“Heck, it’s only a touch-up!

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“Those who would preserve the spirit, must also look after the body to which it is attached.” – Einstein

Many countries require manufacturers to place health warnings on tobacco and alcohol products, and on processed foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

Not too long ago, a news item pointed to the French government’s campaign requiring all photos appearing in advertisements, on product labels and on campaign posters to show a warning if they feature a photograph that’s been digitally enhanced.

Of course, the advertising industry was up in arms saying that such rules undermine the attraction of “perfectly photographed people.”  Many advertisers could care less that confusing an enhanced photo with the real thing is misleading. Those supporting the new rules wanted warning labels to say something to the effect, “Image retouched to modify the physical appearance of this person.” A fine would be imposed for violations.

So, what about my image?

OK, so we’re being taken for a ride by the advertising and marketing industries. We’re pretty much aware of that. However, the deeper question is, “Who am I taking for a ride by the image I put out to folks?”

What image do I want to project to folks and is that image my Real and Authentic Self? Or, am I altering and enhancing my own image to persuade the world that I am who I’m not? Here are four short scenarios around “self-enhanced” images. Does any resonate with you:

First, physically. How do I dress and carry myself? Am I enhancing myself in some way? What do my clothes (and what I wear underneath my clothes), my accessories, and my posture say about me, and how does this image sync up with who I am inside? What kind of persona am I trying to project? And why? Am I appearing successful when I’m not, or unsuccessful when I am? Am I “puffed up” when, in reality, I feel lost, unsafe or insecure?

Second, mentally. Do I enhance my image, for example,  by projecting a walking “Trivial Pursuit” or “Jeopardy Champion” persona, a know-it-all, a faux intellectual who is always spouting facts and others’ ideas but who never seems to have an original thought of my own? Do I use my intellect as a shield against allowing others in?

Third, emotionally. Am I projecting a happy-go-lucky persona when, inside, I am unhappy, sad, depressed, angry, jealous , resentful or ashamed? Am I projecting a quiet, silent-type, a “go-along-to-get-along” accommodating, compliant persona when, inside, I disagree, or want to have my voice and be heard?

Fourth, spiritually. Do I project a chameleon-type personality, espousing others’ values and causes when they go against my inner Core Values? Do I engage in the art of the “put-down,” gossip or bullying even though deep down I know it’s inappropriate? Do I project a “faux” spirituality?

False expectations and living in a parallel world

“The gentlemen in Berlin are gambling on me as If I were a prize hen. I don’t even know whether I’m going to lay another egg.” – Einstein

Enhancing one’s own image is based on false expectations – I’ll gain acceptance, recognition, approval, support, an/or love by projecting the enhanced, “Photoshop” version of me – expectations that, at some point, will lose their allure, their luster and, in the end, reflect the unenhanced “me.” How will I react when that happens – if it hasn’t happened already?

Living a life that is more a minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, person-to-person conflict between my expectations and my reality is the basic source of pain unhappiness. Not only that, living the enhanced life is exhausting – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The enhanced version and the negative

While the French legislators would impose prison terms and fines for people who promote and encourage this digital enhancement, what consequences do you experience from putting out a persona that promotes an unreal and fake you? Be honest.

Choosing to be “enhanced,” rather than authentic and real, we never get to work on ourselves, never get to mature and develop, never get to forward the action of our life � to experience true and meaningful self-fulfillment. And, sadly, the enhanced version says, deep down – and we all know it – “I” don’t exist.” Dead Man Walking was the title of a popular motion picture. Isn’t that who we project when we enhance our “photo” and present it to the world as “me?” And, is Dead (Wo)man Walking the title of the enhanced image that reflects how you live your life?

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • In what ways do you allow your True and Authentic Self to show up? And how do you suppress your True and Authentic Self through enhancement? Truthfully.
  • Would your spouse/partner, co-workers, colleagues and friends describe you as being “authentic?”
  • Are you aware you (sometimes) “enhance” your image? What does enhancing your image get you? How so? Is it sustainable?
  • Do you ever long to be “real” with anyone? What prevents your real-ness? How so?
  • What was being “real” like when you were growing up? Were you around “real” people? What was that like?
  • Do you ever give away your power, your voice or your real-ness? How does that make you feel?
  • Can you envision a world where folks are real, where there’s no need for “enhancing” one’s image?

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

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

Common Good

photo common good

 

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Just launched – three exciting new products

What is the Common Good? What values drive the pursuit of the Common Good? What areas are commonly associated with the Common Good. What activities do we normally engage in to pursue the Common Good? What challenges stand in the way of the Common Good?
https://lnkd.in/d-GpZS8


 

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

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

Age Quod Agis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some questions for self-reflection:

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

The Pandemic and Integrity at Work

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Greetings,

Like many, the pandemic has given me pause. So many facets, so many pros and cons – and on so many levels. My latest food-for-thought focuses on the Pandemic and Integrity at Work. It’s a 6:13 video and you can view it here.

Stay well and stay safe.
Peace,
Peter

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

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

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”
I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship. 
I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

Overcoming Racism – What Stands in the Way?

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Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Like so many, I’ve been affected – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically  – by the events around race and racism that have occurred over the last months.

Since 2004, when I began writing “food-four-thought,” I’ve written about political issues probably twice. My work is all about conscious living and I’ve been feeling some sense of urgency and importance about sharing my thoughts. My work is all about change, and, moreover, what stands in the way of change.

So I want to express my thoughts about change, as it reflects current events. I’ve done this in a short video (11:19). It’s on YouTube, . You can view the YouTube video here:

Take good care.

Professional relationships – what’s missing?

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Charlie Foster on Unsplash

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A few years back, here in the United States, Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was one of a long line of high-profile figures in politics, business, sports, arts and entertainment, law and the like who have fallen from grace as the result of personal relationship issues. Jenny Sanford, is another. Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley is more recent (March 2016). There are others. This intrigues me.

Professional vs Personal
We’re surrounded by people who possess the social skills required to create professional relationships. They are great at relating to their peers, their bosses, their clients, their mentors, their coaches, their followers and their stakeholders, but when it comes to personal relationships with spouses, partners and close friends – there is no “there” there. In fact, they fail miserably when it comes to creating and maintaining healthy, conscious, loving and intimate relationships.

The curious thing is that many of these people have all the “right stuff.” They come from “good stock,”, attended the “right” schools, played all the “in” sports, engaged in the “acceptable” and revered extracurricular activities, pledged the “right” sororities and fraternities, and received the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degree(s)-du-jour accompanied by all the accolades that now line their walls.

Part of the climb
But on the way up, they also learned how to be egotistical, narcissistic and arrogant. They wear their successes as coats of arms on their sleeves. In their chosen professional fields, they paid their dues, moved up the ranks, and climbed the ladder of success by cultivating the relationships they needed to support them to achieve whatever it is their ego-driven desires needed to achieve – be it power, rank, status, control or recognition. To be honest, they knew their stuff; they knew their craft.

Adept at cultivating relationships, they used their tools: false modesty, false intimacy, false trust, cloudy transparency, fake vulnerability, fake charisma, insincere charm, forced gracefulness and the like. The downside – their dark side – is their narcissism, their consistent need to be “on,” to play the role, to always be in the limelight, to wield their power, to be in control, to be the center of the Universe.

When it hits
Then, it hits – sometimes subtly, sometimes not so-subtly. One day they wake up and they feel alone. They experience feelings of loneliness and deficiency and a reality that “the game is up” – their mask, worn thin, is disintegrating. Their personality costume covers but a skeleton. They begin to experience sadness, depression, self-loathing and self-pity.

They discover they really don’t know who they are. At home with their partners, at play with their friends, in their life (outside of work), they stumble, feel disoriented, disconnected and ungrounded. They feel like a stranger – emotionally distant, incapable of forging deeper, heart-felt and loving intimacy.

They experience estrangement from their spouses or partners, distance from their loved ones, and often end up engaging in superficial affairs – online and off – one-night stands. Their grasp for connection is uncomfortable and clunky; they seek a deeper self that has alluded them. They have no idea who they are.

Looking for…what?
What they’re searching for, longing for, really, is their True and Authentic Self – long lost and abandoned. Along the way, they gave up their need for true and real friendship, for true and real relationship, for true and real connection – all for the sake of ego-driven needs for control, recognition, power and security.

They created, then lived out, their fantasies that shored up their egos, but never supported their deeper relationships. They created and lived their fantasies focused on a superficial, fake and phony persona.

So now, lost, lonely and unhappy, they don’t know where to turn.

In the end, the person they’re really seeking, is “inside.” That’s where their True, Real and Authentic Self resides – the Self that knows, understands and thrives on honest, sincere, healthy and self-responsible relationships.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you know people who play a role more often than they show up as their and real self?
  • How about you, how do you feel you show authentically up in your relationship?
  • Do you have a need to be in the limelight? What if you can’t fulfill that need?
  • Do your self-images revolve around some aspects of sex, power, recognition or control?
  • Does your moral compass ever deviate from True North? When? Why?
  • Have you ever “used” people to get ahead? How so?
  • Is there a gap between the level of closeness or connection between you and your spouse/partner? If so, why?
  • Do you ever feel unhappy about your love relationships? How are you contributing to that unhappiness?
  • Have your loving relationships grown over the last year or two. If not, why not?
  • Have your friendships deepened over the last year or two? If not, why not?
  • Do you invest in your relationships and friendships? Do you take them for granted?

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

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

The inability to say “no”

NO

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

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

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

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

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

Consider:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, that’s worth thinking about.

Some questions for self-reflection:

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

The need to figure everything out

curiosity

Jeremy Bishop   Unsplash

 

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Just launched – three exciting new products

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

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

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

“Why?” and the world of illusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some questions for self-reflection:

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

Whose Success Is It Anyway?

success

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Just launched – three exciting new products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or, can it?

It depends.

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

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

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

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

Some questions for self-reflection:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

Living With Opposites

yin yang

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Just launched – three exciting new products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some questions for self-reflection:

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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