The Biology of Courage: We are designed to create, to think deeply, love profoundly, and act purposefully.
In living this life we are sometimes called upon to do things that are difficult and perhaps stressful.
However, our habit of occupying our minds with trivialities, or our hearts with worry, instead of doing the work that progresses our career or our happiness is really just self-sabotage in full force.
"I believe in the evolution of the mind, the heart, and the soul of humanity. I believe in improvement. I believe in growth. There is nothing quite as invigorating as being able to evaluate and then solve a difficult problem, to grapple with something that seems almost unsolvable and then find a resolution.”
Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand for Something, 2000, p. 62
When, in the name of avoiding stress we use our ability to think and love deeply to distract us onto things that require neither depth of thought, or are of little consequence, we do ourselves a tremendous disservice.
I know I've allowed this to happen to me. I have awakened to the distraction sometimes too late to prevent my own stumble and bruising, and have found the need to find my way back through the briers and thorns laid by my own pride.
The noise of the world can overwhelm us, distract us, and drag us off the path that would otherwise lead to our greatest happiness. However, it is only on that path where we can have true perspective and can think clearly and creatively about how to overcome the obstacles and roadblocks of our lives.
A Deadly Combination?
One of the things that distract us are feelings of overwhelm and stress. Millennials have officially become the most stressed out Generation of American, with their parents, Generation Xers, running a very close second. We live in a time of demanding jobs, divorce, single parenting, violence, financial woes and career uncertainty. There is a 24/7 endeavor to keep up with texts, emails, and Instagram threads and record high rates of anxiety and depression. Stressful situations abound. Perhaps even this article is beginning to stress you out a bit.
For years, psychologists have written articles, taught classes and workshops teaching people that stress is harmful and should be avoided, reduced and managed.
In her book, The Upside of Stress, Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist, shares with us a finding that turns that belief on its head. Studies show that while high levels of stress increased the risk of dying pre-maturely by 43% this was only true for participants in the study who also believed that stress was harmful to their health.
People who reported high levels of stress but who did not view their stress as harmful had the lowest risk of death of anyone in the study, even lower than those who had reported experiencing very little stress.
The researchers concluded that it wasn't stress alone that was killing people. It was the combination of stress and the belief that stress is harmful. The researchers estimated that over the eight years they conducted their study, 182,000 American may have died prematurely because they believed that stress was harming their health….. That would make "believing stress is bad for you" the 15th leading cause of death in the United States, killing more people than skin cancer, HIV/AIDS, and homicide."
So the question you have to ask is, can changing how you think about stress make you healthier?
The answer would appear to be yes. If you change your mind about stress and how you think about stress, you can change your bodies response to stress.
"Go ahead. Stress me out!"
At the University of Rochester, stress researcher Jeremy Jamieson, used the Trier Social Stress Test, the most infamous and efficient method for inducing stress in a research setting to test this theory. Involving an unrehearsed speech about your personal faults and a relatively complicated math challenge while others rush you and judge your performance harshly, it’s known for making even the calmest and most confident of people break a sweat.
The combination of impromptu public speaking and math combined with negative and unsupportive feedback, for most, is a sure-fire stressor. "If you were actually in this study," says Dr. McGonigal, " you'd probably be a little stressed out. Your heart might be pounding; you might be breathing faster, maybe breaking out into a sweat. And typically, we interpret these physical changes as anxiety, a sign that we aren't coping very well with the pressure."
"But" she goes on to say, "what if you viewed them instead as signs that your body was energized [and] was preparing you to meet this challenge? Now that is exactly what participants were told in this study. Before they went through the social stress test, they were taught to rethink their stress responses as helpful. That [the] pounding [of your] heart was preparing you for action. If you were breathing faster, that’s great, it means you’re getting more oxygen to your brain. Participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful for their performance were less stressed out, less anxious, more confident." What Dr. McGonigal found most surprising, however, was how their physical stress response changed.
"In a typical stress response," she explains, “your heart rate goes up, and your blood vessels constrict. This is one of the reasons that chronic stress is sometimes associated with cardiovascular disease. It's not healthy to be in this state all the time. But in the study, when participants viewed their stress response as helpful, their blood vessels stayed relaxed. Their heart was still pounding, but [the relaxed blood vessels are] a much healthier cardiovascular profile. It actually looks a lot like what happens in moments of joy and courage.
The doctor further points out that “ Over a lifetime of stressful experiences, this one biological change could be the difference between a stress-induced heart attack at age 50 and living well into your 90s. - this is what the new science of stress reveals” - How you think about stress matters.
Our ability to care for ourselves and for others in times of stress has always been part of our design.
Oxytocin has been nicknamed the cuddle hormone because it is released when you hug another person and during other intimate situations. It encourages kindness and increases empathy. What many people don’t know, however, is that Oxytocin is as much a part of your stress response as the adrenaline that makes your heart pound.
It motivates you to seek support, share how you are feeling. With Oxytocin as part of your stress response, you are better prepared to notice when others are also struggling so you can be supportive. When trials in life occur, your stress response encourages you to be surrounded by people who care about you.
Oxytocin also acts on your body, it is a natural anti-inflammatory, helping your blood vessels stay relaxed during stress and the heart itself has receptors for this hormone, helping the heart cells regenerate and heal, strengthening the heart.
And the more you reach out to others under stress or seek to support someone else, the more of this hormone you produce. Human connection in times of stress makes you increasingly resilient to stress.
There is a study conducted by the University of Buffalo that supports this. A thousand adults in the U.S. were asked, what is by now, a familiar question: “how much stress have you experienced in the last year?” They also asked “How much time have you spent helping out friends, neighbors, people in your community?” and then they used public records for the next five years to find out who died.
Major life stressors like financial difficulties or family crisis increased the risk of dying by 30%, but that wasn’t true for everyone. People who spent time caring for others showed absolutely no stress-related increase in dying. None. Caring created resilience.
The world of science is now beginning to see that the harmful effects of stress on your health are not inevitable as once taught. Our ability to care for ourselves and others during stressful times has always been part of our design. Knowing this truth about how well your body is prepared for these times, how you think and act, can transform your experience of stress.
When you choose to view your stress response as helpful instead of something to escape from, you create “the biology of courage”. And science now understands something that we need to be reminded of: when you choose to connect with others under stress, you create resilience.
Trust that your body is designed so that you can handle life’s challenges and that, not only don’t you have to face them alone, you were designed to seek help and be of help in times of stress and need.
SayHi@DeborahGuy.com for more information.
Loria, Kevin, “It’s official; millennials are the most stressed-out generation” , February 6, 2015
Fry, Richard, “Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation”, April 25, 2016
McGonigal, Kelly, Ph.D., The Upside of Stress, Avery, second edition May 5, 2015
Not every hiccup or ‘dry spell’ in a career means its time to throw in the towel and do something new. We’ve all had the occasional day when getting to work was not your first choice for how you wanted to spend your day.
However if boredom and bitterness become chronic it’s time to consider an alternative career path. That may mean a slight modification or a complete overhaul. Let’s take a look at some sure fire things that indicate, it’s time for a change.
Sign #1 Chronic Lack of Energy or Boredom.
If your iron levels are fine, you’re not anemic, you’re eating well and you’re at work and not feeling energized at all and really bored. It’s time to figure out which parts of your job are draining you. Is it the commute, the projects, your co-workers, your boss. Get specific. This will help you figure out what needs to change.
Like your work but hate the commute, move closer; don’t fancy your co-workers or your boss is overbearing , get reassigned to a different team or switch to a similar position at a different company.
If it’s the work you hate, well read on before jumping ship.
Andrew’s dad worked in Real Estate, he had done well and wanted Andrew to join him in the business. As Andrew began his work with dad after college, he noticed that he thought Real Estate was okay but found that the work he enjoyed was less involved with working directly with clients and more based in re-imaging how an older home might be upgraded, staged and it’s curbside appeal enhanced. He loved the challenge of having a budget and being charged with giving a home a ‘facelift’. He successfully worked his way into creating a team that did high-end landscaping and exterior/curbside redesigning. His energy and engagement were high. At the end of his day, he’s tired but satisfied with how he’s spent his day.
Sign # 2 : Apathy
If you feel like your on autopilot day after day, and you’re wishing you were somewhere else. it’s a good time to ask yourself what you would care about. Are you ready to work at things on a larger scale, do you want more independence, more brainstorming opportunities, more challenging work?
Sarah liked her team but wasn’t enjoying the project she was working on. She did great work but it didn’t energize her. She took the initiative and began looking at other projects within her company and soon found one the dealt with accessibility solutions for blind people. Her grandmother had gone blind it a later age and she felt very connected to the project. With a little convincing she was able to change projects. No major career upheaval just a simple change in how she applied her skills. She quickly noticed an increase in how invested she was in the new project.
Kim knew that she thrived when she was able to problem solve in creative ways. Shortly after taking a new job she realized that she liked her work but that the company culture was ‘by the book’ and she felt stifled. She decided to reboot her job search, this time with a focus on company culture and soon found a job that valued her out of the box approach and her passion for her work skyrocketed.
Clue # 3: Jealousy
When jealousy rears its ugly head it’s often a sign that you want something you haven’t given yourself permission to have. In the area of careers, it might be worth exploring why you are so ticked off about the job that a friend has. It may be that it’s a job in a field you yourself would secretly like to pursue.
What’s up with That?
Before doing anything drastic, you’ll want to identify what ‘triggered’ your jealousy. Do you get curious whenever you hear someone is involved in tech or feel envy if you meet someone who is in research?
First: Break it down. What aspect of the job is making your jealous? Are you jealous of Andrew the landscaper because he gets to spend a lot of time outdoors, or of Sarah because she’s working on innovative technology? What would be thrilling for you about the job?
Next: Is there a way to bring the aspects you crave into your current work? If not, a serious career switch may be in order.
When Trip started working with me as his coach, he was the head of a research lab working at the cutting edge of his industry and yet he was bored and still unsure about what he wanted to do. By his own admission, he pursued a second degree in Bio-Technology more to delay making a decision about a career than because of a passion for the topic.
On a regular basis he presented his work to the business side of the company and consistently found the discussion on what they would do with the science more interesting than his own lab’s finding and increasingly found himself resentful that once the meeting was over, that he was back in the lab, even though those that worked with him really disliked all the ‘suit-talk’ and couldn’t wait to get back to their test tubes and processes.
Once he realized he was really jealous of those that ‘got to work’ on the business side of the industry, he was able to begin bridging the gap between his education and his desired work. He spoke up and got himself involved with business projects and shortly became head of product development and got a hefty raise.
The universe is not sending you a signal to make over your entire career when you have an occasional slow day or a jealous pang. Sometimes just spending your lunch hour in a way that makes you happy can have a dramatic impact on how you feel about your day. However, if you are living your life by default instead of by design. If you start to notice that there’s an ongoing , chronic sense of boredom or bitterness, it may be time to think about making a change.
Deborah Guy is your coach for the personal side of a professional life.
Helping professionals like you sidestep overwhelm and manage your career and entrepreneurial goals effectively while creating a work/life balance that enables you to live the life your soul intended with clarity, care and courage! Learn more and connect at www.DeborahGuy.Com
The Applicant Tracking System of ATS is used by most HR managers to streamline their hiring process. These systems have been nicknamed 'robots or 'bots' and are programmed to compare the job descriptions keywords to the keywords in your resume. If enough of them match, your resume makes it through to the HR Manager for review. If they don't, a canned rejection e-mail is on it's way to you after a respectful waiting period.
And to answer the question you are thinking right now: "No" neither the HR Manager or their appointed minions ever see your resume or your perfectly crafted cover letter. it's the epitome of "nothing personal".
This filtering process, which saves the companies money and time, is creating growing anxiety amongst job seekers. This anxiety has become so prevalent it's been given itâs own name: Algoriphobia â fear of the algorithm.
How to beat the âBots
Unless you already have an especially well developed network to connect you to the influencers for the jobs you truly want, you will need to create an resume and by extension an application that the algorithm flags as human eye-ball worthy, which can land you the face-to-face meeting and ultimately get you the job you want, youâll have to adhere the to following best practices described by the experts:
Though cost savings for companies, it can leave job seekers feeling doomed.
Bonus Tip: A longer resume is okay. The Bots donât care about the length of a Resume.
If, you feel you are already doing all these things, still not getting anywhere and are beginning to develop your own case of algoriphobia, get in touch. As your Career Coach, I can evaluate how effectively you have implemented the above pointers, especially tips 1, 2 and 6 and help guide you to success and past the automated gatekeepers to the job of your dreams.
Deborah Guy, is your coach for the personal side of a professional life. Helping professionals like you manage your career effectively while creating a work/life balance that enables you to live the life your soul intended with clarity, care and courage! Learn more and connect at www.DeborahGuy.Com
Deborah is a Professionally Certified and Experienced G5(Get Give) Career Coach
#Career, #Resume, #Interview, #Job, #Transition, #ATS, #HumanResources, #Hiring
If you're a little uptight and feeling stressed. Dance it out. I'm talking to everyone here, guys and gals!
Shut the door, put your headset on and move. You will feel rejuvenated. Let your feet do a little tap routine under the desk. Do a double step or two when taking out the garbage.
Dancing is proven to improve stress management and reduced psychological distress and has lasting effects
Dance is rhythm. Rhythmic movement increases energy and lowers anxiety levels.
Dance is definitely exercise. And along with the benefits of exercise it increases our confidence in how we move and the space we take up in the world.
Dance can be spontaneous, teaching us to trust our instincts and impulses.
Dance is often done as a community. Being around others who are also moving can decrease feelings of isolation. It can also support us in learning how to form healthy relations around wellness and common interests and fun.
Dance expressed our individuality. It helps us recognize, appreciate, and love the unique ways in which each we hear and respond to music.
Dance is every expression and everywhere. There is dance in each of us. How we navigate a shopping cart, or run up the stairs, or wave to a friend are all forms of movement unique to us. Movement can be dance.
Dance can empower us and provide a new lens through which to see the flow of everyday life.
Dance is language. As Martha Graham explained, self-expression has the power to point us in new directions in terms of thought and behavior. Learning new forms of creativity often enables us to non-verbally express emotions that could be challenging to share any other way.
I was fortunate enough to see Derek Hough, a two time Emmy winner, choreographer and dancer in concert. It was an evening of incredible dance and I watched not only the amazing performance on stage but I also watched the audience. When someone on stage leapt, the entire audience seemed to jut their chin forward as if adding their energy to the leap. When a Tango started, people sat up straighter and rolled their shoulders. Many from their seats in the audience were imitating micro movements of the people on stage. We were entranced and even in our microscopic ways, from our seats, we danced along. I've never seen a more happy and energized audience at the end of an evening.
Martha Graham, a well known pioneer of choreography, has said that dance is the hidden language of the soul. I believe her.
She also said:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others”
― Martha Graham
I believe this applies to all action. Whether you are taking action toward the career of your dreams or an item on your bucket list, you're actions toward these things are uniquely you and therefore not open to comparison. So few in this world take action necessary to get clear about they want and then take concreate steps to attain it.
Working with a career/life coach supports you in getting out of your own way and on with taking the actions that create your best life.
Live the Life the Your Soul Intended.
#dance, #Derek Hough, #Martha Graham, #life coach, #dancing, #Stress, #Anxiety, #move, #movement, #energy, #depression,#InternationalDanceDay
If Joan offered this sage advice in today’s market, she’d also add, ‘and be ready to face the camera.’
The above advice is timeless. You can’t go wrong following it. You also cannot go wrong if you prepare for the likelihood that, in today’s market at least a portion of your interview process will be conducted virtually.
Even in this day of Marco Polo and Instagram apps, job candidates are often not well prepared to face an on-screen interviewer. And I don’t just mean the candidates that dress only from the waist up.
Inherent in video conference interviews there are several unique concerns. To make a great professional impression, avoid unnecessary stress, and pitfalls, preparation is vital.
As a foundation, you'll need to be crystal clear about whether you've preparing for a one way or a two-way interview and if it's timed. A one-way interview is where you’re asked a series of predetermined questions, and you’re allowed to record and submit your response for review. Sometimes you are allowed to redo your answer until you are satisfied with it but often you only get one shot and a finite length of time to answer. A two-way interview is a live interview conducted via Skype or similar technology and attempts to mimic a more traditional in-person interview.
Key Tips to Acing a Virtual Interview
Tip # 1 Rehearse
Practice makes perfect. Be sure to go over any prep materials and sample questions thoroughly. Record yourself speaking into the camera if you have the appropriate technology. Then review what you’ve recorded and tweak your performance or have an interview coach like myself review it for feedback.
Tip # 2 Double check your tech.
Pay attention to what video service the interviewer will be using. You may have to install new technology before an interview. Be sure to allow plenty of time to both install and test it so you are familiar with anything that may be quirky about it and can handle it calmly. Adjust your lighting and make sure your face is well lit. Use lighting at face height. Too much overhead light causes shadows and makes you appear tired.
Tip # 3 Set the stage
Clear any clutter from the background. You want a simple setting so the focus is on you not what’s going on behind you.
Tip # 4 Dress well from head to toe
You won’t be aware if your interviewer is seeing your image, 3 inches high or 3 feet high. Details will matter. Don’t just do your hair and brush your teeth. Floss. Get those stray hairs. Pick out a nice outfit. Don’t be the person who gets caught out because they had to get out of their chair to handle a sudden computer glitch and It's revealed they are wearing pajama bottoms and a suit jacket.
Tip # 5 Look at the Camera
Eye contact is important. Even when you’re not speaking, it’s essential that you are giving the person (i.e., the camera) your full attention. Resist the natural tendency to look at your own image or even the interviewer's image on the screen. Looking down at your desk, off into the distance when you’re not speaking makes it appear that you’re not listening. This is one of those cases when it’s not rude to stare. Practice this, because if you do it well, you will engage the person on the other side and come across as a savvy professional.
Tip # 6 Practice your responses and speak at a steady pace.
Especially in one-way interviews where there can be a time-limit you want to make sure you are speaking clearly, slowly and yet concisely. Be aware of how much time you have per question and make sure you get the compelling details in within the time allotted. Some one-way interviews will allow you to re-record an answer until you are happy with it, but a lot do not. Make sure you are clear on what is available in each instance, don’t assume. There will not be an opportunity to have a ‘do over’.
As more jobs become remote video conferencing technology enables recruiters to tap into talent pools worldwide. Convey your potential by learning how to make the best impression virtually so that when they are considering who goes on to the next round, you’re at the top of the list.
She/He who cares the least wields the most power.
With busy professional lives and an increasingly unstructured dating culture, I’m finding that the common thread to the challenges that many of my single clients are facing, is not that they are not in a relationship.
It’s that they are in a relationship and there is a vast disparity between how committed they are to the relationship and how committed their partner is.
And it cuts both ways. One client wants help ‘letting them down easy,’ another wants to figure out how to ‘get them to commit.’
Sometimes, even couples that are in agreement that they are in a long term, committed, monogamous relationship are not in agreement on what that commitment means in the long run. When the difference in how they define commitment going forward is significantly different, studies show that satisfaction with the relationship goes down for both. And that even moving into or toward marriage does nothing to bridge the gap.
If you’re not looking for anything permanent and your partner is on the same page. No worries. But If lasting love is your goal, finding yourself in a longer-term relationship, where either of you is significantly less committed to the relationship than the other, is not a useful place to be and here’s’ why:
The Principle of least interest: He who cares least wields the most power.
This principle holds true in all relationships: business, family and yes, our romantic ones as well.
The one most committed to a relationship continuing has, in significant ways, less power than the one who cares less. The less they care, the more power they have. There’s even a name for it: Asymmetrical Committed Relationships (ACRs)
With a walk down the aisle no longer the bar for mutual commitment for many couples, it’s becoming more comfortable, at least in the short term, and certainly more common for people to find themselves in relationships where the commitment level is often unvoiced and unclear.
A recent study by the University of Denver focuses on the longer term implications of ambiguous levels of commitment within a relationship and studies ACRs in particular.
An ACR is defined as a relationship where there is a significant disparity between the commitment levels of the couple.
Their study, of over 300 unmarried, heterosexual couples in a committed relationship for 24 to 36 months, revealed that fully 35% of the couples had significant differences in commitment levels. Men were twice as likely as women to be the ones that were the ‘weaker-link’ in the level of commitment.
Perhaps if we moved in together…
If you think moving in together or intertwining finances will close that gap, the study shows the reverse is true. When focusing only on couples who are cohabitating or have some form of financial reliance, the percentage of couples in ACRs jumps up to 47%.
Perhaps If we got married…
The study also shows that where there is a substantial difference in commitment between the couple before marriage, the walk down the aisle does nothing to bridge the gap even several years down the road.
Unsurprisingly, the study also showed that, when compared with couples with mutual commitment levels, couples in ACRs scored lower in satisfaction and quality of relationship and higher in the frequency of conflict.
So what does this mean for you?
It is much riskier to move in together or share finances before the question of commitment is clearly settled. You risk getting stuck in relationships you might otherwise have left because financial concerns or cohabitation make it that much harder to get out.
If you are considering marrying someone, but you sense they are less committed to you than you are to them, don’t count on a trip to alter to fix the commitment gap. Even if your partner agrees and their marital status changes, their level of commitment to the relationship for the long run remains unaltered.
Breakups more likely when the woman is the one less committed.
While couples in an ACR are more likely to break up than those in a relationship where the commitment levels are the same, it is far more likely that the relationship will end when it is the woman who is the person who is less committed.
Interestingly, where it is the man who is less committed, the relationship is actually statistically less likely to end in a breakup than relationships with mutual commitment levels. This is probably because men are more likely to freely remain in a relationship with a woman they are not serious about until the woman gets fed up and breaks it off.
This means that overall, a woman’s level of commitment is far more indicative of whether or not a couple stays together than a man’s commitment level.
Trend upward likely to continue
The number of Asymmetrically Committed Relationships are expected to rise and here’s why.
1) There has been a steady decline in cultural rituals and defined steps in the development of romantic relations
2) There is a growing preference for vagueness because people fear rejection and fear that commitment is dangerous.
3) Increasingly people ‘slide’ into a relationship instead of making a conscious decision to enter into a relationship beyond casual dating.
4) The culmination of the above three points makes it much easier than before to get deeply involved in – and stuck – in ACRs
More people are finding themselves in long term, unmarried relationships, sometimes for many years, before realizing that their partners are not as vested in the relationship as they are and are sort of just along for the ride. That’s a painful place to be.
It’s also a mistake to think that because somehow you two have somehow slid into moving in together or even have children together that that means there is some magical transformation in a person’s commitment level. The study says, not so.
Indicators of a Strong Commitment Level and how to get there.
The Strongest commitment levels come about from making a specific and declared decision to be together. “Let's just see where this goes” is fine for a few months but after a few months it’s perfectly healthy to take the risk and put your cards on the table. Yes, you might find out that you're both on different pages, but it's better to find out after a few months than after a few years.
The beauty of checking in that you might also find out that you’re both on the same page and then and only then, do you start to explore if they can be trusted with your feelings.
Knowing you can trust someone with how you feel about things is a precursor to deepening your connection with them. Don’t connect yourself romantically to someone who won’t’ respect your feelings or put your needs on equal footing with their own.
If you both get past that stage, then and only then should you begin to discuss the subject of being exclusive. And if someone’s not ready to be exclusive and you are, that’s a sure sign that you about to enter into an ACR.
" Strongest commitments levels are made while both of you are at 100% liberty to choose to be with each other. " - Dr. Scott M. Stanley, Univ. of Virginia
Commit because you feel at your best and most comfortable in your own skin when you are together, not out of guilt or financial advantage.
If you are looking for life-long committed love, you’ll need a proven approach to getting there. One that is both Fear-Proof and ACR-Proof. One that creates exceptional clarity for you and for your current or future partner.
Next week, I’ll walk you step by step through setting up just such a plan of action in a fun and effective way.
If you need help sorting out your relationship, don’t hesitate drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
You are meant to love and to be loved! Lasting love is within your reach.
Study Referenced: Assymetrically Committed Relationships, Univ of Virginia, Scott M. Stanley, et al.
What really matters is that she will love you, that she will respect you, that she will honor you, that she will be absolutely true to you, that she will ever allow you the freedom of expression and flight in the development of your own talents (and you can reciprocate each of the above for her).
Like you, she is not going to be perfect, but if she is kind and thoughtful, if she knows how to work and contribute to the overall success of your union, if she is honest and full of integrity, and you are matched in all of these attributes, the chances are that you will not go wrong, and that you will be immensely happy.
Inspired by: Gordon Bitner Hinkley, Leader and Author
Rooting for your home team in a foreign land can be.. well..deflating. This was cemented for me after moving into the DC area from NYC recently. We were attending a WWT tennis match between the NY Empires and the Washington DC Kastles, when it became immediately clear that, in a packed stadium in DC, only myself, my daughter, and the coach were rooting for the New York team.
The home court advantage has never been more clearly observed. I and the coach yelled and clapped til the end, even as the hope of victory slipped further and further from the team's grasp. My teenage daughter is strong, but surrounded by DC cheerleaders, mascots and roaring fans, she fell silent and even asked me to calm down a time or two.
Fast Forward to this week. Our daughter, yes the same one, surprised us with tickets to a Mets Game against the Orioles at Camden Yard. I was looking forward to seeing our Mets play and yet the memory of being a one woman cheering section was still so fresh and painful in my mind.
And yet, as we began walking toward the stadium amongst the wave of Orange shirts we saw wonderful flecks of royal blue jerseys. We acknowledged each other with smiles and nods and I was encouraged, but not yet comforted. It was a big stadium after all. Would we be scattered and drowned out once again?
We made it to our seats and tentativey looked around. I thought my heart would explode with joy. Though my homesick eyes may have played a trick on me, It looked to me as if everyone left of home plate was wearing blue. As if every Met Fan that day had bought tickets behind the Mets dugout and were united in purpose: To cheer for their home team, who were away from home and needed their support.
The first time the Mets got on base and we all roared together, I got goosebumps and for a moment I felt they were cheering for us as well. We too were also far from home and that day those devoted Mets fans brought a slice of NYC to us and for the first time since we moved I felt not only happy and comfortable, because I am both these things, but I also felt... home. Home amongst my fellow Met Fans once again and 'root root root'ing for our home team.
I learned 5 valuable lessons that day.
1. The importance of not letting a difficultly today prevent me from continuing to follow through with optimism for tomorrow.
2. It reminded me that sometimes the world can be very loud and there is danger of letting it drown out our own voice. That the struggle of that can feel very confidence-shatteringly real if your not on your guard.
3. It reminded me that, while sometimes it is necessary to go it alone, that going it alone is not the goal. Support is wonderful and success means more when it’s shared with others.
4. It reminds me that even those things that may not look like a ‘win’ to the rest of the world, the experience alone can mean a world of progress and growth for me.
5. It reminds me that my life is not about confetti cannoned celebrations, though those are fun too, it is about what I learn along the way and how I use what I learn to raise myself and lift the others around me.
We didn’t win that night. In fact, we lost 6-3, but it was a wonderful night. It filled a need I didn’t even realize I had: It was as if our family had been teleported back to Shea and back to our home town. (okay okay Citi-field, but you know what I mean!) Thank you fellow Met Fans. It was good to be among you and I can’t wait to share a stadium with you again, wherever you may roam to support an amazing team and it’s transplanted fans! Thanks for the reminders and for the memories.
#homesick, #NYMets, #Baseball, #Fans, #NYC, #WashingtonKastles #NewYorkEmpires #Tennis #home #Goals #stress #Baltimore #Orioles #CitiField #
Like smelling coffee beans after having evaluated one too many colognes, I need a reset in my day after tackling several related things. For me that reset often comes in the form of picking up a book of poetry or verse. Why verse? I think it's because it requires me to slow down and focus in an entirely different way.
Making that switch from thinking one way to thinking another is like a mini-massage for my mind. My brain literally loves it. I come away from those pages renewed and ready to tackle the rest of my day.
Sometimes the poetry book I pick up is one that was given to me by my brother, Douglass Guy, a poet in his own right, several years ago.
The inscription from him read:
For the courage it takes to walk in your shoes, I offer the steps of another.
Since receiving the book it has always been sentimentally close at hand. Even thru a major round of downsizing precipitated by a relocation and the giving away of 3/4th of our home library, this book, remains with me.
The book is a collection of prose poetry by Mary Oliver who passed away today.
My first thought when I heard of Mary Oliver's passing, wasn't of her Pulitzer Prize or her volume of works or even of loss, a topic she had always dealt with with such honesty. It was of gratitude. For my brother and for her. Her themes were so often about gratitude. And I felt gratitude for the many times over the years, that her turn of phrase delighted me.
I have often been comforted by the way she marveled at the capacity we have to be humans and to be both humble and resilient in our humanity.
There are two excepts from her work that I have nearly memorized over the years. The first is from her poem “Messenger”. I included only a brief excerpt above but I’ll include a link to the entire poem at the end and invite you to take a few moments to breathe it in.
The second is from her poem, “Heavy”, which I always think of in three parts, though it is not really written that way. The second 'part' always resonates with me.
In my feeble attempt to help you to see it the way I see it, I’ve played with the font of the text a bit, but otherwise it is presented as she intended. I invite you, if a bit of a brain shift is needed in your day, to take a moment to breathe this in, perhaps twice, and see if it provides the mini-vacation for you, that it does for me.
Rest in Peace, Mary and thank you.
Heavy, By Mary Oliver
I thought I could not
Go any closer to grief
I went closer,
And I did not die.
Surely God had His hand in this,
As well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
And my laughter,
As the poet said,
Was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry
But how you carry it-
Books, bricks, grief-
It’s all in the way
You embrace it, balance it, carry it
When you cannot, and would not,
Put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?
Have you heard
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?
How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
to which there is no reply?
- Mary Oliver, 1935-2019
Let us all be brave and bring our talent to the world. When we do so we are all lifted.
By Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird-
Equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
Keep my mind on what matters,
Which is my work,
Which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoincing, since all the ingredients are there,
Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a hear
And these body-clothes,
A mouth with which to give shouts of joy
To the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
Telling them all, over and over, how it is
That we live forever.
As others are working out their resolutions I hope that, for you, this is a time of reflection. Of the changes you've made in the last year and even in the last three months.
Your presence has been a blessing in my life. I believe that my job as your coach is to stand as a witness for the life you say you want to create and then, as you remain willing to show up for your best life, to continually provide you with the tools, the support and yes, the accountability around creating it.
I've seen so many lives change this year: Clients have started new lives completely, relocated, changed jobs, even changed fields of study or employment over the course of the year. They've built businesses. Increased revenue. Found their voice at work and within their family. They've strengthened significant relationships at home and at a work by mastering fears and being willing to go first. They've come face-to-face with issues and fall out of addictions and/or toxic relationships and become willing to take back their lives in very concrete and compassionate ways. They've turned around self-defeating spending habits and begun the work of creating financial stability and prosperity for the long term for themselves and their families.
And it all started with changing one thing, having one mind-shift, one conversation, cutting one habit that no longer served them, stepping out of their comfort zone to create and sustain one habit at a time that they identified would find useful.
One thing changes everything.
The temptation of "New You New Year" is compelling. But before you throw yourself into changing everything. I invite you to instead, reflect on what you have already changed. Acknowledge yourself for that change. Express gratitude to those around you that supported that change.
Think about what you want to take forward into your new year and what you want to leave behind, make a list and then for today, just change one thing, and maintain that change for January. It can be a small thing.
Make one change in your stretch zone that you can do consistently for 30 days. That 1% change in your life, will change your life. Your lifestyle. It changes everything.
A new years goal does not create change or generate results. Only a new action, consistently applied, supports you in creating the life your soul intended.
Instead of putting your energy into chasing result, put your energy into creating the habits, the daily rituals, that change everything.
In this past year alone, our family of six has literally moved to the corners of the country. We are spread out from Florida to Seattle and points in between. The feeling I want to create more of this year, is that of connectedness to those I love, to those I serve, and to those who love the things I love. My one new thing this month is to write at least one new letter or note each day to the people I want to strengthen my connection with.
Today, it feels appropriate that one of those letters, this one, is going out to each of you.
I invite you to think about how you want to feel in 2019. More confident? More joyful? More connected? More peaceful? More empowered? More energized? More self-accepting?
What one action can you take consistently that would go the farthest in enabling you to have more of that feeling in your life on a daily basis?
Drop me a line and let me know.
Make that one change that changes everything.
Fearless Best New Year Regards.
When your days are spent wrangling three active children into their respective car seats by day and writing about feelings by night some interesting analogies emerge.
"UNCERTAINTY MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR LUMINARIES AND LEADERS, CREATIVE GIANTS AND BUSINESS PEOPLE TO STAND OUT AND RESHAPE THEIR PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPES.”
Paper tiger is a literal English translation of the Chinese phrase zhilaohu (紙老虎). The term refers to something that seems threatening but is ineffectual and unable to withstand challenge. (Source: Wikipedia)
I love the insight that Viola Davis gives here.
Note: The Specific comment begins at 19: 11 seconds into this panel discussion and goes til 23:10 I've cued it up for you but if your media player doesn't support cues then go to the 19 minute mark and listen from there. -D.
At some point in our timeline, we gradually begin to take over the molding and shaping of our own lives.
Sometimes, however, we believe that by making excuses or blaming others, we can deny that we are in control of certain areas of our life until ‘all issues’ are resolved in that area.
Some of us crossed that line of responsibility for our own lives long ago and are just afraid to fully put our hands to the work. Maybe because it just feels so messy.
I tried recently to think of one creative process that we as human beings engage in that wasn’t messy at some level and I couldn’t think of any.
I invite you to lay claim to that part of your life that is messy and become a fearless creator and shaper. See the possibilities and opportunities that exist because you exist and shape yourself into the type of person, mother, friend, companion you want to be.
What happens to clay if it’s not worked? It becomes brittle and cracks under heaviness instead of being pliable and adaptable when there is change – and there is always change.
If you feel like you’re ready to get your hands dirty but don’t know how or where to start, and don’t want to go it alone consider working with a life coach. Creation is messy but the results of pushing your life and growth forward are profound. Live the life your soul intended.
When I first met my husband-to-be, we connected. We laughed and talked, we ‘clicked’ had a lot in common and seemed to enjoy each other’s differences. Then we got engaged, and everything changed.
I changed everything.
I began to focus on what I thought I should bring to a marriage and what a fiance/husband’s responsibilities should be and then I began the mental list of all the ways both of us were deficient in these things and I began to imagine my entire future as if it was all happening in a moment. In short, I got scared and when we are in a state of fear, our instincts kick in and we either ‘fight or take flight’ and I did plenty of both throughout the course of our engagement. We were still connecting but not in a way that either of us was really thrilled about.
At the time, I couldn’t see that my fear was simply an affirmation that I was stepping out of my comfort zone and entering new territory, that I was expanding my experience of humanity and all that mumbo-jumbo. All I could feel was fear. I knew how to ‘do’ dating and I really liked that part. But marriage?!? I had no frame of reference I didn’t see it as a glorious adventure. My parents were divorced, my best friend, recently married, was struggling and was not the mentor I had anticipated. I was terrified.
I’ll spare you the temper tantrums and the stewing, they are such faded memories now, but I will say it took a while for us to reconnect in a way that we were both thrilled about again and getting to that point took work in the form of some very specific steps on my part.
The most important shift for me was to see how innocent he was in this whole thing. He was just being a guy in love who wanted to get married and I was turning it into a redemption song for every failed relationship I had ever experienced, read about or watched in a movie. He was bringing flowers and I wanted guarantees that if I married him my life wouldn’t play out like “The War of the Roses” or the worst-case sequence from “My Fair Lady”.. (I can see her now, “Mrs. Freddy Einsford-Hill,” in a wretched little flat above a store).
I had to learn to share my point of view about what I was looking for in a marriage and be open to his having a different point of view, and then from those two points of views we put together a plan that worked for both of us and didn’t worry about what it looked like to the rest of the world. . I knew this logically but my fear had me believing that If I asked about his point of view I might get an answer I didn’t want to hear and then I’d have to call off the wedding or be married to someone who didn’t want what I wanted, completely forgetting that the reason that we liked each other so much in the first place was that on the important stuff, we clicked. Fear can make you lose all sense of reason. It was a revelation to me to find that not only was his list of expectations for himself as a husband very different from my list of expectations of him as a husband but that I also kind of liked his list better. We don’t think the same but we have learned to put aside our fears so we can think together.
We’ll be married 25 years in May and even with all that goes on in our life, we stay connected, and the more connected we stay the more it feels like we’re still dating and I really like that part.
TAKE THE CHALLENGE
Today I challenge you, to see innocence. How do you do that? Fortunately, we start by seeing our own innocence. When I became willing to admit that on any given day I was just doing the best I could with the skills I had, I then realized that if that was true for me, then wasn’t it probably true for everyone else as well -including my husband. He was simply doing the best he knew to do with the skills he had. Realizing that was huge for me. It allowed me,, as Rhonda Britten says, to ‘give myself a break, without letting myself off the hook’. It enables me to be okay with where I was at the moment and open to learning the skills I needed to move my life and my love forward. As I gave myself a break and saw my own innocence. I began to have more compassion for others and see their innocence as well. As I became more compassionate, I became a ‘safer’ person for others to share with me (read: my husband began to see that he could talk to me and I wouldn’t take his head off.). As more people were able to share with me, I felt more connected to my world, to my family, to my husband. I felt more peaceful. I felt joy.
I challenge you to see your own innocence.
Situation & Question
Out of fear, I hid that my divorce wasn’t final from my boyfriend. When he found out he said he could never trust me again. We've been together for three years. When we have an argument, and I want to share my feelings, he says he doesn’t want a lecture or can't believe me anyway, and just wants to smooth the whole thing over and forget about it.
But I feel as if, he’s using my initial omission early in our relationship as a way out of ever hearing about my feelings on any topic. Even though, I’ve apologized, for and been honest with him about everything since that time, and he says he forgives me, he continues to bring it up.
So after our last argument, when he, again, wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say I left him. He wants to reconcile and he's been nice and wants to smooth things over again. Maybe give us another chance even though he's still not willing to hear what I have to say regarding our last argument. What do you think?
Deborah Says: When people use your past to control you, they are manipulating you.
He could have chosen to truly forgive you, see that you’ve changed your ways, and appreciated that quality in you and never brought it up again, or he could have said “lying to me is a deal breaker, I’m out.” But he did neither and now continues to use your initial deception as leverage whenever he doesn't want to listen.
If he is still unwilling to experience you as an equal partner in the relationship by listening to you, regardless of what excuse he wants to use to get out of it, if you don't feel you have a voice in the relationship, especially when things get heated, then Its not a healthy relationship.
Beyond that, you’ve learned that lying about anything is never the answer. If it took this situation for you to learn that lesson, then so be it.
When it comes to being honest, you also need to be honest with yourself. As you go forward, ask yourself if you feel, on some level, you need or depend on drama in a relationship to feel connected to the man you are with. If this is true, this can spell trouble for you and another potential companion.
If you are truly ready to go forward, and avoid this unhealthy cycle of arguing, not being listened to, forgiving and reconciling only to have it happen over and over again, then I invite you to use the next six months to prove it to yourself:
If you can do these things for at least six months, you will prove you are ready to walk away from drama and prepare yourself to be part of an emotionally healthy, long-term relationship.
Keep in touch!
Fearless and Warm Regards,
Certified and Experienced Career and Life Coach
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