Monthly Archives: January 2012

IF YOU’VE NEVER FAILED

“Winners lose more than losers. They win and lose more than losers, because they stay in the game.” Terry Paulson

STORY

My son is an awesome baseball player. Yet it’s his most frustrating sport.

Maybe because in baseball it’s more obvious to the crowd when you make a mistake, than in football. I’m not sure. But it messes with him (it always has).

Last night he missed two fly balls. Just doesn’t happen to him. He was dejected. Mortified. I didn’t know what to say. He certainly didn’t want to hear my advice, that’s for sure.

When we finally talked I told him, “You are a straight A student. You go to one of the toughest schools in the state and even nation. You got a 99.9% score on your high school placement test. You are tired. Overwhelmed. And stressed. You did your best.”

His answer surprised me.  

He was adamant he did NOT do his best. Yet even when I asked, “So you were distracted? Tired? Not playing full out?”

He answered, “Of course not, Mom! But if I had done my best I wouldn’t have dropped those balls.”

And he MEANT it.

That’s when it hit me – do you really believe your best is determined either by outcomes or external accolades? WTF? Are you kidding me? That’s insane!!!

I then carefully, but adamantly told him words I hope YOU hear too.

“You’re NOT taking in the wild card piece of it – the universe and your soul. Now you might only be 14, so your life lessons might come in the form of a baseball game so maybe what I’m getting ready to explain will sound crazy because baseball doesn’t seem like it’s that important. But at 14, could it be possible sports are how YOU are teaching YOU to prepare for harder things to come? If everything is super easy for you now, what will happen to you when you’re married and your wife has a miscarriage? Or you get fired? Or God forbid something else awful happens? Do you want to wait to test your emotional fitness when the people you love need you most? How will you handle that level of life disappointment if you’ve never even faced things as simple as giving it everything you have on the field and still dropping balls? It’s time to hunker down, get real and if it’s important to you then you need to try that much harder. But you have to believe you’ll get through this. Have faith in YOU. Accept your anger, embrace it; but don’t let it mean anything more than you are angry and learning how to move through anger to get to the other side of YOU.”

I don’t believe you should sweat anything – much less the little things, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t uber-important to your growth. You just don’t need to make them into mountains!

(All you need to do is pay attention to them so you can move through them more effortlessly.)

Learning to accept your best isn’t good enough at times, for whatever reason, will build your emotional fitness.

Knowing you might not win the prize every time, but knowing you got SOMETHING out of the experience is where joy comes in and will bring you outrageous fulfillment.

If you KNEW the experience wasn’t about winning or losing, but about just feeling and growing, how could you ever resist or avoid any emotion again? You should be shouting to the world, “Bring it on – I GOT this!”

Open your heart to get out of your head so you can see what is being revealed – like a movie scene playing out a bigger plot.

What you experience is exactly what you’re supposed to – it’s the meaning you put on it, like, “I have to try harder next time” is where you miss the boat.

It’s not always about trying harder. It’s about feeling whatever you’re feeling in that moment.

While it’s fine to build your skills on failures, it’s also important to enhance your soul through accepting your emotions as you have them. Avoid letting the ego take over to make them any more than they were supposed to be. Experiences breed growth. We crave them at a soul level.

But I also know you can’t know the reason part FOR SURE. It’s the wild card part of the equation. So use your joy detector (hint it’s not your mind!) to get closer to the truth – it’s there – and it will feel outrageous.

When you are on the field of life and you get knocked down pay attention to your next move because for the most part you have three basic choices.

  1. Grab your bat and glove and go home.
  2. Lay on the field in the fetal position.
  3. Pick yourself up and get back up to bat.

No matter what you choose, the only outcome I can GUARANTEE is that you’ll never hit that home run if you choose to go home or freeze. I can also promise you that life will hunt you down like a dog and find new and better ways to “teach” you what you are avoiding.

But facing the situation, picking yourself up off the ground and getting back up to bat is your only real chance to swing for the fences and knock that ball out of the park!

Watch this inspiring video and tell me, where would we be today if these people had chosen to quit?

English: baseball game

Image via Wikipedia

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How to Disagree Without Arguing

Have you noticed that most of the people you interact
with in life are going to disagree with you on at least  a
few things? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the
answer is yes. But you probably also learned that it’s
important to be able to assert your own position without
getting ensnared up in a petty argument.

If you’re curious about the best way to disagree with
someone without harming the relationship, here are six
tips that you can start applying immediately…

1. Never Argue With a Fool

One of the most important ways to disagree with
someone without causing an argument, is to simply avoid
interactions with people who argue just to argue. In
other words, if you can tell that someone is wasting a
contrary opinion simply for the sake of engaging you in a
debate, don’t waste your time. Simply acknowledge your
own disagreement in the silence of your heart and  move
on.

People are seldom if ever persuaded by debating, and
engaging someone who “just likes to debate” sets you on
the same juvenile level as them. There’s an old saying
that goes “Never argue with a fool because people
watching from a distance may not be able to tell the
difference.” Remember this the next time someone
disagrees with you, and choose your battles accordingly

2. Focus On Understanding First

Most of the time, when someone seems to be arguing
with you all they’re trying to do is get you to understand
their point of view. The problem is that many of us get
confused and think that if we affirm to someone that we
understand them that we are somehow agreeing with them.
But the moment you begin to focus on understanding
someone, and demonstrating to them that you understand
them, they’ll be much more likely to respect you…even
if you disagree.

3. Value the Truth Above All

Sometimes, disagreeing with a person is not the best
course of action. After all, there will be times when you
are wrong and the other person is right…but your pride
simply keeps you from admitting that you’re wrong. The
next time you find yourself in a discussion where he
seemed to be disagreeing with the person, switch your
focus and concentrate on making the point of the
discussion a search for what’s true.

You never know what you might learn if you just learn
to listen and focus on truth instead of on your opinion
or the other person’s opinion.

4. Offer Your Opinion as “Food for Thought”

Instead of offering your opinion as being counter to
the other person’s, offer it as “something to think
about” instead. This can be a very effective way of
presenting your opinion without offending someone. For
instance, if someone tells you that their interpretation
of something is _____, offer your view by saying something
like: “That’s an interesting point, but here’s something
else to think about…”

This way, you’re affirming their viewpoints before
suggesting yours, and you’re suggesting it as a question
instead of the statement of truth.

5. Watch Your Tone

Everyone knows that the tone in which you say
something speaks volumes and that it’s sometimes more than
the statement itself. Since it can be very difficult to
read whether or not there is judgment, agitation, anger or
arrogance in your voice, practice recording yourself
while you’re talking about something that you strongly
disagree with.

Really take the time to describe why you disagree with
it, and listen to the recording after you’re done. You
might be surprised at what kinds of hidden messages there
are in the tone of your voice. You’ll also be much
quicker to correct your tone and to speak with respect to
people, even when you’re disagreeing with them.

6. Know Your Motives

This is probably the most important thing you can do
when it comes to relating with people that you disagree
with: know your motives. Really stop and ask yourself
whether you are disagreeing with the person or if you’re
simply trying to be heard and understood. Most of the
time, people will continue to voice opposing opinions if
they don’t feel that they are being heard.

If they continue to feel that they’re not being heard
or understood, they sometimes start belittling the other
person’s viewpoints just to “get back at them.” So really
search yourself and find out whether or not you are
voicing your opinion for the sake of contributing to the
interaction, or if you’re just wanting someone to hear
you and understand you.

TIP: If you have strong opinions which are getting you
into arguments with other people, it might be a good idea
to find out why you feel so strongly about them. Most
often defensiveness towards others is due to inner
conflict. Working these kinds of things out can make your
interactions with other people much better.

Time Boundary Skills 101: Where Do You Draw the Line Between Work and Home?

Your success requires time management, and time management requires sticking to your priorities and making tough decisions every day. These days, many of us are working harder and putting in longer hours, just to get by. Do you know the feeling? The danger, of course, is that we lose ourselves in our work.

You alone are in a position to decide what balance you want to strike between your work and your home. Whatever decision you make, you then actualize and maintain this choice with a boundary.

Once you know what kind of balance you want to strike, then you also have decisions to make about the kind of boundary you will have. Is it non-negotiable? Is it something that you can be flexible about? Will it apply all the time and to everyone, or are there exceptions?

And then the final thing you’ll need to consider is making sure that your boundary is in sync with your core values, and that you are communicating it clearly to everyone who needs to know about it.

So, imagine that you want to have a strong boundary between work and home. How do things like your personal needs and style, your communication skills, and the quality of your support system factor in? Here’s a sampling of 3 pros and 3 cons to consider, as you think about setting your boundary:

Pros:
1. Your schedule is a lot less likely to be disrupted by other’s urgency if you discourage “emergency” calls from home or work. When boundaries are porous and you are constantly reacting to urgency, that can lead to distraction, overwhelm, and rash decisions that undermine your effectiveness and erode others’ trust.

2. Remember that when you encourage those who are qualified to handle emergencies on their own, you are promoting their confidence and competence. This is a real win-win situation!

3. Strong boundaries reduce outside distraction. This can give a huge boost to your focus, flow, and personal productivity, whether you’re at work or at home.

Cons:
1. If you can’t successfully delegate the management of a situation or demand, then maintaining a strict boundary may mean that those problems escalate and ultimately consume even more time.

2. If the transition from work to home activities is an easy one for you, then maintaining rigid distinctions may actually discourage creative solutions that could enrich both areas of your life.

3. Regimenting roles too rigidly can sometimes discourage cooperative enterprises. More flexible partnerships in which responsibilities are shared and differing strengths are pooled, may help you discover time-saving opportunities that are to everyone’s benefit.

What’s best for you? That’s what really counts, in the end. There’s no right or wrong here — just what works for you. So, do you find yourself nodding strongly at one position or another?
Ready to try a time boundary on for size? Here are additional questions and ideas to consider as you move ahead:

• What do I want to have time for?
• What can wait?
• What can be delegated?
• Who does what, and when?

Discuss your evolving ideas about your new time boundaries with everyone involved, so that people aren’t surprised.

Answering questions like these helps you prioritize, clarify lines of responsibility, and learn more about your preferred work style and possible time challenges.

Take all the time you need to sort out the specifics. You and those close to you benefit by clarifying your roles right now — it short-circuits potential conflicts down the road. And, with what you learn, you can develop contingency plans that will lessen the possibility of straining relations in the heat of the moment (i.e. when you least need conflict).

Your reward, as you clarify, establish, and maintain your time boundaries, is heightened productivity, improved communication and effective backup plans. In a very real sense, the boundaries you establish will direct your energies and shape your life.

When you put these time skills to work, you automatically gain more positive control over your time. Just watch how it affects your energy and attitude!

So, what’s your next step to create more effective boundaries and find more time?