Real-life in the political arena! No, this is not about who you are voting for, or where you stand. This is about doing the best we can because it's the right thing to do. What we do should matter...especially for us!
We work hard, whether at home, at the office, hospital or school. We do our best and sometimes we think no one is really noticing or even paying attention, let along caring about what we do. We start to lose hope and wonder why we strive every day to be the best we can be and give the best we know how to give, to contribute and pay it forward. We wonder why? Why bother? Nobody cares. I'm all alone. It just doesn't matter. Let's try to reframe these feelings turned into thoughts before it turns into our life.
Two things happened today. Someone I casually know and had no idea was aware of what I did, asked to buy my book. Go figure. I'm honored, actually. Someone was watching. Then, after cleaning and wearing my dirty sweats, I decided I would make a quick run to the mailbox. Yep, one car went by and it was a friend who stopped his car in the street to say Hi. I certainly am not perfect. But having a friend stop and just say hello was far more important than looking perfect. So we do our best and keep moving forward and aiming up.
We all strive. It's part of human nature. It moves us into growth and possible enlightenment and hopefully awareness. Change begins with awareness. it can be messy at times. We make mistakes. It's not perfect. It hurts at times. Here are 3 keys to help you walk into your power and enjoy the process:
The first key is to make certain you are living as authentically as you can - based on your beliefs and values. It's like lying too much. It's hard to remember what we said or did and really keep our truth if we aren't telling the truth to begin with. The stories get blurred. Knowing what you stand for and owning it helps a lot because it's your truth. Own it - don't rent it or lease it. Own it. Be "for" something.
The second key is to strive for being a better you - and not expect to be perfect. You will never win the "I have to be perfect" game. It will push us in the beginning, but what will pull us into our power is being steadfast in moving in the direction of our dreams and living the life we were meant to live. Pain pushes until the vision pulls.
The third key is to be grateful every day for everything you have. It starts the process of everything. It's a show-stopper. It's a game-changer and a life-changer. If we can't understand life's smallest gifts, why would we get more? As silly as it sounds, I am so grateful for indoor plumbing! We get used to something and take it for granted.
What are you grateful for today? Remember, it's truly is a game-changer. Try it.
All my best,
"Hey, Rita...good news! I forwarded your name as a recommendation for a trainer at ****** on a big project that is coming up. Her email is attached for more information." It was from Nancy, a friend, and fellow road warrior facilitator/trainer/curriculum designer who I worked with on many projects. Thanking Nancy for the recommendation and then reading the details, I noticed that the woman who had sent the email had a line at the bottom that read..."If you know of any others who are on the younger, please let me know." This was when I was about 45 years old!
I wasn't angry at all. I remember it so clearly because it was the very first time anyone was looking at my age as a qualifier instead of my results or performance.
I was deep into conversation with a gentleman just last week about the importance of how we make a living and how we live our lives.
After telling him about the many career paths I had chosen in my 30+ years dancing through life, he asked me what I meant by the word "ageism". Hmmm. The simplest way I could explain it is that it's like racism or sexism, but involves an attitude or belief about one's age. "isms" can be tough on everyone.
Here is my take of ageism, from a woman "of a certain age" who still has dreams. 3 Strategies for looking at aging for people of all ages.
1. Check Your Own Perspective - Having a "birds' eye view" allows you to look at the big picture, the whole of something, from far enough away that you can gather information from all angles and see it as part of a whole. A young man of 20 can feel ageism as sharply as a 75-year-old man. It happens often at work when new ideas and energy enter an established traditional environment. There can be fireworks and conflict or fantasy and co-creation if all parties see and utilize the best that both players have to offer.
Somewhere, somehow we have to learn that there is value in life experiences, as well as untested optimism.
So when I hear a woman of 35 talk about ageism as if she were 65, I have to check my own perspectives. If she lives in Hollywood, 35 can be considered old. If her mother died at 40 she might believe her time is limited. If she has a physical job that might be getting harder for her to handle, she may feel the attitudes of ageism. Or, she's feeling old when she says her daughter's age out loud. Been there!
Instead of being offended or defensive, let's try being open-minded and giving people the benefit of the doubt. We can reframe how we think and judge - it's a decision and a thought - and both can be changed.
2. Hair Color & Botox - I think Oprah said it years ago...Hair Color has changed how we age! Years ago women had few choices when the gray arrived, and we with dark hair began to look like raccoons. My friend, Shirley makes me laugh. She is so real and honest and direct. On her choice a while back to let it all go gray, it lasted one week. She looked in a mirror one day at a store and says her reflection scared her to the point of saying "Who is that!!!" She immediately called her stylist and made an appointment for color! She felt better and that is enough. Her internal Shirley was not gray, and she wanted her external Shirley to match that energy. Good for you, my friend!
If you want botox, get botox. If you don't want to go that path, don't. Make certain you are doing anything you do... because it is right for YOU and you want to do it. Selfie filters help, too! Check it out.
3. Look At The Alternative - Years ago I was at my doctor's office, answering all the same questions but not liking some of the answers that time around. I mentioned something about getting older. He listened for a while and quietly said, "Isn't that the goal?" That question stopped me dead in my tracks (excuse the pun).
My father passed at 47 years young - I was 13 years old. Time and social pressure mix us up and make us uncertain, about who we are and what's important to us. The old saying, "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself" sure says volumes, doesn't it? But no one knows how long we have or our odds of beating disease and misfortune. It's all only educated guesses.
My advice is to know thyself well, choose wisely your companions, and treat kindly those you hold dear. Be adventurous and have some fun. Most of all - do what gives you the Yummy Giggles and makes you happy.
Who Are You?
In an ever-increasing “me-first” world, a return to self-awareness may be just what we need to survive, and excel. What is self-awareness and how does a person increase this valuable commodity? How do you know when someone is more self-centered than self-aware? Here are a few examples you may experience in your day-to-day life…
Selfies, they’re everywhere! People take them with their food, their friends, their pets and yes, even while making the infamous duck face!
But there’s a dark side to selfies. The Washington Post reported that more than 250 people worldwide had died taking selfies in one year. In each case, the person taking the selfie was unaware of the impending danger. It seems like that we are a people preoccupied with selfies. And the more preoccupied we get, the less self-aware we become.
In an ever-increasing “me-first” world, a return to self-awareness may be just what we need to survive, and excel. What is self-awareness and how does a person increase this valuable commodity?
What is self-awareness?
One online dictionary defines self-awareness as "Knowledge and awareness of your own personality or character." Self-awareness is all about being conscious of your own feelings, motivations, and desires without being absorbed in the same.
How do you know when someone is more self-centered than self-aware? Here are a few examples you may experience in your day-to-day life.
People who lack self-awareness often have an answer for everything. They don't wait to hear the other person out. Why? They have a point that they want to get across and if they don't share it, they might forget it.
People who lack self-awareness seem impatient when it comes to change. They believe that change should happen immediately. And it doesn't matter what else is going on around them or in the lives of others. They want change and they want it now.
People who lack self-awareness can occasionally bully others. Even if others alert them that fact regularly, they still have a hard time believing it. They believe they are entitled to their strong opinions about people and situations and rarely hold back. When they get rolling, they may go on the attack and even disparage people personally without realizing it. In their minds, they believe they are just speaking the truth.
People that lack self-awareness believe they are rarely at fault. They believe that they are smarter and work harder than anyone else. They believe they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and that everyone else should just get with their program. They rarely consider that they may be part of the problem, not necessarily the solution.
People that lack self-awareness can come across as entitled. Sometimes a person’s title drives this behavior. It could be a C.E.O., C.F.O., a professor or a company founder. Internally, they believe they've worked their way up the ladder, paid the price and feel as if others should recognize and respect their position. They may feel that their title, and the power that comes with it, gives them a free pass when it comes to how they communicate with others.
People that lack self-awareness sometimes use any means necessary to accomplish their goals. They live by the philosophy of “fake it ‘til you make it.” Their public persona (especially on social media!) is one of financial, relational and business success. They rarely talk about their struggles or failures. In fact, the opposite is the case. They will do whatever it takes to make themselves look good and may often go to extremes to make that happen.
How to improve self-awareness
Becoming more self-aware isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, but there are a few guidelines to follow that will help on the journey.
First, Ask. Ask for help. That sounds simple, and it is, but it's not always easy. Asking for help makes us feel vulnerable and that’s the point. Take care to ensure that you ask for help from someone you trust. And when they give you feedback, don’t argue. Instead, act by implementing the necessary changes.
Second, Wait. Wait to respond to that text, email, Facebook post or conversation. No one has ever regretted a brief pause before they respond to a situation. Viktor Frankl put it best when he said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Learning to pause when necessary puts you back in control and allows you to respond rather than just react.
Third, Assess. You don’t know you have a problem until the problem is diagnosed. Assessments are one effective tool that can help measure a person’s level of emotional intelligence, which is the first step on the road to improving self-awareness. If you don’t know where you are, you can’t get where you need to go.
Fourth, Remove. Remove yourself from people and situations, when you can, that hinder your self-awareness. Being around self-centered people can negatively impact you. Author and speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” It may likely be more than that but the point is clear: make sure the people who surround you also ground you.
Fifth, Extract. Extract what you learn from each encounter, conversation or event. Every experience is a learning opportunity that can help you build self-awareness. This is where journaling can be a big help. Keeping a daily journal of the important events, people you meet, what you learned and what you need to change, helps you set a different course each time you write. It’s a great tool to facilitate change in your life.
Taking the next step
Developing self-awareness may seem like a lot of work but you need to view it as an investment in your most important resource - you. Once you begin to cultivate it, self-awareness becomes easier with practice. Just remember the acronym A.W.A.R.E. - Ask, Wait, Assess, Remove and Extract - and put self-awareness to work for you. Most people want to leave their little corner of the world better than they found it. That journey starts here.