“Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” A Jesuit motto that invokes curiosity. From ages 3-5, I was programmed by Montessori. We met in the basement of a Mormon church with a curvy drive-way. I learned the value of self-motivation, planning and achieving goals at my own pace. I was also given the freedom of self-discovery. No one taught me to tie my shoe, I learned it on my own one Wednesday morning with the help of a tie board. When we gathered as a group, The 3 teachers taught us french and the process of choosing a president, (I voted for Carter that year).
Early childhood development is like the creation of our human operating system. It guides our adolescents and adult relationships. We use it to be courageous and make life changing decisions. If the operating system was constructed in a harmful or incomplete way, we may not know it until our “fixing” as adults doesn’t work. Salim Ismail, an entrepreneur and strategists, suggests that when this is the case, we must reconfigure our operating systems as a way to adjust our adult lives. Not just override – but reroute.
For me, a lot of how I process and achieve success comes from my Montessori years. Some people may believe that is unfortunate. But to this day, I hold a warm place in my heart for this Italian style of teaching and I happen to believe I am free.
Success! Is it planned, tracked and achieved? Or is it luck? According to Success for Teens, a free publication from Success Magazine, only you can define what success means, no one can do it for you. Which also means that no one can really place their desires and dreams on you and expect you to achieve them. So what does it mean when we do things “for” other people?
I am a committed follower of Top Chef and I often hear competitors say they are competing for their families or their moms. That kind of statement doesn’t connect with me. It isn’t that I am heartless and wouldn’t consider dedicating my efforts to someone, but doing something with such weight and expectation must be done for the self. How is the physical, daily effort of becoming an Olympian or CEO benefiting someone else? It isn’t! It is and must always be for the self – so that the residual outcome from the effort might be a benefit….for others.
This is my opinion and feel I am getting a little “micro-deep” for a blog. So, let me reference a great example. The very famous series of pictures in this post is of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1967. At the time, it was considered a men’s only race and as you can see, her efforts were not appreciated by some men. For her courage and her ability, K.V. Switzer opened the door for all women who run the Boston and other Marathons. She is a historical figure for women’s rights….and success. But my point is, her efforts first and foremost, encouraged by injustice, guarded by other runners, were to succeed for herself.
How I relate and work with others while growing my moral and creative self is my best self. Enjoy your day and yourself. This is the best self. Learn who to trust, who to avoid, what to risk and when to quit. Seek time along, with friends, in new space and familiar cafes. This is the best self. When in doubt, listen and ask. When you are 46% sure, jump!! Look for newbies, mentor young women and enjoy new ideas. Seek out change, equip yourself and team for assertive moves and use failure. This is the best self. Nothing is the end, you can always pivot. When you are wrong, apologize. When you aren’t, don’t! And when it isn’t accepted, screw it. This is your best self and it is only the beginning.
Being Thin-skinned is not a recommended or appropriate attribute for any professional adult. Crying, withholding information, the silent treatment and passive aggressive behavior are but a few ways women reveal their thin skin, says author Dr. Lois P Frankel. Whether you are a musician who has heard a few, “thank you, don’t call us, we’ll call you…” Or someone who has made a mid-life career change or you are mom whose teenage angel just turned witchy. It’s OK. It’s your process of the event that will reveal your self with thin or thicker skin.
My go-to response when thrown a curve is to let it sit. I don’t judge, react or take action until I can sort out my view. Then, I move into an appropriate response. The answers to questions that address my values, feelings, time, self-respect and a suitable behavior should dictate my move. Do we sometimes get hit so hard that we cry? Yes – don’t worry, it happens. But should I continue whining about it or use pity to get me way? Of course not.
We have people in our lives who want us to be brave. Punching someone is not brave. Back stabbing and blackballing is not brave. Taking time and thickening my skin is brave. This is what I have learned about myself. My skin is getting thicker.
Glenda the Good: Home is a place we all must find, child. It’s not just a place where you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we’re always home, anywhere.
Let us continue to find home or enjoy it.
Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
Scarecrow: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I—I think that it, that it wasn’t enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it’s that — if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?
Glinda: That’s all it is!
Scarecrow: But that’s so easy! I should’ve thought of it for you –
Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart –
Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself. Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds!
Dorothy: Oh! Toto too?
Glinda: Toto too.
Glinda: Whenever you wish.
Finding our home opens the next phase to understanding we are a strong self, a purposes self and full of everything we need, and then some. I will walk as if… I am home and allow it of fill my conciseness – and my countenance.
For me, January has been a bit of a yelling fest. My search for self has been interrupted by random people either yelling at me or “giving me a stern talkin’ to.” In each case, I am completely surprised. And in each case, I have a choice. – I can weigh their information up against what I know to be true of myself. – I can react and defend myself. – I can listen and in a low tone excuse myself. – Or, I could actually yell back at them.
In case you were wondering, I always choose the high road and respectable calm exit. But what about the more assertive response? What about saying, “you are out of line.” What about standing up to a bully or disrupts the self-righteous instigator? There is nothing wrong with this approach, in fact a more assertive response may be necessary. Women and girls in general should investigate that place between being mean and being a doormat. We need to incorporate an assertive response that says, “hey, you sound upset, maybe it’s me, but maybe it’s not.”
I have to admit, I did allow all this interaction to confuse the perception I have of myself. I wondered if I have had the right approach – for that day and for the entire length of my life? I kept my balance and decided to be better prepared the next time it happens, if it happens. It might be time for a new approach, a self, interrupted.
The word for today in church was, gift. Have you ever considered yourself a gift? Or that what you have to offer yourself, others and the world is your gift? Well, consider it because this is the thing you have been looking for. Yes, understanding that you are gift begins to close out all the noise, crap and false self conversations around you. To see myself as gift, I can say no to unimportant offers, controlling colleagues and mismatched partners.
For 388 weeks, my all time favorite book has been on the New York Best Sellers List. This week at #3, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, is 1 of 3 things I would take to a dessert island (chocolate cake and water being the other 2), because it takes me back to a child place when I knew I was gift. Another story with similar insights is the Wizard of Oz. I hope to connect the two in my next post.
Consider the birds, children and the beauty of nature. They all know they are gift. Small children naturally live a life that expresses their unique gift-ness. After a 3 month capitalistic season of over gift-giving…. just think, you have been here all along. You are the greatest gift.
As January unfolds, I continue to see clients for the first time, after the new year. Some I taught just a month ago and others are returning after a few months away. But all are excited to engage and learn in this new year. Some have asked, “how was your holiday?” To be honest, I have a deeper answer than you are probably looking for. While this new year’s question is a polite conversation starter, I know my uncommon answer will encourage intrigue.
Over the holiday, I enjoyed a lot of down time with my immediate family. I read and worked out business ideas, as well as performed in many concerts. What struck me only recently was that I was listening for the next steps of my life. An unconscious looking for the rabbit hole. I got a split second glance at the unfolding of the next 3 years and how my next choices can support my family and small business.
Don’t rule out the door behind the curtain. It will always reveal the past and the future in one extraordinary fact finding journey. Going through it…is your option.
In 2014 I started listening to Podcasts. I wanted to step into a new thinking around business, creativity and other vocational possibilities. I have narrowed my many podcast subscriptions to 2 favorites.
http://www.unmistakablecreative.com (with Srini Rao) & http://www.convergepodcast.com (with Dane Sanders). What I like about these interviewers is that they ask open ended questions to their guests and everybody is OK. The interviews are open ended conversation to inject direction, disruption and permission into my day.
The first Unmistakable Creative interview to kick off 2016 was with Philip Mckernan titled; How to Make this the Most Prosperous Year of Your Life. Normally, I would skip right over a topic so sensational. But because I know and trust these outlets, I clicked. Not only was Philip disruptive for the audience, he disrupted the interviewer. There are two ideas I want to offer.
“We give ourselves what we think we deserve.” & We ask people to help us but no one will tell us the truth…We already know the truth and we don’t want to see it. I have been disrupted for days. Maybe it is time for truth…which just might be a better view of myself and what I deserve.
If I ever feel like I am not making an impact in the world, I only need to look as far as my refrigerator. On the left side, just above the highly culturally advanced ice machine, is a quote from the late El Salvadorian Archbishop, Oscar Romero. “Stop worrying about whether you’re effective or important, Worry about what is possible for you to do, Which is always much greater than you imagine!”
Carve out small steps, bite size goals that connect and relate to others. Take small steps that pursue a larger impact while caring for self and community. Caring for self is becoming the new way to do what is possible. Asking the deepest part of me, What was I created for….really?
If I want to stop hiking around the same mountain, repeating failures, reinventing what is already available and wasting time…. I will consider Romero’s intrusion – begin to see what is possible for me.