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Mindset for Life
20 minutes | 17 days ago
#53: A Mindset to Create
If you’ve ever felt that you’re defending yourself, pushing, and resisting things that come your way, it’s time to think about a mindset to create. In today’s podcast, you’ll learn about how we actually create much or our experience. If you’d like to dive more deeply into the idea of storytelling with our inner thoughts, please enjoy one of the previous episodes, “We are all excellent storytellers.” You’ll learn about a mindset to create through these four key points: The way we tell our story Automatic thoughts we have The way we feel about it What we can do next Surprisingly, the thoughts we think about our experience lead to our feelings and next steps. There’s a lot we can do to feel satisfied, in control, and pleased with our lives and our work. Please join me for this episode as we explore a mindset to create.
19 minutes | 24 days ago
#52: Active Listening
19 minutes | a month ago
#51: A Mindset to Rekindle Your Purpose and Meaning
17 minutes | a month ago
#50: Managing Difficult Relationships
In today’s podcast, we’ll look at a fun fall activity: the Linder Farms Corn Maze., a great metaphor for navigating life and managing difficult relationships.
16 minutes | a month ago
#49: We Are All Excellent Storytellers
We are all excellent storytellers. We have the power within us to interpret, explain, analyze, and clarify things that happen in our lives. This power can be used to strengthen us and open possibilities. Our storytelling can connect us to other people. Or, we can use storytelling to justify, excuse, diminish, and victimize. It’s amazing to consider our own storytelling abilities and what they bring us in life. In today’s podcast, I’ll share a few perspectives and examples of storytelling. You will see how storytelling can become a beneficial part of your own journey when used consciously.
19 minutes | 2 months ago
#48: How to Wake Up Happy
In today’s Mindset for Life Podcast, we’ll explore how to wake up happy. You can wake up happier and motivated, wake up energized, and wake up and feel positive about the day. Do you ever wake up feeling bad? Perhaps you have inflammation in your face or body? Or you feel disgruntled, and it stays with you throughout the day? If you have these experiences, chances are that you would like to feel better in the morning. After all, waking up happier, motivated, and energized can start your day well. Happiness is partially about our thinking and partly about our physiology. If you want to become an even better version of yourself, the way you start the day can help move you in that direction mentally. And your quality of sleep can help you physiologically. Here are three areas this podcast will cover: What you focus on before you fall asleep at night. Three things to focus on (and to forget) during the day. Things to complete during the day, and the 80/20 rule. For a link to The Happiness Paradigm, by Richard Eyre mentioned in the podcast, Click this link.
15 minutes | 2 months ago
#47: A Self-Coaching Mindset
#47: A Self-Coaching Mindset Welcome to the Mind Set For Life podcast. This is Bethanie your coach from DrBCoach.com. Coaching with power, purpose, and practical tools to help you show up with confidence. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you for joining me today. I’m very excited to talk to you about a self coaching mindset. Last week, we talked about a coaching mindset. Some of the key points I brought up centered around this whole idea of curiosity—genuinely being curious about other people. In order to coach anyone we must actually care about what they think, how they filter things, what their experience is like. It’s so critical that we have an openness and curiosity. Ultimately, that is going to serve those people that we’re coaching the best. It could be that we’re coaching formally. Maybe we’re professional coaches. It might be that we’re coaching as managers and supervisors and leaders. Or, it could be that we are coaching children or our family members. Whatever the source of the coaching, true curiosity and an attitude of learning, where we don’t come assuming that we know all the answers, is going to help us the most. So, when we think about self coaching, what does that bring? Why would anyone coach themselves? It’s interesting. When you go to Coach School, you learn a lot about how you need to keep growing as an individual. You need to seek out others to coach you. You need to constantly be engaged in self-growth, self-development, and self-learning. It’s critical to actually practice what we’re preaching. So, if you’re actually thinking that coaching is a useful thing for your clients, it’s definitely useful for you as well. As you continue to learn as a coach, then you have thoughts about where to go. You’re always learning something, and you always have a mindset of curiosity. So, coaching yourself. Let’s think about this idea. Can you really coach yourself? If you’re truly curious about things, it’s definitely possible to coach yourself, right? You can ask yourself all kinds of questions. You could do this and write through journaling and reflection. You could do this out loud, you could talk to yourself. Some people really do this and have quite lengthy conversations out loud. Some people speak to themselves as they’re driving in the car. Some people talk to themselves when they’re just walking around the house. I myself am not person who talks to myself out loud, I think to myself and I write to myself. But I don’t actually talk to myself out loud. However, there are lots of people who do it, and it’s a very normal thing to do. One of the things I advocate in professional Coaching is to create what I call your “personal evaluation plan.” I have noticed lately in my coaching of other people, I’m hearing a lot of people who really want more feedback. Several of my coach clients have complained that their managers do not give them enough feedback. I’ve also spoken with people who need more feedback about personal issues, but they don’t really think it’s appropriate to ask their family members for feedback. And they’re not really sure how to go about it. If you’re looking for more feedback and are not sure where to go…. First of all, of course, I always recommend a coach. Coaches are generally not biased about your life. They don’t come at you with a lot of judgement or criticism. They tend to have openness and a lot of curiosity and a total desire to help you go where you want to go. What if you’re not able to find a coach, or if you just don’t want to work with a coach? Self coaching is a great opportunity to work with your issues or your concerns or your gifts and talents, whatever you’d like to do and to continue moving forward. So if you’re like many of these folks I mentioned who really want the feedback, increased feedback from others, or are not sure how to get it or not sure that you really want to ask for it, giving yourself feedback and being truly brutally honest with yourself is a great opportunity to give this feedback that is wise and already sitting there waiting to come out of you. I created my own personal feedback form fairly recently. I did this presentation. I was very excited about it. I spent hours putting it together, and when I was finished with the presentation I wondered: how did it go? And I didn’t get any feedback from anyone who saw the presentation. It wasn’t really the kind of experience where it was appropriate for me to go back and ask for the feedback, either. So I left that experience a little bit deflated. I thought about how I needed to know what I did well. If I needed to improve something, I wanted to know that too. But I wasn’t ever going to find out. I sat down and I created a form that I could use. I have lots of copies of this for any opportunity, event, project, presentation, or even a conversation. I can pull out the sheet of paper and go through my questions often, write my reflection, and really think it out. And then I can produce for myself excellent feedback. At the top of the form, I’ve got a little space that asks, what is the event or Project? What is the date? What are the details? I can identify for myself basically what it is I’m writing about. Then, in the first round big box, I have my personal mission statement. I’ve worked very hard on my personal mission for life, and I have written my personal mission statement here as well as a little reminder to keep myself encouraged. Here’s what it says: “This is what I came here to do. I’m a Creator and a teacher, and I seek to put good out into the World by becoming the best version of myself, by seeing and loving others as they are, and by helping people learn, do, and become, so that they can do the same thing. I did not come this far only to come this far. This is what I came here to do.” I include that personal mission at the top of the form so I can remind myself of where my focus really is. And as I answer the two questions next, I’m thinking about my mission: How did I live it? How did I fail to live it? So underneath the Mission, I have the next row as areas for future development and improved performance. As I think back to that opportunity where I presented and I didn’t get any feedback, I’m thinking about, well, what did I think didn’t go so well? How can I keep growing in this area? How can I become more capable and more prepared next time? Is there anything that really seemed to go poorly that I want to improve? And that’s where I’m going to write that stuff. I’m going to think about it from my own perspective because obviously I can’t think about it through someone else’s perspective if they didn’t really say anything. The next row is the other side of things. What were the wins and new learnings I want to celebrate? These could either be professional performance, personal attributes, anything in that area. So I could tie it back to my personal mission statement by saying, how did I see them as they are and help them? How did I create something new? How did I put good out into the world and help others to do the same? What about this helped me become a better version of myself through this event, project, or process? I’m really going to think about it and write down all that I think came to me through that experience. And the more often I do this, the more I’m going to appreciate both my strengths and my weaknesses. My successes and my failures. Being able to see all of those things as a complete picture is a huge win when being able to evaluate one’s self is something much of the world doesn’t ever do. It’s so helpful to keep growing there. You have the first two rows. Write areas for development, improve performance, and the wins and new learning to celebrate. The next two sections on my form include the values I embrace and strengths I used. Which values did I embrace? And in the box next to that, I have listed my top five values, which are spiritual strength, autonomy, influence, relationships, and wellness. And then I have, which strengths did I utilize? And I have listed my top ten or fifteen strengths from the VIA character strengths inventory. Any of these that show up in my performance or my presentation or whatever the thing was. I’m going to circle them. the last line on my list for my self evaluation page is gratitude. In almost every situation, I am filled with gratitude just for being there. For the opportunity to help someone else, to be involved, to be engaged, to stretch my limits, and to do something new. I have a ton of gratitude, and I’m going to write it all on this form. And as I write it out, I’m always going to be thinking, to whom do I need to send a message to thank them? A lot of times, I might forget to express my gratitude to people, so it helps me to recap that on paper. And then I’ll actually send a follow-up message. If you’re interested in coaching yourself and it continuously improving in your performance, I highly recommend creating a form like this. It really has three sections where you’re going to write a few answers and those two sections about your strengths and values where you’re going to just circle things. It’s fairly simple. But over time you start to see real trends. And what’s even better is that you start to notice growth. Furthermore, you can strategically plan to improve in areas that don’t go well or in your weaknesses. As you target those areas and continue to grow them, you can totally master things that used to be real problems for you, over time. That’s a great way to be someone who is continuously improving. In our education settings, in our business, and in all areas of life, we want to see continuous Improvement, don’t we? As we continuously improve ourselves, our own ability to judge, reflect, and praise our own performance, we continue to move forward in becoming a better version of ourselves all the time. As we do that, we have so much more to offer. And our experience becomes increasingly satisfying in every aspect of life. One of the things I hear a lot about is that people don’t feel like things are within their control. How would it be to go through life feeling like nothing is under your control? Like you can’t make choices at work? You can’t make choices in your relationships? Other people always do things or cause things? I don’t think it’s a very empowering place to be. And if you’re there right now, I certainly don’t blame you. It’s a very normal place to feel and think from. If we evaluate our own good performance and areas to improve, the more we start to see our own control over things. We start to take more initiative. We bring the locus of control over our own experience back into ourselves where it belongs. This kind of activity can become very empowering. If nothing more, if you’re not a person who likes to reflect or plan or set goals, if nothing more, this kind of like self coaching activity can really strengthen your ability to feel that there is much within your control. And it will, over time, give you a lot more confidence the more you feel about things you can control. The more you see that you’re in control, and the more confidence you feel about it, the more you’re going to be making better decisions. And you’re going to be feeling like when opportunities come to you, you’re ready to go. You have things to offer. I highly recommend considering this kind of self coaching form. Now if you’re a person who doesn’t like to write things down, you could certainly type up the questions and simply have them like on an index card and talk to yourself about them. You could narrate on an audio recording on your iPhone, for example, whatever method you choose. I choose to write. You might choose another way, but whatever method you choose, I recommend trying to do this least once a week until you get into a pretty regular habit of thinking, reflecting, and thinking about how to tie things in for the future growth. I guarantee you’re going to learn something new every time and you’re going to gain confidence along the way. I appreciate you being here today. Thanks for thinking along with me about self coaching. And I hope as you try this strategy, you will learn to become increasingly curious and reflective about your own experiences and your own growth. Best wishes this coming week becoming an even better version of yourself.
16 minutes | 2 months ago
#46: A Coaching Mindset
17 minutes | 2 months ago
#45: A Mindset to Overcome Discouragement
19 minutes | 3 months ago
#44: How to Get Clarity
If you have ever faced a big challenge, you’re already aware; it is critical to know how to get clarity. How It Feels to Have a Big Challenge It hurts to face a big challenge and have no idea how to resolve it. It’s painful, frustrating, and raw. If you’re facing a big challenge you have never faced before, there’s this conversation that might go on in your mind. On the one hand, you might think that this is a common problem. Maybe everyone else has experienced what you’re facing. Somehow, perhaps everyone else knew how to get clarity as well. On the other hand, everyone else seems to know how to solve it. But you don’t. And you aren’t confident their answers will work for your situation. It could be embarrassing to ask for help. Or it might push away your friends and family, who have thought you were amazing up to this point. The big challenge is making you feel weak and completely lost. How to Find Clarity…. or Not So you Google it…. And you find advice that covers the entire range of possibilities, from ignoring the challenge, to walking away from it. And from ignoring your feelings and powering through it to hiring a specialist to solve it for you. With so many possibilities, and the sheer size of this big challenge, none of these options feels good. And you still don’t know how to find clarity to see this challenge differently. You know that you’re stuck. And, you need to find out how to get clarity. Your Next Steps to Resolve the Big Challenge As you think about the awareness and clear thinking you’re looking for, you really have two options. First, you can sit on this problem until something naturally unfolds. Or, you can find a magical way to see more clearly in order to actually resolve the problem. If you sit on your big challenge until something naturally unfolds…. If you find a way to see clearly and actually resolve the problem…. In today’s podcast, I’ll share strategies to help you find greater clarity so that you can move through a difficult problem or challenge.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
#43: Storytelling About the Past
This is episode 43, Storytelling About the Past. Have you ever told a story about the past? Or, maybe someone in your family told it about you? And in that story, you did something silly, or odd, or embarrassing? When that story is told, it’s just another reminder of our weakness or frailty. Or, maybe about our mistakes. And the brain, which likes to draw conclusions quickly to save its energy, the brain screams out, “Yes! We really were silly, or embarrassing, or made a major mistake, and we always will.” This idea that our brain likes to add to the story, that it will always be this way, it’s something called an “automatic thought.” Stories About the Past Create “Automatic Thoughts.” The brain loves to feed us automatic thoughts. The interesting thing is that mistakes are just things that happen on the timeline of life. But they aren’t the definition of who we are. In fact, we can look over the past, the stories we have told about them and stories that others have told about us about past events, and we can actually change those stories and begin to see those experiences mistakes or life events totally afresh. In other words, we can change the past by changing the stories we tell about ourselves. Tips to Try In today’s episode, you’ll learn about stories we tell about our past. We can find new meaning by exploring automatic thoughts and taking control in the present. When a challenge confronts us, we can get new results by asking reflective questions like these What am I doing to create this problem for myself, or how do I escalate it? Am I giving up my control over the situation? Am I giving up my power to other people on purpose? Am I blaming others? Am I making excuses to justify why things are the way they are am I avoiding or putting off actions? What is my role in the problem? What is the benefit I’m getting when things stay this way? What is it costing me to keep things this way? What would I rather experience? Once we can see the space between challenging situation we’re experiencing and how we’d like things to be, we can take action. Here’s to being the best you this week!
15 minutes | 3 months ago
#42: Simplify Your Life
Today’s podcast is about simplifying. Have you heard of “minimalism?” It’s the idea that we don’t really need everything we have in our lives. It could be material possessions. Or activities. Events we plan to attend.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
#41: Mindset for Advocacy, or, to “Toot Your Own Horn”
Have a Mindset to Advocate for yourself, or in other Words, “Toot Your Own Horn” Have you ever wondered how to advocate for your best traits, or “toot your own horn?” Sharing what you’re good at takes a courageous, confident mindset. I’ve coached a lot of individuals from all walks of life and career areas who wanted more confidence. That isn’t what they said when they asked to be coached. But it was what they were seeking. What Do People Want? At first, we want to figure out how to be happier at work. Or, we want to know what to do to grow a coaching business the “right way.” Or we are senior directors in the corporate world and in other leadership roles/ And, we want to learn how to navigate challenging managers, co-workers, or situations. In several cases, we gain confidence pretty quickly. But, as we begin taking actions consistent with our decisions, we second-guess things ant stop again. And we are back at the place of feeling stuck. We wait for someone outside ourselves to approve, guide us, or give us confidence. In all of these circumstances, many individuals I have coached had an unclear idea of who they really were. And, their sense of control was focused on things outside themselves, rather than what was inside them. For each of these people, this feeling was frustrating. It is something I call “being stuck.” What Does it Mean to Be Stuck? When we are stuck, the way forward is unclear. It seems impossible to know what the “right” answers are. Possibilities are limited. There is drama, and things feel heavy. We may also feel isolated—like we’re on our own to figure things out with no good ideas about how to do that. This stuck feeling stays with us, from work to personal life. We believe that if we just put in more time and effort, we’ll magically become free and resolve this problem. And sometimes we do. But it comes back again, and we’re waiting again for the right people, resources, and solutions to help us get unstuck again. What Would Help Build Confidence? What we usually want is an internal compass that makes sense to us. We want to take action without waiting for the right answer from someone else. And, we want to trust our own instincts and thoughts. Basically, we are were looking for confidence and clarity. Many of the people I’ve coached have wanted what we all want. To know who we are, know that we are enough, and know that we matter. What Do We Lose if We Don’t Adopt a Confident Mindset? When we’re not sure about who we really are, we can never become the best version of ourselves. We question everything. And, we take longer to do things because we’re always looking outside ourselves for the answers. Ultimately, we wait for someone to tell us that we’re on the right track. Or that we are enough and will succeed in something we’re planning or considering. Confidence from Within Helps You “Toot Your Own Horn” My Grandmother Gladys sold braziers. On a typical day, she would observe others and see a woman across the street walking by. And she would run across the street to tell the woman how she needed a new bra. And how she could help. She naturally sold to women with the intent of making their lives better and improving not only their appearance but their physical posture and sense of overall well-being. Gladys had no problem advocating for what she sold, because she knew it was valuable. And, she was naturally aware of her ability to help others. How Does Advocacy Work? As a music director, I disliked the idea of advocacy. Advocating for your job, your profession, your band, your music program, and all of these seemed like sales. In my first band director job, I thought the people who hired me should already know and understand why having a band program was important to their school. After all, they hired me, so they clearly already thought music and band were important. I thought I should not have to beg for budget money or justify why I should be paid for the 23 basketball games at which our pep band performed throughout the winter. Ongoing Advocacy Creates a Mindset In my next band director job, I learned about recruiting and retention—and this means that you help children (and their parents) understand why they should join the band and plan to stay in the band later throughout their high school years. It also means that you help the parents understand that they needed to rent an instrument for the child, and plan to purchase it over time. Sure, we had some school-owned instruments to loan children who could not afford that, but advocacy was critical to help these children and their parents realize that in order to step into a lifetime of music and all that comes with that, they needed to actually own an instrument and not just rent or borrow one for a few months and hope it worked out. At some point in that job, I had an elementary school principal who asked me to write him something to support why we had a band program at his school—why I thought it was important and justified. It got to the point where I presented at the state music educators’ conference on the subject of recruiting and retaining band students, and I was surprised to find the room packed with 200 educators, all eager to find solutions to help them bring children into music programs and maintain that motivation to continue. Advocacy is Like Selling, Yet It Isn’t Advocacy is a lot like selling. But it’s different because you’re not just trying get your product into the hands of your buyer. It’s much more than that. You believe that what you’re promoting has intrinsic value, and is of long-term worth. You’ve experienced it yourself, and it’s changed your life. Because of your own experience, you want to share it with everyone you know and take it to people you don’t even know, because it’s that amazing. Basically, you’re trying to share what you believe to be the lifelong benefits of learning or of having a particular experience, for those who participate, as well as those whom they impact and influence because you absolutely know that it can change their lives for the better. So How do You Advocate for Yourself? Initially, most of us don’t see the need to “toot your own horn” at work. There’s this idea that if we go to work every day, and if we do what we’re supposed to do, at some point we’re going to get recognized for it and paid more. Or you will get more responsibilities and opportunities. But either way, the belief is that if you work hard and do your best, it will pay off. Advocating for yourself is taking all of this effort you’re putting in and the great worth you have as a human being and a worker, and sharing that. It’s not bragging, but it might feel that way at first. Sharing your abilities and achievements with others around you is the only way they will know about your unique strengths. Why Don’t Others See us Clearly? Other people will view what we do through some kind of filter or lens, shaded by their background, way of thinking, experience, culture, and so many other aspects of who they are. No matter how great we are or what our work is, there will always be people who see our efforts as weak, misguided, or common. Confidence Makes It Better Our own words about ourselves tell the story much better. So first, we must know ourselves—our strengths and weaknesses. And, we must have our own internal self-worth that is not dependent on others’ opinions, their validation, their accolades or judgments, and our rank or salary. Just as Gladys naturally sold women’s bras to strangers and I shared the lifelong benefits of band with everyone, we can all advocate for our value and contributions in the workplace. When we come at things with a confidence about our own worth, things become subject to us, and we can do what we dream about. With a solid sense of self-knowledge, we can steer our efforts in the right directions as we use our strengths and recognize weaker areas, and stop over-focusing on those parts of ourselves. Advocating our value to others is easier because we confidently know it and aren’t waiting for others to tell us. This week, take some time to advocate for your best traits. your contributions. Toot your own horn.
15 minutes | 4 months ago
#40: Take Time to Reflect
When we take time to reflect, we create innovative solutions. We attack urgent tasks more aligned to our values and purpose. And, we balance fast, spontaneous thinking with slow, deliberate thoughts. In today’s podcast, you’ll learn why reflection is a good thing. What Happens When We Don’t Take Time to Reflect? And, when we don’t take time to reflect, it has a big impact. We slow down. We’re less efficient. And, we’re more likely to make mistakes. Why Reflection is Good for You Reflection brings many benefits, including an increased sense of control. When you write things down and think about your day, this strengthens your memory. Furthermore, this habit can help you track personal growth over time. As a journal-keeper myself, I attest to the fact that journaling gives structure to my own life. And, it helps me make sense of much of what I have done or experienced. How to Do It: Through today’s podcast, you’ll gain new strategies to approach written reflections. Journaling is one way to reflect on your day, week, month, or year. When you write things down, you can record observations you make. Write about new ideas. Experiences. In a journal, you might also write about feelings, emotional moments, and deep thoughts. It’s a great place to articulate your goals, dreams, and plans. Reflecting about your work performance and growth are other areas you might consider. Lastly, find a method that works well for you. And, make it a habit. For more ideas about journal writing, visit IAJW.ORG. Reflecting through an online app can make the process even easier. Tools To Try: If you’re looking for a good journaling app, consider “Five Minute Journal.” This one gives you options to include photos and suggests various prompts to get you started. As second option is “Day One,” which provides customization. Additionally, I suggest “Friday” because it helps you form a habit through automation, and tagging is another perk
12 minutes | 4 months ago
#39 Self-Awareness is a Mindset
Did you know that self-awareness is a mindset? Seeing ourselves, including our strengths, traits, weaknesses, and other attributes, can be a lens through which we see ourselves more clearly. Clarity comes from increased self-awareness. Self-awareness can save us both time and energy when we use it to determine our direction, next steps, and understand our daily work. In today’s podcast, I share five ways to become more self aware, inspired by an article from Harvard Business review called “5 Ways to Be More Self-Aware,” by Anthony K. Tjan. Here are additional resources for greater self-awareness, mentioned in today’s podcasst: 16 Personalities Truity MyersBriggs.Org
16 minutes | 4 months ago
#38 Mindset to Forgive
Forgiveness is an elusive topic, and yet possible with a “mindset to forgive.” Mindset is one’s mental disposition. Our automatic thoughts. Forgiveness is a character strength. If you take a moment to visit the VIA Character Strengths Survey, you will learn how strong of a trait this is in your life. If it’s not a strength for you or for me, it can be developed. In his book “Forgiving What you’ll never Forget,” David Stoop wrote the following: “To forgive is, in the English language, an extended, expanded, strengthened form of the verb to give. By intensifying the verb we speak of giving at its deepest level, of self-giving, or giving forth and giving up deeply held parts of the self. We give up the right to revenge, to perfection, to justice, and instead we give forth to ourselves—or to the other person—freedom from the past and an openness toward the future. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves and others.” (p. 21) In order to need forgiveness, we must first have judged that something SHOULD have happened. Or, something should NOT have happened. Either way, something is very wrong, and based on what we believe to be true, we might also believe that someone should fix it, make it right, or pay for it. These beliefs are stories that go with our thoughts about what happened. About Forgiveness For today’s podcast, we’ll consider whether forgiveness is a mindset, and these questions: How have you typically defined forgiveness? Why should we forgive? How do we do it? HOW HAVE YOU TYPICALLY DEFINED FORGIVENESS? I used to define forgiveness as something I might want from others, when I have made a mistake. I thought it meant that I would apologize, try to fix whatever I did, and ask the other person involved to give me forgiveness. When I thought about forgiveness this way, it seemed that I could never be in control of it. Someone else, outside of me, had the power over forgiveness. Perhaps I could never do enough to earn their forgiveness. If that was true, then no matter how sorry I was, or how much I tried to fix things, ultimately someone else could decide whether I could let it go, feel better, and move on. Expecting forgiveness to come from someone else is a common way to think about it, but there are several reasons why this is a problem. Have you ever defined forgiveness this way? If we look at forgiveness as something someone else gives the offending person, there would be no forgiveness when someone has died, when there isn’t any way to contact the other person, or when the offender has truly changed and made things right but the victim is holding tightly with an unwilling heart. So, for many reasons, forgiveness is not something we can expect to get from other people. In his book “Bonds that Make Us Free,” Terry Warner defines forgiveness this way: “Forgiveness, correctly understood, is the process by which we open ourselves to the reality of others and thereby undergo a profound personal change.” When someone asked about how you can forgive another person and forget at the same time, Warner went on to say that “we cannot accuse someone in our heart and at the same time forget about the wrong we’re accusing them of doing.” After all, in order to forgive, we must first accuse someone of wrongdoing. Accusation and Blame Basically, when we believe that someone has offended us, or wronged us, we accuse and blame them. We might hate, resent, or hurt them in return. We harden our hearts against the other person and build invisible walls to separate ourselves from them. It’s like we start a war with someone who has hurt us, because we believe they have done something wrong. And, in doing this, we are doing something wrong ourselves. We are harboring blame and accusations toward the other person. And, we are justifying why we are stuck in some way, because of what the other person has done. Examples of Being “Stuck” I can think of so many instances where one person has clung so tightly to the offense, that they told that story all the time as justification for not moving on. For example, last week I spoke to an adult man who said that he had not had any control over his life since third grade, because of what his third grade teacher did to him. This person still tells the story of events that happened when he was seven or eight years old, and how much he cannot do now because of those events. It’s unlikely that the third grade teacher thinks about it now, and they may never see each other again. By holding the story, this man avoids needing to learn how to write legibly and a few others skills that would help him now in adulthood. The story does not harm the third grade teacher, even if she really did wrong him. Instead, it hurts the man. Another example is a woman whose husband was unfaithful during their marriage. Because of the adultery, the two decided to divorce and move on through life without each other. The man married again and worked to change himself over time, to learn how to discipline himself and become more the person he thought he should be. The woman chose not to date or remarry. As the years went by, she told the story repeatedly about how she had prepared for a long, committed marriage, and the man ruined her dreams by being unfaithful. Although it is a complex situation and difficult to live through, forgiveness in each situation is a tool for freedom and the space to live again. WHY SHOULD WE FORGIVE? First of all, it isn’t my goal to push anyone to forgive someone else. I understand that it can be very difficult to understand the choices people make, especially when they are very wrong to us. I want you to know that we’re exploring the topic today, not preaching how you should be. When there is an offense or action taken by someone that hurts us, we accuse and blame them. Accusing others who we believe wronged or offended us puts us in the place as the victim. If we see ourselves as a victim, we give up our control and bind ourselves to the other person. Our story becomes the reason we cannot heal or recover. We think that we are less than we might be, because of that other person’s problem or choices. We blame that other person for what we are or are not able to do now. In a sense, we relive the situation over and over in the present, every time we tell the story. Without even realizing it, by accusing and blaming the other person, we are doomed to bring them with us throughout our lives, and we tell the story of what happened over and over again, keeping us stuck to this other person for a very long time. As we are thinking about what is going on when we sense the need to forgive someone else, it seems that in order to be open to the possibility of truly forgiving, our heart must be open to the possibility that there is another story to tell. The First Step: Considering Possibilities Even considering the possibility that there might be another story opens things up. That person who cut us off in traffic, causing us to stop the car quickly and spill a milkshake all over our lap. At first, it would be easy to think they did it thoughtlessly, and they are a reckless driver. When we find that they have a family member in the car who is gravely injured and they are speeding to the hospital a mile away, it seems a bit easier to understand the situation. The new story means that we might have a mess to clean up, but perhaps we understand the emergency and even want to get out of their way to help them get to the hospital faster. Ultimately, forgiveness is a way to become free from bondage to stories that don’t serve us. By forgiving, we open the door to moving forward. Forgiveness is a Mindset I propose that the disposition of our hearts, or our state of feeling forgiveness, begins in our mindset. There’s this idea that we use a thinking process without even realizing it, called the ladder of inference. This thinking process starts with input, or facts, and it moves us through steps to a decision. The ladder of inference, a metaphorical model of cognition and action created by Chris Argyris. Argyris’s original ladder had fewer rungs with different names. User: Biogeographist / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0) Thinking stages would be those rungs on the ladder, or the steps.Each one of us has different steps in our thought processes. These steps our thoughts take are things like these: Look at the data or information from observations Add meanings Make assumptions based on our meanings Paraphrase it in our mind Think about it in the context to understand it more clearly Name what’s happening Again, with our own mental filters, we then explain and evaluate what is happening, and After all of this, in a flash, we decide what to do. This is a very fast process. Our minds move in microseconds through this pathway, taking each of these steps, to think through something. If forgiveness begins in our minds, we are competing with some pretty rigid thought processes to get to the place where we are forgiving someone. In fact, because our brains are wired for efficiency, we think in patterns and have a difficult time changing the way we think. Slowing things down and thinking something different could mean that we need a new habit. HOW DO WE FORGIVE? So, the idea is that forgiving others includes three parts that really are all within our own control: Focus on our part of the problem and address what is within our control. Open our hearts toward others and try to understand, rather than blaming and accusing. As we try to understand, we might learn about true stories that were behind what happened. Let go of accusations and blame, so that we can see the humanity of the other person. When we are accusing and blaming, we are motivated to carry a heart at war. Letting go transforms them in front of our eyes. By seeing them differently, we also transform ourselves. Bringing it Toge
28 minutes | 4 months ago
#37: How to Overcome Negativity in Life, Relationships, and Business
In today’s podcast, I’m excited to discuss how to overcome negativity in life, relationships, and business. Sure, it might seem a bit unusual that I’m excited about negativity, and I agree this is a strange polarity. I’m excited because negativity is everywhere. We experience it within ourselves, with family members, with colleagues, with those we teach or manage, and with bosses. Although not everyone is negative all the time, negativity seems to creep in everywhere. Have you ever felt like you were stuck in negative thinking and didn’t have a way out? Have you ever believed that someone else was being negative, shooting down all of your ideas? Today, I’ll share three strategies you can use to tackle your own negative thinking. I’ll also share a conversation structure idea for managing negativity with another person, from “Conscious Business,” by Fred Kaufman. Both approaches are extremely helpful. If you’re still wondering how to get through negativity today, this podcast will help you break free. Negativity is a problem because it stops creativity. It closes doors. It removes possibility. Negativity can become a mindset that shades everything, like wearing a pair of tinted glasses. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. Optimism and realism can exist together, and this kind of balanced perspective creates possibilities. Enjoy the podcast! For a link to the book I’ve mentioned in this podcast, Fred Kaufman’s “Conscious Business,” please click here.
16 minutes | 4 months ago
#36: Resilience and the Majestic Elephant Within
The world we’re living in begs us to have resilience. Consider the sculptor who chipped away at a rough block of stone, intentionally revealing the majestic elephant within. He claimed the elephant was there all along. And his job was just to remove anything that was not elephant. Just like a rough sculptor’s stone, you have strengths within that are already part of you. Some have appeared throughout your life. The uniqueness and beauty of your strengths can emerge. Your strengths become clearer in adversity and challenging times. To make room for your strengths to shine, you might need to further develop resilience. Resilience is a skill set. Not everyone is naturally resilient. Resilience is being able to “bounce back.” To recover from difficulty. There are five key areas of resilience: Locus of control. This is the belief that you can cope. That you can handle it. Connection. This is your support network and positive relationships. Self-awareness. This is what you think and feel. Your experience. Your impact. Creation. This is your intentional use of strategies, positive emotions, and purpose. Letting go. This is your choice to lose other parts of rough stone so that the beauty beneath can emerge. As you think about your strengths and resilience this week, focus on core strategies to sleep, exercise, and rejuvinate. Best wishes to you this coming week!
23 minutes | 5 months ago
#35: What I Learned about Navigating Uncertainty from Marching Band
Let’s look at what I learned about navigating uncertainty from marching band. You might not know this, but I was a music educator for 20 years, and I directed marching bands during 13 of those years. Marching band is a complex activity that serves as an excellent metaphor for navigating uncertainty. Times we’re living in now are more uncertain than ever. Yet the future is always uncertain, no matter how predictable it might seem. Challenges we face can either help us grow or become our stumbling blocks. When marching bands perform, each individual must play a musical instrument. The music is memorized. It must be expressive, dynamic, and artistic. And each performer must move around while playing. While adjusting the music and physical position to everyone else. Imagine that. Then, add rain and a slippery football field as the “stage.” How might you navigate this complex, uncertain circumstance? Whatever your situation, I hope you will consider these tips from this podcast episode: Focus on what you can control. Keep learning. Know & apply your strengths. While we cannot know the future, navigating uncertainty is possible when we know ourselves and focus on what is within our power to control. Whether the field is what we expect or a slick one covered with rain. Just like performing in a marching band on a wet football field during the final competition of the season, we can gain strength every step of the way during uncertain times.
15 minutes | 5 months ago
#34: Use Your Strengths to Cope with Uncertainty
In today’s podcast, we’ll consider how you can use your strengths to cope with uncertainty. There are many kinds of strengths you might explore as you consider your own traits and capabilities. The VIA Character Strengths Survey is a science-backed tool. It focuses on positive psychology through character strengths and virtues. When you visit the link provided here, you gain access to this free tool. You will learn about your top 5 strengths and a list of other relative strengths you also possess. When you learn about your strengths and find ways to emphasize them in your life, you may begin to see possibilities and opportunities. Focusing on strengths can reduce your tendency to seek out what is wrong. Strengths can help you realize what you value most. Using your strengths to cope with uncertainty might reduce anxiety by emphasizing what you can control. The CliftonStrengths tool is another assessment used commonly in business and educational institutions. This tool is not free, but the results are well worth the investment. By taking this assessment, you will gain insight about your talents. You will also be able to access tips to use your strengths to the fullest. Regardless of your method, identifying your own strengths is a rewarding process. Through awareness, you can focus on what is strong and how you can help. Enjoy today’s podcast, focusing on strengths.
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