Getting Through the Bad By Finding the Good

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Working through the problem requires you to first find what is working

Learning to find the good is often the last thing you look for.  The overarching magnitude of the problem will often squelch out things that are happening well.

3 Ways to find the good through the bad

  1. Reflect on times when the bad isn’t happening.  What does that look like, and what is happening in/or/around you?
  2. Who is a resource that can help you?
  3. What is the bad teaching you about what you really want?

Find your good 

The good isn’t just going to walk up to you and tap you on the shoulder.  It requires discovery on your part.  Thinking critically about what you have is the best way to see yourself through the difficulties.

Ways to discover the good 

  1. Reverse engineer- How is this working well for others?
  2. Take stock – How am I doing well here?
  3. What was working before?
  4. What are my preferred results?
  5. How did I get there before?
  6. What assistance do I need?

There is a good on the other side of the bad.  It just requires some effort to begin identifying it, and maintain the confidence that the good is out there.  Take some time and do some inventory of the good that might be around the corner from the bad.

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Preventing What Matters from Drifting Away

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(Photo by the author)

It is very easy to get caught up in activities that gradually erode and pull you away from what really matters. The more successful and effective you are, the higher the risk of being pulled away from what really defines importance for you.

Over the years, there is a lot of literature that talks about defining what matters in your life. If you can move activities and intentions toward what matters, then results you desire should follow. The act of defining what matters is not as easy as it sounds. The busier you are, the more important roles you play in others’ lives, and the more skilled you are, the higher likelihood you will actually be pulled from what matters. Defining what matters becomes blurry because of the massive demands you face because of success and talent.

How do you keep what matters from drifting away?

1. Being involved in more, is going to lead to more drift. Depending on the important roles you provide, you might be in too may roles.

2. Define what roles, experiences, and priorities that are most important. Instead of defining this along the generic roles of “family”, “my work”, “my children”, get more specific. Think intuitively about your experiences through the week. What brought joy, what didn’t? What are you really wanting to do more of, that isn’t happening. This is where you start your working definitions.

3. Look at what provides value. What is not providing much value? How is your resources spent, is there some things that are cutting away your priorities, and interests?

4. Graph it. Define where you are spending your time, and do an activity analysis for a month. Record your moods, at different points. An easy way would be to use your calendar. Place notes about your experience after each activity is done. This “mini-journal” will help you define what is important, and where you are drifting away.

Take your time with the process. Remember you didn’t get this way overnight. Understanding drift from what matters may take some time.

When Helping is Not Helping

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Having the desire to help others is the calling that brings many into the “helping professions.” For others, it is the day to day service that we do for our families, children and others we work for/or/with.

There is a fine line however when helping is not really helping, but rather a barrier that leads to stagnation or worse yet, fosters an unhealthy dependence.

Indicators of when helping is NOT helping:
1. When the help we provide is not accepted by others

The term I’ve used for years is when helping leads to “help rejecting complainers.” When our helping leads others to excuse themselves of embracing the help, then rejecting it, or avoiding it. This is not a judgment of our help or our intent, but of others’ readiness to change. They may simply not see the same way as you do. They may not value the same things.

2. When the help leads others to make the same poor decisions

Any change effort has to be embraced as well as given. It is hard to understand why what would seem to be needed, is often not chosen by another, and is rejected. The help that is given, only leads others to choose the same poor path. It is helpful to preferably accept that sometimes others are either not ready, have other motivations, or are too fearful to accept the implications of a change.

3. Fear

One of the biggest factors is the fear of the unknown or that accepting the help will actually lead to new experiences. Unless there is great fortitude to change, and a readiness, we will not embrace the help or opportunities provided without an “experience” that drives them toward embracing them. Sadly, fear is the final determinant to changing. We “fear” something else, and it leads to a crisis…which then leads to receiving help. Sometimes humans react when there is a need for rescue, rather than prevention.

Don’t take it personal
Helping others doesn’t always lead to successful results. It is nothing personal, but you will fail to provide others help they need. It is a joint venture not an individual helping effort. Developing a “preference” to see others change rather than an attitude that others “must” change or accept help is a good starting point for the helper which can prevent burnout.

Thoughts:
Are there times when you don’t accept help? Why?

(Photo: By the author)

Effective People Live, Not Just Survive

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What people do you admire in your everyday life, and why?.

This simple but profound question is the best way to start the deep reflective work to better evaluate the current path you’re heading.

It is possible to say –
I can think of a handful of individuals that I admire not because what they do, nor because they are famous. They are effective in their daily lives, happy, content, and productive. They have a path that is clearly mission driven, and not based on the social mirror, other people’s evaluations and external expectations or even their jobs. Some of these individuals have passed, but when you reflect on their lives, you just know they lived it effectively, because obviously I would like to have more of what they have…

If you are thinking about being different, then that is the first step. People that don’t even think about their path, end up surviving, not living. Even those that have resources and fame have the capacity to just survive.

Surviving is:
1. Living someone else’s potential.
2. Not working in concert with the truly important things in your life.
3. Existing physically, but mentally altered, distracted, “zoned out.”
4. Operating in a constant state of reaction. “Chasing your tail.”
5. Staying in co-dependent, addictive relationships and circumstances.

If you have “lost yourself”, you are just surviving. Physically you are there, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally you may only be firing on one cylinder.

Become a person who lives:
1. Confront and eliminate unhealthy dynamics or patterns in your live. Take one at a time.
2. Discover what is important about you. Only you know you.
3. Talk to others about yourself, find out how others see you.
4. Align with what is important. That may mean giving up parts of the old you.

The line between living and just surviving is sometimes hard to detect. You have to search for it, and identify the barriers that are keeping you from becoming what you can be.

The Importance of Simple Things

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Photo by the author –

An ever present reality is that individuals are engaged in the act of being busy, or survival. “Survival” does not necessarily mean living, but rather existing.

A complex issue in today’s society is how immersed we are in doing, being, running, and reacting. How much do we miss around us? Is the mere act of being important, busy, and immersed in the activity around us, dulling our sense of what is important?

Simple Things
Simple things are around us, and we take them for granted. They invite us to engage, but our addiction to be important, depended upon, provided attention, or surviving dulls our sensitivity to the simple things that can bring an appreciation for our lives.

Like the child playing in the sand…how much do we allow ourselves to play in the sand?

Do We:
1. Look at the clouds?
2. Look at nature around us?
3. Identify what is important to us, as opposed to multiple “stake holders” who don’t recognize our efforts?
4. Read what is important to us? Pursue our dreams?

Or do we simply live, and engage other people’s dreams? When we become dulled to the simple things that are meaningful in life, we are just surviving. On the surface, we are looking, feeling, and being important, but inside we may be just existing.

ACTION ITEM: WHAT ARE WE ALLOWING TO GO BY US? WHY ARE WE JUST SURVIVING, WHEN WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE?

Building Leverage against Adversity

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Building leverage in periods of adversity is about stepping up to take action rather than reaction.

Reaction to events empowers weakness and victim mentality.

Victim like thinking hampers the ability to develop resiliency.

When there is no resiliency, the tipping point to build leverage passes. There are several areas that can aide in building the leverage needed for adversity:

1. Influence – those with positive influence, have the right balance between sensitivity and power.

2. Focus on the right things – having the right orientation toward honorable things builds internal credibility and confidence. Those that feed on negativity are always operating from the defensive.

3. Exercise persistence and personal initiative – those that exert their energy by taking ownership are in the position to gain leverage. Victim thinking begets a defensive position with adversity, where little leverage is available.

4. Center personal activity – on what the main thing is. Keeping the main thing (or most important) out front is the key to building leverage. Distracting issues, drama, and petty issues only delay and liquidate momentum and leverage.

5. Leverage occurs when we keep meeting and working through challenges. Each time adversity is met by using our talents, skills, and knowledge, we build resiliency. We meet more challenges, which gradually develops leverage.

Leverage is not a given. It cannot bestowed, and it is not easy to attain. Without a deliberate amount of fortitude, and the right approach or mindset, we may find ourselves at a disadvantage.