Saturday, March 30, 2013

Do Negative People Really Suck?

My strong personal belief is that the universe gives us what we need, when we need it. The universe also knows we are not very good listeners.  So, sometimes we get the same message over and over again until we actually hear it.

When we are ready, we get it.  That’s the “Ah-Ha!” moment; the “overnight success” of great awareness. 

If you’re interested in how the brain works, why we get ideas when we do, how to maximize your own “smartness” etc, you really need to get David Rock’s book, Your Brain at Work   I think it’s because David knows how the brain works that he can explain it in a way that is uber-relatable and easy to take in.  Ah. Maze. Ing.

I especially love how David uses a central visual of a play with a stage, actors, and an audience.  As I borrow and extrapolate, I picture our “ah ha” moments starting somewhere in the cheap seats.  Maybe it’s a group of like concepts that just couldn’t get tickets all together for some reason.   

Even though critical thoughts are sitting there all along, we don’t fully notice them until they jump onto the stage and start singing show tunes -- or play a Fender Stratocaster depending on what you are into.

Usually my brain’s best performances happen in the wee hours of the morn.  (David also explains the reason for this in his book.)  

Today for example, I had an ensemble performance by all the moments when I’ve heard something along the lines of "great people focus on solutions, not problems”:   
* A friend who posted something about it online yesterday.  

* A discussion with my CFO at a conference last week.  

* Something I read in a Forbes article before I went to bed. 
Ironically, it was thinking about David Rock’s book that collected and pushed those thoughts onto the stage in the forefront of my mind.  At 4:00am.  Thanks an effing lot, David.

It suddenly occurred to me how judgmental we are when it comes to “positive people” vs. “negative people.”   I have been too.  Yikes.  People who focus on problems are bad.  People who find solutions are good. 

Yet, here is the Rock-inspired “Ah ha!” (or “Tah dah!”) moment:  Problems are known.  Solutions are unknown. 

It takes a LOT of energy and effort at the cellular level, to picture something you have never seen before (Rock, p. 13).   It's hard for many people to see the unknown clearly enough to change their reality or even perception of reality.   It isn’t as simple as flipping a switch from negative to positive, or problem to solution. 
It takes work.
What this epiphany gives me is a shift away from thinking, “I only want positive people in my life” or “I only want employees who find solutions, rather than focusing on problems.” 

Instead, what I want to attract into my personal and professional sphere are individuals that are willing to do the work.  People who, even if they need some help, would be open enough to roll up their sleeves and try.

As a specific personal example, I have some really negative Facebook friends.  You should see the sh*t they post, much of which I try to imagine is not directly aimed at me and my pet unicorn.  I'll admit that I sometimes wonder why I stay in touch with these people.
Today I will find myself looking through a different lens.   Do they want to see the world differently, even if they don’t know how to today?  Would they be willing to do the work to find solutions if someone gave them a little spark? 

It’s not about looking for “positive” or “negative.”  It’s about the energy.
Let's look for that energy and even better, inspire it.   

And.... scene.

PS: As a reminder, I don’t promote any person or product for compensation.  I’m just a geeked-out fan.

Book credit: Rock, David. Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Confidence Capacity Connection (Meeting Keith Ferrazzi)

Thanks for visiting! This post has been moved to my NEW website and "Sparks of Insight" blog.

I'd love it if you would go there and check it out.


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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hooray for Shameless Saturday!

I don't know if this is already a "thing" or if I made it up but it's now officially Shameless Saturday!

So, please head on over to the Facebook page for my upcoming book, "MY Life Doesn't Make YOUR Butt Look Big" and let me know what you're up to! 

Blogs, books, TV shows, music gigs, business opportunities, products, fan pages; whatever you are most passionate about at the moment.

Next Saturday, I'll feature a Top 10 list of what my "likers" (is that even a word?!) promote today. 

To kick us off, I want to show my support for the wonderful women at "Women I Want to Grow Old With."   They were kind enough to include some of my thoughts in their book and even better, they promote the premise of being intentional in creating and nurturing female friendship.  Check them out!

They also posted a pic today that encapsulates how I feel so perfectly, I had to share as well:



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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Three Tips for Surviving a Rough Day

Sometimes the world gives us little hints or reminders.  Like, if you find yourself suddenly bumping into furniture or dropping things, it's a sign to slow down and pay more attention to the present.

Small reminders unheeded, eventually the world has to kick you in the teeth and knock you down long enough so that you have no choice but to look at what's truly important and re-prioritize.   Depending on how much "reminding" you need, that could be the flu or a motorcycle accident.  Or worse.

In between, there are all sorts of little lessons that appear to help us have the lives we want to live and be the people we want to be.  

One of my personal favorites is, "If you meet more than two assholes in one day, chances are pretty good you are one of them." 

So, if everyone starts to piss me off or I find myself being a misery magnet, it's a good reminder to take a hard look at the way I am acting, feeling, and thinking to attract all that negativity. 

I'm aware that there some people who will never go through this level of self-reflection.  These are the people who only post negative status updates on Facebook complaining about how sick they are of everyone else's positive status updates.   

Another one that's been coming up a lot recently forces the question, "Are you practicing what you preach?"

For example, this morning I was having a Steven Wright moment.  Ya know, that feeling when you lean back in your chair and you catch yourself just before you fall?  That overwhelmed feeling that just sits in the pit of your stomach and you don't know whether to laugh, cry, scream, or just say, "Aw screw it, I'm going back to bed."  Or to the bar.

When I talked to my sister about my anxiety, she suggested, "Why don't you go do some of that meditation you are always blathering on about."  

Okay, maybe she didn't say "blathering" but I'm sure that was in the subtext.

Either way, she was totally right and meditation was exactly what I needed to get calm and re-focused.

Professionally over the last several days, I have found myself ensuring, "We are practicing what we preach, right?" relative to multiple situations.

Recently upon hearing my angst about not having enough time for a set schedule to work on my book, my writing coach said something snarly to the effect of, "Um... isn't that what the book is about?"

In other words, "Practice what you preach!!"  Wow.  So busted.

As you enjoy this fabulous day, I leave you with these three thoughts:

       1) Pay attention to the small little bumps before they get big and someone (like you) gets hurt.

       2) If everyone is pissing you off or getting in your way or making you miserable, it's time to stop taking their inventory and go look in a mirror.

       3) Practice what you preach.  If there is a specific problem or dilemma you are facing right now, explore what other personal or professional success (even something you've taught someone else) you can apply.

Carpe diem,

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Friday, March 1, 2013

If You're Forcing It, You're Doing It Wrong

I haven't shared a new post in a while.   If I told you the reason is because I've been way too busy and just haven't had the time, you would totally believe me.  Working full-time, two kids, coaching a drama team, try to keep my house "not embarrassing," traveling, writing a book, working out, yada yada yada.  Totally plausible.

You, my friends, are way too easy.

In the spirit of candor and intimacy I share that, in addition to all of those legitimate things, I am also on level 65 of Candy Crush Saga and have never missed an episode of Project Runway; even the "Teams" version which kinda sucks actually.

Rest assured, pretty much whenever someone says that they aren't doing something (like working out or following their dreams) because they "don't have the time," they are lying. 

In a day, we can do almost anything we want to prioritize doing.  There may be other things getting in the way.  But trust me honey, the clock is just a scapegoat.

Sometimes we will also blame being "tired" but I've learned that there is typically more to it that just the physical.   Mental and emotional fatigue are far more crippling. 

So what's really going on?

For me lately it's been work stress, indulgence of anxiety and perfectionitis, plus a lingering pity party about being parentless.

I'm having a hard time believing that my mother died a whole year ago and my dad will be gone three years next month.   My dad's birthday was February 17th and I've been both feeling and missing his spirit a lot lately.

I had intentions that weekend of writing a very nice post in his memory.  I was on vacation and had the time, but I just couldn't get out of my own way to do it.  So, I went to karaoke instead.  (That helped actually.)

The reality is that I have a choice to let renewed sadness paralyze me or not.  I could panic about my own mortality or use that to focus on both the legacy I want to leave behind and what I want this precious experience of life to be right now.

Yeah, sometimes you just have to kinda suck it up and get stuff done.  Not fun.
What works (and feels) way better for me is when I focus with passion and belief on what I really want my life to be like.   That visualization and feeling creates an energy that is way more powerful than any to do list; far more powerful than guilt or judgment. 

This is the energy that attracts exactly the right people into our lives at exactly the right time.   Like, when you're thinking about someone and they call you moments later.  Or, when you meet someone and instantly feel like you've known them forever. You think it's totally freaky but really, not so much. 

Dad used to say, "If you're forcing it, you're doing it wrong." 

He was usually talking about trying to unlock a door or put together a toy, but it's a bigger lesson. Somehow we are trained to think that the only way to get what we want is to suffer.   (My dad used to also say, "Suffering may or may not teach you anything, but at least it shows you what you're up against.")

My point is that there is a magical, wonderful feeling you get when someone, something, or some opportunity comes into your life and drives you closer to the exact life you most want to live.  

Be open, expect the best, and enjoy those magic connections.  Be inspired without question and follow those paths where they are meant to lead you.

Thank you to those who reminded me of that this week.   Namaste!

With love,

Photo credit:  Me; my back yard.
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