Emotional Intelligence · journey to self · Uncategorized

Fill Your Own Stocking 

Hello and happiest of holidays. I want to share my blog again at this very relevant time of the year.

Whether you have always filled your own stocking, or like me it took a steep learning curve, I hope you will enjoy sharing the lessons of my journey. mo

Once again a Christmas Eve had come and gone. Now, as everyone else was tucked away in bed, exhausted from the festivities and rich holiday food, it was time for me to “play Santa”. In the reflection of the twinkling Christmas tree lights, I filled each person’s stocking with their favorite treats.

Since the children were now of an age when they appreciated sleep more than knowing the secrets of Santa, I would be the first one up on Christmas morning. Sitting in my favorite chair by the lit tree, sipping hot coffee, I was wrapped in the quiet hush of early morning.  I couldn’t help but reminisce about  memories of Christmases past when the anticipation of Santa’s magic brought a merry chaos to my Christmas morning.

One by one, the four children and their father wandered into the living room, sleepy-eyed and pajama clad, wishing me a merry Christmas.  And with that, I turned to them and exclaimed with my traditional Christmas enthusiasm, ” Oh look! It appears that Santa Claus was here”!  Each of them hurried to the mantel and took down their own special stocking: the toy soldier, teddy bear, snowman and Santa. My husband unhooked his red, ribbon trimmed stocking hanging next to my lace trimmed one. The stockings were emptied onto the floor with exclamations of delight and appreciation.

In the last few years when the children were all still living at home, eventually one of them would glance up at the stocking still hanging on the mantel. Turning to me they would ask ask, ” What was in your stocking Mom?”  Smiling,  I would shrug and repeat the same answer I had been giving for as long as it had been asked, “Oh, you know my gift is seeing the joy on all of your faces. I don’t need anything else in my stocking.”  The answer was met with a look of confusion and disbelief. I assured them that I was fine and so very happy to share in their joy.

The next year on Christmas Eve morning, a friend brought a small brown paper bag to the house, gave it to my eldest son and whispered something to my husband.  I didn’t think much of it at the time, as I was putting together the last minute packages to take to my parents’ home for our traditional Christmas Eve celebration.

Later that night, with my family tucked in bed, I set about once again filling the stockings hanging on the mantel before drifting off to sleep.

The next morning, as stockings were being opened, my husband stood up and walked over behind my chair.  Grabbing something on the floor, he turned to me and sheepishly shared that he had forgotten to empty the contents of the bag into my Christmas stocking last night.  I said I didn’t understand what he was referring to.  He told me that our friend knew that my stocking had remained empty each Christmas, and hoped to remedy that situation. The bag she had delivered to our home had come with instructions for him to empty the contents of the bag into my stocking for Christmas morning. My response was to once again reassure him, and the children that I was just fine with the empty stocking.

For several weeks the image of the empty stocking lingered in my mind. The truth of the matter was, it did cause me to wonder why it was that no one thought to put something in my stocking.  I intellectually knew it had nothing to do with a lack of love for me, or their gratitude for the many special gifts and traditions that came with our holiday celebrations. So what was it I wondered.

That question triggered the beginning of a long and often challenging journey to self.  I looked back only to see years of  [willingly] taking on the role of helper and giver. I was the one who could make all the dreams come true. I was the one who could soothe the troubled heart. I was the one who could right the wrongs that hurt those I loved. I was the one who made a point of knowing the special foods and gifts that brought the most joy to others in my life. Often to the point of frustration, it was me always asking others if they were alright.

The longer I reflected upon my past experiences, it became more and more clear to me that I had never given anyone else the opportunity to “fill my stocking”. Not only did I fill theirs, but I made certain they would never know I even needed mine to be filled!  I had in fact, deprived anyone else of experiencing the joy that comes from meeting the needs of someone for whom they cared about.

It was also becoming evident that I didn’t even know what I needed or how to ask for it if I did.  I sadly came to the conclusion that if I didn’t want to continue on this journey of martyrdom and self-denial, I had better start understanding myself and my needs.

Thus began a new journey to self and the commitment to filling my own stocking. I was going to do everything possible to gain greater  self-awareness, and the motivation to practice the joy of receiving as well as giving.

Our life journey provides unexpected opportunities and gifts if we are open to them.

The gift of gaining authentic self-awareness  was soon shared with me through an introduction to the wisdom of the Enneagram.  To say it was life-changing is an understatement!!

I hope you will follow my blog as I take you on a journey to greater self-awareness and the joy and satisfaction that comes from living authentically.

Till next time, enjoy your journey.

mo

authentic living · Emotional Intelligence · Enneagram · journey to self

S.O.D/d.A. Journey – Part 4

Hello,

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know the ones that stay with you for a while even after they are finished.  I wonder how many of you thought back to a day that wasn’t one of your happiest. And why is it, when asked about one of those days, we bring ourselves to a negative place rather than positive? Why instead, don’t we immediately recall one of our best days?

Today we are taking the last leg of our S.O.D/d.A. journey. I hope that for those of you following my blog, there have been moments during the past few weeks when your mind has taken a detour from your daily tasks to bring you to a place of reflection regarding your journey to self.

Have your answers to the formula questions changed over time? Or have you pondered why your answers are what they are? The journey to self, if taken with honest intention, is a journey filled with unexpected detours. Sometimes you will arrive at a place that resembles the clarity that comes from watching the sun rise over the horizon. All of a sudden you are fully aware of the light and with it, the promise of a new day. But as you continue to step further into the journey, there will be valleys and at times, pot holes. It is during those moments, that I encourage you to step slowly and confidently in your quest to reach a better place.

I still remember sitting in my living room in front of the fireplace one very cold blustery evening. I had been particularly reflective that day and had stumbled into a pothole. Everything within me was telling me to get out as fast as possible. Thankfully there was a more compelling voice in my head telling me to stay with the uncomfortable feeling until I could determine why/how I got there. I now know what a good decision that turned out to be. The clarity that resulted from that evening has served me well.

So today we are discussing the A. of the S.O.D/d.A. formula.  In answering the three questions, I hope you will take the time to be both intentional and open minded to all you are feeling. As before, please answer them in order; going back to review only after completing all three questions.

A. Questions:

  1. Imagine that it has been five years since you either completed all of your formal education, and/or have been working in a job you value for some time. On this particular day, you arrive home at the end of your work day and find yourself exhausted. You can’t believe how weary you feel. Yet somehow you push yourself through the evening responsibilities and find yourself standing in front of the bathroom mirror as you brush your teeth before bed. Looking at the reflection in front of you, a smile comes across your face and you stay to yourself: “Woo-hoo! This was a good day! Even though I’m dog tired, this is one I will remember. Hopefully the others at work noticed too. Wow! This was truly a good one!” The question is this:  Why? What is it about this day, not knowing exactly what you will be doing, or what your salary will be, or even where you are living, that makes it GOOD? All you know for certain in this scenario is that you are done with schooling and are gainfully employed. So…dog tired, but still a good day: WHY?
  2. Imagine that it has been five years since you either completed all of your formal education, and/or have been working in a job you value for some time. It is the next day. You arrive home at the end of your work day and find yourself even more exhausted than the day before. You can’t believe how indescribably weary you feel. You can’t even push yourself through the evening responsibilities, falling asleep on the couch. You wake up and head to bed. And now you find yourself standing in front of the bathroom mirror as you brush your teeth. Looking at the reflection in front of you, a gloomy scowl comes across your face and you stay to yourself: “This was a bad one! How could yesterday have been so good and just a day later it could be like this. I sure hope no one was watching me today.”  So…WHY? What was it about today that made it so bad? Again remembering that all you know in this scenario is that you are gainfully employed.
  3. And so your journey continues onward. There have been good days and bad. Some truly memorable, and probably many more that you can’t recall. Now your journey comes to an end. For some of us, it will be a long, long path. For others, the end comes much sooner than expected. Upon your death, the newspaper in your hometown decides to write a story about you. They talked to many of those who shared your journey. Friends and family from long ago. Neighbors, classmates from all your school years, colleagues who worked with you. Some of these individuals thought the world of you. Others shared they questioned many of your choices, disagreeing with you more than not. Yet for whatever reason, the same theme came up interview after interview. Regardless if they knew you as a child or in the last few steps of your journey, the message was the same. When the story was published, the reporter opened the article with the following sentence. “No matter who, no matter when; whether they like him/her or not; they all said the same thing. You could always count on him/her to: ______________________________”. WHAT?

Hopefully you will take some moments this week to reflect upon the A. of the S.O.D/d. A. formula.  Next time we will begin to discuss the key to the formula and how it can become a tool toward a more meaningful and rich journey.

In the meantime….enjoy,

mo

 

authentic living · Emotional Intelligence · Enneagram · journey to self

S.O.D./d.A. — Part 3 of the Journey

Hello,

When you were sitting in your desk in 2nd grade and the teacher asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, did your answer match the position description of your current job? When you answered those magazine or online quizzes about what your ideal relationship would be like, does it match today’s reality? How many of you reading my blog are currently in the job or relationship you envisioned yourself in when you were fifteen years old? How about when you graduated from high school, or when you first fell in love?

I’m guessing that most of you are either chuckling or murmuring a painful “oh” at this point. We have all dreamed about what life will be like when we grow up. Whether out loud to those we trust, or jokingly to our social circle or colleagues, the, “Oh yeah, as soon as …, I will be….”, statements escape from us in the moment. Rarely do any of us find ourselves confidently bragging that we plan to hold several different jobs and be in multiple relationships throughout our life. Yet in fact, that is the case for the majority of people in today’s world. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as you have made your decisions based upon being authentically true to yourself and your goals. Remember, you can never step in the same river once! You can never step in the same river once.

During the past few weeks, I have been talking with you about the S.O.D.A. formula that has enabled me to live authentically and tap my potential to achieve my life goals for happiness and peace of mind. Woman Giving Birth to Herself

Have your reflections on the “who, who not, and wishing you were” S. questions changed since first answering those questions. Was the greatest challenge determining what has stayed consistently true about you?

Were you surprised to realize the common characteristics of the Others in your life? And if so, did you spend some time thinking about why that might be? If not, I encourage you to do so. In today’s world, we encounter other people in very dynamic, real-time situations that often don’t provide for reflective filtering until it is sometimes too late. We are bombarded with social pressure to accept a friend invitation on social media because one of our actual personal friends is that person’s friend in another life setting. Only later do we discover how many significant differences we have with that individual who we have not labeled “friend”.  And how many of you have experienced Others in your life asking you why or how you are friends with that individual?

And of course there will always be those individuals that believe if you work together, you must want to socialize together. And if you encourage that behavior for less than authentic reasons, that person is then encouraged to think of themselves as one of your Others. Right? WRONG!

Just as with self, it is equally important for us to understand the depth and breadth of who, who not, and more importantly why, we keep the Others in our life that we do. If you are not able to ask Others in your life for what you (within reason) need to be your best, it is time to reconsider your relationship with them.

Today we move on to the D. of the S.O.D.A. Formula. To be totally transparent, the actual symbol for this section of the formula should be D./d.  But the explanation for that will come later. But I didn’t want to be less than honest with you. If you are sincere in using this tool as a method to enhance your journey to tap your authentic potential, it is especially important for me to be totally transparent.

Just as in previous sections, I will pose a series of questions for you to answer and reflect upon. Answer the questions in order given, remembering to think whole life rather than today and recent years.

D./d. Questions:

  1. Think of a time in your life when you set a goal for yourself that was particularly difficult to achieve (in your opinion). It can be any goal whether seemingly insignificant, or one that will impact others as well as you. Examples could be winning the Monopoly game against your toughest competitor, achieving an A on the math test, getting nominated to be a club officer, keeping or quitting a job, breaking up with the long term girl/boyfriend of an unsatisfying relationship, saving enough money to take that Bucket List trip. Well, the good news is that you ACHIEVED YOUR GOAL! Whew, you really didn’t think you would.

Here’s the question:

Reflecting on achieving that goal, what did you PERSONALLY contribute to that outcome? Do not consider anyone else that was involved. I don’t want to hear about the teacher, preacher, coach, best friend or faithful dog. What did YOU PERSONALLY contribute to your ability to achieve the goal? Like the S. and O. questions before, I am asking you to think about your choices, behaviors, attitudes, qualities demonstrated. Do not answer that you worked hard. I mean really, who says they slacked off when answering why they achieved their goal? Think instead about what working hard means/looks like for you? Compare it to your average efforts.

 

  1. Again, think about a time in your life when you set a goal for yourself that was particularly difficult to achieve (in your opinion). It can be any goal whether seemingly insignificant to others, or one that will impact others as well as you. Examples could be winning the Monopoly game against your toughest competitor, achieving an A on the math test, keeping/quitting a job, being chosen to lead the new office project, breaking up with the long term girl/boyfriend of an unsatisfying relationship, saving enough money to take that Bucket List trip. Well, unfortunately, the bad news is that you FAILED to ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL! That really bummed you out. It was a long shot, but you thought maybe…

Here’s the question:

Reflecting on the feelings of failing to achieve that goal, what did you PERSONALLY contribute to that outcome? Do not consider anyone else that was involved. I don’t want to hear about the teacher, preacher, coach, best friend or faithful dog. What did YOU PERSONALLY contribute when you think about your choices, behaviors, attitudes, and qualities you demonstrated? Do not answer that you didn’t work hard. Dig down deep into that voice in your head that has had this conversation with you at times like this. Think about what not working hard means for you when faced with a goal? Compare it to your answer above.

 

  1. The final D./d. question asks you to sit back, quiet your mind and reflect upon your past journey of successes and failures of goals achieved and lost. Starting back as early as grade school until today, are there patterns of your personal behavior, choices, attitudes, characteristics that were present consistently in either the win or loss column? You know, like those times when you slap your forehead and say, “I can’t believe I did it again!” Create a mental list of your answers for each outcome. What does that list tell you?

Until next time, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting who, why, how you answered the S., O., D./d. questions. What does this reflection of your journey say to you?

Enjoy your journey,

mo

 

authentic living · Emotional Intelligence · journey to self

S.O.D.A. — Part 2 of the Journey

Hello again,

If you have followed my blog, it will come as no surprise to you that the thoughts I’m sharing are very reflective of my personal journey.  And for those of you who know me, it also comes as no surprise to hear that I have had yet another frustrating experience with technology.  So the good news is that in the midst of the past 24 hours, as I have been vacillating between acceptance of those things beyond my control, and wanting to throw the computer out the window, I have realized the personal significance of today’s blog topic.

Because my five blogs up to this point have been written from the perspective of where I started my journey, it didn’t occur to me how much I rely on the S.O.D.A. strategy on a daily basis. This realization is yet another aha moment regarding living authentically. One doesn’t consciously think about their default actions very often until they have a day like I had yesterday. And even then, it is only when I chose to be present with myself that I acknowledged the vital significance of S.O.D.A. in my life.

In my last blog I shared that I was at a critical junction in my life. It had come to a point where I had two choices. I could either maintain my current way of being/living and risk losing myself.  Or I could risk the potentially uncomfortable unknown of what I might discover by taking a deeper look at who, why and how I was at my core.

This frightening feeling of is this all there is?, or I might have to change was the impetus for S.O.D.A.

Last time I introduced the S.O.D.A. Formula and discussed the S. for self. What thoughts, memories, mental pictures were triggered when you asked yourself how you would answer the S. questions? Did your answers surprise you? Did you go back mentally and add/delete/edit your answers?  If so, why?  Perhaps at first you simply gave the default answers that were accessible in the moment.  But hopefully, your responses niggled around in your brain the next few days, resulting in more intentional searching below the surface of your public persona. I hope so. And I challenge you to revisit those questions/responses as you dig even deeper within yourself.

Today, we are going to explore the O. of the formula. O. is for Others.  The definition of Others as it relates to S.O.D.A. would be those people whom you have chosen to keep on your journey. Some of them may have been with you since the beginning such as parents and/or siblings. Perhaps Others have just recently joined you, but somehow you know they will be part of your journey decades from now.

As with the S. questions, please remember to think whole life. Not just today or even the past few years. Think sandbox until this moment.  Your answers should not be titles, e.g. parent, teacher, preacher, coach, friend, favorite pet. The response you choose should represent the qualities, characteristics, attitudes, choices, behaviors, values, etc. of the Others in your life.

Please answer the questions in the order given. Then review and add/delete/edit if necessary.

  1. Questions:
  2. Complete this sentence: The Others in my life are…
  3. Complete this sentence: The Others in my life are not…
  4. Complete this sentence: If the Others in my life want me to be the BEST ME I CAN BE, then what I need from them but have the hardest time asking for is….

My aha moment today was when I acknowledged how important those Others are in my life when I feel not only frustrated or need an answer, but when I feel  less smart/capable than I know I can be. We all have those areas that showcase our vulnerability. One of mine happens to be technology. When days like yesterday happen, I can allow myself to feel stupid, unqualified, impatient, childish and old…all at the same time!  It is the Others in my life who bring me back to reality and allow me to be me. Not always at my best in the moment, but they always challenge my process, enable me to act and then (bless their hearts), encourage my heart. This thankfully results in my persevering to achieve my goal.

So, until next time, I hope you will stay present and invest in being the BEST YOU YOU CAN BE!

Enjoy the journey,

mo

 

authentic living · Emotional Intelligence · Enneagram · journey to self · Uncategorized

On Your Journey, Don’t Forget Your S.O.D.A.

Hello again,

I promised you that on the next few steps of my journey blog, I would share a formula I developed that changed the course of my life. This came at a time in my life when the only thing I knew for certain was that I couldn’t continue to live the way I was living. To stay the same, would result in me totally losing “me” and walking through life as a mere shadow of the person I knew I was somewhere deep within me.

It became undeniably clear that I was the one responsible for finding and knowing what made me feel whole. I could no longer afford to just maintain my same old behavior The Greatest Risk is No Risk At All .  Having more to lose than gain by avoiding the potential truths yet acknowledged, I pushed myself to take the next step.

That decision came at a time when life gave me a shove in the right direction.  I had accepted a new career opportunity which required me to spend considerable time away from my known comfort of family and hometown. After spending the first four decades of my life living within a 5 mile radius of my childhood home, high school friends, etc., I now found myself living alone and away from everything familiar.

To tell you that being alone with myself was unnerving, and actually at times, panic-inducing, is understating some of those days and weeks. My entire life up until this point had been jam-packed with filling others’ needs. Whether it was listening to their stories, giving advice, bringing them goodies, attending their events and family dinners, my schedule was packed. I couldn’t remember spending more than 2 hours alone with myself at any time since childhood days lying under the summery clouds of June.

So having to admit to myself that my own company was the most challenging person to be with, the questions of who, why and how I came to this point began.  This inner investigation led me to determine that there were four primary areas that needed to be understood at a much deeper, and truthful level, if I was to more forward successfully from where I was trapped in my life. With determination and purpose I opened my head, heart and gut to being committed to this next step You can never step in the same river once..

S.O.D.A.:  This is the formula that has enabled me to put meaningful steps and joy-filled reflections in my daily journey.  These four letters and that which they represent, are vital for each of us to not only understand, but more importantly, to be able to acknowledge to ourselves honestly. And once we have done so, to be able to demonstrate our authentic self through our choices and actions on our journey. The result of this awareness is beyond measure.

I can tell you with great confidence that my sense of wholeness and appreciation for my life has increased in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible. But don’t take my word for it. Instead, challenge yourself to take the risk of going on a journey to self through honestly answering the formula questions. Once you’ve answered them, reflect on how that knowledge can help you experience life more authentically.

Each part of the S.O.D.A. Formula represents a key area of emotional intelligence. Research shows us that it is not enough in today’s world to be intelligent – book smart. One must possess emotional intelligence (EQ) to fully succeed in our ever changing, fast-paced world. That is true of both our personal relationships as well as our professional life. And the most important relationship you will ever have is your relationship with self. Without fully understanding and appreciating your authentic being, you will never experience the depth of joy and satisfaction that come from relationships with others and your life choices.

So we begin the journey to self through the lens of the S.O.D.A. Formula.  I will ask you a series of questions for each part of the formula.  If you are to find any relevant value in this exercise, please be as honest and forthcoming with yourself as possible.  The more in depth your answers, the greater the reflection and subsequent choices to act upon that knowledge you will experience.

Instructions for Formula:  Complete the following questions in sequence. Do not go on to the next question until you have exhausted all of your possible answers for the current one.  In answering each of the formula questions, you are thinking about the qualities, characteristics, behaviors, attitudes, values, choices that are/have been true of you throughout your entire life. Not just today or even the last few years. But reflect back upon your childhood, school days, professional and personal life as you answer.

S.  Complete the following statements:

  1. I am… (not gender, age, occupation – see above)

 

  1. I am not… (again, not gender, age, occupation – see above)

 

  1. I wish I were… (not rich & famous, you can do better than that – see above).

 

I ask that you check back in on your answers throughout this week. What can be added to the list? In thinking about the questions, what was triggered in your memories?  What did you want to include but for some reason chose not to – why do you think that was?

Next week we will move on to the next part of the S.O.D.A. Formula.

Enjoy Your Journey,

 mo

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Woman Giving Birth to Herself

I came to realize much too late in my journey that I could not expect others in my life, regardless of how much they loved me, to intuitively know my needs. Just because I  experienced an emotional rush from meeting people’s needs without them specifically asking for something, did not equate to everyone else feeling the same way.  Of course I knew at some intellectual level that this was the case. But still I blindly walked through life being disappointed by those around me who couldn’t (wouldn’t ?? ) meet my needs. I spent far too much time angsting over why I was not worthy of consideration of my needs. To me, sensing what others wanted, whether it be a shoulder to cry on, or their favorite dessert, was like breathing. It was always present in my thoughts.

Everyone should just know and want to give what is needed by others – right? Obviously not!

After the wake-up call of that Christmas morning ( Fill Your Own Stocking ), I spent a great deal of time dwelling on my past behaviors and assumptions.  I grew increasingly more uncomfortable as my pattern became more clear.

Obviously I had spent much of my life looking to others to define who I was, and what I needed based upon my ability to please them. I had been highly successful in figuring out how to be what others needed me to be. Therefore, I didn’t even know who I was or what I needed to feel whole and satisfied.  In other words, I had lost touch with my own needs by replacing them with the affirmation that came from meeting the needs of those around me.

I reached a point where I was determined to discover why this had been my way of living up to now.

 Who was I?

Who wasn’t I?

Why did I not know how to identify and ask for my needs?

Why did I have such difficulty with saying no?

What I didn’t realize at the time was that it wasn’t the risk of self-discovery, but the courage to act upon what I learned that would be the greatest challenge. But without the risk,  and the commitment to act, I would not have experienced the greatest reward-living authentically.

Once I could answer these questions, how did I want to move forward on my journey?  What did I need to understand so as to avoid the pitfalls that brought me to this place of emptiness?

It was in the depths of all these emotionally charged questions that I came to discover a strategy/foemula to help unravel the puzzle of authentic self. 

Although you are now no doubt rolling your eyes, sensing the irritating itch of a team-building exercise coming,  just take a breath and give me a chance to explain. The gift of what I want to share with you has the potential to help you take control of your journey. Coming from someone who enabled others to direct my path for four decades, that’s saying a lot!

I sincerely hope you will consider learning about my tool for self-discovery. I call it S.O.D.A.  Throughout my next few blogs, I invite you to engage in a process where we will sip a little S.O.D.A. along the way as I continue the story of a woman giving birth to herself.

 

authentic living · Enneagram · journey to self

You can never step in the same river once.

Hello and Happy Monday,

I’m guessing most of you are familiar with the expression “you can never step in the same river twice”. But as you see from the title of my blog, I believe that in fact, one can never step in the same river ONCE! Life – like a river – is dynamic and forever changing. Rarely do we experience life’s changes with enough information and lead time to be totally prepared for what the impact will be. Something as seemingly simple and of no great life consequence, such as experiencing a “new & improved” change in our favorite go-to food choice (mine would be buttered  Creamette brand noodles), can  sometimes leave us with a sense of longing for what was and is no more.  Just think of how that can affect your day as well as of those around you? As silly as this sounds, we have all experienced what it feels like to have a “known comfort” taken away from us without our consent because of a change beyond our control. But what if the “change” was not in fact the product itself, but what we were seeking to experience from the product.When you chose that “known comfort” you were basing it on your last experience. But since that time, what might you have lived through that changed your attitude, mood, physical/emotional abilities to enjoy, etc.?

Through an often times emotionally painful journey of feeling I had lost my “known comfort (myself)”, I discovered that it is critical for me to understand WHY I am making the choices I am. And that challenging period of time when I was “loosing myself”, led me to understand that if I was going to find meaning and enjoyment in life, I better be prepared for the changes. And in order to do so, I went on a search to understand authentically who, why and how I am. For just as the river  has twists and turns, rocks and rapids, fish and frogs, as well as shimmering light and freedom to float weightless on the water, your life offers the same challenges and rewards. I refuse to settle for anything less than my authentic best life!!  I hope you also will decide its worth taking a “journey to self” to discover life at its fullest potential. In future blogs I welcome you to join me on a journey to gain insight and tools to tap your full potential.  Until next time, ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY!  mo

Uncategorized

The Greatest Risk is No Risk At All

Risks: to take or not to take, isn’t that the usual question?  But just as I stated in my last blog, life is dynamic and whether you take the risk or not, life as you know it will change. As someone who looks at life through a positive, glass-is-full and overflow isn’t a problem perspective, risks generally appear to offer a welcoming outcome.

Yet, I too have struggled with the potential side impacts of my choices. In other words, how will what I am about to do, or say, or ignore affect others? Often times it is the impact on others that has prevented me from taking risks that ultimately would benefit me in the future.

I am not speaking of the wild ‘n crazy risks of adolescence when we are certain we are smart enough to get ourselves out of a bad situation if we were to get caught (ah yes, that lingered somewhere in the back of the brain). No, I’m talking about the choices that appear as risks when it involves making a change to our life that seems out of the norm.

How many of us have angst over leaving a job because of the projected fear of how our colleagues or even the company  will manage without us.  And, if they do, well, what does that say about our value to the company?  So many times in speaking with my clients, I’ve heard them bemoan the horrible risks of changing jobs in terms of leaving their friends. I tell them that if they are truly friends, and not colleagues, they too will want the relationship to continue after you leave the job. For if the new job opportunity presents options for growth and satisfaction in your life, wouldn’t a true friend want you to succeed?

So what is the real risk here? I believe the risk is allowing that gerbil in our head, or ache in our heart, or tightness in our gut, to tell us we shouldn’t risk success beyond the known comfort of our friends/family. If that job/relationship/location/income is good enough for them, who are we to think we need/deserve/want more?  After all, they are happy in that place. What does it say about us that we would leave them for another place and other people?  Are we that callous and selfish?

My long and winding journey has proven to me that when considering risk in one’s life, the primary consideration should be the impact of the risk on the authentic potential for quality of life and sustainable growth. We need to acknowledge that life is dynamic and will bring change regardless. If we don’t risk moving forward and growing toward full potential, we have settled ourselves into a life that is less than we deserve. No one comes into this world with the banner across her chest reading: “Will Settle For Good Enough, So Handle Gently”.

I ask you to think about the risk of taking no risk at all when envisioning your life story. The investment in self of taking risks to grow, change, experience, appreciate life at its fullest will result in those around you having a model for success.

I leave you with a poem  (author unknown)  that has carried me for decades as I have risked stepping in the river of life to experience the best of me, the fullest of life, and the potential to make a difference in my world.

RISKS

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out for another is to risk involvement.

To expose feeling is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The  person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply can not learn, feel, change, grow, love – live. Chained by his certitude, he is a slave. He has forfeited freedom. Only a person who risks is free.

Till next time, mo