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

My Lawn Mower Made Me Do It!

riding mower fire

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“An event is neither good nor bad; only thinking  makes it  so.”
                                                                              — Shakespeare

Not too long ago, a man in Milwaukee, WI loaded his shotgun and shot his lawn mower because it wouldn’t start.

Before moving on, let’s do what many probably have done – roll our eyes, make a judgment, shake our heads and perhaps snicker a bit. Now, for the serious side.

For the fellow in Milwaukee, it was about his lawn mower. What about the rest of us? What brings us to, or close to, the breaking point, where we want to shoot something, or smash it, or kick the stuffing out of it? How to you react to: a malfunctioning alarm clock, or stapler, fax machine, computer, DVD, copier, washing machine, or iPhone, an elevator door that takes forever to close, coffee that brews too slowly, a red light or stop sign, dew on the car windshield in the morning, a faucet that springs a leak, a cell phone that drops a call, a dirty dish or utensil, an accident like a spill, an ATM that’s out of cash, etc.? I’ll bet you can come up with your own list of “irritants” in a very short time.

Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” So, let’s take the liberty of stretching this thought a bit and paraphrase, “Everything that irritates us about inanimate objects can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Why?

First, consider two definitions:

  • Inanimate –  1: not animate: a: not endowed with life or spirit b: lacking consciousness
  • anthropomorphic – 1 : described or thought of as having human attributes 2 : ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman things

So, what’s at play here? Nothing can make us feel what we don’t want to feel. This bears repeating. Nothing can make us feel what we don’t want to feel. While blaming and feeling the victim are an art form in our Western culture, this fact remains a fact – nothing can make us feel what we don’t want to feel.

So, to our definitions.

When walking through Home Depot and coming upon a lawn mower, my sense is you wouldn’t rush over to beat it senseless. When coming upon the words “fax machine” in a dictionary, my sense is you don’t immediately go into a tirade. Inanimate objects. No life, no consciousness; just objects, things.

When we become reactive, what’s most often operating is our need for security, control or recognition. When something takes us out of our comfort zone, when something happens that makes us feel or believe we are not in control, or we don’t feel safe or secure, then we (consciously or unconsciously) become reactive. Reacting means to “do without thinking,” to become emotional.

Lest you begin to think you are “justified” in becoming angry, frustrated, emotional or irrational and grab on to the notion that some object caused your reaction, consider this.

Stimulus and cause
The “stimulus” of your reactivity is possibly, yes, an object, person, circumstance or event outside of you. However, the “cause” of your reactivity is inside you. It’s all about you. Feeling the victim, feeling out of control or put upon, whatever you feel, you are responsible for your emotions and for your reactivity.

Remember what Shakespeare said, “An event is neither good nor bad; only thinking  makes it  so.”

Emotions don’t come from nowhere. They bubble up from inside ourselves. Our reactivity begins the instant we tell ourselves a story about an event and this is where the inanimate object become animate as we ascribe anthropomorphic qualities to it. We create a story in which we allow the lawn mower, the fax machine, the elevator door…to take on actual qualities and a personality that are “doing something to me” – it’s making me uncomfortable; it’s ruining my day, it’s making me late, it’s making me unhappy and interfering with my life and my need for control or security in some way, shape or form. Somehow, it has acquired all these personality qualities and intentionality that are out to get me and make my life miserable.

We experience the event, we are catapulted out of our comfort zone and we create a story – all happening sometimes in a  nanosecond. Our adrenaline begins to flow, energy pours into our head, anger-based chemicals flow from the brain, emotions flood our body and, well, we load the shotgun and blast the lawn mower to pieces, or become verbally violent and explode.

Let’s review the Jung paraphrase: “Everything that irritates us about inanimate objects can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

When the event occurs and I feel myself becoming reactive, the immediate questions to ask myself are: “So what’s going on with me, right here and right now?”, “What am i Thinking?” and “What am I feeling?”

Name it and claim it
It’s critical to be able to name what you’re feeling. If you can’t name it, then you can’t work with it, inquire into it, or process it. So, in addition to reacting with “I’m angry” or “I’m pissed,” you’ll gain much more insight into your story if you can say, for example, “I’m feeling all alone (or afraid, ashamed, cheated, confused, controlled, dejected, despairing, desperate, destructive, disgusted, exasperated, exploited, foolish, frightened, hopeless, helpless, humiliated, ignorant, intimidated, irresponsible, lost, lonely, manipulated, mistrusting, outraged, panicky, paranoid, rejected, resentful, ridiculous, sad, self-pity, shut-down, stupid, terrified, trapped, unhappy, useless, victimized, vulnerable, worried…” etc.) right now.

Naming your emotions in this way and exploring, being curious about, why you feel the way you do, will give you a greater understanding of the historical nature of your reactivity, of your story, and support you to see what’s really underneath your reactivity. You’ll see how your immediate reactivity is not about “now” even though right now you think it is. It’s deeper. It’s not about the lawn mower – ever.

When you understand the nature of your reactivity, and work on your self to understand the history of your feelings and reactivity, then you’ll be better able to observe and witness an event for what it is, an objective event, without needing to attach your history to it and become reactive (i.e., that was then; this is now…and there’s no connection). Why? With a deeper exploration of who you are and how you are, you’ll discover and be able to call upon your internal, heart-felt (and not ego-reactive) essential qualities such as: courage, strength, wisdom, compassion, love, clarity, steadfastness, discipline, patience and will that can support you to cope with life’s vicissitudes, misadventures, missteps, circumstances and events without getting knocked out of the box or becoming reactive.

With this deeper, conscious and sincere exploration we develop the capacity to respond to events – with considered reflection, thinking, discernment and contemplation – rather than with knee-jerk reactivity.

Look inside for the clues
We get clues about our unconscious programming if we watch, witness and consciously observe our reactions, responses, feelings and thoughts about events (and other people) in the moment. Until or unless we take the time to look inside and explore the nature of our reactivity, life will continue to give us a series of events in which we play the victim and martyr and remain reactive.

Asking yourself, for example, “How do I judge or stereotype events (or people)?” “What pushes my buttons?” “What makes me angry or fearful or sad?” will support you to see what it is that you need to work on “inside” you that attracts events that continually push your buttons. If you didn’t have beliefs, expectations, assumptions, and preconceptions about the circumstances and events that trigger you reactivity, then, pure and simple, you wouldn’t become reactive.

When outer events spark a reaction, we need to look inside to explore what’s going on.

Remember:

“An event is neither good nor bad; only thinking  makes it  so.”
“Everything that irritates us about inanimate objects can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

Remember, finally, it’s never about the lawn mower – ever.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What negative experiences or events do you consistently or frequently experience?
  • What do you not know about yourself that is manifesting in a negative way? Who can help you to explore and see more clearly what you need to discover and see?
  • What internal, essential, heart energies or qualities do you need to express that would, as a result, remove the need for these negative experiences and your reactivity (remember, this exploration is about you, and not about anyone or anything else)?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a “blamer?” How would your colleagues, family, and friends answer this question about you?
  • What are your “lawn mowers”? How do you react to it/them?
  • What are you like when you become reactive? What would others say?
  • Have you ever explored the sources of your reactivity? Your history around reactivity? How does suggesting that you do so make you feel?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how positive are you, generally? What would others say about you? Would you feel comfortable asking some of them today, tonight, this week?
  • What was childhood like for you, generally? Happy, sad, fearful, frustrating, lonely, joyful, confusing, just OK, a blank…?
  • What one or two baby steps can you take in the next week or two to become less reactive and more responsive to (one of) your “lawn mower(s)”?

—————————————–————
(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

Dual-Professionals in Relationship — Does It Work?

couples

 

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Just launched – three exciting new products

So, one curiosity that arises as the 2020 “run for the Presidential roses” gets under way, is what role will various spouses and partner play in the experience. Some spouses and partners will likely be fast and furious on the campaign trail, while others may prefer a “stage right” presence and be seen less infrequently. Good news or bad news?

The question underneath the question is: “Can two full-time, fully-engaged-in-a-professional-life partners maintain a conscious, healthy, and intimate relationship?”

What takes precedence?
When two professionals spend a great deal of (or, as likely today, an inordinate amount of) time pursuing their careers, is there time to pursue each other on a consistent basis – to continue to see their relationship as “fresh” every day, to continue to “work” on their relationship consistently, and actually “be” in a relationship on a true like – and love – level consistently?

Or, does something (read: someone) have to give? Does the relationship begin to evaporate, or derail, to the degree the two spouses or partners are more likely roommates, two ships passing in the night, than they are committed and intimate partners? Do the partners lose sight of their “shared values” and the perspective of a “we” and replace these relationship foundational elements with “my” values and “your” values – where the “we” slowly morphs into “I” vs. “you?”

Signs of erosion
What are some signs that a dual-professional relationship might be in trouble?

  • The partners are becoming emotionally distant, where just talking to one another is a challenge, where one or both partners feel they are taken for granted, one feels the other doesn’t “know me,” or both are spending less and less (quality) time together;
  • Job-tension is interfering with the relationship; one or both partners are not concerned about the other’s professional stresses; they don’t listen with compassion or understanding about the other’s job stress-related issues; one partner takes out their job stress on the other;
  • The passion is leaking out of the relationship – touching infrequently, speaking less lovingly toward one another and rarely physically holding one another;
  • Sex is an issue – less frequent, less satisfying, less discussion about, less loving;
  • Life changes (birth of a child, a relocation, death of a loved one or an illness, etc.) become “elephants in the room” – where compromise is lacking, where partners grow distant instead of closer, where events trigger tension and conflict instead of closeness, where worry is a thread that permeates the relationship;
  • One or both partners become too socially-close with someone outside their relationship and/or one or both start to become hyper-vigilant about, or jealous of, the other; where trust is fading; where feelings of betrayal and suspicion are rearing their ugly heads;
  • Fighting and conflict become the norm; fights erupt over almost any issue or event – small or large; where anger and irritation seem to rule everyday emotions and feelings; where the partners engage in consistent nit-picking, bickering, and nagging in an attempt to hurt the other; where mutual appreciation and respect are lacking; where if there were no fighting, there would be no communication at all – what psychologists call “negative merging”;
  • One or both partners begin to abuse chemical- and non-chemical drugs or engage in repulsive behaviors; where one or both feel they are not in the relationship they had “signed on” for; that one or both partners are disappointed by the relationship;
  • The partner are no longer a team, but two disparate individuals; sharing chores and household duties is no longer the norm; the partners are growing apart, not together; there is an imbalance in assuming financial responsibility;
  • The partners begin to feel disempowered in decision-making; one partner becomes overbearing, a bully, or more dominating; one partner assumes a passive and submissive role;
  • Fun is lacking; the partners have little to no real fun; the partners really don’t truly enjoy one another’s company; stress trumps fun; the partners have selfishly become absorbed in their own interests and activities, ignoring the other;
  • There is a lack of spiritual connection; the partners no longer share once-held mutual beliefs; the partners cannot discuss new ideas or spiritual issues;
  • The partners are more connected to their Smartphone than one another.

So, …
Can two high-powered professional folks truly support one another emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, psychologically and socially? Can a dual-profession relationship be a win-win relationship? Do high-powered couples more commonly grow apart than grow together?

With late night work/dinners, travel, children and their needs and wants, pet care, medical appointments, school meetings, work around the living space, shopping and all the rest, can a loving, caring, committed (in deed as well as thought) relationship between two fully-engaged professionals work?  Does it work? For you?

Questions for self-reflection:

  • Where does “relationship” lie on your list of priorities?
  • Do your actions (not just thoughts) reflect that priority?
  • Does your relationship have to give and, if so, what are the consequences?
  • What compromises do you make? What non-negotiable issues exist vis-a-vis your relationship requirements, wants and needs? (Do you know the difference between these three relationships elements?)
  • What choices are you making when it comes to your relationship?
  • Are your choices conscious and healthy, or reactive and unhealthy?
  • Is relationship failure a real or potential outcome? Do you see real or potential red flags? What are they?
  • Are you growing together, or growing apart? 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

Spirituality, Me and the Corporate Dilemma

 

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Just launched – three exciting new products

Hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear or read about corporate shenanigans. The media are consumed by corporate wrongdoing and often lunchroom or dinner party conversations eventually turn to who’s the latest to be investigated. While many conversations revolve around ethics and morality in the business arena, I suggest there’s another perspective – spirituality, rather, the lack of spirituality which is an underlying cause of bad behavior. And the bad behavior not only concerns corporate executives, but those who coach them as well. There needs to be a focus on integrity and authenticity at both ends of the coaching equation.

Spirituality, not morals or ethics
For me, bad behavior is all about spirituality. The conversation and upset about bad behavior in the corporate arena is about “spirituality,” not about ethics or morality. Why? Morality points to questions of right and wrong and eventually is based on social traditions or consensus that vary from culture to culture. Thus, morality becomes subjective and judgmental and separates one from another.

Ethics, on the other hand, focuses on a code of values that translates “morality” into daily living, i.e., do-ing and be-ing. Ethics defines right and wrong, how we relate to others, how we conduct business and how we behave in general, most often leading to judgments, win-lose, right-wrong, good-bad mind games and ego-based stuff.

Spirituality is non-judgmental and non-separating. Spirituality is unchanging, so there’s no debate, right-wrong, me vs. you, what spirituality is and isn’t. We all know what it means to live from the place of our soul and hearts. For those who come from a truly innately spiritual place, there are no labels and definitions, and spirituality is a way of be-ing and do-ing that is common to all of humanity, needs no descriptions, definitions, etc.

So, the “moral” is not spiritual and for much the same reason, neither is the “ethical.”

The spiritual is that which allows me to be non-judgmental, and to serve as a witness, observer and watcher. The spiritual is not “mind,” is not “information,” is not “knowledge,” is not a set of quantifiable DOs and DON’Ts . It is way, way beyond that. So, while the “moralist” and the “ethicist” spend time and energy “debating” the rights and wrongs of the corporate world, in their heads – mental and intellectual stuff – one who practices spirituality just notices, e.g., “That’s interesting.” “Hmmm, is that so?” without any ethical or moral judgment, i.e., no right-wrong, or good-bad.

Ego and mind – who’s right, who’s wrong?
Generally, when one is grounded in spirituality, there’s no need to engage in endless ego-based and mind-based discussions about corporate morality and ethics (i.e., “I need to be right; so you are wrong.” “I win the argument, so you lose.” “My labels and categories and information are right, so your labels, and categories and information are incorrect.” No need to live in an “I, I, I ” ego, judgmental and comparative mind.

Genuine spirituality does not judge. Genuine spirituality arises from one’s deeper, inner Self, one’s essence, with an integrity, honesty, sincerity and self-responsibility that drives one’s thoughts and actions. Genuine spirituality manifests patterns and behaviors that are common in all of life. Genuine spirituality is an essential essence of human nature, a nature which is all to often clouded, diminished and distorted during the course of our upbringing.

So, what often happens is we grow up less aware of an in-depth spiritual understanding of circumstances and events, and operate more from an outer-world-driven subjective and judgmental “moralist” or “ethicist” mindset based on information and mental models that are stored in our brains over the course of time. The essence of who we really are, our True Self, becomes dimmed as we grow up, and “my ethics and morals” are then developed based on mental models, beliefs and thoughts that emanate from our parents, schools, churches, synagogues, television, advertising, friends, reality TV etc.

The downside is that I come to believe that my mental models, my beliefs and assumptions and images of the world, my ethics and my morals are Truth (my Truth and thus, “the” Truth for everyone else as well).

One who is grounded in genuine spiritual understanding is not engaged in such ego-based stuff.

Why we argue instead of observe
Because so many of us identify with our ego minds, i.e., I AM what I know; I AM my information; I AM my mind; I AM my knowledge and, of course, I AM right, one often has trouble accepting and entertaining someone else’s perspective. Consciously or subconsciously, one feels forced to view another’s “perspective” more as a “position.” one point on a continuum, or one end of a polarity, which then forces oneself to be engaged in a “right-wrong,” zero-sum, ego-mind, conflict. Why?  Because one identifies not with one’s inner core or essence where there is no polarity, but with one’s outer personality and ego-mind which need labels, categories and right-wrong analogs that provide one with a (false) sense of self and identity.

Genuine spirituality, on the other hand, surfaces as simply witnessing another’s perspective and generates no need or desire to “fight the good fight,” to be right. No ego; no mental drama. Just reading, listening, watching, and moving on, noticing, observing, witnessing with a “beginner’s mind.” A curiosity.

Corporate lessons
So, grounded in spirituality, one witnesses and observes what is happening in today’s corporate environment from an interesting perspective. Spirituality allows one to know and understand that when the Universe wants someone to learn a lesson, be it one person, a family, a team, a corporation, etc/, and one refuses to buy in, then the Universe will often deliver a rather hard “slap on the face” as a wake-up call. For the individual, this often occurs in the form of a divorce, an accident, illness, dis-ease, loss of a job, bankruptcy, etc.

For the corporation, it can mean total demise. Practicing spirituality, a “spiritual observer” sees what is happening in the corporate world and rather than excoriate the CEO, CFO, CIO, etc., based on ego-driven mental models and beliefs about good-bad, or right-wrong, asks a larger question: What’s the lesson/learning here FOR me (not for you, not for “them,” but FOR ME)?

Thus a spiritual perspective can tutor the executive, and those who coach the executive, in the following ways:

1. Spirituality is an inherent need of human nature. And with a single focus on spirituality comes healing (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, creative, etc.). Without a focus on spirituality, we become spectators, bystanders who feel good about pointing fingers, judging others, analyzing others, diagnosing and prescribing for others, but not being self-responsible for the betterment of people. This “feel-good-type-conversation” or perspective permeates the talk shows, Internet chats, water-cooler conversations and dinner gatherings. We hear lots of talk about “them.” We allow little or no time for an honest evaluation of “me” (as it’s too scary, too sensitive …). There’s lots of talk about the corporate folk, “them,” but few muster the self-responsibility to “show up” in integrity and be honest and sincere in our own interactions with people in our office (or in our own home, or at play) right here, right now.

2. On a macro level, in this country, to say the least, systems are breaking down. Education, health, environment, and corporate. No surprise. Coming from a perspective of spirituality, for me, this is as it should be (i.e there’s a lesson to be leaned from the dissolution of our systems.) Shocked but not surprised. Why?

Many folks have not gotten it on a micro level – as individuals seeped in a culture of excess, greed, toys, materialism, self-medication and the need to acquire – creating a culture of greed, corruption, and dishonesty. Often, when we don’t “get it” on an individual level, the Universe gives us a larger slap on the face, on a larger level. Thus, the demise of larger systems.

3. It’s crucial to ask, “How am I conducting myself on a daily basis?” Again, lots of “discussion,” mind stuff, information, but how many of us “walk the talk” when it comes to acting with honesty, sincerity and self-responsibility at work – right here and right now, in the past hour, the past day, the past week, the past month…?

4. It’s crucial to ask, “Am I showing up and acting with honesty, sincerity and integrity, according to my inner essence, my True Self, in alignment with my inner core values right here, right now in my workplace environment?

5. The tug on our collective (corporate/business) sleeves urges us to reconsider what we value, to evaluate “how so?”. So much of our life, our faux joy, our faux happiness, our well-being, our health, our identity, our self-image (who we take our self to be), and our ego is tied up in money, wealth, the “packaging,” and the externals. “Why do I have such an inextricable attachment to money, that I can be close to ruin (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically) because of money and what it represent?”

6. Finally, it’s crucial to ask one’s self some tough questions, when it comes to how many of us, self-righteously, pontificate about the current corporate state of affairs. “Am I being hypocritical, a phony, fraudulent, inauthentic, insincere, dishonest in my own everyday affairs?” For example, consider the following situations, without judgment, and then ask, “How can I tug on my own sleeve about my integrity and authenticity?” “How am I doing in my own everyday life with respect to coming from my essence, my spiritual side, my inner source and core values when I relate to others?”

Consider:

Scenario 1: Lunchtime during a busy day. It’s 1:30. I go shopping and am running late. I cut into the checkout line, pay the cashier, not listening to her greeting, and dismissing her, bump into folks on the way to the parking lot, drive out cutting someone off, run a red light and make a right turn at the sign that says “no right turn” so I can get back to my office and engage in a conversation about the “morals and ethics” of corporate America.

Scenario 2: Friday evening. Out to have drinks with some of the team. Spend lots of time being sarcastic to, and verbally abusing, some of the younger teammates (with what I call my “wit” and fine sense of humor in a “just for the fun of it” or “only kidding” context) so I can appear smart and witty, while criticizing (or gossiping about) some of the staff behind their back, with the excuse that I’m just letting off steam after a hard week of work while, at the same time, presenting my “noble, moral and ethical” opinions about how to clean up corporate America.

Scenario 3: Wednesday morning 6:00 am. I’m at the gym with a buddy and rather than work out, we spend forty-five minutes watching the “babes” in their aerobics class and making lewd, sexist comments interspersed in our conversation about what’s “wrong” with corporate America.

Scenario 4: Tuesday night after dinner I watch TV and some cable talk shows, which I “steal” through a “black box,” resting and relaxing while watching a program on how CEOs are stealing from their companies.

Scenario 5: Friday lunch – I drive to lunch, make suggestive comments to the waitress, gorge myself with too much food, have one Vodka too many and speed back to work, endangering my self and others, so I can have a few minutes to get on the Internet and read how corporate folks are being irresponsible.

Scenario 6: Wednesday morning. I wake up late and am angry and take it out on my spouse and children, feeling every bit a victim, and behaving downright mean and nasty, while I think how the CEO being interviewed on TV this morning should be more “humane.”

The point? It’s not about “them.” It’s about me. At the end of the day, as a spiritual witness, observer, watcher, I am aware that if I take care of my spiritual self, and the next person does the same, and the next, the cataclysms that we witness will no longer rule the day. It all starts with tough questions and these tough questions start with me, right here, right now.

Spending precious time and psychic energy in moral and ethical conversations about “them” won’t do it.

So, some questions for self-reflection:

  • For me, this is the $10 (spiritual) question. How am I allowing my soul to manifest right here, right now? How am I regarding my fellow employee, colleague, spouse, child, neighbor, stranger, right here, right now, this minute, today?
  • What’s driving my do-ings and be-ings? My soul? Or my ego-driven self-images and limiting beliefs that are often tied to the past (resulting in anger, resentment, abuse, frustration, control, defensiveness, blaming, greed, pride, jealousy, argument…) or the future (fear, worry, tension, stress and anxiety)?
  • How much of my day, so far, have I spent analyzing, judging, and criticizing the actions, thoughts, beliefs and deeds of others (i.e., corporate folks, and others), as compared to looking inward to grow my own soul and manifest right action, right thought, and right understanding–right here, right now?

So, the challenge is for me to watch, observe and witness my self in every moment, be mindful and present right now, and tug on my own sleeve, rather than be judge and jury, rather than be preoccupied with others, rather than be a spectator on the outside looking in, and egoistically believing I am effecting change.

Either “I” walk the talk, or I don’t. It’s about me, not “them.”

As Gandhi said, “If you want to see change, be the change.” Corporate and business change begins with each of us, the executive and the executive coach, right here, right now. This is what genuine Spirituality is really, really, really all about.

—————————————–————
(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

Forget Positive Thinking — Watch Television Instead

Picture1

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

Every negative emotion (i.e., flavors of fear, anger, sadness, regret, jealousy, resentment, etc.) we experience as an adult is sourced by unresolved childhood experiences (between pre-birth up to about the age of seven). While adult life events and circumstances may change, our negative beliefs about life and emotional child-ish reactivity to life remains constant. Positive thinking, affirmations and the like hardly ever create a “new reality” that is sustainable or consistent, (i.e., lasting through a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year) or actually overcomes or replaces these negative beliefs, assumptions, and associations. Why?

It’s not only that unfortunate and unpleasant events happen to us in childhood; it’s that we become “fused” with these experiences and the feelings, emotions, physiological responses, beliefs and associations we create around them, i.e., our “stuff.” We “futurize our past,” carrying our past “stuff” into the present moment, in an adult body, wearing adult clothes, albeit experiencing our childhood emotions at the same time. An example might be experiencing betrayal or abandonment as a child and bringing this “stuff” into our adult relationships – at work, at home and at play – where we continually feel vigilant, suspicious and guarded. When we’re “fused” with our past, it’s well-nigh impossible to create a “new reality” because most of us are “unconscious” of the dynamic that’s taking place.

Why affirmations and positive thinking seldom work
Reflect for a moment on positive thoughts or affirmations you might be using to create your new, “positive” reality.  I am/have (state your affirmations/thoughts here.) Now, when you express your thought or affirm yourself, there has to be a conscious or unconscious “compared to what?” state that you’re seeking to eliminate. The reality is that we cannot simply dislodge negative thoughts or beliefs by replacing them with positive ones. You might change your mind, mental activity, or cognitive process, but you won’t change your “consciousness.”

By affirming over and over again, for example, “I am capable,” won’t change the “I feel deficient,” “I feel lacking,” “I feel fear” won’t necessarily transform the deeper physiological/emotional state in your body or your consciousness. They both will continue to exist in your body and consciousness and the affirming just becomes more of a struggle, effort and exhausting “Sisyphus-like” exercise. You’ll seldom “erase” the negative thought/feeling/emotion and for most folks it’s always there, just underneath the surface, like a low-grade fever. You might experience a short burst of enthusiasm in your mind, and an initial state of peace or relaxation in your body, but these experiences are generally short-lived, not sustainable, or transformative. That is, before long, your’re right back where you started: “I feel deficient,” “I feel lacking,” “I feel afraid.”

The initial negative belief that causes all our negative, emotional reactivity is our reference point. All our positive thinking and affirmations are a “compared to what” exercise that continually points to this initial, negative reference point. Why is it that we continually tell ourselves we are intelligent or capable, or and keep studying, acquiring new knowledge, skills, degrees, certificates, over-achieve and yet still feel “deep-down” we are still not smart (or “smart enough”)? We’re continually comparing ourselves to our initial feeling of inadequacy because we are fused with the original negative belief as a reference point.

Once we see that we were not born wit these negative thoughts and perceptions, once we see we existed before we created our negative thoughts and beliefs – by becoming the observer of the one who is filtering life through self-limiting beliefs – we can then “step out” of ourselves into a new consciousness, and way or perceiving and release the filters that create our negative, emotional reactivity.

The antidote to positive thinking? Watch television
So, here’s an exercise. Sit in front of your TV. But, don’t turn it on. Look at your reflection on the screen. See this reflection as just that, your reflection. Know that it’s not “you.” Stare at it without judgment. Breathe slowly and deeply into your belly. Now close your eyes and see your reflection. Do this a number of times. Then, with eyes closed, see your reflection and also visualize yourself as a 3-4-5 year-old sitting next to your adult self. Be intentional about this. Focus and concentrate on the two images – the reflection of your adult self and your child self.

Now, recall an unpleasant childhood experience to which you reacted negatively, where you felt angry, hateful, resentful, or fearful, etc. Sit with this experience and allow yourself to feel the feelings and experience the emotions in your body, not just “think” about it. Notice your breath. Sense into your body. Be in it. Sense the little child next to you who is also afraid, angry, etc. Feel his/her anger as well.

After a few minutes, take some deep breaths, open your eyes and look at your reflection. Then, close your eyes and now “unzip” a zipper that is on your back and “step out” of your self, and sense yourself sitting in your chair opposite the TV. Sitting there, visualize your adult self and your child self on the TV screen.

Observe, non-judgmentally, your adult self and your child self. Watch as they think “their” thoughts and experience “their” emotions and feelings. Watch their mental, emotional and physical upset. Just watch and observe. See them as “separate from me, not me.” In this place you are neutral. “They” have their emotions and their stuff. Not “you.”

Now, sense into your body and allow any physical sensations you may be experiencing. Separate from any story around the sensations. Just witness and observe the sensations, the energy, and see what these sensations and energy want to do. Remember, no stories. Just physical sensations, energy. In time, with eyes closed, as you witness and observe your adult self and child self on the screen noticing them having their experiences, your negative energy will begin to dissipate and you’ll actually feel “separate from” your adult self and the little child on the screen.

What “you” will begin to experience is your True Self, your Essential and authentic self, the “you” who existed long before you “created” the “child” and “adult” self on the screen.

In this place, you have no “compared to what” negative reference point. You have no old associations, memories, or conflicting beliefs; there are no beliefs. “They (your reflections on the screen) do,” but “you” don’t.

In this state of presence, you may experience “space,” and a sense of freedom to “be me,” no longer attached to past associations, memories, and reactivity. Right here and right now you’re coming from a heart and soul-driven place not a mental, ego-driven, past-reference place.

In this place, you can access your soul’s capacities and essential qualities that support you to be who you are, not “who you have (unconsciously) taken yourself to be.” You have no sense of “history” here. There’s only now.

In this place you can be positive and create a new reality based on your True and Real Self. How so? Space.

When sitting in a movie theater, focused intently on the screen, you are fused with the story. When you “step back” and notice the screen, the walls on either side, the ceiling, and the lights, the seats and the audience, you create “space,”a different perspective,  and see the “story” for what it is. The space reduces the “significance” of the story, making it more “insignificant” than “real.”

With this exercise and practice, you are adding space to your life’s portrait – stepping back, not “identifying” with past thoughts, emotions, or associations, etc. There’s no “stuff” going on. The negative thoughts, beliefs and associations you thought were “real” no longer are. There’s just you with no history, no reference points.

Here, you can take a deep breath and honestly, sincerely, self-responsibly and effortlessly affirm, “Now, this is me!”

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you ever think about how you’ve created your self?
  • Do you ever wonder how you came to be attached to, and identified by, your associations, beliefs, worldviews, assumptions, etc?
  • If you stare intently at a picture of yourself, and then step back and focus on the space around the photo, do you see the self in the picture differently in any way?
  • Stare at yourself in a mirror for five minutes. What is that experience like for you? Do you believe that you’re looking at “you”? If no, how do the two of you differ?
  • Are there people, places, things you are fused with (“evoking” some type of “natural” reactivity) and you aren’t sure why?
  • Do you ever consider there are “parts” of your personality self that aren’t your True and Real Self?

Exercise Source: Quantum Consciousness – Peter Smith

————————————–
(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 is Spirituality Coaching?

indra

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Just launched – three exciting new products

Spirituality coaching is more than creating goals and holding someone accountable. Spirituality coaching takes into account the whole person, that is, mind, body and spirit. Spirituality coaching focuses on one’s essential well-being that can only be accessed from one’s Inner Core, one’s Essence, one’s True, Real and Authentic Self.

The aim of spirituality coaching is true and lasting transformation, and a true congruence between one’s inter behavior and outer behavior, allowing one to show up in integrity and authentically. Transformation is different from change. Transformation meals you are not who you were before; you will not become the person you were before. The following nine spiritual guidelines can serve as a foundation for spirituality coaching.

1. I AM A CELL IN THE BODY OF HUMANITY. Like the acres of sage in a desert that are connected by a single root, I know that I have a connection with, and an impact on, on every other cell in this body called Humanity. I know my thoughts, words and actions affect all the cells in this body. I am aware my thoughts, words, and actions are either “healing” or “killing” these other cells. I operate on the belief that all of life is relationship, and that how I treat one person is reflected out to every individual on the planet in some way, shape or form. I know the planetary impact of my thoughts as I know a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan can cause a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

The guiding principle “How are my thoughts healing or killing someone right here, right now?” guides and makes me consciously aware of my spiritual responsibility in every one of my day-to-day interactions, choices and decisions.

2. I EXPERIENCE ALL OF LIFE AS DIVINE. I respect, and have unconditional positive regard for, the humanity of each person I know and meet. I am aware that everyone possesses a spark of divinity. I make warm and embracing eye contact and refer to each individual by name when referring to him or her directly and indirectly. I first choose to relate to each person as divine, and only then do I relate to them in their “role” as a client, a neighbor, a direct report, a manager, a leader, a clerk, a wife, a child, an athlete, a coach, a clerk, a repair person, etc. I refrain from referring to individuals as “my client,” “my 2:00,” “the guy who,” etc.

“Am I seeing this person with the eyes of Spirit; am I speaking with the voice of Spirit; am I listening with the ears or Spirit?” guides me to consciously connect with another’s divine humanity.

3. I MANIFEST AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY THROUGH HONESTY, SINCERITY AND SELF-RESPONSIBILITY. I am first responsible for “walking the talk,” and so I consciously monitor my own behaviors and performance and refrain from judging another’s motives, intentions or behaviors.

“Am I “being” and “doing” honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly right here, right now in my relationship with myself and with others?” guides me to be consciously conscious of living from a place of integrity and authenticity.

4. THE PRACTICE OF PRESENCE ALLOWS THE SPACE FOR EVERYONE TO BE HIMSELF OR HERSELF. Presence allows me to be in my body – inside – rather than in my mind, to be in the moment, to be present, in the Now. In presence, I am not in the past or future. I am not judging, evaluating or being “mental.” I am still and focused. In every interaction, I set my intention to quiet my mind and open my heart through the action of presence. I serve as the space or container in which coaching happens. “Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field; I”ll meet you there.” (Rumi)

“Is it OK to allow whatever arises in this space, in this moment?” allows me to “go inside” to find inner and right wisdom, inner and right knowing and right understanding, and insights into my BE-ings and DO-ings in every relationship and interaction.

5. EVERYONE IS EXACTLY WHERE THEY SHOULD BE AT THIS TIME, IN THIS PLACE, ON THE PLANET. It is not my job, role or responsibility to “fix,” “change” or tell anyone “what’s best” for her or him. Each person is exactly where he or she needs to be in the evolution of his or her consciousness and soul’s growth right now. Each person has all the answers inside himself or herself. Everyone comes to find right action, right knowing and right understanding from within. My choice is to serve and support others to look inside to discover what they need to know. Whenever a client is in an “I don’t know” situation, rather than tell or suggest, I ask: (1) “Is it OK not to know?” (2) “How does it feel not to know?” or (3) “What if you did know?” I have no wanting or needing to fix, make the “right” suggestion, have an answer, and be the coach-turned-consultant. For me, this is acting with honesty, sincerity and responsibility to myself and another to just be the space and be present, in the Now, and allow whatever arises in the other to arise, knowing that their “answer” or “solution” or next step” will naturally emerge.

“Is it OK to be where I am right now?” helps me discover and explore if my need for “control” forces me to gravitate away from my true and real self.

6. EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE OF MY LIFE IS AN INTERACTION OF SPIRIT WITH MY SOUL. I know there is no such thing as luck, circumstance or coincidence. Everything happens for a reason. I am consistently receiving lessons and teachings.

“I’m curious about this,” encourages my continued practice of inquiry and reflection to delve more deeply into conscious awareness and understanding of my Self as I continue on my journey as a coach and Earth Human.

7. CIRCUMSTANCES HAPPEN “FOR” US, NOT “TO” US. I remove myself from a “victim and “martyr “consciousness” and perspective. Blame, jealousy, defensiveness, and resentment are not a part of the fabric of who I am. I am grateful and appreciative of every circumstance, event and person that I meet on my path.

“So, what’s the learning and lesson here?” guides my responses to life and enhances my personal and professional growth and development.

8. GREET EVERYONE WITH A WARM SMILE. A smile of greeting is a gift of appreciation. There are no “little people” anywhere, who I can ignore or be insensitive toward.

“What seems to be separating me from you?” reminds me that I am in alignment with everyone with whom I come into contact.

9. SPIRITUALITY IS A LOT LIKE BEING PREGNANT. Either I am or I’m not. I can’t be “a little bit” pregnant, nor can I be “a little bit” spiritual. If I’m not coming from a place of spirituality, i.e., my Essential Self, what’s getting in the way? Ego? Limiting thoughts and beliefs? Stories? Misperceptions? Misconceptions, Sabotaging self-images or self-concepts? Regret, because I’m living in the past, or fear, anxiety and worry about the future?

“What will it take for me to come from my essence and align my outer behavior and inner behavior as one?” reminds me to let go of my ego and “little self” as I continue my journey toward transformation.

So, spirituality in coaching and being coached is not a matter of convenience. One needs to be aware of the discrepancy between genuine spirituality (which comes from Essence and divinity) and counterfeit spirituality (which is an “ego ideal” of what it means of be spiritual) that one puts on like a robe when meeting with a person being coached, or in fact, with anyone.

These spiritual guidelines for coaching serve to inform one’s coaching practice and one’s life. When individuals make an honest and sincere effort to allow these spiritual guidelines for coaching to be the beacon that drives the direction of their practice, they and their clients most often experience greater inner peace, harmony, balance and well-being at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

 One Question for Self-Reflection:

  • In your day-to-day interactions with others – at work at home, at play and in relationship – in your role as leader, manager, supervisor, wife, husband, spouse, partner, father, mother, son, daughter, friend, colleague or any role or position where you support, help, counsel, advise, recommend, suggest, give feedback…i.e., formally or informally “coach” another, what would those interactions be like, feel like, sound like, look like (what would others be saying about those interactions), if the thread running through each of them were based on a spiritual (not religious, not theological) approach?

—————————————————–
(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

Being in the Moment

now

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

“Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”
– Corita Kent

I’m a great believer in living in the now – albeit, for many it’s easier said than done. Being present. In the moment. And if you think about the future, where many of us live, what is the future? Actually, the future is nothing more and nothing less than billions and billions of “NOWs.” So, there’s now, and now, and now, and now, and now and now – no future, just “now.”

Life is a very long journey, sometimes pleasant, sometimes challenging. However it unfolds, life is still just a succession of moments – NOWs.

One moment is joyful, another sad, another frustrating, another benign, another terrifying. In fact, most of our NOWs are plain and ordinary. No highs, no lows. Just consistently ordinary.

Choosing
The choice is this: Do I choose to love the moment I’m in right now, or do I choose to loathe and suffer through the moment I’m in? The former points to experiencing a life you love, cherish and enjoy; the latter points to surviving, resisting and hating your life. How you view the moment is a choice. No one is twisting your arm; no one is pointing a gun to your head. It’s about you and how you choose to relate to your moments.

The “right time”
In essence, this moment, this NOW, is all there is. If you’re one whose mantra is “I’m waiting for the ‘right time’,” there’s a better than average chance you’re experiencing some degree of pain or suffering in some way, shape or form right now. (and, by the way, we all know the “right time” never comes; something inevitably gets in the way, and if/when it does, it’s not when you expect it)

(Note: dreaming is fine except when you find yourself missing so many moments, so many NOWs because you’re living in the “future.” Lots of folks like this often lament, “Where did my life go?”. These are the folks who never truly “lived.” For these folks, the future never comes and when it does, they’re usually caught up in some other type of pain and suffering and waiting for another future, and another future and another future to arrive and bring their happiness.)

Now is all there is

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
– Anonymous

One key to happiness is to appreciate the moment and see the “sacredness” of each moment. Not the sacredness of religion or theology, per se, (however, that’s available, if you choose), but appreciating the specialness, the good and seeing what joy exists in this moment, right here and right now. There is some degree of happiness in every moment, if we choose to focus on that happiness. (Victims and martyrs hardly ever do). Living in the future negates the happiness available in the moment.

Let go of the past and future
The reality is, life only happens now. Letting go of the future (and the past) allows you to bring the happiness you are into the moment, regardless of what you’re doing or what’s going on around you. Being in the moment, sensing into whatever element of happiness is available right here and right now (and it is, if you look for it, or allow it to arise) supports you to live this moment, and this moment, and this moment with ease, grace and joy.

Appreciating the NOW
“The more I give myself permission to live in the moment and enjoy it without feeling guilty or judgmental about any other time, the better I feel about the quality of my work.”
– Wayne Dyer

Living in the NOW and appreciating the NOW is not all that easy. Appreciating the NOW is about cherishing who you are, what you have, recognizing how good things are, and choosing to not focus on who you aren’t or what you don’t have. Appreciating the NOW is about allowing the ordinary. It’s about finding the inner peace within, right here and right now, just where you are – at your desk, on the elevator, commuting, doing the dishes, watching TV- reading this piece.

Appreciating the NOW means choosing to surrender any discomfort, upset, negative emotion and feeling. When you can do that, and choose to do that, then a sense of appreciation, positivity, OK-ness will come in to fill the void in this NOW, and this NOW and this NOW.

Rather than waiting for quantum events to happen, appreciate the ordinary. Experience the happiness of a Wednesday signaling the middle of the week, or being at home on Friday night watching a movie or a sporting event or stopping for your favorite cup of coffee.

The ordinary is more than ordinary
As you choose to live in the moment, focus on the ordinary –  the sights, the sounds, the colors, shapes or textures, the tastes and aromas, the space in which everything exists, or the space between objects. That’s presence. That’s the state where we can become immersed in what is happening NOW, and NOW and NOW.

Finally, living in the moment means focusing your mind on what is good, just and right with your life and with the world, right here and right NOW, and NOW, and NOW and NOW. Soon, you’ll be able to see life in a (more) positive light, even in the ordinary moments, and this new way of being will become second nature.

Allowing yourself to look for and appreciate what is here NOW and what is happening in this moment, and this moment, and this moment you’ll begin to notice that your mind relaxes and embraces the moment with greater ease.

The moment is about living your life NOW, not tomorrow, and certainly not yesterday.

“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves. ”
– Maria Edgeworth,

Some questions for self-reflection:

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”
– Abraham Maslow

  • What “one day” or “right time” are you dreaming about, waiting or wishing for? Are you one who is consistently waiting for some other time so you can be happy? How is this strategy working for you?
  • How do you experience “newness” in your life?
  • How do you feel about your life in this moment? How so?
  • Do you run on a treadmill of unhappiness? If so, why?
  • What are you attached to? (e.g., money, possessions, status, etc.)
  • What’s holding you back from experiencing happiness?
  • When are you most alive? How so?
  • In what ways does fear constrict you?
  • Do you spend an inordinate amount of time fantasizing?
  • Do you live much of your life in the past or in the future? If so, why?
  • Do you spend a lot of time catastrophizing, worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and might not happen at all, or ruminating  – thinking bleakly about events in the past? When and where did you learn to do that?
  • Can you imagine yourself living in the moment, in the NOW?
  • How did you parents or primary caregivers experience “now?” In conversations, how much time did they devote to the past or future?

“I always wanted a happy ending… Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”
– 
Gilda Radner

—————————————————–
(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

Digging Yourself into a Hole

hle in heart

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Just launched – three exciting new products

In the arenas of developmental psychology, spiritual psychology and related fields, there’s a given understanding that most of us, simply by nature of being born and raised in this world are “hurt” or “wounded” in the process. Even though our parents or primary caregivers are doing their utmost best to raise us well, nurture us and socialize us, the fact is that most primary care givers’s care comes up short – even in those homes where folks say their childhood was “the best.” or completely stable. “Wounding” is a fact of life of the human condition for most of us. This wounding can be mental, emotional, physical, psychological and/or spiritual.

One reason we come into this journey on the planet, and especially in our journeys in various relationships, is to “heal” this hurt so we can grow emotionally and spiritually into mature and competent adults and, as mature adults, show up in our life at work, at home, at play and in relationship – authentically and emotionally healthy, alert, alive and awake – whole.

One manifestation of this hurt or wounding is that, if asked and answered honestly, most every human being will admit to feeling some degree of “deficiency,” or “lack” in some way, shape or form, at some point, at some time.

Individuals who have done or are doing “personal work” or “spiritual developmental work” will most readily admit to experiencing this experience of deficiency. Those who are on the other end of the spectrum may engage in denial, resistance, or just out-and-out- rejection of the notion they are somehow not “all that I can be” right here and right now.

One of the feelings associated with this “hurt” is that often folks may feel “empty,” “worthless” or “valueless” in some way – perhaps in some aspect of their work life, play life, home life or relationship life. They don’t feel they are all they can be and often experience confusion, frustration, fear, resentment, guilt or shame about who they are and how they feel about themselves.

This experience of feeling “less than,” or “not enough” in some way, or ways, is often referred to as a “hole” (being “empty”), and so when in a state where they may be experiencing their hole, people might feel a wave or cloud coming over them where they feel they lack value, or worth, or feel they are “not enough” or feel “limited.” The “hole” is a natural state that comes with being born. Often folks fail to show up authentically as they consciously or unconsciously allow their feelings of “deficiencies” to drive who they are and thus they show up as phonies, frauds, fakes, bullies, or fearful, quiet, submissive, deferential, etc. on some level.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that the hole of deficiency can be filled. The question is how one chooses to fill the hole. The degree to which one experiences true and real inner peace, happiness, harmony and relaxation in their life (at work, at home, at play and in relationship) is a function of how one chooses to fill their hole.

There are two methods for hole filling” – from “without” or from ‘within.” The former results in digging a deeper hole; the latter results in reducing the size of the hole, perhaps eliminating it altogether.

From without

When folks attempt to fill their hole – their feelings of deficiency and “not enough” – from “without,” they tend to look outside themselves for whatever they can to provide a “quick-fix” that will bring a short-term feeling of OK-ness. Some of these folks will effort to inflate who they are in order to fill their hole of emptiness while others deal with the emptiness most often by filling it with stuff, stuff and more stuff.

Because of the nature of the hole, many folks who don’t feel safe or comfortable in their own skins, in who they are, and continually live life seeking recognition, approval, and emotional and psychological security through self-serving actions and activities.

The downside of filling the hole from “without” is the hole can never be filled but the intensity and degree of the activities they engage in to fill their hole become more and more progressive (like needing more and more of a drug to gain the same “numbing” effect). Living a life filling a hole from the “outside” results in a life characterized by an insidious sense of toxicity, intensity, agitation, and feelings of envy, jealousy, anger, shame, guilt, sadness, depression, despair, etc. to some degree. Hole-filling for them is a never-ending struggle, exhausting on every level – mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, social – as their hole grows deeper and deeper.

The narcissist is one example of an individual who tends to fill their hole from the outside – with their incessant need for admiration, approval, acknowledgement and recognition.

The narcissist lives from a perspective of needing to always “stand out,” to be seen and be “somebody.” So, in their life at work, at home, at play and in relationship, filling their hole of deficiency drives them to be the center of the Universe, living a life characterized by vanity, arrogance, lack of humility and egocentricity. The result, however, is digging one’s self into an ever deepening hole that requires more and more filling.

The tools and practices for filling the hole from without are those that anaesthetize one to their feelings – numbing out, denying and withdrawing – through TV, entertainment, sports, sex, alcohol, chemical and non-chemical medications, exercise, shopping, eating, and gathering stuff, or activities that require always being on – the life of the party, the know-it-all, the expert, always being “out there” in an effort to be seen, heard and acknowledged and “doing, doing, doing,” i.e., keeping busy.

From within

Filling the hole from within means pursuing a conscious and honest exploration of one’s sense of deficiency, knowing that their feelings of lack and deficiency are not “their fault” and moving to an inner place of peace, understanding, strength, will, courage and compassion from which one takes the necessary actions to allow their hole, to be OK with it and in that very process – i.e., allowing me to be me just as I am – experience the hole reduce and resolve. From this inner place, one acquires the insights, and awareness of the tools and practices that support one to understand the nature of “holes” and to forward the action of their life to begin to reduce and eliminate the hole by doing the “quiet,” deep developmental work that supports their growth process (through their own spiritual work, spiritual coaching, or the support of a trusted friend, partner, clergy person, counselor, etc). As part of this process, these folks are guided, internally and insightfully, to master the knowledge, tools and skills that support their self-actualization in their life at work, at home, at play and in relationship, a life they live with authenticity, sincerity, honesty and self-responsibility. From this place of acceptance of the hole, understanding how the hole supports us to grow and mature, the hole begins to fill itself. Here, we come from a heart-felt place, not an ego place. The work of filing the hole from within is quiet, deep, personal, inward directed and outwardly manifested.

The tools and practices used to fill the hole from “within” include journaling, self-reflection, meditation, silence, inquiry or deep questioning about “Who am I” and “What am I?,” listening for an inner voice to inform us and often working in dialogue with a support person who can guide them in their journey. From within, the more one’s hole is reduced, the more one’s heart-felt inner strength and courage arise to allow one to “be myself” – without needing any false or phony packaging or shoring up.

In the process of filling the hole from within, many folks are able to acknowledge their feelings of inadequacy and deficiency, accept them, learn from them and then move to a place of inner fortitude and steadfastness where they gain an inner, deeper, true sense of their value and worth and generate he capacity to show up more authentically – not needing to put on the cloak of a “false self” in order to be “somebody” other than who they really are.

What we resist, persists. When we resist the hole and look to fill it from the outside, the hole will persist, and grow deeper. When we do deeper the inner work to not resist, and allow the feelings connected to experiencing the hole, the hole will begin to dissipate and dissolve,

The bottom-line question is, “How do I want to show up in my life at work, at home, at play and in relationship?”

The answer will result in reducing and eliminating the hole, or digging a deeper hole. Life is choices.

Some questions for self-reflection: 

  • In what ways do I often feel I am “not enough,” deficient or lacking? Why do I think I feel the way I do? How do I feel about feeling the way I do?
  • Do I engage in “outside” activities to an extreme to feel secure, engaged and have some sense of OK-ness with my life? If so, what does all this activity get me?
  • Do I feel and show up authentically at work, at home, at play, in my relationships? Really authentic? Do I ever feel like a fake or a phony? Do I ever consciously need to be a fake or phony? How so?
  • Do I often find myself rationalizing my behaviors?
  • Do I often feel a need to be “out there” – the life of the party, the “know-it-al,” the expert, etc?
  • Do I play “small,” feel unseen and invisible much of the time? If so, do I know why?
  • Do I have a “spiritual” (here, not theological, or religious) life? Do I meditate, write poetry, walk in nature, sing, dance, paint, journal, self-reflect…as a source of quiet, silence, inner journeying and personal discovery?
  • Who in my life pushes my buttons? What do I see about my reactivity (not about them) that points to an area or areas in me where I might be in denial or have possible blind spots where I need to do some deeper exploration?
  • What one or two baby steps can I take in the next week or two to move toward exploring my feelings around lack or deficiency?
  • When did I first realize that I had “holes?”

—————————————–————
(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