Build Your Leaders

Archive for the ‘happiness’ Category

How to Live Life with Purpose

February 3rd, 2013

In my work (and my book Engineer Your Career), I address four “Ps.” One of those “Ps” is Purpose. I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. Identifying and  sharing my gifts–my special talents, skills, and attributes–is crucial if I want to live life on and with purpose. This summer, I found these two passages in Paul Ferrini’s book “Silence of the Heart.”

“You think the gift is ‘a doing,’ but it’s not. The gift is a ‘way of being’ that is effortless and exultant. It comes naturally to you. It immediately and palpably brings joy to others.”

“Whatever you do, you can express your gift. You don’t need a special role, a special platform.”

Over the past few months, I’ve been pondering how my life’s work can be more “a way of being” instead of “a doing.” I don’t have all the answers, but in Ferrini’s words I’ve got a direction.

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Become a Better Person: The 90/10 Rule

January 2nd, 2013

Nothing spotlights sagging self-esteem stronger than when people judge others. Growing up, I was the supreme judge. A fat kid (I had to wear “Husky” brand pants), I constantly put down others in an attempt to pull myself up.

Looking back, I had good teachers; my family members were masters in the art of judgment. Around the dinner table, we would take turns picking on and judging one another. It got so bad during one Sunday supper that my brother’s new bride fled the dining room; our cruelty had reduced her to tears.

Teachers used to preach, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.”   Even when I don’t verbalize judgments, I subtly communicate them and damage relationships.

I now know that judging serves me poorly. My judgments separate me from others, and above all I want connection in my life. I also know that self-esteem is an inside job; it must come from within, not by putting people down.

When judgments bubble up, they must be examined. Writers Carol Kurtz Walsh and Tom Walsh recommend applying “The 90/10 Rule.”  When judgment rears its serpent-like head and we experience a strong negative emotional reaction to another, assume that only 10 percent of our reaction is based upon the situation, leaving a whopping 90 percent that belongs to past.

When we consider the psychological principles of projection and transference, the Walshes’ counsel makes sense. A projection is something that we don’t want to accept about ourselves, so we bury it and then observe it someone else. Years ago, I was in a men’s support group in Atlanta. One man in the group drove me crazy. He was so emotional; he cried at the drop of a hat. Several years later when I began to experience my own shut-down emotions, I was able to reclaim my projection.

Transference occurs when we assign traits to someone that really belong to someone else, and nowhere is transference more apparent than in our primary relationships. I used to transfer negative traits belonging to my mother and father onto my romantic partners until I read the eye-opening imago work of Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. Hendrix’s research shows that we seek partners who have the predominant character traits of the people who raised us. He believes that we do this subconsciously in an attempt to heal old childhood wounds.

Old habits are hard to break. Although my self-esteem is much stronger than it once was, I still catch myself becoming judgmental toward a person or situation at times. When I do, I try to remember the 90/10 Rule and these wise words: “When you point your finger at someone else, there are four fingers pointing back at you.”

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Why You Are Here

January 1st, 2012

In her wonderful book, Loving Yourself:  Four Steps to a Happier You, Daphne Rose Kingma shares an old fable about the creation of the world. “…it is said that there’s an angel who whispers a message to each soul who comes to earth,  a message of instruction about what each soul is supposed to do here when it arrives. Although many people wondered what complicated instructions the angel might have given each soul, the angel’s message was simple. It consisted of one word: give.”  Kingma goes on to say that one of the deepest paths to loving ourselves are those in which we serve others.

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Dualing Roles

September 19th, 2011

Befriending the roles in your life. Most of you know that I paint. In addition to being a leadership and communications trainer, coach and writer, I am a painter. All of us play a variety of roles in our lives, and two that are particularly prominent in mine at this time are the artist and the businessman.

A while back, I hired a coach, Alfred DuPew. Alfred is a big fan of journaling. In fact, he wrote a wonderful book on the subject, Wild and Woolly: A Journal Keeper’s Handbook. Like me, Alfred is an artist as well as a coach, trainer, and writer.

Alfred suggested that I journal about my inner businessman and artist. As I have, images have begun to emerge.

The artist and the businessman are in the car together. They are partners. I am not sure whether they are partners in business, life, or both. Regardless, the artist is driving; the businessman sits in the passenger seat.

I recently asked the businessman if he was okay being a passenger. He surprised me by saying he was delighted. It was nice to sit back and let someone else drive for a change. He is tired.

I asked them both where they were going. All they would say is that they had a common destination.

As I look out on the road, I see my life has shifted over the past months. Nothing dramatic, a subtle shift.

I am more comfortable with less activity and fewer accomplishments. I am spending more time painting. Just yesterday, I sat by the river outside my studio and watched the river flow by.

I am not sure where this shift is leading, but I am sure of this: life seems a little gentler than it did months before.

Questions to ask yourself:

What roles are most active in my life today?

What is the relationship between those roles?

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