Finding Strengths

Let's face it.  There are people in our lives that we would rather avoid and not spend time with. Why do we find these individuals draining?  Is it just their annoying personalities? Well, that may be a bit vague and harsh, but perhaps they don't share our values.  Perhaps we don't understand their life choices or how they see the world. It's easy to talk negative, complain, or ignore these individuals, but how we choose to see them may be a part of the problem.  It takes much more patience and energy to discover the good in people versus the bad. 

We all have strengths and weaknesses and the will to do good or evil. Even when individuals are at their worst, try to see their redeeming qualities. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and appreciated. It sometimes just takes a little extra effort on our part to understand why they are reacting or responding that way.

The next time you are interacting with an annoying co-worker, coaching a poor performing employee, or dealing with a difficult customer, try to see the intrinsic worth in that person and situation.

First, focus on how to make the most out of that time with the individual. 

Second, focus not on what you see---the outward appearance of the person--but on connecting consciously with them: feeling their pain, feeling their joy, feeling their potential.

Thirdly, focus not on "what's wrong with them?" but on what makes them right-- even in what you see as a weakness, discover at least one strength that makes them unique. 

By seeing a special purpose, we add value to their life and our life as well.  Through your support and empathy a connection is made that can transform the relationship. By shifting your perspective to what is right, you change your world, and who knows, you may be the one person to change theirs.

Finding the Right Word

Have you ever said the wrong word at a sensitive moment?  We have all experienced that awkwardness when something slips off the tongue as a result of either not enough thought or too much thought wishing we could take it back.

Recently my husband was going in for surgery unexpectedly and I happened to be out of town. As I tried to reassure him that "everything was going to be fine," while dealing with my own emotions, I ended the conversation with, "It's going to be great."

As I got off the phone I was like "what was that? Nothing is great about this situation at all!" As I tried to validate my stupidity I discovered in my truth that my trained communication habits got in the way. I couldn't possibly use the same adjective in the same conversation!

Why does this happen?  All of our communication stems from our intrapersonal awareness, a model comprised of the need to be accepted, the need to be right, and the need to be. Our first level is the "presentation center".  This is where our responses are most politically correct and are based on our need to be accepted.  The purpose of these responses is to make an emotional connection with another individual but may not truly reflect what we feel in our inner circle.

In the second level, our "message center," is where we store our learned responses.  These reflect our ego, need for self-preservation, and need to be right. We want to be correct so we are perceived as credible.  

Our inability to respond appropriately in sensitive situations arise from our cues of wanting to be accepted and wanting to be right. 

The third level is the "self center" --- our heart.  Here there is no judgment. The goal is simply to allow ourselves and others to be. It is when we are able to block out all the noise in our conscious, emotional and learned, and focus in on the moment and let the words just flow from our heart.

So the next time you are trying to search for the right words, don't. Just let yourself "be" and you will be amazed at how the right words will find you.

Finding Your Teachable Moments

The 26-year-old golfer Rory McIlroy famously bombed the closing round of the 2011 U. S. Masters, taking him from a four-shot lead to 15th place.  This mistake cost him the chance to win his first major tournament. He came back, however, at the following U.S. Open to win his first major title, breaking several records set by golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

I thought about this story of Rory when I recently experienced a terrible round of golf myself. As I reflected on my game, two questions consumed me: 

•What went wrong and 

•How can I prevent this from happening in the future?

I imagined Rory must have also focused on finding his teachable moments to help him move forward in order to go on and win many major tournaments following that disaster.  

Researchers from Michigan State University during a Clinical Psychophysiology Lab categorized people into two categories when it comes to mistakes:  those who have a fixed mind-set "I quit! I'll never be good at this" and those who have a growth mind-set "Wow, what did I do wrong and how can I not do that again?"  By analyzing our mistakes, we learn from them and make the failure work for us.

Understanding the latter, my golf-game growth strategy became getting to the driving range to practice and relaxing my mind to focus on one shot at a time.  Well, it worked - the next round of golf I played was significantly improved!

Whenever we fail at something, we must accept our bruises and get busy working on our game.  We must strive to develop our talent by acquiring knowledge, continuously practicing and having the right mental clarity to focus on just what is in front of us. Success doesn't happen overnight, it comes with hard work and discipline. 

So remember next time, whether a challenging golf course or obstacle in your career, this growth mind-set can alter your map and put you on the course toward greatness!

Quote of the Month

"Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard for it."


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