To Everything There Is A Season…

To Everything There Is A Season…

To Everything There Is A Season…

 

At the beginning of March, I had a very weird couple of weeks. Try as I might, I could not bring myself to do any significant work other than a few articles. It was as if the storms that swept over the town took my focus, inspiration and motivation with them.

 

I did not give up without a fight. In the first days, I sat diligently for hours in front of the computer. I brought all my tools neatly around me. I studied and looked for inspiration. I stood and I paced. I scolded myself.

 

Nada.

 

I took a break, watched a movie. And another. Oh, there’s a new box set on Netflix!

 

…and on and on for days. I didn’t feel like talking to anybody, and I only went out with my dog or to get groceries. I felt I was falling down the rabbit hole, I watched myself falling, but I was unable to do anything about it. And beating myself up didn’t change anything (at least not for the better).

 

I had binged watched TV series before, but for weekends, not for weeks. Why was it different this time?

 

Was it because I missed reading stuff that wasn’t purely for work?
Was I depressed?
Was it because of the stress and uncertainty in my life right now?

 

At some point, the hungry beast that watched avidly other people’s lives and adventures unfolding was satisfied and retreated in the darkness. I went back to work feeling surprisingly energised and focused, all systems up and running. I wanted to create my own adventures and success again.

 

Yesterday I came across an article about metrics to be tracked in your business. A very interesting notion that resonated with me was that of tracking your creativity cycles because creativity too is seasonal. Some seasons you can have thousands of ideas, other seasons, you can have nothing: no ideas, no inspiration, no motivation (and by ‘season’, I mean days/weeks/months/etc.)

 

The author said she used to freak out when she lost her mojo. She doubted herself and what she was doing when she entered a season of zero creativity.

 

Then she decided to start tracking how she felt in terms of motivation and inspiration in her business. Soon she learned that a season of fresh enthusiasm always follows a season of indifference.

 

It made sense to me. Everything in nature has cycles and rhythms; why do we expect us to be any different?

 

I find keeping track of certain things to be appealing. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me; maybe it’s my experience from the years when I was an engineer. Either way, it can be a valuable tool both in understanding and in improving ourselves and our performance.

 

And sometimes it can be relieving.

 

 

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The Right To Appeal

The Right To Appeal

The Right To Appeal

 

 

In the previous post, I spoke about the importance of evaluating things in the context and how this can improve our understanding and relationships.

 

However, you might want to extend the courtesy to yourself, when it comes to evaluating your performance, qualities, skills and value (-or lack thereof).

 

Why?

 

Because this can make the difference between being terrorised by your inner critic and using it as a tool for improvement.

 

When the nagging inner voice criticizes you, reminds you of past mistakes, failures or mishaps, it is usually drawing a conclusion based on some event(s). This conclusion is rarely a fact, many times is an opinion, and often, a generalization.

 

A lot of times the information about that event is omitted from the conclusion, so the conclusion appears to be an established fact, rather than an opinion. Since a fact seems to be absolutely true, it might look as if nothing can be done about it.

 

For instance, when your inner voice says “You’re (I’m) stupid,” or “You’re (I’m) a failure”, this is not a fact, but an opinion. It’s easy to conclude that this applies to everything you do, all time, everywhere, extending inexorably into your future. If you really are stupid or a failure in all contexts, then there is probably nothing you can do about it. It’s natural then to feel discouraged, depressed or even suicidal.

 

The event you based this conclusion on might even have only happened once, like missing a test in a class or failing to do complete a process correctly at a new job. Maybe you didn’t have time to prepare; maybe nobody explained to you how things work; you were sick, tired or other reason for doing poorly.

 

Not only this has nothing to do with being stupid or a failure, but it could have been something completely out of your control. You can thus discover that the conclusion is inappropriate.

 

Even when a specific event is mentioned, that still brings up only a small part of what happened. It may be useful to ask yourself:

  • what was happening?
  • what were ALL the things you said and done?
  • how did you feel at the time?
  • what did you believe when you acted that way?
  • what was important for you at the moment?
  • who else was there?
  • what was the broader context?

 

When you review all the information about an event, all of that adds to your understanding. And more information allows you to have a more balanced response.

 

In mass media, when something is quoted out of context, the effects of the misrepresentation can linger even after the audience is presented with the original quote.

 

When you apply a judgmental label to yourself it also tends to stick.

It’s like applying the “guilty” sentence without a proper trial and without the right to appeal.

 

It’s not fair in the practice of law, and it’s certainly not fair when it comes to running your life.

 

 

10 Minutes Quiz

Is stress a normal part of your life? Do you work insanely long hours?

This 10 minutes quiz can tell you if you’re heading towards burnout or not.

Perfectionists R US

If you’re a perfectionist and would like to join a community of  like minded people, you can join my Facebook group.

Share, learn, have fun and just be yourself, un-apologetically.

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Are You Missing The Bigger Picture?

Are You Missing The Bigger Picture?

Are You Missing The Bigger Picture?

 

 

Shakespeare said: “Brevity is the soul of wit and tediousness.”

 

What??

 

Actually, he said:

“Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.”

 

This is an example of quoting out of context, a practice you’ve probably seen employed by the media these days.

 

Could you be doing it, too?

The answer is YES, in ways you’re not even aware of.

 

Did any of these ever happen to you?

 

– You tell your parents about the decision you have to make. They start advising what you should and shouldn’t do, what to choose and what to avoid. Why do they have to interfere all the time? Why can’t they let you make your own choices? Can’t they see you’re not a child anymore?

 

– Somebody informs you that your friend said you were rude and insensitive when handling a difficult issue. You feel hurt, it’s like she doesn’t even know you. You decide to shun her and reject any further contact. You miss her, but you’re telling yourself you’re better off alone than with a false friend.

 

– You see a friend or a colleague sad and out of sorts. You try to cheer them up, be positive and uplifting, but they question everything and only find counterarguments. Deflated, you conclude they just don’t want to be helped and let them be. After all, they seem to enjoy their misery.

 

These are examples of reacting to parts and missing the big picture.

However, it’s the context that gives meaning and clarifies the intentions behind the selected words.

 

Could you be missing other valuable aspects that change everything?

 

For example, what do the tone of the voice and the body language of the speaker tell you? (A commanding tone conveys a different meaning to a phrase than a sarcastic or a teasing one.)

 

What about the timing? (A racy joke told at the pub to your friends has a different meaning – and effect!- than when you say it to your mother in law.)

 

There can be many factors at play when creating the meaning and focusing solely on words or some parts of the phrases you pick can give you a distorted understanding of what is going on.

 

…If you noticed the sadness of your parents’ sigh and silence when you’re ignoring (again) their suggestions, maybe you could sense their advice comes from a genuine place of love and care. Maybe you’ll sense their pain of not feeling useful or important in your life anymore.

 

…If instead of shunning your friend you asked her what she meant, maybe she’d tell you the whole story; how she said she stands by your decision and believes it’s the right one, even if people who don’t know the facts say you were rude and insensitive.

 

…The colleague who’s questioning your cheerful encouragements and sees only the negative isn’t doing it because he’s an asshole who enjoys being miserable. Maybe his counterarguments are issues that really plague him, and he’s only looking for reassurance. You offered to help, well, don’t run when he reveals the darkness that’s eating them – help him see the light you’re seeing.

 

Despite our claims to rationality, more often than not we’re making our choices based on emotions. Seeing the whole context of a problem gives us more information and helps us from taking hasty actions that we regret later on.

 

This will not only bring more compassion into our relationships but also make them more authentic.

 

10 Minutes Quiz

Is stress a normal part of your life? Do you work insanely long hours?

This 10 minutes quiz can tell you if you’re heading towards burnout or not.

Perfectionists R US

If you’re a perfectionist and would like to join a community of  like minded people, you can join my Facebook group.

Share, learn, have fun and just be yourself, un-apologetically.

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We Are More Alike, My Friends…

We Are More Alike, My Friends…

We Are More Alike, My Friends…

 

 

 

“We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.” – Dr Maya Angelou

 

Traditional Chinese medicine knew for centuries that feelings affect our body. Each organ is influenced by a specific emotion, an excess of which can lead to imbalances and serious illnesses.

 

In a mapping experiment, 700 volunteers from Sweden, Finland and Taiwan were asked to think about one of 14 common emotions, then paint on a silhouette the areas that felt stimulated by that particular emotion.

 

They also had to paint on a second silhouette in darker/colder colours the areas that felt “deactivated”. They could read a short story or view a video to generate the corresponding emotion.

 

The experiment showed that irrespective of age, sex, or nationality, we tend to feel emotions in pretty much the same areas, consistently.

 

How amazing is this?

 

For so long we’ve been taught to keep our feelings to ourselves because sharing them would be a sign of weakness. We’ve learned our lesson well; now we keep our emotions bottled up while we feel lonely and our bodies get sick.

 

So how about next time you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, afraid, etc. you find someone trustworthy and share what you’re going through.

 

Not only you’ll be healthier, but you might find help or the answer to your problems.

 

 

10 Minutes Quiz

Is stress a normal part of your life? Do you work insanely long hours?

This 10 minutes quiz can tell you if you’re heading towards burnout or not.

Perfectionists R US

If you’re a perfectionist and would like to join a community of  like minded people, you can join my Facebook group.

Share, learn, have fun and just be yourself, un-apologetically.

Are You Exhausted And Frustrated With All The Hustling?

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The Short End Of The Stick

The Short End Of The Stick

The Short End Of The Stick

 

 

When it comes to perfectionism, it seems women got the short end of the stick.

Not only their physiology makes them more prone to it , but they are also more prone to “inherit” a parent’s perfectionism (especially from their mothers).

 

In addition to this, women also have to deal with biases and stereotypes at work.

To be seen as equally competent, women are often required to demonstrate their competence again and again.

 

The consequence?

Women will work harder and strive to perform flawlessly.

 

A lot of times, men are more likely to be evaluated on potential, while women are evaluated on performance.

This means that while men’s blunders may be forgiven or forgotten, a mistake made by a woman is closely analysed and remembered.

 

And it’s even harder when women are working in traditionally masculine professions. It’s shocking how many successful women feel like impostors, despite their many achievements.

 

Have you as a woman been the subject of these biases and stereotypes?

How did they add to your self-criticism and self-doubts?

 

10 Minutes Quiz

Is stress a normal part of your life? Do you work insanely long hours?

This 10 minutes quiz can tell you if you’re heading towards burnout or not.

Perfectionists R US

If you’re a perfectionist and would like to join a community of  like minded people, you can join my Facebook group.

Share, learn, have fun and just be yourself, un-apologetically.

Are You Exhausted And Frustrated With All The Hustling?

Would you like to have the joy and fun back into your life and business?

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