Tips, tales and techniques to help you say what you mean and mean what you say without being mean when you say it. Find your original voice, find the common ground between your perspective and others, and then SpeakStrong from the Synergy Center.
If you've been to my site, you probably already know, I've been hacked. It's taking a long time to get it fixed, partly because I'm across the country helping my folks make tough decisions, and helping to get my mom into skilled nursing and my dad into assisted living. I assume if you're reading this, it's via feedburner and you should be fine.
It is a powerful and tender time, and the way the family is pulling as a team is wonderfully inspiring. My mom's first remark after waking from her coma was to tell everyone to go home because they looked tired.
The only graceful way through these challenges is in speaking the truth in a kind and loving way. And that's what's happening. We all feel good about the decisions that are being made.
Wishing you all grace through your challenges.
Here's a great SlideShare about changing behavior. One thing I love about it is how simple it is.
I have an amazingly gorgeous sequined knit teal top I bought ten years ago and never wore. By all sorting systems, it should go in the donate or consign pile. But yesterday I paired it with a fringed red woven jacket and a print scarf and it looks terrific. I finally figured out how to wear it, and that magically transformed it from clutter to a wardrobe asset.
I've been in closet bliss since I shifted from sorting stuff piece by piece into stay-or-go piles, to creating outfits I'm excited to wear. I started with pieces I love and pair and accessorize them one outfit at a time. Playing with my favorites helps me understand what works for me. Other items just don't appeal in the same way - the contrast makes it clear.
It's a slower process than imposing a rule on each piece. It's worth it. I have constant creative breakthroughs. I'm recognizing the thinking that led to my bad buys. And I'm having a blast doing it in a way that makes sense to me.
It's more than a way to approach closets. It's also a way to approach life. Focus on what you want and what you don't want loses its draw.
Look out house! My, there's no stopping me now!
"Please, just take it all!" Caroline implored. I walked away from her yard sale with hundreds of dollars' worth of fine items, and she wouldn't take a dime. But it wasn't just me. She and Wally were lightening their load for a move. Their driveway and yard and garage contained box after box of unsorted tawdry trash mixed with thrilling treasure. They took great pleasure in essentially giving it all away to come who may.
"How does it feel to watch us all walk away with your stuff?" I asked.
"Like barnacles off a ship," Caroline replied.
They got the job done. Caroline and Wally's decluttering plan was a good plan for them.
"I got rid of anything and everything I haven't used in two years," Victoria told me. "Even if I loved it. It feels great to have it gone."
Unlike Caroline and Wally, Victoria sorted her stuff, applying a mechanical rule that kept her from having to think much about each piece she considered. She got the job done. Victoria's decluttering plan was a good plan for her.
If I had applied either one of their methods, I would have my closets cleared by now. But their plans aren't good plans for me. If I had followed their plans, I would have missed the wealth of insights and discoveries that have come from not imposing a plan that doesn't fit me.
A good plan is hard to find. But it can unwind, unfold and reveal itself if you're willing to let it. I'm experiencing a "creative closeting" breakthrough that is energizing and enlivening. More soon.
"Would you be willing to help me untangle the strings in this box?" Dr. Estes asked her client. The lady, all tied up in knots herself, was happy to. The counseling session proceeded almost as normal, but seemed a bit lighter than usual.
When the session was almost complete, Dr. Estes asked the woman about her method for untangling the strings. The response inspired them both. She said,
The client knew she was speaking advice to herself. She needed to loosen her own knots before she could untangle them.
Sometimes I need to loosen knots before I can speak strong. That means establishing rapport, showing grace or creating context. It's setting a tone of mutuality.
And sometimes we need to loosen knots in failed systems. My first journal entry about leaning my world to life was titled "Our house is full." The first step in creating a flow in our home was to loosen the knots (free up the gridlock) so I could begin to untangle them. There's that space for grace theme again.
The thing about that is, there often isn't much to show when you loosen things. It's like much of the creative process. It can seem like nothing is happening, and then somehow, what was so hard becomes easy.
Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all else will be added unto you.
Yogastha Kuru Karmani: Established in Being, perform action.
These similar messages serve as powerful beacons of light when we get lost in life. But wait! There's more! At least for me. I have two more axioms that keep me in balance:
Create Space for Grace, and
Excellence through Wholeness
Angela and I often remind each other to step back at times when pushing forward isn't working. While there are times when soldiering on and powering through are needed, we help each other remember that when we've lost our center, finding that kingdom, beingness, grace and wholeness is our first focus. We all have our own ways of coming home.
Covey says put first things first. We say, putting wholeness first is the way to true excellence.
Cleaning your plate is a bad idea. It's not about what's on your plate. It's about what you can digest. No matter what it cost you or who made it or how much anyone else can eat with impunity - if you can't digest it, don't eat it..
There might be some foods you can digest separately, but not together. You might have had a super meal at lunch, but it is still with you, and woe is you if you try to have the dinner that you digested just fine last week after a lighter lunch.
This is a metaphor for other things, including planning your day, week and life. It's not about what tasks are on your metaphorical plate, it's about what you can process without overloading your system.
It's a simple fact of life. You can't do more than what you can do. There is nothing noble about ignoring that fact and pushing yourself past your limits.
I could go on with the applications of this metaphor, but I won't. I don't want to put more on the plate than my readers can digest. Metaphorically speaking.
It's not about what's on your plate.
It's about what you can digest.
I was honored that my neighbor was so pleased to show me the cabinets she is staining while they're at such an early stage. Her home looked like you would expect during a project like this. All the contents of her entire home were strewn about. I ooohed and awwwwed over what she was up to, and we enjoyed talking about how things were unfolding, what else she was considering doing and on and on.
The next evening. Bob and I were returning from a walk when we saw my neighbor. She had knobs for her new cabinets. I was eager to see them, and suggested Bob come in, too, to see how good the stain looks. She wanted to wait for her project to be complete before he saw it. I went in and admired the new knobs alone.
I get it. There are some people I love to share my unfinished work with, and with others I prefer to wait for more completion.
When I began making changes at my foundation, there were only two people I invited in. That's expanding, but I still am careful of whom I invite into my process. In yesterday's post, I wrote of how Anthony Bourdain tunes out the voices of family and possible readers in favor of his own. He makes tuning those voices out sound easy. Perhaps it is for him. But for me, giving birth to a new idea or expression is a delicate process. I am very selective about who gets invited in.
And probably you need to be selective, too.
Honor your own process. That's one thing Anthony Bourdain has learned. He said,
"I don't care if my mom approves. ... Look, if I've learned anything—I wrote Kitchen Confidential because I didn't think anyone would read it. That was a liberating moment. You know, writing every morning before I went to work with absolute certainty that no one other than a few cooks would read it was a truly liberating place to write a book. That was a lesson I learned in the bone, meaning the instinct to think about what do they want—What do they expect? What do my biggest fans want me to do next? How will they receive it? Who's watching? Who's reading?—this is a lethal, lethal instinct. I have to not think that. We all want to be loved, but I'm not going to even ask what people want, because... that will kill your process.
I just can't. That's the road to madness."
This reminds me of Carl Jung, who never expected anyone to be interested in his writings. He freely wrote from his heart and soul, and achieved widespread fame for it. I'm grateful for his work.
That doesn't mean we never ask what others want, or that honoring our own process always leads to outer success. It does mean that allowing your own voice to unfold somewhere in your life is transformational. It's important to have expressive outlets that truly are just for you. You know more than you know you know, if you take the time to listen - and are willing to risk creating something no one else values or pays attention to.
Clearly telemarketers haven't been trained for my response when they tell me they can increase my business. I tell them I don't want more business. Their surprise indicates to me that they don't hear that often, if at all. For me, it was an ephiphany to realize it was no line - it's true.
George Clooney won my heart (or re-won it) when he talked about an epiphany seeing a joyful worker in Italy inspired in him. The laborer obviously enjoys what little he has. Clooney set out to enjoy what he has.
For Clooney, that meant purchasing an expensive villa in Italy. And that could be interpreted as Clooney enjoying what Clooney has: money. Clooney loves his villa, so perhaps that was just the right path for him. But generally I think of enjoying what I have as an alternative to buying more. It's a mantra I use to pull myself back from new purchases as well as launches and commitments that might threaten my ability to enjoy what I have.
Contraction balances expansion. Consolidation balances increase. Optimization takes what you have and puts it to best use. Or gets rid of it if it doesn't serve your well-being.
Bob and I had already spoken to a contractor about building new shelves in our pantry when we discovered that after sorting what we actually use and sharing what we don't, we don't need any more shelves.
I'm still working with this mantra. I love shopping the 75% off rack at my local boutique. But what good are more clothes when I already have more clothes I love than I could ever wear?
I'm replacing an unwanted habit - buying clothes I won't wear - with another: enjoying the ones I have. The result is I increasingly have the pleasure of a closet that flows. The author of "The Clothing Chronicles" calls it "shopping your own closet." I redirect the impulse to score a deal on a new outfit to seeing what I have in my own closet that I forgot about or haven't learned how to wear. That joy is not associated with a pinch of regret.
The Bangladesh tragedy puts a whole other perspective on the clothing quandry. Someone may have risked their life and been paid all of ten cents to create the blouse that I bought that clutters instead of enhancing my life. If someone creates something that ends up in my closet, I, at the very least, want to be able to enjoy it.
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I blog daily when I have a lot to say. When I don't have much to say, I stay silent. Kind of how it outta be, don't you think? Lots of great communication tips.
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Collaborative communication skills for today's busy workplace