Ayshah | Victoria

Living my Passion | Living with Purpose | Living in Peace


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Who The **** Are “THEY”?

The other day I was listening to a lovely lady in her late twenties who was in an animated, high-pitched frenzy over an episode in her life. She was extremely conflicted about how certain people were reacting to her decision to make a huge career change.

Before she could launch into her next angst-ridden tirade about what “they” think about this and what if “they” saw that, I asked her – “Who the **** are “they”?

She paused and blinked at me several times. I wasn’t sure if it was because the question surprised her or because I used a four-letter word.

“Weeell….? “ I prompted

Her forehead creased (no botox here…) as she pondered the question.

Before she could continue, I told her that it really didn’t matter who “they” were. And more significantly, what “they” think about her.  Of course, to properly comprehend that this did not mean she would have to disregard the opinions and preferences of those she cared about, I had to explain the difference between the opinions that truly mattered and those that really didn’t. It turned out that there were far too many opinions that she was concerned with and it was impeding on her ability to successfully attain her goal.  (Her Best Is Good Enough – but she doesn’t know it – yet.)

We like to think that we are in full control of our lives, the decisions we make and the direction we go. The truth is that  we are a lot more affected by public opinion than we would readily admit. What “they” think matters – much more than it should and there are many who feel they have to base every single decision on what “they” think.

This  can happen to anyone who is part of a community, a group, an organization or any social structure. The trick is to recognize the effect of the external influence WHILE  it is happening and counteract* any adverse effects it may have on your decision-making. To do this, you must first identify the source of the influence.

The Good Ones
Many of our friends, family and associates may share their opinions about our lives because they care and because they want what is best for us. It’s natural. But sometimes, we allow their opinions – and as I like to put it, their “preferences” for our lives to confuse our decision-making.  We shift from thinking “this is what I want to do” to “this is what I should do” or “this is what X would like me to do”.  It then becomes difficult to know where to place the emphasis in our thought-process..

For this, I offer one simple solution; listen to their opinions because you care about them and/or because you respect them. Listening does not mean agreeing. It is a foolish person who chooses not to listen to opinions or advice from people they respect, love or admire. However it is up to you to act on their advice. You can choose to do what you feel is best for you – at this precise point in your life. The consequences, good or bad are entirely yours!

The Bad Ones (aka “Haters”)
Any relatively successful person will tell you that you do not achieve your goals – especially the loftier ones, without your share of land mines. Of course there are the natural challenges that will occur along the path to success since nothing worth achieving comes  easily.  But when it comes to people around us, these land mines can come in the form of discouraging remarks designed to put you off your goal. They come from the kind of people who would experience a secret moment of glee if you fail to achieve what you are setting out to do.

They usually fit into one of these 2 categories:

  1. People you know who have already achieved what you are trying to achieve  – but would prefer it if you don’t (the not-enough-space-at-the-top syndrome)
  2. People who do not have the ability, strength or perseverance to achieve what you are trying to achieve and don’t want you to succeed as they feel it would amplify their own inabilities. Unfortunately this thought-process comes from their own self-doubt and insecurities and instead of choosing to rid themselves of such negative feeling, they prefer to infect others with it.

Harsh – but you know it’s true. Now many people in the two categories above tend to keep their negative feelings to themselves and if they are people within your circles,  they will appear supportive outwardly – but will make little comments here and there to dissuade you privately. Some may even speak unkindly about you to others – and if you are aware of this, I challenge you to drop them completely from your schedule (aka life). What’s the point in having a relationship with those who wish you harm?  Of course this method of cleansing and revitalization is not for everyone –  only those that can handle it*.

So who indeed are “THEY”?  They are a combination of the above.  By now you already know who they are – in your world.  Before you go out on a rampage, remember that these people are in your life for a reason. You alone choose how important you allow their voice to be in your head.

You  have to live your life knowing that there will always be others who do not want you to succeed and discourage you at every turn. There will also always be those that take steps to make things difficult for you. HOWEVER the sooner they know that  you do not base your decisions on their opinions,  the good ones will back down.  The bad ones – THEY  will find another person to plague with self-doubt. But certainly not you!

*For more about (A) counteracting the negative effects of opinions that have been shared with you or  (B) for cleansing and revitalizing your circles, ask me!

lions
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When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough… For YOU!

I was thinking about the meaning of the term “BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE” and had one of my meditatively-induced revelations. Being the BEST that you can be has TWO MEANINGS and only one of them is really important in our everyday lives.

The universal thought process behind being “the best that you can be” implies that in whatever you do, you do it to the best of your ability, using all your knowledge, experience, mental and physical faculties and efforts – i.e. – the BEST that you CAN be. Sound about right – right? Well almost…. because I have come to the conclusion that this definition is only a part of it and not the best part either.

I believe this universal way of looking at being the “best that you can be” is synonymous with an automobile’s ability to function at its fastest speed at all times. Operating using all mechanical and electronic aspects of its body. This way, it is at its optimum performance level and in a race, a Ferrari will speed past a Civic. But a Ferarri is a Ferrari and a Civic is a Civic – built to function differently with different purposes and therefore different servicing needs. If that Ferrari has not been serviced properly, a few years down the road, it will break down at an unexpected place while watching the well-maintained Civic stroll by.

In our daily lives, many of us strive for this uber-performance mindset – at work and at home. Being “the best that you can be” has been taken to correlate with developing the characteristics of a “high achiever” which in my opinion is an entirely different thing.  The definition of a high achiever can be generalized as a person who strives beyond the reach of the average thinker to achieve extraordinary goals.

However being the best that you can be (as it is generally written), means to do the best that you are able to with the hand you have been dealt. It also gives the underlining message that you do not have to be as good as the next person, just the best that you yourself can be. In essence – this is true. But should you operate at your optimum mental and physical levels all the time?

Or is there a different meaning of “CAN BE”? I believe there is. For example, if a man has recently had to undergo some difficult surgical procedure and his wife has just unexpectedly left him, I would say that the best that he CAN BE has significantly decreased since he has had to deal with emotional trauma and physical healing. But there is still a “best that you can be” here. It is the BEST way that you can deal with TODAY – with the cards that you and you alone have been dealt. Your Best IN THE NOW!

In this day and age, I find many people suffering from low self esteem and a sense of being “less able” than the next person to “keep up”. We are fed daily – via our surroundings, interactions, the internet and the media with stories and impressions that other people are “put together” and “in control” of their lives in a way that we seem to fall short of. This is a repetitive worry that I find in my practice from people at all stages of their life and career. It really bothered me and I kept finding myself incorporating this simple thought into our sessions which seem to resonate well with my clients – so I am sharing it with others in the hope that it may bring about some much needed peace of mind.

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This note is for …

  • The single mother of 3 who thinks that she isn’t doing enough to keep the kids busy
  • The c-level executive who thinks that he doesn’t have what it takes to do the job she has and is afraid that others will “find out”
  • The entrepreneur who can’t get past the anxiety she deals with on a daily basis
  • The working parent who is juggling so much and feels that others seem to be doing a better job
  • The teacher who feels he isn’t making a difference
  • The broker who strives to be on the front page of the latest real estate publication
  • The doctor who blames herself for the unexpected results of that last surgical procedure.

In short, this note is for everyone who may sometimes get that feeling of “ I am not doing my best. I feel bad about myself”.

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I propose a different take on the notion of being the best that you can be. First, we must eliminate the notion of using the perceived lives of others as a benchmark to measure our progress in life which in turn impedes on our sense of self-worth.

points to consider;

1. There is no one else like you on this planet

2. You cannot control other people’s behaviors, you can only control your reaction to them

3. There is nothing you can do about yesterday – and tomorrow never comes. You live in today and always will

4. The choices you make are yours alone to make

5. Any external negative input should immediately be eliminated before it takes root

6. Each day provides a different set of experiences and these experiences meet a different ‘you’ every time

7. You can only do what you can do with what you have available – mentally and physically

I would like to therefore extend point #7 above to state that the “best that you can be” should mean that you are operating to the best of your ability with the current mental and physical strength you have at this given moment. Sometimes you are mentally stronger than other times – and that’s OK.

You cannot be at your strongest ALL THE TIME, Everything has a season and this extends to your mental and physical health.

It is therefore important to know when you need to “recharge your batteries” – i.e. take a rest, schedule some “me-time” and re-evaluate the path you are on as well as your TRUE goals.

This may sound simple in theory but it is very difficult for most of us to do – because we are always running to catch up with an invisible energizer bunny or superhuman entity. This running is exhausting and you will find that re-adjusting the way one thinks about “being the best you can be” will pay off in the long run by allowing you to achieve more than you initially hoped for without burning out, having a break down or giving up.

We have to listen to our “best selves” and know when we are out of tune with who we really are because we were busy trying to conform to what we think we SHOULD be.

This process requires some introspection but it is truly worth taking the time to reflect and re-adjust how tough we may be  on ourselves.

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Here are 7 Simple, Yet Powerful Habits Worth Developing; 

1. Get enough sleep so that you wake up refreshed

2. Make time for meditation, prayer or introspection in the morning

3. Make the decision to be in tune with your mind and body so you will be better aware of the state of your health. This way you know when you are in peak performance mode and you can adjust your schedule accordingly

4. Frequently connect with people who make you feel good about yourself & terminate negative relationships (old and new)

5. Tackle your daily tasks one at a time and have confidence in your own accountability

6. Trust your judgement about your life and develop your goals accordingly

7. Give of yourself (in a humanitarian capacity) as much as possible – it is a substantial part of your existence

In conclusion (for today…) look at yourself through your own eyes, knowing that you were made (perfectly) to function in your own unique way that may or may not be similar to the next person. Be aware of yourself through the eyes or others but do not live by it.

Originally written: 2010 | All Rights Reserved © A.V.Powers

Follow me on twitter: @StrategicPowers