Creating your personal development

10 thoughts on asking for help

8461114451_ae837e12f1_z1.  You don’t need to know what is wrong.  If you have a feel that something is, that is all you need to start.

2.  You don’t need to have a solution.  That is what the help is for.

3.  Help is not for other people.  It is for everybody.  It is for you.

4.  Help is not weakness.

5.  Asking for help is a sign of strength.

6.  Being afraid or uncomfortable before, during and possibly after asking for help is normal.

7.  Being brave is not without an element of fear.  Being brave is acting despite of that fear.  Be brave

8.  Crying is not for girls.

9.  Asking for help will make life better in the long run.  Trust in that.

10.  If you don’t ask for help, what is the alternative?

I hope that helps.

How do deal with your ego and it’s ugly cousin, impatience

3254923387_ca4d070d0c_zWhat you want to do versus what you think you should be doing

When you first starting something new, like your own personal development, there is a strong tendency to want to progress and be at a certain level almost immediately.  Nobody likes to be a beginner, or the new guy/gal, but being the rookie is a vital stage that helps us learn essential lessons and skills.

If you could take time and be OK with going slow and appreciate every step of the process, then you go much deeper into your understanding of yourself and strengthen the benefits of what you are trying to do.

But believe me, it is not always easy. I tend to rush things and want to improve quickly.  Being conscious of slowing yourself down is a skill and like all skills needs practice.  In this case of growing patience and valuing the process, your biggest obstacles (OK, let”s just say it, your enemies) are ego and impatience.  Here are some insights on that will help you cultivate a relationship with your ego, understand impatience and realize that the happiness and change you are seeking is right here today in the process and not at a hopeful endpoint.

Ego

To be honest, in personal development there is no end point.  This is a quote that I not only like, but really illuminates the moment in your thoughts when your ego gets the best of you.  The quote is by Darren L. Johnson and reads “Anytime there is a struggle between doing what is actually right and doing what seems right, then your ego is interfering with your decision”.

This is the moment when we know what we should do, but in order to preserve our appearance either to ourselves or others, we choose to protect our image rather than do what is best for us.  This same voice is the one that convinces to stop doing something when we are tired, finding it more and more difficult and perhaps increasingly more monotonous.  Ego is the voice in your head and the uneasy sensation in your chest and stomach when you think you’re not doing enough, being enough and/or moving fast enough.  Some examples of when your ego starts to talk (if not scream at you):

  • The mileage in your daily runs is not progressing enough in the preparation for the marathon
  • Your hamstrings are not loose enough in yoga
  • Your blog has fewer visitors than you think you should have
  • Your relationship is not where you think it should be
  • You are not cutting down any longer in smoking.  In fact, you want more.
  • Those desserts are not getting cut out like they were last month.  You are now even cheating.

All of these are based upon where you  “think” you should be rather than where you actually are.  So where do these thoughts come from?  The ideas that your ego has are put there by you. You’ve determined the point that you should be at by comparing yourself to others OR to some mythical idea in your head.  This comparison of where you are versus where you think you should be has brought out your ego loud and clear saying: “WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”

This then leads us into impatience. 

After the ego has been chattering and telling us to hurry up and improve, it is natural to become very impatient.  This quote by Charles Caleb Colton sums it up by saying “Patience is  the support of the weakness; impatience is the ruin of strength.”

If you could support the areas that you view as weaknesses or shortcomings, then the strength that allowed you to try in the first place would not be ruined.  You allow yourself to keep going. 

However, your ego can be very persuasive and when it speaks, your natural defence is to become impatient.  This immediate feeling of impatience is your ego’s way of trying to lessen the gap between where you are and where your ego thinks you should be.  This strong desire created by your ego to quickly have you become the image it has starts you pushing, the beating yourself up, and the operating with very unrealistic expectations.  This powerful combination of ego and impatience can either make your work miserable by placing you in a constant state of catch-up or frustrate you into quitting.  Either way, your work falls by the wayside just to silence your ego and get rid of the suffocating panic.

How to move past ego and impatience

Once ego has spoken and impatience is running rampant, there is a very simple choice:  learn to work with them and move your work forward.  I suggest the latter. 

If you can let your ego do it’s talking without reacting impatiently, the question changes from “Why am I not good enough?” to “How do I want to choose to show up to the situation?”  This keeps you in the game.  This prevents you from starting many things and ultimately quitting them and This is a big shift.

A questions to work with

Work gently with yourself and ask “Am I driven by where I think I should be in the process rather than appreciating where you actually are in the process?”  It is important to work from reality and not an invented future.  When you make this shift, notice what happens.  It might be hard to accept at first in some cases, but I guarantee the leanings from an accurate view of reality are much more powerful than a reality tinged with ego.  This topic is the basis of my ebook.   I”d love to hear your feedback and comments.

Tearing up the contract: How to be your true self and end outgrown friendships

Tearing up the contractThe Facebook Unfriend Dilemma

When Facebook first came out, one of the first friend requests I received was from an old second grade classmate.  I think we all got a lot of those.  So in next days and weeks after I accepted her friend request, I was inundated with images, her thoughts and just a general intimacy of somebody that I didn’t know.  To be honest, I never really knew her in second grade.  

I can’t remember if I didn’t know how to or it didn’t yet exist, but I wanted to hide her and couldn’t figure out a way.  So after really wondering how I could get out of this new “relationship” and thinking I was a horrible person, I just deleted her.  And despite initially feeling bad, it felt pretty good, pretty quick.  

We have contracts with people

At certain points in our lives, we have a specific types of a relationships.  In some cases, they are our best friends, spouses, partners, peers, casual friends and even those in our lives that we don’t care for.  These relationships are often unspoken but defined by our actions and the energy we spend on maintaining them.  Some are enriching, some are neutral but often many are draining and regardless of what they contribute to our life, they take up energy.  The question is “Do we want to spend our energy on this?”

However, as we change in life (as do they) it also makes keeping that initial contract we have with them difficult.  It is like 2 business partners that agreed to open a vegetarian restaurant, but then ended up running a slaughter house.  The initial bond that brought them together has disappeared yet the only thing holding them together is an outdated sense of loyalty, fear and/or an unwillingness to look at their current reality.  All that is left is an outdated “signed” contract.  

Avoiding old patterns

When we keep showing up to that person out of respect of how things once were, we are potentially creating a great deal of stress.  We end up reverting to old patterns of the way we used to be and not our true, present selves.  Of course, if we go into the relationship with the aim of positive nostalgia, then it is completely healthy.  However, if the relationship is one that makes us behave in ways that we no longer enjoy, find possible, drags down our positive improvements and/or unconsciously (perhaps even consciously) impedes our growth, then it is time to tear up that contract.  In short, we deserve better.

Obviously, it is not as easy as the “unfriend” option on Facebook, but nor is it usually that complicated.  The key lies in speaking our truth and when we do, one of two things will happen:

1.  The person will adapt to our present self thus creating a new contract or, 

2. The person won’t adapt and they will start to fade into the past.  

Be Honest

The key here is being honest.  If we don’t agree with what they say, then speak up.  If we don’t want to do something, then don’t.  If our whole reason for keeping a bond with a person is simply out of obligation, then it is not a relationship. It is a job.  So the choice then becomes, do we want to redefine our contract or quit.  If we speak our truth (a tall order I know), then the rest quickly falls into place.  

The Heath brothers in their book Switch talk about keeping our environment as resistance free as possible.  In some cases, that resistance is people that no longer deserve our attention and energy.  If we use truth and honestly as our method of cleaning up the path, we then minimize the resistance and ultimately stress in our life.  

Our self imposed limits

ElderlyA beautiful, powerful reminder by Susan Sontag:

A lot of our ideas about what we can do at different ages and what age means are so arbitrary — as arbitrary as sexual stereotypes. I think that the young-old polarization and the male-female polarization are perhaps the two leading stereotypes that imprison people. The values associated with youth and with masculinity are considered to be the human norms, and anything else is taken to be at least less worthwhile or inferior. Old people have a terrific sense of inferiority. They’re embarrassed to be old. What you can do when you’re young and what you can do when you’re old is as arbitrary and without much basis as what you can do if you’re a woman or what you can do if you’re a man.

 

The mechanics of listening

ListeningIf you watch a very good mechanic, they often just listen to an engine.  This audible peak into the health of the engine gives the mechanic incredible feedback into what needs attention. 

On the path of becoming your true self, you have to let your self simply idle much like that of an engine and listen to what is inside; what is on your mind, the cadence of your breath and how you feel in your body.  You don’t need to judge or run away, but like that mechanic hunched over the hood, just give it your attention. 

Start small with a minute.  Close your eyes.  See what comes up.  See how you feel.  See where it leads and why.  

The first essential step we all need to take

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 2.10.45 PMIn the book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa (who is Pema Chodron’s teacher) he wrote “Habitual patterns allow you to look no further than 3 steps ahead of you.”

Brilliant.

Simple.

100% accurate.

The start of the path to our true self is seeing our true environment, both inside and out.  And it starts by analyzing our habitual patterns and then letting them go.  

Once we’ve let them go, the path then gets longer and brighter.  We can see more than our next fix. We see more than 3 steps.

A tall, but very rewarding process.

4 steps on how to be true to yourself

1882317616_9f2d324636_zThis is challenging.  No doubt at all.  

But, it is possible. Personally, in the past few years, I’ve found myself in may situations where I do feel like it would not only be easier, but necessary to sacrifice what I want.  In some cases, I did and overall the results were poor.  

Sacrifice is an essential part of being a good human being, but it is the extent of the sacrifice you make that you have to keep in check.  You can’t give yourself away and here is how not to:

  1. Be honest.  
    1. To yourself–If it feels like you are getting pulled in a direction that you are uncomfortable with, vocalize to yourself what feels hard and why.  Answer the question “What is it that I want?”  This act of labelling what it is that you want quickly strips away all the bullshit.
    2. To others-Don’t underestimate other people’s ability to empathize.  Tell them when you are struggling. You’ll may  surprised at how human and understanding other people can be.  
  2. Educate rather than isolate–When other people question what it is that you are doing, don’t see it as a challenge or disapproval (even if it is).  Use it as a time to educate them on what it is that you are doing and why.  Remember that you have had a lot more time with your thoughts and idea than they have, so they need time to get up to acclimate.  It may feel that you need to cut them off or isolate them from your lives, but what if you just took more time and patience with them while still nurturing your bond? 
  3. You can’t be wrong–If you are acting from a place of honesty and being true to what it is that you want, you cannot fail.  Your truth and ideas are essential to who you are and can’t be ignored.  Trust this deep inner honesty and truth.  It won’t steer you wrong.  Believe this.  
  4. Focus on the direction rather than the destination-It is much more important that you are letting your honesty and truths move you in the right direction rather than arriving at what you see as the destination.  Being on the path of your truth is much more valuable than being at the destination of a lie.  

And when all else fails and/or it gets confusing, see point #1.  It is never wrong.