Categotry Archives: Blog

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Responsibility

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, Leadership Counselling, Tags: , ,

This week was about one specific theme: “responsibility”. All week long it has been about taking responsibility, being able to take responsibility, and especially about taking responsibility when you are in the position of management.

At some moment you may have chosen to be in a management position. Whereas there are many roles having “manager” in the name, it doesn’t necessarily always involve managing people. It does involve the responsibility with being called a “manager”, which means “no hiding”, “no taking things for granted” and “questioning things whenever necessary”.

There can be a number of reasons why people do not do so, varying from “being afraid to tattletale”, to “not knowing what’s expected and listen to the first person who does tell them something, to “thinking things will have way of working out regardless whether they demand this or not”.

It doesn’t matter what the reason is, whenever you decide to step up to this role or level you need to take certain responsibilities. Being scared is not one of those trades, neither is being vague. If you don’t know, ask. Don’t ever get told that others made assumptions about you knowing things, while you in fact do not know. Instead make sure you do know what the other wants.

Is this simple? No, it’s not. Is it logical? It should be. So if you are a manager (whether seeing yourself as one or actually being one), can you say what’s keeping you from performing the way you are supposed to? You are supposed to streamline, most certainly where others can’t, get answers from others, even when do not want to give you any, and demand things from others, especially when they do not seem to be taking you seriously.

When you do not get those answers, or people do not seem to listen to you, you might wonder what’s wrong. Are you that manager you are supposed to be? Do others perceive you to be that manager you think you are? Do you live up to the status of being that manager you are supposed to be, that you (most likely) can be?

If you don’t, it’s time for a change. Either you step up to the plate, or you take a step back. The choice is ultimately yours. Whatever you choose, do so with your eyes wide open and know it’s always your own responsibility whatever you decide to do.

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Stepping up to the plate

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, Leadership Counselling, Tags: ,

For some time now I’ve been coaching someone on management level and today the subject was about “stepping up to the plate”. The biggest difference between coaching management and non-management is the way managers can be addressed and how quick they are ready to “really listen” and act upon what they’ve come to realize. Often there’s more at stake, so all the more reason to change what they’ve become aware of. The common nominator has to do with insecurity as result of changes. Even when working at a high level for a longer period of time, once in a new environment, roles change and become unclear and with this their attitude can change beyond recognition. They suddenly act like non-management, accepting everything that’s required from them to do. Question is whether this is wished for, or not.

All of us have certain skills. A number of people prefer to do whatever has been asked, no more, no less. Then there are those who are very creative and think out of the box. Others are helpful and / or not afraid of taking responsibility. A limited amount of people have the ability to take a step back and see what is already happening and then there are those who can see what is likely to happen, if certain routes will be continued. Take the latter groups who have the ability to “spot” things and combine this with taking responsibility and there is the question of whether or not someone dares to “step up the plate”.

Communication is a difficult subject. Not only do we have to deal with communication at work, but also within our private life. Remarkable is that any issues having to do with communication at work are also recognizable in personal relationships. Coaching management therefore is not only about coaching them at work, but also about how to deal with others in their private lives.

When someone has the ability to spot things others do not, one can argue whether or not they have the responsibility to do something with this skill. Would you be prepared to tell others what you’ve become aware of and, by telling them, support them in the possibility of making changes or would you just leave things the way they are? This question probably is best answered by looking at numerous aspects, starting with “do you feel this to be “justified” ”? If you were to address certain observations, would this feel like you are being a “tattletale” or would this be in the best interest of – say – the company? Is the way you are “exposing” the observations done in a way that is hurtful? Or can you tell in such a way that it’s not to be taken “personally”, won’t have any negative consequences for the people involved and will be beneficial to “all” in the long run?

If we are dealing with people who are not able or not eager to express their thoughts, communication can become very hard all of a sudden. Especially if there are a bunch of people who are not capable of or willing to do so. Would you like to have something changed, because you see it won’t work in the long run, it might be up to you to say it out loud.

Question next becomes if you have the courage to speak up. You might know what it is you want to say, but you simply may not dare to, not knowing whether it would be appreciated or not. By looking at the different possibilities of expressing what it is you want and comparing these to possible outcomes, an overview can be created, helping you decide what would be best for you and others involved. If you are certain the outcome will be positive, the next step is about taking action. Which leads us to the question: Would you be willing to “step up the plate”?

The client, I got to coach, realized that after “becoming aware”, action may be required, but in such a way, this will be acceptable for both him and his surroundings. He is already redefining his role and with it his responsibilities and actions. He’s going to do what he did best, before he changed environments. He’s going to be this observer, gather data and present this to his management-colleagues, accompanied by possible solutions.

When I started out this piece, I was talking about skills and I asked the question, whether or not someone could and would be willing to “step up the plate”. Possible insecurities were discussed, combined with personal thoughts and ethics. One thing got left out. What if you are able to take the next step, but you simply do not “want” to do so? You might want to consider if you are one of those people who has that rare ability to view things for what they are worth. If so, what would it cost you to act on it? What if it were to be beneficial to you? This willingness to look at things from this perspective and the ability to deal with this is what separates the “true managers” from the others. They have what it takes to take that extra mile, stepping up to the plate.

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The importance of the right State of Mind

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, Tags: ,

A while ago I wrote an article on Alternative Therapy. I described a number of aspects, varying from advantages to warnings. The advantages being an increased resistance, being more relaxed (also leading to a better resistance). The warnings have to do with never using alternative medicine on its own, but always as an addition to regular medicine. This piece will be about a similar warning, having to do with influencing your state of mind and with it, your mental health.

When it comes to your health, there are a number of key components: Your physical health, your mental health and then there’s something, which can not be specifically measured, but what everybody talks about and knows, being the amount of energy in your system. Mental components often influence the amount of energy you have (as in how you’re feeling and how much you can get done during the day) and in the long run also your physical health. When you have less energy, you’re resistance is likely to go down, which physical ailments being the result. The mental aspect is therefore a very important component for our health and with it for our wellbeing.

When getting support on a mental (psychological) level, it’s important that the whole process gets looked at. A number of professionals are very good at digging very deep, getting things to the surface, but next forget that it’s also their responsibility to let the person go home safe. By safe, I mean, without the risk of hurting oneself, because of emotions having come to the surface. This for instance happens when going to courses. People get send home, most of them are fine, but some of them are still very emotional and shaken up from what they’ve found out (experienced). Chances are, they will not pay enough attention on the road, with the necessary consequences.

Besides this happening when going to a course, it could also happen when going to a private session with a coach, counselor or even a psychologist. When people are working on a tight schedule, they may make you aware of certain mindsets, but not help you solve these mindsets, since you are running out of time. Since you’ll be returning next week any way (most of the time people with tight time schedules, also plan 5 sessions ahead), the resolution can wait for another week and you can get to think about it during this week. Wait a moment… wait another week (or worse even longer)???

Yes, it happens and I’ve seen a number of people who were completely depressed after such sessions. They had discovered their “dark” sides, uncovered certain habits and memories and next they were send off, without having been given any coping mechanisms. These people came from other coaches or psychologists and were extremely low in energy and didn’t know what to do. Next I got to patch them up, fix their mindsets, so they would become empowering, instead of draining away their energy, being the result of not knowing how to deal with the new (possibly rediscovered) knowledge.

When friends are helping out, they can cause the same effect. If they keep asking, they might uncover a hidden mindset. However they may not be trained to patch their friend back up again. So what to do next? Fortunately most friends are more about giving advice, then about listening and getting to those specific details and with it the mindsets behind them.

Besides professionals and/or friends, you might end up getting involved with people who want to make others aware of their mindsets. Let’s say for instance they ask you questions, which eventually show you that your ideas (let’s call it perspective on life) have been false all along. What will happen next, if your whole foundation, your whole life, had been built on this perspective? What will happen if you suddenly have been made aware that nothing adds up anymore and there’s no safety net, no one to give you the proper support on how to deal with this? Would you accept it if you then got told: “Oops sorry… not my field of expertise? I’m just here to give you a wake-up call?”

In each of the examples, whether having to do with professionals, amateur philosophers and/or well meaning friends, there’s a real risk involved. People might come out worse of a situation, then before they went in. When someone is “messing” with your mind, whether well meant or not, it’s very important to be aware of the possible results. If you cannot be helped while being in “trouble”, you shouldn’t be given this wakeup call to begin with.

So, if you ever are to get involved in such a process, be careful that what’s been started can also be finished. If it can’t be finished, or you are not willing to let others help you get through the whole process, you might not even want to have people start digging in your mind to begin with. Getting things ditched up (again) and not having these resolved, can be way more dangerous for your state of mind, as in leaving things be. You’re better off being unhappy, than being confronted with your worst fears and not knowing what to do with this.

Going back to the beginning of this piece, I was talking about alternative medicine and working with people who are not qualified or trained to do what they pretend to be doing. This can also be applied to people in regular healthcare (psychologists for instance) and/or people in the alternative circuit. Make sure, you always go see a properly trained professional, who knows what he or she is doing and will take the responsibility to make sure you return home/stay safe at all times. You always want to make sure that if hidden mindsets are dug up and/or certain ideas or memories get uncovered, there’s someone to fall back upon, making sure you can get back in the right state of mind. And yes, you may have doubts in the process, but as long as you feel secure, despite these doubts, and you have a safety net, you will most likely be fine.

Finishing this story on the importance of the right State of Mind, I want to emphasize, the importance of those people who are willing and able to help others find out their own “truth”. Reaching people’s hidden mindsets and uncovering unknown “blind spots” is an art in itself. Some people are good at it, while others will never be, or even worse, won’t even care to (listen). If you are one of those people who have such a special persons in your surroundings, who can reach your hidden mindsets and get them uncovered, you might be very lucky (providing you let them work with you). Know that these people can take pride in what they do, since only few people can seriously listen to others, while also getting through to them, making them listen, and understand. By doing so, they can and will (seriously) improve other people’s lives.

 

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Confirmation Bias & Mindsets

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, Tags: ,

How to deal with Confirmation Bias & Mindsets?

Every once in a while I get into a discussion having to do with explaining how certain things are picked up on. This one has to do with “how to approach people in order to get through to them”, or better yet how to deal with “Confirmation Bias”. How is someone best approached in order to have him or her listen?

Before going on, some things should be explained when it comes to “Confirmation Bias”. People talk about Confirmation Bias when others have certain specific ideas and they are not open to changing these. On the surface they seem to be open and to be listening but when taking a closer look, they actually are not. It took me till very recently to understand this principle. It wasn’t until I was being told the following until I started to see what was actually being meant:

“It’s the whole reading comprehension thing again. You evidently read between the lines and see precisely what you want to see.”*

My first response was:

“There’s a very big difference between reading between the lines (noticing what’s not been said and getting into this) and only noticing what I want to see (this is called a blind spot, as a result of a mindset).”

The answer:

“The two things aren’t mutually exclusive. You can set out to notice “what’s not being said” because it’s what you want to notice. Or, you can notice face-value language and see it how you want to see it.”

Later adding:

“Two words: Confirmation bias.”

While first thinking “Confirmation Bias” was nothing more than being aware (reminded) of what the “so-called” bias (for others “the true belief”) is, it turns out there’s a whole lot more to it. Looking it up on the net I found an article explaining that this is about looking for evidence as in confirming what was already thought of and overlooking all else, which could be contradictive to the already adopted beliefs (note what was being said before: [You] “see precisely what you want to see”). They added that in order to find out the “truth”, it’s important to have people involved who represent the other side.

This leads me straight to question number two. How to approach people who are (almost) certain to only see (and hear) what they want to comprehend (as in being blinded by their own mindsets)?

Does it require being polite or the exact opposite as in being blunt? Does someone need to get angry first and what would the result be? What I said when talking on about confirmation bias and how things were said to me was:

“It’s the way you can say things to me and the impact they have on me. And then there’s me thinking about the truth behind it, making me see things differently.”

The response was:

“Show me the polite way to let someone know that their personal beliefs about how the world operates could be mistaken, and I’ll show you a person who will let it in one ear and out the other.”

Personally I do no think this has anything to do with being polite. It has to do with getting through to someone, which requires being “straight-forward” about what it is you want to say to the other person, leaving no question marks whatsoever. The other aspect is being respectful.

The first aspect sounds easy enough until/unless someone is not willing to listen. This can be easily recognized. If someone chatters on or stops only briefly to go on straight away about another subject, this is very revealing. What’s important is to do what it takes to get someone’s attention. This can vary from touching someone on the knee, forcing to look at you to getting completely silent and see what happens next. Depending on the situation and the relationship the methods will vary.

When being on the net (only relying on text and no live images), things become a little harder. What if someone does listen to you, but does not respond back about it? Is it by repeating the same words/lines all over again that someone shows he or she is not listening? Can it be that part is understood and part is not? And if so, what to do? Repeat it all over again (or partly) just in other words? How can you check what is understood and what’s not?

Then there is the second aspect called respect. If someone gets angry, upset or emotional, does this show respect to the other one? And better yet (or even worse), what kind of reaction does it trigger? If lucky the other ones does not respond at all, or it only gets noticed and something is being said about it, reminding the other one of his or her responsibility. Worst case scenario the other starts to yell or scream even louder, a very normal reaction, leading to nowhere.

When we are talking mindsets, we are dealing with the subconscious part. This can be triggered by emotions and/or by going into extremes. Showing a mirror can work very well, but is not always the easiest thing to do. Then there is also the part of showing trust, confidence and/or patience towards the other person, which gives one the chance to let his one’s guard down and get closer to this (hidden) mindset. Safety is “key” when you want to access parts which are hidden in the subconscious part of the mind. Taking someone along on the path to the (sometimes painful) truth may still be hard, but when done so with enough respect and trust, it’s acceptable, however difficult it may seem.

Someone recently send me this message:

“It’s really nice to speak to you. Even if it often feels like you’re pulling me further down while I feel like I’m drowning in misery, with you questioning my thinking and intentions… you still manage to always pull me back up above the surface where I can breath. You’re amazing. I feel better now that I did this morning.

She’s a wonderful person, willing to look at herself, showing guts by doing so. And sometimes I can be really “blunt” to her, to access those mindsets and to make things (patterns) visible to her. Doing so, I also remind her of the things she’s already done and the good aspects coming out of the whole process and with it, there’s trust.

Looking back on this story, I’d say we all have hidden mindsets, causing us to act conform “confirmation bias”. Not all of us are so lucky to have someone in our surroundings to point this out and while these persons might be rather annoying and sometimes even hurtful, they are the truly special people which deserve treasuring. How many people do you know who dare to tell you the truth, see the world differently, and thus making you able to grow? If you do, you might want to think about this story next time you would like to lash out at someone who’s giving it to you straight :-). I most certainly will and do, however hard sometimes!

 

* All quotes (in Italics and with exception of the last one) are made by someone I talk to daily on his blog, also known as TS. TS is constantly showing me new insights when it comes to my own mindsets and beliefs, never giving up, even when things seem pointless. Even when not knowing where this will lead me, when talking about my own “’experiences” and “beliefs”, it helps me to see things in better perspective, uncovering my own (limiting) mindsets. Being both a coach and counsellor, I’m more appreciative about this than anyone will, most likely, ever know.

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A Challenge called Insanity

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, Massage, Workout, Tags: , , ,

It’s been a few months since I first I heard about it, a workout called Insanity. One can wonder why one would do a workout in front of a tv, alone at home, however, after not having been to the gym for over a year it was time for some proper workouts again. So when I first read about Insanity (on Facebook no less), the second thing I read was it indeed was insane. Now always being up for a good challenge, it caught my attention, but when looking for it back then I couldn’t find it over here in Holland. Recently someone in the neighborhood had some difficulty walking, I wanted to know and then I got told Insanity was to blame for this. The good news was Insanity is also available over here now!

So a little over a week ago Insanity was delivered to my home, it said it started on Mondays, being a good girl I waited till Monday and next was swamped with appointments. No Insanity that day! Change of plans! One of the things mentioned in the preparation was using a heart rate monitor and then I remembered I had a watch which rewarded me with a price cup if I indeed worked out several times a week. Actually this wasn’t much of a problem, since I had replaced going to the gym with cycling to the beach several times a week. So instead of working out with Insanity my first actions consisted on putting on that watch + “wearlink” and get going.

After a couple of days the curiosity took over and when I had the time last Saturday I started with Insanity. The first time you have to take a Fittest. Getting all prepped up as if going to the gym, I started take this first test, was pleasantly surprised, despite ending up with a red head like a tomato for a while and next felt proud of myself.

Posting a message about this on Facebook, someone else wanted to know about this workout as well and seeing what it meant I again got to realize this wasn’t just for anyone. I already had discussed this with some others, before I knew what it was, since everyone seems to want to do some form of workout, but no one wants to go to the gym (alone). I have one big advantage though, I’ve been working out since my early twenties in the gym, since it’s one of the few sports I can actually participate in. As a result I’ve become a fitness trainer, next a medical fitness trainer and then ended up as a sport masseuse. This means I know what I can do and cannot do and why, so I can safely join those peeps on tv.

Pricecup on PolarToday is Monday, which means that messages have been distributed at midnight to everyone who has a watch with a price cup. Walking  a bit slower and harder than usual after two days of working out I looked at  my watch, clicked on the message and there it was, a price cup. Yes! After  more than a year I finally have gotten back in the game.

I’m aware this is a sixty day program and after the program I cannot just sit back and do nothing, but it actually has giving me a very good feeling. I always loved to work out and I’m back in the game again. I’m not the girl who will ever look pear-shaped or slim for that matter, but that’s okay, I love a muscular body. And as long as I’m the auntie who still gets to swirl around her cousin(s), even when almost being as tall as me (do they grow fast nowadays), it’s still fun to be able to do so.

Writing this down I feel very content. Relaxation has a new meaning after working out and when I’m going to get my feet and face done in a while (which color to pick this time for my toenails?), I’ll also know that when standing in my practice tonight I’ll feel a lot better. Not only because I just got pampered, but especially because when I’m massaging people (those working out, running, you name it), it always feels a lot better to be able to say I’m working out myself as well, so I remember vividly about muscle aches. I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy this challenge called Insanity. Muscle aches always remind me what I’m doing these workouts for and right now all I can say is I’m happy to finally be doing something that will (hopefully) get me back into shape before the Summer sets in over here (which may actually take a long while over here 🙂 !)

One quick afterthought: You don’t want to do this in the presence of all others, since it indeed is taking its toll on the breathing, which may look and sound anything but flattering. Then again, who cares? It’s a Challenge after all and it’s all about the end result!

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Mind discipline – silencing the chattering of the mind

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, HyperSensitief, Tags: , ,

There are a number of things that make life kinda sweet. One of these things is driving at night, while it’s dark, it’s quiet and then enjoying the music over the speakers (beats the laptop anytime), while also experiencing driving with the rooftop slightly opened, since the weather is finally improving. It helps me to calm down my mind, silencing it and as such functioning as some sort of mind discipline (more on this later), being caused by having to focus on the road, while next having music calming me down some more and making me all happy.

While being on the road I was wondering about a number of things, one of which being why I like to drive in the middle of the night. Most of the time you can find me cycling home coming from the beach, but today I had some things to do in another city, so the car it was. I always feel a bit decadent when driving. Most people seriously think I’ve bought my gloves especially for this car, but alas no, although they make a good match :-). One of the reasons I like to drive at midnight, probably has to do with my preference of this time of day. It’s the time with little input from others (if any at all) and there seems to be something magical about driving in the dark, with just a few lights (as opposed to complete darkness which I do not like at all).

One of the things I intended to do was write a little something about the confusion in my mind. At nighttime one would expect this could be done quite easily, but believe it or not, the Dutch (and one Swedish) friends are still awake, leaving me little to none peace of mind to actually write down my thoughts. Still I’m determined to make it work, so I’m doing my utmost to ignore the bleeps around me and just give in occasionally.

Today I was talking to someone about the chattering in our heads. I know a thing or two (and a lot more) about this myself and one of the things that helps me is to write things down and get some understanding of why there’s so much chattering going on. Part of my thoughts has to do with something I wrote earlier today to someone. While writing, or better yet after writing I noticed I’d been expressing my thoughts and emotions is a not very friendly manner, making me wonder if this was a wise decision. Well some things cannot be undone, so I just wrote an additional message to explain my confusion and basically to say “sorry” for being somewhat (?) blunt and direct in the previous messages. It’s not in my nature to express my displeasure with things so directly (at least not when it comes to personal stuff, businesswise I do not mind at all), so whenever I do I always want to correct it straight away. Won’t help one bit and takes away all intent, whereas what’s been said has been said and it has no use at all to try and change this.

So another method is to get into a meditational state. Whereas it took me lots of effort to close my eyes and just sit, it’s actually become a comforting place to be. At first I allow my mind to wonder on, within certain limits, having to do with the place I reside at in my mind. This actually follows a certain pattern, allowing me to go deeper in the meditation, while at the same time expressing my thoughts, worries, emotions and all that needs to go in order to get that quiet mind. Depending on how much chattering is going on, I’ll get into nothingness pretty quickly, or I’ll just enjoy the experience of being in this other place, while at the same time my physical body is completely relaxing. The combination is a wonderful one causing me to feel safe during the time I’m away from all daily choirs and influences.

When chatting earlier today about silencing the chattering of our minds, I responded that going into a meditational state or trancelike state actually did wonders for me. When thinking about it, it seems almost like a contradiction that in order to have to learn to meditate or go even deeper, I had to learn mind discipline. All these years no one was able to silence my mind, till I went to medium courses. The teachers who were supposed to be teaching a “woo” subject, were actually very strict and required focus and discipline, specifically mind discipline. For the first in my life I’d found something I could get myself to calm down with. I’ll admit I prefer other methods which can go way faster (as in a few words), but unfortunately “they” are mostly not accessible, so it’s nice to have multiple options when it’s really needed.

Talking about one of these methods, today I got to realize that one of these actually wasn’t working for me at all. If anything it had made me all confused. I’m talking about writing other people and next experience new perspectives and with it some more structure. However today the structure seemed lost and as a result confusion set in and with it more chattering, hence the multiple messages I talked about earlier on this post. In the last message I expressed my confusion and this seemed to result in more peace of mind. Getting away from all it, getting in my car was a good next step. It allowed me to enjoy music and the surroundings in the midst of night, so by the time I was starting to write this, I was actually really happy again.

When I got to write with someone (else) about having a hard time sleeping because of chattering going on (no not specifically of my mind this time), I remembered I already had decided earlier today I wanted to write about the mind discipline, leading up to the mind calming down and to me this emphasizes something I wrote about yesterday as well. It’s about things (topics) popping up whenever they need to. Yesterday it had to do with the metaphysical and evidence, today it was about mind discipline to silence the chattering of the mind. Personally I love it, when things have a way of working out, such that what’s best to talk about at a specific moment, actually gets the attention it deserves.

This being said, it’s time to wrap things up. With expressing my thought to (electronic) paper, fatigue is setting in. Before falling asleep I’ll be doing some exercises having to with mind discipline and with some luck I’ll be fast asleep before having finished them. I’m aware that mind discipline is gone for that moment, but that’s okay, ‘cause it will have served its purpose by then: getting the mind to quiet down.

There is one BUT however (if there wouldn’t be, one could wonder if it really were me talking here), of course I wanted to check my mail before wrapping things up. Why? Because there might be something in the mail, getting me off balance and then the whole mind discipline routine would have to take place all over again. Checking my mail actually proved to be a good idea, as in even soothing. I can now say that one of these methods I was talking about before in this post, is actually working again, at least for me it is… :-). It has given me some more food for though, but that can wait till tomorrow!

 

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Pondering on mindfully

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, Tags: , ,

Pondering on mindfully

Today the world is looking radiant again! The sun is shining, I got a wonderful email and more importantly the peace inside me has been restored again. I feel empowered once more and all of this being the result of putting my thoughts to paper and pondering on this.

The last couple of days were a big struggle for me, because of confrontations, even coming to a point I really did not want to know if there were anymore emails in my inbox with confrontational messages, so I looked at my inbox very cautiously. No such thing fortunately. Everything remained calm and quiet and now I’ve found myself all happy and confident again.

Let’s be clear about one thing: neither my confidence nor my self-esteem were lacking. I just wasn’t willing to be unprepared for any more confrontations. Normally I do not mind, but even a girl like me has her limits from time to time. Today however I read this wonderful message:

“It’s easy to take off your clothes and have sex; people do it all the time, but opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes and dreams… that’s being naked.”

To me it says it all.

The last couple of days I became aware – after talking to a number of people – that I’m one of these people that hardly share my true inner thoughts. If I were to do so, than I’ll be doing it in writing, but talking about my inner feelings is very hard for me to do.

Most people however dislike writing, since it takes them lots and lots of effort, so they’d rather talk instead of write. This sometimes gives sort of a conflict, since they expect me to tell them all about what’s going on inside of me and next I don’t. So those who really want to get to know me, should actually be reading my blog posts and my responses on other blogs. Please not that I do not expect this of anyone, ever. After all it’s my choice to share whatever it is I want and also my responsibility to do this in the appropriate manner when it comes to the people I love.

While typing this, I’m aware that this is easier said than done. I know it’s true what I’ve just written down and still I have a hard time applying this. There are moments I like to share things, for instance by phone, but this does require time and patience on the other side of the line. Next I may come face to face with people and not be in the mood to share anything, besides smiles and hugs and “easy” talk. The need for sharing the information simply isn’t there at this moment.

Recently I saw this video of a girl who has autism. What struck me is that she cannot speak, but she has so much to tell about what going’s on in her mind and she does so by typing. Somehow I could (and still can) relate to this. Whenever typing, all these thoughts can go straight to (electronic) paper without any disturbance. I can choose whenever I want to type and moreover I can type when I need to get things off my chest or better when I need to unload that mind.

Writing however also gives me the chance to reflect on things. I’ve noticed so when exchanging things on other people’s blogs. At first I want to get into a certain defense, until I notice I’m ending up with the same conclusion they already had stated. It’s an interesting process to notice this and when becoming aware I automatically adjust my response to a more appropriate one.

By doing so a number of times now I’ve become aware of the importance to me to keep reflecting on things, thoughts, views by taking a statement from someone else and then just let it “move” around in my mind, sort of like tasting it and getting to discover all aspects it might contain. Now I know some people will now say I still will miss the most important aspects or straight away dismiss them and this probably is very true. I might miss something or not be aware of it, but take the chance to explain it (anew) to me and I will “taste” it again and ponder on it. Needless to say that I therefore truly appreciate those who take the time to explain things a little (or a lot) more clearly to me, even when they have already done so before, because they suspect I might not have understood it in it’s entirety. It being a statement, a thought process, you name it and it can be applied.

Today however the sun is shining, not just outside, but also in my heart and in my mind. It enlightens my mind and it empowers me, also to a point I like to share this with others. I’m going to bring a smile to the world in a bit by going outside. And just maybe this story will bring a radiant smile to your heart as well!

Pondering on things or chewing on them, while tasting it, is actually like being in the now (as in mindfulness). It’s not about the past or the future, it’s becoming aware of something right now and giving it the appropriate amount of attention. Just give it a try and see if you like it!

 

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Manual before entering Marriage

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, Tags: , ,

Manual before entering Marriage

I love to read certain stories, especially when knowing who’s behind the tale and what certain views are leading to discussions and specifically being good food for thought. Yesterday I got to read a piece on “Soul mates”, which BTW was inspired by another medium for this writer and today while walking around in the kitchen a story came to mind: All marriages should come with a manual, starting with a warning.

 *** MANUAL BEFORE ENTERING MARRIAGE ***

WARNING!!!

Beware! Before entering this marriage, know that you are about to engage with damaged goods. You might think you’re going for a snugly round hole / snugly round fit, however you might be unpleasantly surprised to find out there are actually pointy edges making it impossible to fit this snugly round hole.

If you do however enter this marriage be aware that the pointy edges, hooks and not-so-rounded corners may exist on both shapes, being the snugly round hole and the snugly fit for this snugly round hole. It may even happen that both edges, flat and/or sharp sides may occur at the same location, making it impossible to ever fit perfectly.

So before entering this marriage, make sure you get to read the manual properly and are willing to accept any faulty parts, without the intent to ever change them on your loved one’s side.

Also beware that you might want to improve things for your loved one, healing the other person to being perfectly round again, but this might not be optional at all, since the healing can only be done by the other person. So you may think you’re up for the job, but realistically this may not be your job to begin with.

This leads to one important assignment, not having to do with the institute of “marriage”, but to the institute of “yourself”. When voluntarily entering this marriage, you agree to be working at yourself for the next coming decades, either till death do you part or till you no longer can stand yourself and/or your – once – loved one.

When agreeing to this, be aware of what this actually includes. It includes being:

  • Honest to yourself;
  • Willing to change YOURself;
  • Willing to communicate even when subjects involved might have pointy edges and appear to be treacherous.

It does NOT include:

  • Changing your loved one;
  • Changing your less (once) loved one;
  • Blaming the other for your own discomforts.

Additional warnings/instructions:

  • Environmental influences should not be taken into consideration. Every one else always knows best. This also includes warnings about not being allowed to divorce after having worked on your marriage for an extensive period of time;
  • Marriage entered in church is no guarantee for an “easy” marriage. If anything you should be warned about the consequences once the both of you have concluded this might not be working anymore. There is no church which will allow you to separate, unless you first badly beat up one another and even then there is no guarantee it will be rewarded to you;
  • The good news however is you can get married multiple times in church, even when not being allowed to divorce at all.

If you still are reading this manual right now and are willing to enter this marriage being fully aware you’ll be getting involved with damaged goods, which require you working on yourself, instead of “fixing” the other, than congratulations. You are most certainly ready for the next step.

We however do advice you to agree to a trial period first. This trial period should at least consist of six months, but is preferred to last for at least three years. During this period of time, it’s important to recognize not only your loved one’s faults, but also your faults and solutions. If after this period of time and proper evaluation on both sides you still decide to go on, you won’t be able to enter marriage lightly. It will always remain hard work, but the upside is you will always become a better person and better (future) marriage material during this period of time.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

There’s only one command to follow up on:

“Be a safe harbour for your loved one, whatever you feel like, whatever your loved one feels and/or acts like.

This requires *all content* listed under “WARNING!!!” and specifically the list applying to what this includes. To make it impossible to miss, we’ll repeat it one more time, adding also the “not included” list:

When agreeing to this, be aware of what this actually includes. It includes being:

  • Honest to yourself;
  • Willing to change YOURself;
  • Willing to communicate even when subjects involved might have pointy edges and appear to be treacherous.

It does NOT include:

  • Changing your loved one;
  • Changing your less (once) loved one;
  • Blaming the other for your own discomforts.

Note: To make this marriage work you should at least read this manual once a week, preferably daily, while the marriage is still under construction / in progress.

 

GUARANTEES

There are no guarantees this manual will make your marriage work. Being willing to work on instructions given, however greatly increases the chances of a happy marriage while it lasts.

Good luck, be safe, be well rounded & be honest *always*!

 

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Pushing people’s buttons – A skill or ???

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Categories: Blog, Coaching & Couselling, Tags: , ,

Pushing people’s buttons – A skill or ???

Though I’m not proud to admit it, I’ve got an excellent skill as both coach and counselor: I can easily push another person’s buttons. In my line of work it helps to go down the nitty gritty but in daily life, that’s a different thing. When seeing people face to face it’s usually okay, although I can list a number of people I’ve figured as a red flag to in the past when I still saw them regularly.

When talking about chatting online it’s a whole different ballgame. There are a few friends I’d rather “ignore” online than chat with, since we know we get to irritate one another big time. Others I’ve been talking to about this extensively and we know what to expect from one another. And then there are those I hardly know and who I do get to talk to regularly online (getting to know them) and occasionally I get push some buttons here as well.

For those who know me, I hate it when I make people miserable. I like to see people happy, so knowing I do so is something which makes me extremely sad. Despite not wanting to do so, it does however happen and even a little more that I’d like to. Let’s be specific, here, making one person miserable is already one too many. So this time I’ve decided not to let things escalate, but instead keep my distance. This is a rather new concept to me, however I do know when enough is enough. And let’s be honest, we cannot be (best) friends with everyone.

So why does it bother me this much? It bothers me to such a degree I’ve felt is necessary to write a blog message about it, which you are reading this very moment. In the past months I’ve experienced it helps me to get things in perspective by means of writing. Hence I’m now writing this piece about what apparently seems some sort of dilemma, while in the back of my mind I know it’s not. This may seem contradictive, but then again this has to do with feelings ó rationality.

So I know it’s okay, since the world consists of people with all different personalities and while others will match straight away, others will not. I also know it’s okay since (even though I maybe would like to be – then again maybe I do not) I’m not perfect. After all I’m human.

Going to the feelings I’d say this is a bit more complicated. And the reason for this is I like to see people happy and it’s quite obvious it’s not up to me to do so, much less even being able to do so. Why would I need to do so? ‘Cause obviously this is my need, which has nothing at all to do whatsoever with whomever is involved here. Someone recently wrote he’s got his blog (partly) as a form of therapy for himself and actually I can understand this (I say with a big smile). So back to the question of why I need the approval of everyone (‘cause when being friends there’s a certain approval involved)?

Instead of answering this one, I’m going to turn the question around. What can I do or say to myself to change this? There are a couple of solutions to deal with these kinds of convictions. I can either go back to the source (which I’ve already done, so I know what it’s all about) or I can ask myself what I get out of feeling sorry for myself since I’m not happy with myself. This all comes down to responsibility, but even more importantly, acceptance. Acceptance not by others, but acceptance by me, as in can I accept myself for who I am, even with all my imperfections?

Part of growing up is becoming aware of what one is good at and what can use some development. Then there is also that part that has to do with accepting that we cannot excel all in every skill. And we do not have to, since when lacking things, the presence of these same things are all the more appreciated when they are shown. So it’s also about the ability to gracefully take a few steps (or more) back and let other people step forward to do what they do best. And let’s be honest, when people do what they do best, they do not even have to step forward, they simple stand out and get noticed.

Question now is if I can take a step back and let things be the way they are supposed to be and this question I can honestly answer “yes, I can”. I do not have to be great or exceptional in everything I do, I can be human and with it have some very nasty incompatibilities with others. Does it make me (worth) any less? No, at least not to me it doesn’t. Will it be more helpful to others? It sure will, since I now can stop “bugging” them with whatever I cannot do to my full potential, or better yet maybe I can to my full potential, but to whatever it is the other needs (or doesn’t need at all).

This last bit about doing things to my full potential, as in to the best of my capabilities, is a very important factor in this story. It shows that I accept myself as not being perfect and with it, it’s okay I do not want to just improve everything for the sake of improving, not doing myself any favors at all.

Me having said (written) this, I want to leave you all with a big, radiant smile, meant to warm your heart(s). Remember it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being good enough for yourself!

 

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Masters of our own destiny

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Categories: Blog, Changing beliefs systems, Coaching & Couselling, Leadership Counselling, Tags: ,

We are the masters of our own destiny – or Are we?

Lots of quotes can nowadays be found, telling us we can explain anything we’d like to. But question is: “Can we?”

Let’s start with the reason behind these quotes. Nowadays we are more aware of the possibilities we actually have. We are no longer “victim” or “puppet” from experiences from the past and/or our surroundings. We are able to break free from any routines we happen to have get stuck in, we just need to be aware we can actually do so and know how to.

Recently I was in a discussion having to do with “free will” and if we actually have “free will”. One of the reasonings behind this had to do with the limitations we have because of physical reasons and/or our experiences from the past. Personally I wasn’t too thrilled with how this was discussed, since it gave the impression that once we get to experience something, we cannot shake loose from it and I do not believe this to be true. Even more so, I would say we can break away from the past, if we get the appropriate help to get us moving in the right direction.

This being said, there are also a lot of people who will never make the attempt to change anything and simply say things cannot be changed, since circumstances cannot be changed or the people themselves do not have the energy (anymore) to make any change. These are the people which have basically given in to their fate, being unfair and unchangeable, making them destined for everything but happiness and fortune.

In the discussion the example was mentioned of the few people who actually were physically hurt and managed to accomplish their dreams anyway, like for instance being able to walk again after having become paralyzed. If we were take this example a bit further we see that a number of people who are stuck in the most difficult of situations (for instance because of physical limitations) are the most determined to get everything out of life possible, whereas people who basically are able to accomplish (almost) anything, when setting their mind to it, do not.

Question is what the difference in mentality and mindset is between the two kinds of people. What does one decide to get everything out of life, even when physically restricted or mentally “damaged” (I’m talking about having had certain difficult experiences in life here), while others who have not had much to deal with, throw in the towel when they see the tiniest of obstacles?

The most influencing factor would probably be the surroundings and what they have been taught growing up about potential possibilities. When one has learned they will never be able to accomplish anything, one might not be able to think otherwise, until someone wakes them up good/hard enough. This person might even be more at ease feeling there are no other possibilities, than to have to get moving and push him- or herself into the wheels of motion, leading up to possible change.

The lack of willingness to change also seems to apply to those who have not been raised disbelieving in themselves. These people may not have ever been around people who went that extra mile to accomplish something, but they also have not been programmed to disbelief in themselves. Still they will not make the effort to challenge themselves into improving themselves and/or their circumstances.

One can now ask the question: “Why would people be comfortable being in a situation they actually do not want to be in?” Or better yet: “Why would people remain in a situation they are anything but comfortable about?” Could it be that most/a lot of people are actually more comfortable with staying in a “familiar” situation as opposed to taking the effort of changing anything? Basically what’s being suggested here is that a situation which is known, even when uncomfortable, is to be preferred over changing circumstances, even if this could lead to a definite improvement.

Reading this, one could immediately get to talk about “the lack of guarantees”, as an answer to why not change, when the circumstances are anything but ideal. The more optimistic person, with drive, would probably answer: “This may be so, but it can only get better from now on. And what’s there to loose by taking a chance?” The answer to that could be “loss of energy”, actually meaning: “Being confronted with any trouble having to do with making an effort”. Most people are rather in their comfort zone of “nothingness”, then having to deal with new situations, new decisions and having to think about their own actions and with it their own responsibilities, when it comes to making choices in life.

Does the lack of change and feeling limited actually have to do with past experiences or could it be this has to do with the “lack” of past experiences? The reason for asking this, is that it’s these people who have experienced a number of things, are the ones who are willing to give it their “all”, just to improve their life somewhat. It seems that once people have experienced difficult situations they are more likely to do “whatever it takes” (note I’m not talking about hurting others or influencing them in a negative manner), to make a difference in their own or someone else’s life.

So if I were to ask you which “group” you belong to, what would you say? Would you rather stay in your “known comfort zone”, however uncomfortable this actually might be, in comparison of taking life into your own hands? Or are you one of those people who indeed get “excited” by the mere thought that we just might be able to be(come) “the masters of our own universe”? If you are part of the last group, you might want to read on and take some mental notes.

One of the most powerful things one can do, is to experience in the mind what it is like to be in the new (wished for) situation. It may not even be obvious what this new situation could be, it’s about knowing that change somehow is possible and the current situation does not have to be a permanent one. If this image or visualization brings feelings of excitement and/or happiness, this is a good indicator it might be time to start changing your life, however small this change might be.

Once you decide to makes changes and get to experience the benefits and/or positive effects, this can give you the confidence and boost to make another change, maybe in the same, perhaps in another area. The changes themselves may not have to be that significant, but the fact that “change is possible”, is. And all these changes combined can make for a bigger change ever thought possible.

When I started this piece I asked the question whether or not “we are the master of our destiny”? I would like to respond: “We are more then we give ourselves credit for”. The choice to make a change, or better yet to have the guts to (try and) make a change, is ours to make. And yes, there will always be limitations of some sort, some big, others small, but don’t ever let this stop you from experiencing in your mind, what you would like your (possible) future to be like. Even when it won’t ever happen, it will give you the energy and the drive to make changes in your current life, leading up to your life being better than it was before or better yet, ever thought possible before.

I’d like to end this story with a final quote from the previously mentioned discussion on “free will”: “To make truly free choices, we’d need to be starting with a clean slate for each decision. That, of course, is impossible.” This may be true, but the effects of any event(s), how worse it/they may have been, can be limited to a certain degree. The emotions may not be taken away entirely, nor any physical effects, but the way to deal with these emotions and the choice to let them affect you for the remainder of your life, are something which most certainly can be influenced and dealt with.

Depending on the effort you are willing to put into things, you can start by making small changes, taking tiny steps, leading eventually up to bigger steps. And although these steps may never let up to that one big dream or goal, just being busy with the journey leading up this goal, is already worthwhile of every small step or battle. After all, this will support you to no longer be the victim to what ever it is ever happened to you before and even better, making sure this will never ever happen to you (having this influence) ever again.

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