skin.

No One Can Compose Our Music
Each of us is the composer of our own life’s music. We are the one who can choose to – or not – take responsibility when we hear a discordant note. And we, and only we, can then act – or not – to reduce or eliminate the discord in the melody of our life.

So, right here and right now, how’s your music? Do you need to change or discard any notes? Which one?

Some Questions for self-refection:

  • What creates disharmony in your life? Hoe so?
  • Do your actions reflect your feelings? Do your words mirror your actions? Are you always at odds with your Self? How so?
  • Do you tell yourself lies? About whom or what? And why? What does lying get you?
  • Is the music of your life harmonious or discordant? Where, and why?
  • Does disharmony in your life create conflict with others – at work, at home at play or in your relationship?
  • How do you promote harmony within your Self? Do you “walk your harmony talk?”
  • What does disharmony look like in your life? How would others describe a disharmonious “you?”
  • Do you tend to blame others for your disharmony? Why? Really, why?
  • Can you recall experiencing harmony in and around your family when you were growing up?

    ————————————-
    (c) 2019, 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