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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some questions for self-reflection:

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

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

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(c) 2019, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

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

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

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

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

This week is last week’s “next week.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some questions for self-reflection:

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

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(c) 2019, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, our first question:

What is authenticity and what does authenticity mean to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, let’s continue with our second question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* being honest, and honoring my beliefs

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

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

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

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

* being intentional about expressing what I want

* not interacting with a hidden agenda

* staying conscious in my heart as well as my head

* sharing what I think and feel about my immediate experience

* accepting my undeveloped areas as well as my strengths

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

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

Our next question points to obstacles to being authentic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take a few minutes and respond to these two questions.

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

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

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

So, I’ll end with one final thought.

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

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

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

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

———————————–——————
(c) 2019, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

Overcoming Fears at Work

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

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

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

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

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

The problem

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

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

The solution

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

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

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

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

Being myself

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some questions for self-reflection:

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

—————————————————–
(c) 2019, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

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

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

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

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

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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

Confucius, LI and Decency at Work

Li

 

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Just launched – three exciting new products

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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Just launched – three exciting new products

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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Just launched – three exciting new products

“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