Drive By Wisdom: Ask For What You Need

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard for us to get our needs met if we are not willing or brave enough to ask for what we need. In this episode of Drive By Wisdom, we’ll explore how asking for help can improve your life.  Click on the video below:

Drive By Wisdom: Letting Go of the Outcome

In this Episode of Drive By Wisdom we’ll look at how letting go of the outcome can help you achieve your goals with less stress and more engagement.

Play the short video below.

Do Our Failures Define Us or Inform Us?

Credit: Harman Abiwardani

Credit: Harman Abiwardani

Relationship failures. Business failures. Career failures. 

Been there and done that.

What about failures in parenting? Failed partnerships? Vocation or educational failures? There are too many failures to mention, but we all know we have failed somewhere in our lives.

The question I have for you (and for myself) is do your failures define you?  What I mean by that is do we allow our failures to set our identity?  “I’m a divorcee.”  “I’m a dropout”. “I’m unemployed”.

Setting our self-worth and identify by our failures is a limiting experience. It limits our ability to see our life in the broader context of all that we do well and all that has gone well. It narrows our view on who we are to external events and actions.

When we allow our failures to define us we go to dark places in our minds.  We relive the past over and over and focus on our mistakes.  Dark places lead to dark emotions and there is nothing helpful about depression and anxiety.

The inner critic in our minds blames us for being stupid,making bad choices, or for being naive. It focuses our minds on the mistakes, the blunders, and the omissions.  The inner critic is not our friend, so don’t treat it like one.

Instead of letting failure define us, what about letting it inform us?

Hidden in every failure is a clue to our next success. We need to let go of the failure, let go of the guilt and shame, and let go of the discouragement. We can instead embrace a learning that will make us stronger and wiser.

Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves when we have a failure, whether it be big or small:

  • Why did I fail?
  • What would I do differently if I could do it all over?
  • What was within my control? What was outside my control?
  • What is the key learning I can take from this so I don’t repeat it?
  • Who do I need to help me figure this out?
  • Was it worth it, even though I failed

I’ve used this strategy to help me understand one of my failures.  From 2006 to 2008 I was self-employed. I was an independent consultant and was working hard to build my consulting business. After two years I was breaking even, which is better than losing money, but still not successful. Then the  recession hit in 2008 and I decided to fold my business and find a full-time job.

Here’s what I learned from that failure:

  • I started my business too early in my career.
  • I didn’t have a big enough reputation for what I do
  • My network was too small
  • I was gaining momentum in late 2007 but the recession hit
  • While I liked being self-employed I missed having colleagues

If I were to start my own business in the future I would have a greater chance of success, because I have 10 more years of experience, a bigger reputation for what I do, and my network is huge compared to 2006. (No worries to my employer, I’m happy where I am at.)

Was that failure worth it?  I think so.  The reality is that the company that I  work for was attracted to me because of all the work I did in my own business. While I didn’t make enough money, I still built the skills and experiences that my current employer was looking for. In that sense, it was worth it.

When I was a kid I used to be afraid of failure, so I excluded myself from things that would have been beneficial to me. As I matured I gained more courage to try new things and engage with new people. Some things were successful and some failed, but all of these experiences contribute to who I am today.

I’m a huge believer that nothing in life is wasted.  From all experiences, both good and bad, there is something we can learn.

Learning from our failure is one of the ways we become our best selves.

 

Slow Down to the Speed of Life. Interview with Psychologist and Author Joe Bailey

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Feeling like life is moving too fast and you can’t keep up? Anxious and frustrated?

Then, Slow Down to the Speed of Life.

Slow Down to the Speed of Life is a phenomenal interview with psychologist and author Joe Bailey where we discover how to change our thinking in order to better handle the stress of life. Often we are looking for our circumstances to change in order for our lives to improve. They key to resilience to life adversity and overall mental health, is to change our thought process in order to change how we feel and respond.

Slow Down to the Speed of Life is one of the best books I’ve read and I plan to read it every year to remind myself how to slow down, live in the moment, and enjoy life to the fullest extent possible.

For more information about Joe Bailey, his books, and videos go to:  www.joebaileyandassociates.com

Crazy Things We Do When We’re Not In the Momement

 

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Let’s be honest with each other. Sometimes we say or do stupid things when we are not paying attention.  My family has a good laugh when remembering one of the random things I said during a dinner time prayer.

It was one of those evenings when I was on autopilot.  It was my turn to say the dinner grace and my mind was anywhere but on that prayer. As I said thanks for the food and for family in the same way I usually do, my mind went somewhere else, but my words were on autopilot.  Instead of saying, “Amen” I said, “Thanks and good night”.  The laughter started in a nanosecond.  “Thanks and good night” while not altogether wrong, sounds more like someone ending a talk show than a prayer.

This is yet another reminder of how easy it is to live outside of the present moment. Our minds can pull us toward thoughts of past events and future events and the present moment before us gets lost.

I’ve had conversations with my wife where I was physically there but mentally far away.  When I get the question, “Are you listening?”, I have to admit that I wasn’t.

I’ve had too many mornings where I’m thinking of  the things I need to accomplish at work and I think, “did I brush my teeth?”. My thoughts were so consumed with the future that I wasn’t paying attention to the present task of getting ready for work.  I think that happens to many of us.

I’ve missed off ramps, turns, and  destinations because I’ve been so engrossed in something I was thinking about.   Some might call this ADD. I call it not living in the moment.

Living in the moment allows us to connect with the work we are doing, the people around us, and ourselves. But I’m learning that living in the moment is not something we do, but rather a skill we build.

It takes time and practice to live in the present and to not allow our minds to lead us to past events that we can’t change or the future events that haven’t’ happened yet. I find the more our thoughts are centered on the past or the future we are missing out on life because life only happens in the now.

Mentally living in the past or the future is not innocuous. It causes real stress in our lives and heightens our anxiety. It causes us to miss out on meaningful experiences in our relationships. It leads us to ignore the beauty around us. It slows down our productivity at work. It’s not helpful.

The culture around us doesn’t make this easy. We are bombarded with news, marketing, and advertisements that pulls our attention away from the present. Our lives our busy with work, family, and activity.  There is always something to do and somewhere to go.

In my life I’m working on practicing more presence in my day. Here’s what I try to do:

  • Take deep breaths throughout my day
  • Turn off the news and the news feeds
  • Stop checking my email every 2 minutes
  • Get off of social media when I need to focus at work
  • Go for a run/take a walk
  • Pull my attention to the present when my mind wanders

Like I said before, living in the present is a skill we build and with more practice the easier it gets.

My call to action for you is to adopt one or two strategies each day to pull your attention back to the present moment. Living in the moment is a life practice and small steps each day will make a difference.

What is Our Anger About?

A photo by Andrea Boldizsar. unsplash.com/photos/1iP1dozVO8I

I don’t know if you have noticed (and I’m sure you have) that there is a lot of anger  in our world.  A contentious election is heating up in the US, there are civil wars and brutal conflicts, and drivers are encountering road rage every day.

What is our anger about?
Anger is an interesting emotion because of the power it wields.  Angry people are compelling, intense, and sometimes frightening.  Anger is not right or wrong, but what we do with our anger makes all the difference in the world.
Anger is a natural response that is self-protective and tries to create a safe place for our lives, our inner world, or our values.  While Anger is normal, how we process our anger and act out on our anger can either hurt or help us.
Much of our anger has to do with protecting our sense of safety, belonging, and significance.
When we encounter people or situations that push against our sense of safety we may lash out in harsh words or actions to protect ourselves. If our sense of belonging is threatened we may get angry for feeling excluded and not valued. If our significance is threatened, then we may get angry because we feel people don’t see our contributions and respect them.

These core needs of safety, belonging, and significance are so ingrained in our being that any perceived threat (real or imagined) can trip an anger response.  The problem is that for many of us, the threats we feel are more often imagined, but if we are living with lack of awareness the threats feel real enough.

Many of us have encountered angry people in our travels. I’ve had people swear at me, flip me off, and tailgate my car because they didn’t think I was driving fast enough.  I’ve seen stranded passengers at the airport unleash a fury of harsh words at the gate agent because a flight was cancelled.  I’ve had angry looks and finger gestures because someone thought I took their parking space.

These reactions can be so intense that I wonder, “Wow! If they get this angry for this small of an issue, what are they like when a real threat happens?”

It’s important to remember that our thinking affects how we feel and how we act.  If we are thinking thoughts that are misinterpreting a situation as threatening, our feelings and actions may lead to anger or other emotions.  The problem is that our thoughts are not always accurate, but feelings can be so powerful that it feels accurate.

Here are some mistaken thoughts I’ve in others (and myself)

That person is more important than I am
They think they are better than me
I”m better than they are
They don’t value me
 They don’t respect me
 No one likes me
 I am not good enough
The reason these thoughts are often mistaken, is that our ego ( or our inner voice) is primarily a self-protective mechanism. It is not necessarily distinguishing between real or imagined threats, because without awareness it’s a usually a reactive response.

If we feel anger rising within us it’s a good time pause, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves “Why am I angry?”.  With a little reflection and time before we express our anger (or after we express it), we’ll start to see patterns of thinking that are leading us astray. We’ll start to see that the threats to our sense of safety, belonging, and significance are more imaginary than real.

If we can slow down enough while we are feeling angry we have the ability to see what core need is being threatened and then make adjustments to our response.

 

There is legitimate anger, though,  in response to violence, injustice, and inequity.  These threats are real and its affects are damaging both emotionally and physically. There is good reason why people are angry in the face of discrimination, abuse, and war.

Whether anger is generated by our inflated ego or through real hardship, it’s important to know how to respond.  I have to admit that I don’t know what it’s like to be targeted with inequity or discrimination. In my observations, though, a response of non-violence and forgoing an “eye for an eye” leads to better outcomes for more people over time.

It takes a lot of insight to not let your ego take control and lead you into anger. It takes more to forgo violence and retribution in face of real hardship.

There is anger than runs deep through years of hurt and mistrust. That anger is often passed from generation to generation unless there is an intervention. It’s not the goal of this post to address this level of complexity.

It is my goal that we create an awareness in our lives so that when we are angry we can stop, ask “Why am I angry?” and then choose our response that will protect the needs for safety, belonging, and significance in ourselves and those around us.