The Music of Your Life

music2

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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

“Soft Eyes” – Seeing True Reality

baby's eyes

 

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

How do you “see” problems, issues, challenges, conflicts, enigmas and the like – at work, at home, at play and in your relationships?

How do you approach dealing with various areas in your life – career and livelihood, spiritual and personal growth, friends and family, intimacy, and partnership, play and recreation, abundance and finances, health and wellness, personal environment and organization?

Do you forge ahead, like a locomotive, laser-like-driven, nailing down the issue or conflict, quick to diagnose, process and come up with a solution?

For example, how do you “see” reality? (Note: the images below are on my website and are virus-free) Take a very quick look (just a second or two) at this image. And this one. Finally, this one and tell yourself what you see. We’ll return to these in a moment.

“Soft Eyes”
The idea underneath “soft eyes” is twofold: (1) LITERAL – taking a few deep breaths, closing your eyes and actually giving your eyes permission to relax, let go and fall back on tiny soft cushions, or pillows, and then open your eyes and explore your environment; and (2) FIGURATIVE – seeing what you “see” about a person, place, event, object or circumstance from this “relaxed” perspective – which allows your “ego-mind” with its preconceived ideas, perceptions, premises, stories and beliefs to “take a short vacation.”

Often, viewing your environment with soft eyes can change the way you see it. And, when your view changes, so does the way you relate to it. When you change the way you relate to it, the way you respond to it also changes.

Let’s return to our images – this time with “soft eyes.”

Before looking at these images once more, take a few deep, deep breaths into your belly. Relax your shoulders. This time, when you look at the image, just gaze at it, noting nothing in particular, see the “totality” of it, and allow it to appear before you. Take a minute or two to gaze, softly, at it with “soft eyes: at this image, this one and this one, and allow each to unfold before you; allow each to show you, tell you what’s there and when you’re done, come back here.

Did you notice anything different? Notice I said “different,” not “new” – as it was there all along. You just perhaps didn’t see it the first time.

“Real Reality”
Often the sources of our conflicts and challenges and the most effective solutions with which we can approach them are “unseen.”

Too, it all too often happens that the way we approach issues and challenges can take a completely new direction, a new perspective when we explore the “real reality” underneath.

How do we identify this “real reality?” When we take the time to view situations, events, circumstances, people and their positions with “soft eyes,” we can often change our perspective of them – and the approaches we take when dealing with them – very often leading to mutually deeper understanding and win-win experiences and relationships. As Wayne Dyer, said, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.”

When we view  people, places, circumstances and events with “soft eyes,” we move through a kind of transformation where we discover a reality that was always there, but which we missed. We discover a reality that can shift the way we relate to people, solve problems, face challenges and live life – at work, at home, at play and in our relationships.

When we step back, when we jettison our old, programmed, habitual ways of “seeing,” we open ourselves to possibilities, we come to situations with a new energy. We can more readily, if we choose to, engage from new perspectives, we shift our frame of reference, we become newly empowered, we redefine issues and discover new solutions. In essence, we respond differently – we can even see ourselves and our experiences differently.

So, what is reality? Actually, no one knows for certain – although we each think we do. In fact, we usually get into trouble when we secretly believe that our interpretation of reality is the one, true accurate interpretation. Hmmm.

Each of us is committed to our own paradigm and, as such, sees things that way. The world we share is quite different depending on who’s viewing it. It is perhaps for this sole reason that our planet is rife with so much conflict.

So, when you’re facing a challenge, obstacle, or conflict or looking for solutions, or when you’re simply listening to someone else – or even yourself – consider the “soft eyes” approach….and remember:

“The chicken is the egg’s way of reproducing itself.”  Peter Koestenbaum

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Are you usually the first one to say you know the source of a problem – any problem?
  • Are you usually able and willing to change your perspective when considering a problem/solution?
  • Do you ever seek to operate as an individual even though you’re a member of a team/group/family?
  • Do you engage in creative play?
  • Are you obsessed with “getting it (or being) right?”
  • Do you ever think about what you’re thinking about?
  • Do you ever attempt to fix problems when you don’t know the complete context?
  • Do you ever use “soft eyes” when encountering challenges, or when listening to others?
  • When someone offers an interpretation (for example, of an event or circumstance) that differs from yours, how do you feel? Honestly?
  • When did you discover that you’re not always right? How so? What was that like? Who led you to that discovery?
  • Would other consider you to be a humble individual?
  • Would you rather be right than happy?

—————————————————–
(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

“If I were you…”

paths

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

“It is only when we realize that life is taking us nowhere that it begins to have meaning.” – J.D. Ouspensky

Much as we all search for the tried-and-true “how-to-make-life-work-for-me” manual or technology, formula, tool, technique and the like, the reality is each of us leads a complex and unique life. Another person’s answer, suggestion, recommendation for me as to how to live my life is often – 99.999% of the time – one that is quick, easy and usually off or misguided.

One Size Does Not Fit All
There is no “one size fits all” road to change, growth and development – the road that is well-paved, travel-worthy, lighted, secure, and sure-footed – a road that works for everyone. The truth is, the right road for you is not a well-traveled road. It’s a path. And the reason it’s called a path is because it’s never been traveled before.

Personally, professionally, emotionally, spiritually and  psychologically, you need to develop your own pathways. Personal pathway development is a challenging endeavor – moving through rocky terrain and uncharted wilderness, i.e., the unknown.

Those who listen to, and even follow the advice of, the “If I were you” this is what I would do…so, you should, too” folks are more likely than not to move through life like a bumper car – hitting dead-ends, bumps in the road, detours and the like as a result of looking for “direction” in all the wrong places” i.e., outside themselves. No one can “show me the way” – no one.

The Path Is An Inside Jo
The road ahead can come from only one place – inside. No one else can identify your path for you. Finding and successfully following your true path comes from your inner guidance and wisdom.

The path begins with a vision – a vision of what life looks like – at work, at home, at play and in relationship. This vision informs you of your place in life and on the planet. Your vision, when sought and discovered inside, and tested, provides a sense of worth and value that defines your place on the planet.

You Need Your Solutions
The reason other folks’ “solutions” (i.e., beliefs, “technologies” or visions, etc.) hardly ever work is they’re not designed for “me.” They may feel and sound good for a moment, and may provide a short burst of enthusiasm and energy, but in the long run they are seldom lasting, transformative or sustainable. Why? No one can empower you – but you.

And the only way you can become empowered is to generate, from the  inside, your own life vision and purpose. It’s impossible to align with, and become congruent with, someone else’s vision and purpose. If you’re true to someone else’s purpose or vision, it’s almost a certainty that, sooner or later, you’ll experience a sense of deflation, frustration or resentment. How can you not? You’re living someone else’s life! And that’s dis-empowering. Not life-affirming.

Appreciate The Rockiness of The Path
“I never know what the next lesson is going to be, because we’re not supposed to know; we’re supposed to trust ourselves to discover it.” – Melody Beattie

Every path, including yours, consists of its respective forms of difficulty, challenge, resistance, and problems – health, career, relationship, etc. – all created solely and especially – for you – for your character and personality. (This is the major reason why the “If I were you, I would…” folks can never – ever –  begin to solve your issues and challenges. They are not you. Journeying along your own path allows you to discover the purpose of the obstacles and challenges you face.)

Through honest and conscious self-reflection, you unbundle what’s in your way and in the process move from ignorance to intuition, from selfishness to selflessness and from inertia to energetic intentionality. The conscious journey along your customized path can lead you to becoming the heart-and-soul based human being you are – perhaps gently filling the refuse containers along the way with bits and pieces of your ego-self which you begin to discard.

The rockiness of your path serves to tug on your sleeve – asking you to “work” your character and personality, to become a better human being, to love and support others – at work, at home, at play and in relationship. The rockiness is intended to help you better understand, and live, the purpose for which you’re on the planet – which always, yes always, involves connecting with others for your highest mutual good.

Obstacles Offer Lessons To Be Learned
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” –  Fr. Alfred D’Souza

Every obstacle has a built-in lesson which is intended to raise your level of consciousness. Every obstacle asks you to stretch a bit, or a lot – sometimes beyond what you think are your limits. Every obstacle serves to bring your unconscious to the surface and in the process you have the opportunity to heal – mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or psychologically – where you discover heart-and-soul-felt capacities and qualities you never knew you had. If there’s one result that walking your own path affords you, it’s empowerment – realizing your value and worth, accessing your true and real inner strength and courage and discovering a belief and trust in yourself that walking someone else’s path never offers – ever.

And, that’s why it’s called a “path.”

“To know how to choose a path with heart is to learn how to follow intuitive feeling. Logic can tell you superficially where a path might lead to, but it cannot judge whether your heart will be in it.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What particular challenge are you facing? Have you deeply reflected on what you need to do, or how you need to be, to help you become a better “you” who’s capable of greater love, understanding and empowerment?
  • Do you know what “the hero’s journey” is? Have you ever experienced such a journey? Are you in the midst of one now? Do you consistently search “outside” yourself for the right path? How’s that been working? Honestly.
  • Do you surround yourself with “If I were you, I would…”- types of folks? If so, why? Are you an “If I were you, I would…”- type person to your family, friends, partner, spouse or colleagues?
  • Does the idea of walking your own path cause you concern or fear? What about a sense of excitement or adventure? And, “why?”
  • What was “fending for myself” or “going my own way” like for you as you were growing up?
  • Do you generally feel safe and secure – mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually or psychologically? Why or why not?
  • Are you a trusting soul? A vigilant or suspicious soul? How so?
  • How do you feel about “not knowing?” Are you comfortable journeying into the “”inner unknown?” 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

“Better a diamond with a flaw, than a pebble without” – (Confucius)

diamonds

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

The world offers itself to me in a thousand ways, and I ache with an awareness of how infrequently I am able to receive more than a small fraction of what is offered, of how often I reject what is because I feel it is not good enough.” Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Do you regularly beat yourself up for not being “better” in some way? As you reflect on your life at work, at home, at play and in relationship, can you see instances where you wanted to be perfect, and you weren’t? What’s that like for you – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically?

Success and Failure
One way we measure success and greatness is by assessing our failures. For example, we can inquire, “What have I learned about myself in the throes of failure?” There is no perfection without fault – none. The self-reflection that follows failure is one catalyst that fosters improvement, growth and greatness.

Do you spend time on the way to/from work, lying in bed at night while watching television or during exercising lamenting you’ll never be perfect? Do you dislike yourself as you list all the things at which you’ll never be perfect? Do you have memories of someone telling you you’ll never be good enough? Do you feel like the diamond with a flaw? Do you constantly ask, “What have I done wrong?” or “Why do I feel so lacking or deficient? all the while feeling like a victim?

Wholeness, not perfection
The way to our truest, deepest and authentic self is via the road of darkness, the road that leads not to perfection, but to wholeness. Frankly, there is no point at which we can say, “This is perfection.” Perfection, being a “10,” is an ego-driven, mental idea. We think that being a “10” means I have no flaws, no imperfections. Perfection excludes negative realities – an impossibility (no matter how hard our mind wants to convince us otherwise). We strive for perfection hoping to remove or mask our defects, our flaws. In essence, perfection means denying our self.

Wholeness, on the other hand, is an archetype – something unattainable – a metaphor. An archetype is intended to guide, inspire, support and affect our reality in various ways. We embrace and manifest archetypes by being self-aware and consciously conscious – affecting our attitudes and our approach to life and living. The archetype of wholeness points to both the positive and the negative, all parts of our self.

At the outset, pursuing perfection can be a useful first step in our growth process as it motivates and provides a focus on the positive. However, it must give way to the pursuit of wholeness where our duality (the light and the dark, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative) has meaning. Focusing on perfection is focusing solely on the personality, the outer, our “packaging.” Focusing on wholeness puts our attention on the essential truth, beauty and goodness within our soul.

Wholeness is not a process of identifying what is “wrong” or imperfect and trying to fix or eradicate it, but to discover what our “flaws” have to teach us so we can learn from them. Our “flaws” exist as a means of challenging us to learn what we need to see about ourselves. No flaws, no challenge. No challenge, no growth. No growth, just a “pebble.” When we learn what we are challenged to learn (i.e., life’s journey), the “flaws” often lose their charge, and in the process often disappear.

Who are You?
“We have the need to be accepted and to be loved by others, but we cannot accept and love ourselves. The more self-love we have, the less we will experience self-abuse. Self-abuse comes from self-rejection, and self-rejection comes from having an image of what it means to be perfect and never measuring up to that ideal. Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves – the way we are – and why we don’t accept others the way they are.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

The reason striving (positive energy) for perfection is often a struggle (negative energy) – exhausting, exasperating, frustrating and overly emotional – is because we’ve lost connection with our core self and become mired in some self-image or concept of who I think I should be. The negative feelings and emotions that accompany striving for perfection are a signal to stop, take a deep breath and identify with our Authentic Self – the peaceful, compassionate, tolerant, loving, and beautiful person I really am – i.e. the diamond. When I stop the relentless striving and beating myself up, and take time for silence, meditation, and inner exploration, my essence will arise, my sense of wholeness manifests and the strength, courage, will and steadfastness to accept my self as I am arise.

Fear drives us to the self-sabotaging quest for perfection. Love allows us to open to all that we are
– with curiosity, passion, excitement, and acceptance.

Wholeness then sees flaws and imperfections as eminently useful and necessary so we can embrace all parts of our self and can value every experience.

Pain is a Reality; Suffering is Optional
The first fact of life is suffering and affliction, flaws, exist. Accepting this fact of life is the basis of our life’s journey. Our desire to escape from our flaws, rather than embrace and learn from them, is what leads to suffering.

Most folks have a tendency to feel shame about, or deny, their flaws. In fact, our flaws are one of our greatest spiritual assets. When we consciously deal with our flaws they lead us along a spiritual path. Unfortunately, at an early age we learned to push affliction away, to deny, hide from or otherwise deny our flaws and seek perfection. Rather than be open to suffering as a fact of life, we become defensive and live a life of avoidance, denial and self-deceit. It’s in the defensiveness that we first begin to reject ourselves, experience shame and guilt and engage in self-destructive, repressive and suppressive behaviors to avoid suffering.

When we seek wholeness, accepting our flaws, our diamond grows brighter and brighter, as our soul qualities of compassion, tolerance and understanding arise. When we are OK with our flaws and imperfections and allow our soul’s love, power and confidence to arise, we not only avoid suffering but we actualize our potential to support others to relieve their suffering.

During the coming week reflect each day on how often you express who you really are, your wholeness, and how often you only express some personality (perfection-seeking) trait.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What do you seek – perfection or wholeness? Examine closely and honestly your pursuit of perfection and the areas of life in which this pursuit takes place. What are the consequences of this pursuit on your soul’s quest for wholeness? How so?
  • What motivates you to move forward? What keeps you from moving forward? How so?
  • In your relationships with some important people in your life, how can you more authentically share your true, authentic self with them?
  • What do you judge as wrong or evil? Can you see wrong or evil from the perspective that it is serving some useful purpose? What can you learn from it? How so?
  • What are three defense mechanisms that you frequently use to deny your flaws? If you stopped using one of these, what happens to you, your feelings and your relationships?
  • What was perfection-seeking like when you were growing up? How did you learn about perfection?
  • Can you envision a world where folks seek wholeness, not perfection?

“After enough mirror gazing, we all develop our “cosmic sense of humor.” We no longer try to be perfect, or try to get all our work done in time. We become content with whatever life brings. Just to deal with what comes up without crucifying ourselves or others is enough of a challenge.”  – Paul Ferrini

—————————————————–
(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

This week is last week’s “next week.”

october

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

I recently had a conversation with an individual I know about how her life is unfolding these days. Short answer: “Not so well.” Hmmm. I was curious. I then asked, “Going forward, if this week were typical of next week, and the next week, and the week after that, and the next six months, the next year and five years after that, would it be OK?” She instinctively reacted: “No, of course not!” – her words, affect and body language communicating flavors of resentment, frustration, and muted rage. When I asked if she’s doing anything about the state of her life, about possibly moving forward, she responded with a “Well, you play with the hand you’re dealt” attitude, feeling the victim – intimating she’s too flooded by victimization consciousness to take time to stand back, reflect, take a larger perspective or do anything constructive about changing.

Julia (not her real name), a successful professional woman, spouse and mother is basically unhappy – stressed out by her work, by her relationship, by her children, by the uncertainty of the economy, by the state of her physical health and her social life. Nothing seems to be “working” as she phrased it. When I asked, “Why not?” she thought for a moment and said, “I don’t know; I just don’t have time to get my life together.” That’s when I asked the “Well, if this week is typical…” question.

So, what about you? How are you showing up in your life – not just life at work, but life at home, life in relationship, and life at play?

Presenteeism
Presenteeism” is a term used most often to describe a form of “disengagement-with-life” type of fog with which many folks show up in life. The reality is lots of folks are exhibiting presenteeism in just about every aspect of their life. They are mental, physical, and emotional wrecks to some degree – a larger, not smaller, degree. Many folks are not doing justice to their work, their spouse/partner, their children, their friends, or their own self because they’re suffering from presenteeism.

Being the victim
Because many folks are (re)acting as the victim, and begrudgingly living life from the “hand they are dealt” perspective, and choosing not to be proactive about changing their life or lifestyle, they are experiencing stress, overwhelm, depression, confusion, anger and unhappiness manifested in self-destructive life habits – lack of sleep, poor diet, workaholism, overeating/drinking, sickness, disease, dis-ease, lack of exercise, estrangement from family members (even while living in the same space), being abusive, argumentative, resistant and resentful. In addition, many have concocted “stories” to justify why they can’t move off the dime. And thus their “insanity” continues – you know, doing the same thing the same way, over and over again and expecting different results each time.

Reflect
So, is this a good time to explore your possible relationship with presenteeism, with your own “insane” way of dealing with your life, with change and with the stories you use to justify and rationalize why you are where you are. And in this self-reflective mode, here are some considerations that might support your journey forward so that the “next week” and the “next week etc. might not be carbon copies of this week or last week.

Work Life
How is your relationship with your work? Why do you do what you do? What attitudes (and related behaviors) do you bring with you to your workplace? Do these attitudes support your well-being? Do you find meaning in your work – even in the mundane (hint: it’s possible)? Are you engaged at work, passionate, challenged, unhappy or overwhelmed? Would you do this work even if you weren’t paid? What do you like about your work (place)? How do you justify doing work you don’t like?

Family life
What’s your relationship with your family like? Is the value of family (“being the most important thing in my life”) manifested by the daily “reality” of how you relate to your family? Is there a disconnect? Are you satisfied with your relationship with your spouse or partner, with your children? What about real connection and intimacy? Is something missing? What about your relationship with your parents, sisters or brothers? How’s that working? Is your relationship with your family “this week” exactly what you would like it to be in the weeks, months and years ahead? How do you rationalize and justify unhappy and unfulfilled relationships that you allow to continue? Do you allow your job (and for that matter, Smartphone) to keep you from your family (that “most important thing in my life”)?

Health
How well do you take care of yourself? And what rationalizations, stories and justifications do you use for not taking care of yourself? How do you explain neglecting your health to your spouse/partner and children? If you became disabled tomorrow, how would that affect your family and others who care about you? Are you a good role model for others in the way you deal with your health? Would you urge your spouse/partner and children to follow your health patterns?

Social Life
Are you a friend to your friends? Or are they more the friend and you the recipient of their friendship? Do you take more than you give? Are friends important to you? How do they know? Do you subjugate friendship to a low priority, even though friendship is important? What rationalizations, stories and justifications do you use for doing so? If you have no friends, what is that about? Are your friendships consistently superficial or are they continually ripening and deepening? Do you have true and real friends at work? Are most of your friends “Internet friends?”

Happiness
Are you happy? Honestly – tell the truth. Do you experience joy in your life? And never mind the “it’s all relative” or “compared to whom/what” retort.” You know if you are; you know if you aren’t. It’s about the truth. Are you settling? Are you resigned? Are you OK with your level of happiness? Do you know how to achieve true and real happiness? If you’re not happy (however you define it, what justifications, stories and rationalizations do you use to explain your level of happiness? Is your level of happiness “this week” exactly what you would like it to be in the weeks, months and years ahead? Is happiness in the foreground or background for you? Why? What brings you joy?

So, this week is last week’s “next week.” If you decided last week, or some earlier week, to make changes in your life “next week” (the euphemistic phrasing for this is “when it’s the (so-called) right time”), how has this week been? Effected any changes yet? Waiting for another “right time?” Waiting until “next week?”

We all know the “right time” never comes and if/when it does, it’s not the “right time” we’re expecting.

Remember, when nothing changes, nothing changes. Groundhog day, Groundhog week – each wrapped in presenteeism. Is that what you’re choosing? If so, why?

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • If last week or this week were typical of next week, the week after and the week after that, and every week for the next six months, every week for the next two years, would that be OK with you? If not, why not?
  • What one or two baby steps can you take this week, to move in the direction of having “next week” be truly different from “this week?” How so?
  • What has to happen, or not happen, for you to take a first step towards change?
  • What conversation(s) do you need to have in order to move forward?
  • Resistance to change is based on fear – 99.9% of the time. What are you afraid of? Be honest and tell the truth. Who or what can help you move through your fear, your procrastination or your stuckness?
  • How did you and your family deal with change when you were growing up? 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

Authentic Relationships – 5-Question Exercise to Explore How You Show Up In Relationship

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The focus of this food-for-thought piece is to explore what it means to be authentic in the context of being single in the dating world or in the context of being a spouse or partner in your current relationship. Take this five-question exercise to explore your relationship to authenticity.

My purpose here is to offer you some thoughts and ideas about authenticity and take you through some exercises that will support you to explore your own relation to, and experience of, authenticity and what it means to be authentic in relationship.

What I’m offering is simply what has worked for me and my clients. So there’s no given that what I’m working with must work for you. In fact, if there’s something that resonates with you, perhaps take it away with you for further exploration and leave behind anything that does not resonate with you.

For this experience, you’ll need some paper, a writing instrument (or computer), your mind, heart, soul and your breath.

First, set your intention to be present for this exercise, fully, and let go of your day. Perhaps visualize a balloon and place your cares, concerns, problems, challenges in your balloon and when you’re ready just allow your balloon to float up and away, leaving you free to be present in mind, body and spirit.

Sense your feet on the floor and notice your breathing. Then, take a few deep, deep breaths into your belly and make the sound AHHH on the exhale. AHHH is a primal sound that brings, relaxation, pleasure and letting go. This sound opens your heart, your lungs and helps to melt tension while contributing to an overall sense of well-being. So, take another deep breath or two, exhaling with AHHH. Now, let’s begin.

Since coaching, for me, is all about asking powerful and provocative questions. This exercise explores five questions around authenticity in relationship:

1. What is authenticity and what does authenticity mean to you?

2. What are you do-ing and how you are you be-ing when you’re authentic?

3. What obstacles get in the way of your being authentic (e.g., beliefs,
self-images, attitudes, emotions, assumptions, stories, etc.)?

4. On an authenticity scale (1-10), where would you say you are now, generally, and
where would you like to be in six months with respect to your relationship to authenticity?

5. And what first step might you take to begin moving in this direction?

So, our first question:

What is authenticity and what does authenticity mean to you?

Take a minute and write down all the words and phrases that come to you when you think of the word authenticity. What comes up for you? Take a breath and go inside. Sense and feel your body as you do this part of the exercise. What thoughts, beliefs etc. come up? What feelings and emotions arise. What sensations do you experience in your body?

So, what was that experience like for you? Was it completely mental? Were you aware of your body – feelings and sensations? Were you relaxed? Did you experience any discomfort? How was your breath? Was it deep and relaxed or shallow and tight? Did you notice any negative self-talk from your Inner Judge and Critic? If so, is this self-talk familiar?

It might support you to be curious about what you noticed about yourself, especially if you experienced any discomfort or negative self-judgments. This can be food for further exploration about your relationship to authenticity.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines authentic as: something real and true, as the quality of being real or true.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines authentic as conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features; as not false or imitation and as being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character and implies actual character not counterfeited, imitated, or adulterated; it also connotes definite origin from a source.

So, the operative words center around essential source and spirit and character. That is, being authentic relates to the pure and innate qualities of the person I was when I was born, my true and real self, my essence, not an idea that I created and continually create with my ego mind.

So, it might be curious to explore how this loving, precious, pure and authentic child has morphed into adulthood and be curious about how we show up authentically in adulthood.

So, let’s continue with our second question:

When in a dating situation, or in your current relationship, what are you “do-ing” and how are you “be-ing” when you’re authentic?

What behaviors reflect your authenticity? Perhaps reflect on your words, your actions, your thoughts, your emotions and your feelings. How do these support your authenticity?

Take a minute and write down some of the ways you express your authenticity.

Here are some examples of do-ings and be-ings clients have come up with which express their being authentic:

* consciously choosing to be with my partner exactly as he or she is, focusing on the positivity rather than on obsessing on reasons why it can’t work

* supporting my partner in his or her choices, desires and dreams and consciously supporting one another to grow and evolve as both individuals and as a “we”

* honoring my partner’s truth, and uniqueness rather than focusing on possessing or fixing or changing him or her

* having the strength and courage to tell the truth especially when I believe it is unspeakable

* being consciously conscious and respectful of both my partner’s boundaries and my own

* asking questions for clarification and communicating rather than jumping to assumptions

* having the strength, self-discipline, courage, compassion and commitment to resolve differences as opposed to overtly fighting or being covertly passively aggressive

* focusing on what I appreciate with gratitude, focusing on solutions, not problems

* being conscious of paying attention to my partner and not taking him or her for granted

* being honest, and honoring my beliefs

* living in integrity, nonconformity, and sticking to my values,

* living without spoken or unspoken judgments and creating a real environment of harmony, well-being and trust and where we can both live authentically, and in integrity as ourselves

* expressing hurt and pain and not hide behind anger, judgment and criticism

* not deferring to my partner in a way that makes me uncomfortable or passive aggressive

* being intentional about expressing what I want

* not interacting with a hidden agenda

* staying conscious in my heart as well as my head

* sharing what I think and feel about my immediate experience

* accepting my undeveloped areas as well as my strengths

So, sense into your self. What is your experience right now? What thoughts, feelings or emotions are you aware of? What’s going on in your mind, in your heart? What’s your body telling you? What’s your breathing like? Mental activity?

How is it for you right now to explore this idea of authenticity?

Our next question points to obstacles to being authentic.

So, it’s time to explore some of the obstacles that get in the way of your being authentic – obstacles such as your beliefs, your images of who you think you must be, your attitudes, assumptions, stories or beliefs.

Perhaps one way of exploring this question is by asking if there’s a noticeable difference between two YOUs…the one who is standing naked at 4:00 am in your bedroom when no one is watching, and the one who walks out the door and into relationship?

So, take a minute and write down any obstacles which you feel prevent you from showing up as the real and true you.

Before I suggest some obstacles, listen to these client statements:

  • I’m not the same person in relationship as I am when I am alone at 4:00 A.M.
  • I feel I need to wear a mask and put on another personality so I’ll make an impression and be accepted and approved by the person I’m with.
  • Because I can’t tell the truth or be honest about my feelings and beliefs, I often feel like an imposter.
  • In order to fit in with a particular group when I’m dating, I feel I compromise my real and true self and lack the courage to speak my mind and make my voice heard.
  • I often feel I need to change who I am order to be with someone else?
  • I change my thoughts, my language, my views, and my feelings.
  • I feel I have to sell myself out when it comes to my requirements, needs and wants in order to maintain a relationship.
  • In many relationships, I feel I am moving away from being on purpose.

So, the question is, if you are different from your true and real self, what do you think or feel accounts for this difference?

Here are some common obstacles that bring one to compromise their true and real self, their authenticity:

* Allowing others to dictate who I think I should be, for example, my family, friends, society, reality TV, the media, or perhaps just my own ego.
* Ego-driven needs for control, recognition and approval, the need to be “somebody” at the expense of thinking or feeling like I’m a “nobody” – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, socially, financially, etc.
* Feeling or belief that my feelings and emotions, needs and wants are not worthy or appropriate, and “don’t matter.”
* Fears of losing my bachelorhood, fear of rejection, not being good enough, being hurt, fear of commitment, or divorce later on.
* Fear of telling my truth and of being judged and criticized; fear of sharing my experience in the moment, fear of saying what’s up for me, right here and right now.
* Self-image and ideal that says I am perfect in every way, when, in reality, I may not be.
* Fear that others will reject me if they know who I really am

So, what was this exercise like for you? Was it easy, challenging? Is there anything that piques your curiosity about your self? Did you experience insights or AHAs? What’s it like to acknowledge these obstacles? How do they make you feel? How so?

So, change and transformation always begin with self-awareness, and self-awareness is the goal of these first few questions.

And now that perhaps we’ve raised your level of self-awareness a bit, let’s look at our final two questions which are related:

On an authenticity scale of 1-10, where would you say you are right now and where would you like to be in six months?

And, what first step might you take to move in that direction?

Take a few minutes and respond to these two questions.

So, is your action step observable and measurable? What will you be doing, being or having that supports you to move forward toward showing up more authentically? How will you know you have successfully completed this step? How will you be different in a dating context, or in your current relationship, in some way, shape or form?

Do you have a sense of when you’d like to accomplish this step? Are you aware of potential obstacles that might get in the way? And, how can/will you deal effectively with these obstacles?

So, I hope these questions and exercises have been useful for you in some way as you explore who you are and how you are in the context of being a single in the dating world, or as a spouse or partner in your current relationship.

So, I’ll end with one final thought.

The Law of Attraction is a very powerful force in the Universe. The Law of Attraction says that what you focus on, consciously or unconsciously, what you give your attention and energy to, you will attract. Do you expect others to be authentic with you when you are fearful of being authentic with them? Authenticity is not a one-way street. Authenticity does not flow in only one direction.

The Law of Attraction applies in relationships as well as in every other area of life.

So, my belief is that one must exhibit the authenticity one expects in others. When we show up as less than our real and true self, the Law of Attraction says we will attract others who are also less authentic.

Being authentic, we will attract others who are authentic and there’s no better foundation than authenticity to create and cultivate a lasting, loving and healthy relationship.

———————————–——————
(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

Overcoming Fears at Work

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Platinum Quality AuthorEvery day in workplaces – from the Fortune 50 to NGOs, from non-profits to mom and pop ventures – many folks at work are living in fear – fear of losing their jobs, fear of being judged and criticized, fear of being disliked, fear of being embarrassed, fear of making a mistake, fear of being ostracized, or fear of facing uncomfortable challenges or problems.

Every day in workplaces, folks also experience inappropriate and egregious behaviors – deceit, fraud, harassment (verbal, sexual, physical, etc.), gossiping, bullying, lying, cheating, stealing, etc.

Curiously, at the same time, many of our workplaces openly exhort employees to abide by organizational values, pointing to honesty, integrity, trust and openness.

The “dirty little secret” (perhaps not so little), however, is many of our workplaces are challenged when it comes to folks’ reluctance to speak up and speak out about others behaving honestly and being in integrity.

The issue around inappropriate and egregious behaviors is not so much that they exist, but that so many choose to turn a blind eye to them. Why? Because they are afraid. They live life at work in a culture of fear.

The problem

The problem is most of us have learned to keep our fear to ourselves. For example, we are reluctant to expose bad news to our boss, to say we screwed up and made a mistake, to ask a colleague to stop bullying or harassing us, to disclose the company is keeping two sets of books, to admit to overpaying underperforming leaders and managers, to point out where there is cheating, fraud and deceit, to exposing failed processes, or systems or to admit to defective products. Fear resounds, but often very subtly.

These fearful folks live life at work in denial, defensiveness and delusion – repressing, suppressing and stuffing their fear – working in a world of make-believe that all is well. They often shore themselves up with a sense of grandiosity, or living the “appearance” of well-being, or exuding a false persona that communicates all is well, pretending nothing is amiss. Magical thinking.

The solution

The solution to fear begins with appreciation. Appreciation means admitting our fears and owning them. Appreciation includes exploring our reluctance and our self-imposed silence that keeps us from speaking up and out – exploring, consciously and deeply, the low-grade-fever type of anxiety and agitation we feel when we keep our fears tamped down, hidden.

Even in the midst of the intensity and the daily grind of our everyday workplace, we know the silence of fear. It’s always there, lurking just below the surface. In team meetings, in one-on-one meetings, when engaging with clients and customers, direct reports and bosses, even in social situations – all the while we are in conversation and dialogue – we know the silence and physiological discomfort of fear.

We feel the tension in our shoulders and the queasiness in our stomachs. We feel the constriction in our throats, and sense the tightness in our chest. We feel quiet, passive, withdrawn and deferential. We don’t make eye contact. We are silently angry. We feel embarrassed, cowardly, passive and reluctant. We’re there, but we’re not. We hold a large part of our self back.

The good news is we are experiencing our fear and it’s very life-affirming and self-supportive to notice it. It’s helpful to notice where we are at any given moment on the continuum between fear and hope – hope that our life at work will be different. It’s helpful and healing to experience an awareness of our internal conflict between being open, honest and authentic, and being shut down in order to survive in our life at work, to save our self, our reputation, or our paycheck. Awareness is the first powerful step to change, to dealing with fear. Now that I notice my fear, then what?

Being myself

The opposite of being fearful is being courageous. Being courageous is not about “not having fear.” Being courageous is about showing up, authentically, in integrity, in spite of our fear, trusting that we can access an internal sense of “right knowing,” “right understanding” and engage in “right action,” i.e., do-ing our best, and be-ing our best for our own sake and the sake of our organization, team, or unit, in spite of our fear.

For many, fear has no purpose. That is, there is no “upside” to being afraid. From a place of authenticity and integrity we can acknowledge there’s no sense in being fearful. Being authentic means to forward the action of our life in spite of fear and that by acknowledging we are afraid, we can be present to our experience, allow what we are feeling, breathe deeply and intentionally, sense “inside” and activate and generate the energy of courage, will and strength to “show up.”

Living and engaging in life, in life at work, beyond the silence of fear allows us to look at ourselves and see how we deny our fear by going silent. (Remember that when we bury our feeling of fear,  we bury it “alive.” It will leak out again and again to rear its ugly head.) When we admit our fear, and be open to it, the shackles of fear are loosened. We become free when we openly speak out about our fears, and allow others to speak about theirs. The truth does set you free.

When we hear others talk about their fears of being fired, or reprimanded or denigrated for saying or doing something, we need to compassionately listen to them and create a container of safety to support their disclosing. Critical to shedding our fears, and acting courageously, is admitting to the discomfort that fear causes us.

Self-awareness with respect to “who we are” and “how we are” in the workplace helps to create a more open workplace climate and culture that is not fear-based. Being open to feedback and constructive criticism (by and from all those with whom we work – above us, below us, next to us), listening empathetically, actively and deeply, cooperating with colleagues, respecting others’ privacy and individuality, discussing difficult issues from a heart-felt place, and acknowledging that many, many others, in addition to ourselves, are steeped in fear in their day-to-day life at work, are ways we create a safe, open and honest workplace environment.

Each one of us is worthy to be free from fear at work.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Who or what causes you to experience fear at work, to not speak up or speak out?
  • Can you acknowledge your fears? Can you give yourself permission to feel afraid?
  • When was the last time you spoke up or out against an inappropriate workplace action or behavior? How so?
  • Do you ever confide in others about your workplace fears? Do others confide in you?
  • Are you open to admitting your mistakes?
  • What is your organization’s culture around making mistakes?
  • Are you afraid to give or receive “bad news?”
  • Are you afraid of being criticized, embarrassed, or disliked?
  • Are you afraid of confronting a serious workplace issue or challenge? How so?
  • Do you attempt to mask your workplace fears? How so? Does it work? Really, really work?
  • Do you generally have the courage to speak up in spite of feeling fearful?
  • Do you feel authentic at work?
  • Is the silence of fear peaceful and quiet (internally) for you? Honestly?
  • What one or two baby steps could you take to act courageously in spite of your fear, to step beyond the silence of fear?

—————————————————–
(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

Confucius, LI and Decency at Work

Li

 

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The challenge for many in the workplace is simply this: how to be a business person and a human being at the same time compete yet cooperate, be hard-nosed yet be ethical, keep ones nose to the grindstone yet take time to see and acknowledge others, be professional yet personal, make a profit yet not be greedy. You get the picture.

We don’t have to look far to discover folks whose life at work takes the low road. Business magazines, journals, and news shows are replete with instances of individuals whose workplace demeanor is described as rude, insensitive, disrespectful, unethical, uncivil, egomaniacal and self-serving, greedy and dishonest. You might rub elbows with one or more such folks on a daily basis. And, all this despite the plethora of books, courses, seminars, workshops, policy and procedure manuals and treatises focusing on ethics and codes of conduct.

On the other hand, there are those whose lives at work are driven by their internal moral compass, a life at work guided by principles that support one to behave decently, truthfully and in integrity who take the high road even when they face major challenges, problems and difficult choices.

What supports one to change lanes and move from the low road to the high road is Li, and Confucius expounded greatly on the nature and practice of Li.

Li, what is it?

Around 500 BCE, Confucius discussed the notion of Li,  a spectrum of rites and rituals, i.e., a code of conduct, that focused on such things as learning, tea drinking, how to dress, mourning, governance, and interaction with humans. The underlying notion of Li was how to be respectful of nature, and one another. The term Li has several meanings some of which are: propriety, reverence, courtesy, ritual or the ideal standard of conduct.

Li is what the sage uses to find that which is appropriate; it is both the means which sets the example for others, and the end which maximizes understanding, pleasure, and the greater good. In this way, the words and behaviors one uses to show respect for another are contained within the framework of Li.

As the practice of Li was continued through centuries, one central theme began to stand out – the natural tendency to be decent and kind towards ones fellow human beings.

Confucius believed that Li was the source of right action in all behavior – that living life from a place of respect for all others was at the heart of living a harmonious and worthwhile life.

Li, however, does not come to ones consciousness naturally. Li has to be cultivated. One must first learn and then practice the art of being in integrity, respecting the dignity of every human being and then become committed to, and disciplined in, the practice of Li.

Li in the workplace

The practice of Li runs the gamut from smiling at a co-worker, to holding a door open for another, to serving others, to being self-responsible, to questioning practices that are unethical, corrupt, and disrespectful or demeaning of others, each behavior having a conscious focus and intentionality on working toward and supporting the well-being of the workplace, and those who work there.

The challenge in today’s workplace is that the practice of Li is a practice that is, for many, one of fakeness, phoniness, and convenience where more often than not, rudeness and selfishness become the guiding principles where one is ego-driven and not cognizant of others around him or her interrupting others at meetings, speaking over others, one-upping others, hijacking others experiences, needing to be the first one on and off the elevator, not holding a door for another, not saying please and thank you, and speaking ill of, or gossiping about, others. In fact, the opposite of Li is “me” i.e., rudeness, insensitivity, verbal abuse such as bullying, gossiping, and being disrespectful, and treating others as irrelevant.

Cultivating Li

The way to cultivate and practice Li at work begins with becoming conscious, asking ones self: How am I behaving right here, right now? Am I taking an opportunity to allow my natural tendency to be decent, good and kind to arise? How am I showing up? Am I being authentic?

Li is not syrupy stuff. It’s not fluff. Its not being effusive. Its not being fake or phony. It’s not being patronizing. Li is being natural, honest, sincere, self-responsible and relaxed when we interact with another, any other.

Practicing Li does not mean we stop being firm and assertive, stop holding others accountable, stop telling the truth, stop telling the bad news, etc. Practicing Li allows us to come from a place of internal truth and integrity that supports us to be forthright, confident, courageous, and trusting that we will show up in a way that is respectful, decent and just be who we are right here and right now without the edge that we might heretofore have used to shore ourselves up.

Confucius believed that in order to truly achieve the principles of Li, the character of the true person, one must look within oneself. Confucius tells us to go inside in a sense, when he says, in effect, we know what is proper (li), especially in difficult situations, from the wisdom arising out of contemplation. regularly going into self-reflection, inner listening, and sensing our gut, to accessing our inner wisdom that leads us to right knowing, right understanding and right action.

Cultivating the practice of Li supports us to live our life at work from a place of self-responsibility, honesty, decency, integrity, strength, courage, and humaneness even when we feel it might be inconvenient. Each of us is born with Li. Over time, however, we have lost our sense of Li as we allowed (often unconsciously) life to get in the way of being our True and Real self. Over time, our Li morphed into fake personalities, fake personas, and masks. So, many of us became poseurs. In the process, we learned to navigate life, even life at work, with our eyes wide closed – reactive, fearful, and resistant, losing our humanity and decency.

Li supports us to live life, even life at work, with our eyes wide open.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do resentment or greed drive your interactions with others? How so?
  • How might you experience fear in your workplace? How do you act when you feel fearful?
  • Do you ever lie or stretch the truth? How so?
  • Do you feel white lies are OK? Do you ever lie, cheat, or steal simply because its convenient…because you can?
  • Are there others you admire because of their integrity, sincerity and authenticity?
  • Does you organization have a code of ethical conduct? Do you follow it? Do others?
  • What one or two things can you do to cultivate and practice Li at work?
  • Do you keep agreements?
  • Do you admit when you are wrong? Do you apologize for mis-deeds?
  • Do you have a personal code of conduct? Do you follow it? How so?
  • Do you recognize the dignity in all others?
  • Would folks at work (and at home and play) characterize you as a decent human being? Would you characterize yourself as a decent human being?
  • Do you ever react to others in a way that communicates to them they are “irrelevant” or “irritants?”

—————————————————–
(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

Motivation – What is It, Really?

 

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Motivation has been a hot topic for as long as most folks can remember. Some define motivation as a drive or a desire. Others define motivation as they work they do. For me, motivation is neither. Motivation is, in fact, the energy that is “underneath” the drive, desire and the work, itself. It’s this “energy” that affects the quality of one’s motivation, one’s motives, and the quality of the action-result dynamic that results from motivation. More than that, this energy called motivation results from the degree one is living a life “on purpose” and the degree to which one is in alignment with one’s true and real self, one’s heart.

For me, motivation is an energy…a physical, psychic, emotional and spiritual energy. This energy can be described on one end of a continuum as positive, juicy, strong, energetic, adventurous, exciting, playful, healing, etc., and on the other end as stagnant, blocked, stale, stagnant, depressed, negative, killing, etc.

Motivation is a mind-body dynamic, mostly body-oriented. In my experience, few would say “I think I’m motivated.” Rather, I usually hear: “I feel motivated,” or the converse, “I don’t feel very motivated.”

In addition, the expressions “fire in the belly,” “His/her heart’s not in it.,” “gut check”, and “the mind is willing but the flesh is weak,” as well as many other expressions that center around the belly area (the “energy center” of the body in Eastern traditions), also point to the body as the focal point of motivation (as opposed to the mind), the center of this energy that drives one to actions and supports one to maintain a state of motivation. Motivation is a “felt sense.”

So, for me, everyone is motivated….perhaps just not in the way another would like that one to be, or even in a way we would choose our self to be.

So,

When I choose to surf the Internet, instead of focusing on the task at hand, I’m motivated.
When I choose to see employees as functions, as opposed to people, I’m motivated.
When I choose to gossip, bully and be sarcastic in my speech as opposed to speaking respectfully, lovingly and compassionately, I’m motivated.
When I choose to cut corners and allow greed to drive my business behaviors and processes, rather than follow an ethical path, I’m motivated.
When I choose to view conflict and negotiation as win-lose as opposed to win-win, I’m motivated.
When I choose to cheat on my taxes and my diet, I’m motivated.
When I choose to take my paycheck and only give 75% of my self to my work, as opposed to showing up 100%, I’m motivated.
When I choose to lie, cheat and steal as opposed to coming from a place of honesty, integrity and trust, I’m motivated.
When I choose to act like an emotional child rather than manifest emotional intelligence, I’m motivated.
When I allow my ego to get in the way, and engage in self-limiting and self-defeating behavior, instead of coming from my real and authentic self, I’m motivated.
When I choose to numb out in front of the TV, instead of enthusiastically diving into my tasks, I’m motivated.
When I choose to have an affair as opposed to working on my relationship, I’m motivated.
When I choose to hate, as opposed to love, I’m motivated.

So, everyone is motivated.

Again, the deal is the quality of the energy of the motivation and, even more, what’s “underneath” the quality of that energy.

What drives the quality of the energy I refer to as motivation is: purpose.

Purpose is heart-driven, as opposed to being mental-mind-ego driven. Purpose is what gives meaning to our existence. So, motivation is related to purpose, and meaning. The difference in purpose as heart driven, and purpose as ego-driven is what determines where folks live, literally and figuratively, in the space between purpose and purposelessness, and meaning and meaninglessness at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

In much of life, we move from action to result, action to result, action to result. The question is, “What drives my actions? What drives the motivation (energy) underneath my actions? The direction of one’s life is most often judged on this dynamic and many also judge “success” based on this movement from action to result.

In the larger scheme of things, the energy and quality of the action-result dynamic and the energy and quality with which one relates to “success” is related to whether one is living a life “on purpose” and from where one’s purpose emanates (ego or heart).

In my experience, for folks at work, at home, at play and in relationship, the degree of “pain and suffering” (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological, social, financial, etc.) one experiences is based on the degree to which one is living out one’s purpose.

So, then, directly related to purpose is what we value…what it is we deem important and the degree to which we assign worth and “value” to what we value.

The Japanese have a decision-making process they refer to as “The Five Whys.” Essentially, when one has to make a decision, one asks “Why,” and to that response, again asks “Why?” five times…the idea being that if one can drill down five levels, then one can be fairly certain the decision has merit, i.e., a sound grounding and foundation and is not, for better words, an emotional, knee-jerk or gut decision.

So, with respect to values, when I work with folks on values, motives, etc., we ask “Why?” five times. In other words, “What does (that value, that action, that decision, etc.) “get” you?” Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

At the beginning of my coaching process, the answers are often insightful…and usually bring one to a conscious self-awareness as to what’s really, really, really, underneath their thoughts, actions and activities, i.e., their motives.

Most often it’s unconscious ego needs, for example, for control, recognition, and security.

It’s when we take this first look at values that folks then get to the “heart” of the matter and move into the process of discovering their (heart-felt) purpose and then come to see often vast differences between their heart-felt purpose and what has been, to date, an ego-driven desire they “thought” was their purpose.

The underlying, and root cause, questions that ultimately define our motives, then, is “What do I value?” And, then, even more importantly, “From where do I get my values?” And, finally, “Do my values bring me a greater degree of inner peace, harmony, and sense of well-being, than they do pain and suffering?”

As this process continues, folks begin to view and approach life with a difference lens; and their internal map of reality begins to change. This change manifests in how they begin to view their world of work (home, play and relationship), and discover what’s really important to their happiness and sense of well-being.

So, as folks take this conscious journey into exploring their motivation, their values, and their purpose, they often discover there’s a vast difference, for example, between “striving” (life-affirming energy) and “struggling” (life-depleting energy) as they explore their past and current notions of “motivation” and, relatedly, purpose and meaning of work, of life, etc. They often show up with a new-found “energy” that is positive, juicy, willing, engaging, adventurous, curious, etc.

Assuredly, folks who consciously undertake the requisite deeper purpose and values work, can and will experience challenges, bumps in the road, hurdles to overcome, but now they do so with a sense of striving, with a healthy positivity and energy that, yes, may require sweat, blood and tears,. And this energy they expend in the pursuit of their values is positive, disciplined, willful, strong and courageous, exciting and adventurous. They are internally and intrinsically “motivated” and sense an inner peace in their efforts. In this place, there is true purpose and true (not ego-driven) meaning to one’s life.

On the other hand, those who find themselves “struggling,” usually as the result of ego-driven desires and motives, coming from a “faux” purpose, seemingly are always fighting the good fight, often come from a place of resentment, anger, defiance, compliance, guilt, shame, anxiety, and a sense of plodding. They lack a sense of adventure or excitement; often fail at positive self-management, often live with a “low-grade-fever” type of malaise, sadness, depression, hopelessness, frustration, resentment, jealousy, etc. For them, their purpose and the meaning they effort to experience are often mis-guided, most often externally-driven (even though they “think” it comes from their own independent thinking…never having taken the time to go deeper inside and think through their so-called purpose). In reality, most often they are actually living someone else’s values (parents, friends, neighbors, reality TV characters…), i.e., someone else’s purpose and so it’s no wonder they seldom experience true happiness in both the short- and long-term..

So, at the end of the day, yes, both groups of people are, in fact, motivated. Both would say they “have values.”

And, what is the truth of their underlying motivation?

Some questions for self-refection:

  • How might each of the above individuals view their “sense of self?” And from where do they derive their sense of self?
  • If they made a list of their values and then made another list of their daily do-ings, be-ings and thoughts, would the second list directly reflect the first? If not, what’s underneath the disconnect?
  • What role might ego play in the dynamics of their relationships, with their own self and then with others at work, at home, at play and in relationship?
  • Is there a difference in how one feels about one’s self when they are alone, at four in the morning, in their own company, as opposed to being in their new car, or in their new wardrobe, or in front of their new plasma TV screen, or at work, or being the life of the party, or the standout at the meeting…? And if so, what accounts for the disconnect? What’s the “cake” and what’s the “icing on the cake” and why?
  • How might each view their world of work and their role in it?
  • Do work, life, play and relationship have meaning? How so?
  • In terms of motivation, how is your energy and where are you generally on the continuum I mentioned at the start of this article?
  • Why are you on the planet?

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

Lying as a Workplace Dysfunction – It’s Mommy and Daddy’s Fault

imposter at work

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Like it or not, believe it or not, we bring our biology and biography to work, i.e., we bring our “family” to work. It’s a fact of psychological life at work that much of our behavior is based on how we were raised.

Many of our co-workers and colleagues remind us of members of our families. So, unconsciously, we relate to them based on this interpersonal dynamic. How so?

As young children we learned to behave in ways that either (1) brought us mommy’s, daddy’s and others’ love, approval, recognition, attention and acceptance and/or (2) kept us safe from harm, trauma or abuse from these same individuals. As children, it’s a psychological fact of life that everyone is “wounded,” hurt or traumatized by parents or primary caregivers who are doing their best, but who, nevertheless, unintentionally are negatively affecting their child in some way through their language, judgments, criticisms, and verbal and non-verbal, emotional or physical reactivity.

For many children, their home environment and experiences were characterized by a mantra of “you’re not good enough” in some way, shape or form. This dynamic holds true even in households on Candy Cane Lane where everything was “just beautiful and loving,” and no one ever raised their voice or “got angry.” In childhood, wounding on some level occurs. Developmental Psychology 101.

As a result, the child grows up feeling, consciously or unconsciously, they are deficient, lacking, or not good enough, in some way. Moving forward, even to this day (as an emotional 3-4-5-year-old in an adult body wearing adult), they need to respond (react) to their world – people, places, events, circumstances, even objects – in a way that protects them, or helps them feel safe and secure in an otherwise threatening world – i.e., from others’ judgments, criticisms, disapproval, unacceptance, abuse, etc., that is, from other’s (real or perceived) mental, verbal, emotional or psychological abuse.

So, fast-forward to adult life at work where folks re-create these family psychodynamics. Most folks who have not done personal work are unaware of the influence of these childhood experiences, unaware of how they show up emotionally as that wounded 3-4-5-year, often thinking, believing and insisting – in one way or another – “Hey, I am adult; I am mature, I am! I am! I am!…I’m not being emotional!).

These adults often see bosses and managers as “mommies and daddies” and their co-workers as their siblings. It’s not unusual to observe workplace conflicts that mimic family arguments and fights. It’s not uncommon to witness workplace dysfunctional relationships, gossiping, in-fighting and back-stabbing behavior that mimic sibling rivalries.

So, when these adults face workplace co-workers, circumstances or events that threaten their sense of emotional safety or trigger a sense of feeling rejected, unapproved, or undeserving of approval and “love,” their knee-jerk reactivity is to do “do what it takes to be accepted and loved.”

Consciously or unconsciously, feeling deficient, lacking or afraid that “telling the truth” about themselves, their project, their numbers, their feelings, their perspective, etc., might result in some type of “rejection,” i.e., disapproval, lack of recognition or acceptance, etc.,  they often resort to lying as one option or defense against “being punished” or “being seen as deficient” and losing the love and acceptance they truly want and seek.

Often, when folks do personal growth and self-awareness work, they discover the ways they have worn masks, veils, and put on false personalities, to cover up their feelings of deficiency, not being good enough, or being unlikable. They discover the “shadow side” of their personalities that serves as the oft-hidden driver of their negative reactivity and so feel the need to lie, or deceive. They discover the self-sabotaging beliefs and self-images they created about themselves, about authority figures and siblings as children they have carried into adulthood.

Once folks see and understand this truth about why they are “acting out” and being defensive as adults, they can begin to shed their self-limiting beliefs, their masks and their need to lie, to be fake and phony. They begin to see their false self-images and allow themselves to “show up” as authentic, as their true and real self and feel free to “tell the truth” first, to themselves and then, to others.

From this place of emotional, psychological and spiritual maturity, a place where the “truth sets one free,” folks move to a place of being real, a place they experience as refreshing and light, where honesty and trust are the foundational building blocks of their relationships. In this place, people see no need for duplicity, disingenuineness, lying, being fake and afraid. And, amazingly and refreshingly, they discover “telling the truth is not as bad as I thought.”

As the expression goes, The truth shall set you free.” The deeper question is why so many at work refuse to allow themselves to believe that – truthfully.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • When you experience conflicts at work, are they more professional or personal? How so?
  • Do personality conflicts remind you of earlier life conflicts with parents or siblings? How so?
  • Do you ever experience hurt, resentment anger or fear at work? Is it “professional” or “personal?” Are you really, really sure?
  • Do personal issues interfere with your ability to work effectively with others? Are these “their” issues or “your” issues. Are you really, really sure?
  • Do you have a tendency to take things personally? What would your friends and colleagues say?
  • How have personalized assessments of others, or one another, affected your ability to resolve conflicts in your workplace relationships?
  • You know you have “bad days.” Do you allow others to have “bad days” as well?
  • Can you spot ways you bring your “biology” or “biography” (i.e., your “family) to work?

—————————————————–
(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