Daily Quote: Self-Coaching Learning Acceptance and Facing Reality

Daily Quotes : Thomas Aquinas instructs that the purpose of a fulfilling and meaningful life is to “carry each other’s burdens.” And as Walter Cronkite use to say in signing off his nightly newscast “And that’s the way it is”.

Reflection: One of these quotes takes us away from being self-centered and directs us toward a worthy purpose or mission in life; the other keeps us grounded in the idea that things happen and we need to accept them.  I see acceptance as the ability to see something the way it is and saying   I need to step-up and do something about it. A significant part of denying and not accepting reality is the inability to deal with the frustration , fear and pain of what is happening to you. For example, one of tenants of a strong and lasting friendship is the commitment each person makes to help the other endure suffering or pain.  Possible outcomes of this type of support is to help your friend or spouse to come out the other side with personal learning, to regain balance or understand how to let go peacefully or deal with the situation head-on.  At other times, the growth that comes through pain is only experienced as we share our thinking and feelings of pain with someone else.  Dr. Viktor Frankl, the German psychiatrist and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, who spent a few years in Nazi concentration camps called this ability human triumph.  “Human triumph” is the ability to turn suffering and pain into acceptance by changing our thinking and attitude toward unchangeable fate or events.  This ability puts us in control of even seemingly uncontrollable situations.  It provides internal peace and an inner compass so that we are not tossed about by external waves of change. When reality slaps us in the face and shakes us up and confronts our notion of what reality should be. Reality usually wins. Many have trouble accepting this proposition and use denial and avoidance of this truth to hold off the inevitable, that is accepting their situation.

Self-Coaching Challenge: The way through this dilemma is to ask yourself, What am I not accepting as the truth about this situation?  Your answer to this question is the first step to solving this problem and constructive action.

It provides us with what Rotter calls inner “locus of control”.  When we discipline ourselves in the pursuit of a higher purpose, a new self appears and emerges.  This action is empowering because it releases energy and power we hold to shape our own circumstances.  What is the right thing to do in this situation?

Willingness to sacrifice self in the pursuit of a greater good.  It is important to remember that assisting others who need a hand up or support is more empowering and fulfilling for the helper.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Be Quick, but Don’t Hurry

Daily Quote: “Be quick, but don’t hurry” by famed UCLA Coach John Wooden

Reflection: By that, he meant learn to do the right things, (not just doing things because that’s what we have always done. ) and then do them quickly. This really is the core of leadership the difference between efficiency–doing things right vs effectiveness doing the right things.

Action Challenge: Review the things you do next week and then categorize them into two columns Efficient Things and Effective things. Stop and reflect on what insight you have gathered and make a commitment to add one new thing to the effectiveness column and subtract one efficient thing in the next week of your self-coaching project. After that week assess how that makes you feel?

 

Daily Quote and Reflection: Trust Is…

Daily Quotes:

“Our distrust is very expensive…Self-trust is the first secret of success.” Emerson

“Being connected and personal is to be in the process of discovering and accepting each other…trust begets trust; fear escalates fear.”    Jack Gibb . author of Trust: A New View of Personal and Organizational Development

Trust is . . . is a critical part of being human.  It’s as simple as that. If we can’t trust and openly share who we are, our sense of self-worth diminishes—and we won’t trust others or ourselves ” Dr. Carl Rogers

Reflection: In another post I defined trust.

Here are some of my random reflections and comments about trust that I have learned in over thirty years of listening to and observing others when they are talking about trust.

Trust is …is being courageous enough to open fully to another and accept the vulnerability of this state of being…

The unexpected truth behind building trust, connecting with others, and inspiring collaborative action is belief in yourself and others “to do what they say they will do”. ( DWYSYWD)

When we are sincere and authentic we usually earn other people’s respect and trust. They begin to open up and now are more amenable to influenced and change.  Imposing our point of view only makes others defensive and resistant to change.”

Action Assignment: Complete the following sentence to get at how and why you trust others.

Trust is___________________________________.

Then reflect on your  sentence and try to figure out whether you give trust freely to others or they have to earn trust.

Are Happiness and Meaning the Same? Learn the difference between Taking and Giving in Life.

My son Jeff sent me an insightful and powerful article “There is more to Live than being Happy” from The Atlantic on Victor Frankl and other researchers discussion on the difference between pursuing happiness and meaning in life. In essence, pursuing happiness is all about fulling your needs and wants the taking approach to living. So happiness is a more selfish approach to living. Living a life of meaning is all about pursuing giving and doing things beyond yourself. Meaning is selfless and includes suffering and not just happiness. Here is a brief summary from the article:

” In 1991, the Library of Congress and Book-of-the-Month Club listed Man’s Search for Meaning as one of the top 10 most influential books in the United States. It has sold millions of copies worldwide. Now, over twenty years later, the book’s ethos — its emphasis on meaning, the value of suffering, and responsibility to something greater than the self — seems to be at odds with our culture, which is more interested in the pursuit of individual happiness than in the search for meaning. “To the European,” Frankl wrote, “it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy.’ But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.'”

A recent Gallup survey, says happiness levels of Americans are at a four-year high — as is, it seems, the number of best-selling books with the word “happiness” in their titles. At this writing, Gallup also reports that nearly 60 percent all Americans today feel happy without a lot of stress or worry. On the other hand, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. Forty percent either do not think their lives have a clear sense of purpose or are neutral about whether their lives have purpose. Nearly a quarter of Americans feel neutral or do not have a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful. Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression. On top of that, the single-minded pursuit of happiness is ironically leaving people less happy, according to recent research. “It is the very pursuit of happiness,” Frankl knew, “that thwarts happiness.”

“Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself — be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.”

Many researchers now agree that the pursuit of meaning is what makes human beings uniquely human. By putting aside our selfish interests to serve someone or something larger than ourselves — by devoting our lives to “giving” rather than “taking” –– we are not only expressing our fundamental humanity, but are also acknowledging that that there is more to the good life than the pursuit of simple happiness.”

Don’t miss reading the rest of the article and some of my posts on thewick they are a must read for those wanting to understand how to live a more Constructive and Meaningful Life. 

Daily Quote and Reflection: Work and the Principle of Meaning

Daily Quote and Reflection: It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. -Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

Reflection: Have you ever contemplated what is the difference between work and play? Many people when ask to do this reflection say to me –work is work. It doesn’t have anything to do with play. Maybe maybe not I reply. I say what about organizations like  Southwest Airlines (Fun LUVing attitude not just words but real action in creating a family atmosphere and support programs to make communities a better place to live and work. The attitude is made-up of these principles–

  • Have FUN
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Maintain perspective
  • Celebrate successes
  • Enjoy your work
  • Be a passionate Teamplayer

The essence of work at Southwest Airlines  is  doing good while having fun. Of course there are many other organizations embracing this philosophy of meaning and fun at work like Tom’s of Maine, Zappos, and Patagonia who’s mission is to: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis..

Let’s brainstorm for a second the characteristics of work vs. play. Work conjectures up characteristics and thoughts of : required activity, pay for results or services, to survive and put a roof over your head, paid to do it, have to, sweat, challenge, bosses, be told what to do and how to do it, how to behave, command and control, schedules, boring, supervision, structured routine, time pressure etc… vs Play– want to, engaged, spontaneity, fun, freedom to choose, smiles, do it because I love the activity, enjoy the people playing with me, time is mine, etc…

So the question becomes how do we put more fun and meaning into work?

Daily Quote and Reflection: Difficult Process of Self-Coaching and Being “stuck”

Daily Quote: “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.” Oliver Goldsmith

Reflection: Most research shows that we are not very accurate in identifying how we are perceived by others. For example, most leaders of organizations see themselves as more honest, open and caring etc. than how direct reports and other employees in the organization see them. Our positive picture of ourselves is usually inaccurate because the higher we go in an organization the more isolated we become from feedback and honest communication from others and we suffer from what psychologist call confirmation bias. “Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one’s beliefs.”

Action Response: Try to establish close relationship with a mentor who can guide and share their wisdom with you. If you can’t find a mentor try to create more room for learning by stopping and examining behaviors, approaches and old ways that are not working for you. Seek out resources including audio tapes, books and colleagues who are good listeners. You may feel alone in your struggle but be assured others have confronted and worked through situations and problems that you think are unique to you. Remember good intentions without thoughtful action  will just keep you stuck. Keep trying to develop a change plan that can work for you.  And as Steve Jobs once said: “Never, never give-up”.

Daily Quote and Reflection:Attitude and Reaction to events

Daily Quote: The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Charles Swindoll

Reflection: I think the key question is whether your attitude the kind that other people want to imitate or do you display an attitude that makes people want to avoid you. Many times we are tired and stress by the many obligations and responsibilities we must carry. Yet we still can choose our reactions to these events and responsibilities–we can be moody, negative or oppositional or we can be fun to be around, enjoying others and happy to be alive. Which one will you choose this Thanksgiving? Have a great holiday and be gentle on yourself and others. Your Coach–The wick