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Category: Self Awareness

Cultivate friendships that bring out the best in you.

Cultivate friendships that bring out the best in you.

For a myriad of reasons our friendships shift ongoingly throughout life.  Many changes occur in stride, others are more conscious. Friendships can become stale, or lose their zest. Occasionally you may want to assess your friendships. If you feel a lacking perhaps it’s time to cultivate things.

If stagnate or drifting relationships cannot be reinvigorated then pursue other friendships. Look for individuals that have common interests or where there is matching intellectual or emotional depth.  Pursue individuals that can have a positive influence on you. Associates through work, sports or other connecting threads may be of a friendly nature, but they are not friendships. Those associates are a good place to start when cultivating new friendships. The extra effort involved in reconnecting with old friends or scheduling time with someone new can be well worth the extra effort.

Good friendships are accepting of your differences and leave you feeling better for having spent time together. Look for friendships where you are left feeling; stronger, at ease, relaxed, inspired or perhaps just more content. Most importantly  – Do you like who you are, when you are with them?

Don’t trust your blind spot

Don’t trust your blind spot

Don’t trust your Blind spot.

Often we cannot see our own issues – and we often lack the right angle to see the dynamics between ourselves and those we are closest too.  From our partner, our children, our close colleagues or friends and neighbours there are times where we just cannot see the forest for the trees.

We may be caught in our blind spot for many reasons. Whatever is triggering the lack of perspective be it; naïveté, habit, an inaccurate perception or haste – we all have reasons why we just do not see and catch certain things. That’s okay – but do you know what your blind spot is – so that you or those around you can adjust for it.  Do you know when to call in another set of eyes – another point of view when needed.  Have you given them permission to call you out?

Do you know when to not trust yourself or when not to trust those who ‘should know’ the answer?

I received a text with directions to my friends home – I had been there once before as her passenger. She resided in that house throughout her childhood, moved out to attend University, marry, etc and twenty years later resided there again to be with her mother following her father’s passing.  She probably came and went out of that house, traveling those same streets, thousands of times over the last forty years. I read the instructions and thought – they don’t make sense. Who was I to trump my single experience over her  thousands of trips on that same path.  I should be turning left not right onto her street I thought.  Previously in our travels out and about town she admitted to being directionally challenged, and hence knew she had a blind spot in that area. The instructions she provided were ‘make a left then a right ‘- somehow she had transposed them and the next day – I made a right then a left onto her street.  My instinct caught her blind spot thus facilitating the orienteering.  Sometimes we loose objectivity the closer something is to us and the best thing to do is to distrust the source. Including when the source is ourselves.

I was at a dance last week and a woman dancing near our table was wearing a tank top style dress.  Her partner and her were strong dancers so I took the liberty of watching and admiring their skill.  She had a tattoo across her upper back.  Not something she could see for herself – but for everyone watching it was obvious.   Some of our character traits are like that.  I saw the tattoo more than her dance partner..   In a basic Fox Trot or Waltz, they would be face-to-face for the majority if not all of the dance. An inexperienced lead will limit things so that he only ever sees the front of her. An experienced dancer can comfortably lead her in a manner such that when he puts her into a spin he catches glimpses of her back.

The stronger the lead, the more he sees of his partner as they transition through various dance styles over the course of an evening. Like the tattoo, many of our character traits don’t need to be discussed for others to note them. They surface automatically as plain as day for others to see.

As on the dance floor, someone less competent will hold back, restricted – trying to control the situation. The lack of trust / competency  results in an unwillingness to be vulnerable or to expose her back side, her blind spot.   Thus regardless of how experienced the lead is he is more limited with an inexperienced partner than a solid – comfortable – adept partner that knows their capabilities and their weaknesses.  A woman who can relax in her own skin and is comfortable within her self and on the dance floor of life will be comfortable with all the rotations and spins her partner can give her and will be comfortable and confident when situations exist where her blind spot might be exposed shall we say.

We all have blind spots. Management courses talk about the elements that we don’t know that is plain as day for others.  In dance – the more you learn the stronger the leader you will be and/or the stronger you will be able to follow.   Having the capacity to take or relinquish control of the situation for the right reasons at the correct level based on the skill set of both your partner and you.   So too in life.  Minimizing our blind spot is a noble pursuit – but elimination of the blind spot is impossible.  Surround yourself with people you trust when you can’t trust yourself,  Then you’ll know that there will always be coverage for your back side.

Turning buts into ands

Turning buts into ands

When we talk about hopes and bounce around ideas for the future, what do we hear?   At times there is the purity of the dream  – “One day I”m going to…”. Other times, attached stowaways wreck havoc on our dreams. These stowaways typically begin with the word ‘but’, thus holding us hostage, preventing us from achieving our desires.   We have heard a litany of excuses coming out of our own mouths and those around us.  It is easy to be struck down by the Nay Sayers that hijack our desires so that we end up doubting if it is possible at all.

For example

I would like to return to school  (or insert alternate goal of choice) …..

but, I lack; time, money, …
but, it’s a lot of work
but, I’m too busy, old, young, short, tall, bu
I don’t have the support, contacts, resources,
I don’t know   how
My spouse, doctor, boss, kids, mother ….
I”m afraid of ….
Change it to ” I am going to go back to school  and looking for a way to find the time, money, …” . Alternatively ‘I am going back to school and it’s okay for me to be different than my classmates”.

When the buts become ands your perspective will have made the first shift necessary. With the awareness that it is possible, being one step closer to achieving your goals and dreams.  In wanting to return to school, with no budget, I found a way to apply for a bursary.  One bursary one course one semester.   A small insignificant baby steps perhaps – but it was a step.  The next semester, another bursary another course.  At that point in time I I found a way to eliminate the but and in dismissing the hijacker found a way.   Slow and steadily is an acceptable rate of progress.  With the shift in perspective then your perception will begin looking for the next thing to put into place.  You will find answers to the ‘how can I’ while dismissing the ‘why I can’t’.   You will be on a path of action, regardless of the chosen speed, becoming closer and closer to making your dream a reality.

Prescription – a health dose of anxiety

Prescription – a health dose of anxiety

If you are feeling anxious – don’t assume it is all for nothing. Anxiousness is often immediately perceived as negative. Anxiety itself is not 100% bad. Anxiousness comes because we are worried or concerned, about the end result of an upcoming event. Bluntly put: people who don’t care – don’t care. If you don’t care about the end result you won’t be anxious. Being prone to anxiety can also mean you are prone to competency.  People with anxiety issues are often strong planners.  Anxiety is a signal that you have a bigger commitment. That concern we feel will have us put in extra attention to ensure a job well done. Successful people are anxious from time to time. People with high standards or high goals are interested and concerned about the outcome.

Anxiety can be a sign of growth. Typically anxiety occurs when we are tackling a new assignment. Perhaps we are taking on a challenge that is unfamiliar to us. We could be entering into new situations that lead to unfamiliar territory. Anxiety is often part of learning, new circumstances, or new events. We are stretching ourselves. If you were never anxious about anything, my concern would be that perhaps you aren’t growing or taking on new challenges. As the saying goes, ‘a ship in harbour is safe but that’s not what ships were built for/.