Was I giving the best I had, or just my leftovers?

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The hard truth slapped me across the face like windchill on a cold winter day. Instead of feeling good about my attempts to serve and help others, I felt pretty lame. I’m not going to lie – it stung!

Yet, that cold slap in the face has awakened me to reality as well as what is possible, and so I am grateful for the truth. I am going to lay out my imperfections here and ask that you not judge me, but that you learn from my experience.

I was raised in a family and in a faith that emphasizes serving one another. The Good Samaritan was a hero at my house. My Dad picked up hitchhikers. He gave rides to people who had run out of gas on the side of the road or drove them to the nearest gas station to get their tire fixed. My mom volunteered to clean someone’s house when they were sick. We were always having people to our house for dinner who struggled to put food on their own table. If there was an event at church, my family volunteered to set up or clean up.  We shoveled the neighbors’ driveways. We gave rides. You get the picture. Service was as much a part of my life as was eating and showering. It’s just what we did.

As an adult, my life has gotten busier and busier. I own a business. I travel. My husband has a time-consuming job. He has an aging mother that he spends time with. We have dogs that need to be exercised. We have church responsibilities that take a good deal of time. We own a house and there is always something that needs to be cleaned or fixed or taken care of when you own a house. Do you see? My life is now really busy and time for serving seems to be less prevalent than when I was younger.

As a person who wants to do the right thing though, I have tried to find ways to serve. There is always someone that can use help. Help can take on different forms, and I have found myself helping in the least disruptive ways.

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When volunteers were laying a new floor at the fitness center where I teach, I volunteered to buy and deliver pizzas for lunch on Saturday. That’s nice, right? It saved them money and time and kept them fed. I looked like a hero, but really? It was just money and 20 minutes I didn’t bother to rearrange my schedule so that I could help lay the floor.   

When my grown kids needed to a break from being parents, I bought them gift certificates for movies and dinner and even paid for a sitter. Nice thing to do, right? Again, it was the easy way out because it only cost money. I didn’t cancel something in my life so that I could spend a few hours with my grandchildren.

When a friend’s mother passed away and they needed help with the funeral luncheon, I made dozens and dozens of cookies. Helpful, right? It was, except I didn’t volunteer to spend time with other women preparing food at the church or serving lunch to the family, instead I baked in the comforts of my own home far away from the people that were grieving and having a need to be served.

Are you clearly seeing the picture I am painting here? On the surface, it appears that I have been doing the right thing. Granted, I have been helping, but as I take a closer look, I notice that I have been taking the easy way out. If there is a convenient way to help another that doesn’t really interrupt my life then I  do my part. But, if it requires sacrifice, then I haven’t been signing up for that gig. Bottom line – I am very good at serving when it’s convenient. That’s not bad, but it certainly isn’t my best.

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Last week at church, we had a lesson on selfless service and the following analogy is what grabbed my attention BECAUSE IT IS ME! Our teacher asked if we had ever been asked to donate to a food shelf and in filling up our grocery sack we opened our cupboards and looked for the green beans that were about to expire or the can of Spaghetti-Os that we didn’t like anyway or the generic brand of marshmallows that we found didn’t melt very well and put those in the sack. We made the donation, but we gave what we wouldn’t eat ourselves. We gave our leftovers. The receivers of the donation would be grateful for whatever they received, and they would never know, but we do. We know that we are giving leftovers and keeping the best for ourselves.

Service, done the right way, benefits the receiver AND the giver. The greater the sacrifice, the better the giver feels. The more we give, the more joy we can feel. When we dig a little deeper to give, something happens that I can’t explain. We change a little bit. We recognize that we need each other. We realize that we are all here on earth together to help each other and when we help another, we help ourselves. That’s what happens when we give the best we have instead of the leftovers.

I have been awakened and pledge to give more of me – to serve when it doesn’t fit into my schedule – to look for ways to help lift another because I know lifting another lifts me too!

SAVOR 2019

Some years. my ONE WORD doesn’t come to me until five minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve. Some years, I have a long list of words to sort through before ONE WORD rises to the top. This year, I knew my ONE WORD by mid-December.  The word was floating around in my less conscious and while Christmas shopping, I found this …

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And I knew that this ONE WORD was definitely supposed to be my focus for the next year.

As always, I first went to the dictionary so I could see how closely my definition matched what Webster had to say…

1)      To give flavor to

2)      To have experience of

3)      To taste or smell with pleasure

4)      To delight in

Not surprisingly, Webster expanded my thoughts on how my ONE WORD could affect the year ahead. While my initial attraction to the word was that it might help me slow down and be more in the moment, this broader definition helped me see that to savor something or someone is much more than just being in the moment with them.

Here is how I foresee 2019 being a year with SAVOR at the core!

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To give flavor to-

The thought that I could be the one adding flavor/ spice/ sweetness to any given situation had not crossed my mind. This is a very active use of the word SAVOR. This means I can be fully aware of the unique flavor I bring to a conversation or relationship or project or view. No one can bring what I can. That doesn’t always mean that everyone involved will love the flavor I bring, but that isn’t the point. The point is that I honor my own uniqueness – that I show up authentically – that I recognize when my active presence might change the flavor of any moment.  Simply writing that makes me feel powerful. What is it like to recognize that I am my own special brand and when I am added to the mix, it’s different?  It’s cool, that’s what it is.

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To have experience of –

I now have less years ahead of me than I have behind me. My opportunities to experience certain things have already passed and other experiences have a short window. I can no longer say “next year” or “in a few years” or “later” to as many things and believe that I will have the time to do them. That is not meant to be morbid – it is reality. I played a ton of racquetball when I was in my late 20s and early 30s, which is good because my knees are not healthy enough for me to play racquetball today. This year I plan to say yes to more experiences. I am already booked for ziplining in Maui and snorkeling in an old volcano. Both of those things have me slightly terrified, but I’m going to do them because I want to have those experiences. I foresee more experiences and less stuff in my future.

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To taste or smell with pleasure –

Remember when you learned about your tongue in elementary school and how different areas of the tongue are sensitive to different tastes? Salty – sour – sweet – bitter? We use those words often in describing relationships or life experiences.  My new car is so sweet. Our relationship went sour. That conversation left me feeling bitter. His language is a bit salty. We use those words because in some way those experiences are something we can almost taste. I want to taste my life experiences. I want to be so present that my senses come alive.  This means that I am going to bring all of me to wherever I am and stay there. I have a terrible habit of playing the game where I am always looking ahead – “tomorrow at this time”, “one week from today”, “in 2 years”. I have no control over being anywhere in the future – only here – only now. Wherever I am, I want to be there. I have practiced this over the last week and I can feel a difference. Maybe that sounds crazy, but I can feel it in my body. I feel full. I feel alive. I feel aware. Those are all great things to feel!

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To delight in –

Life is too short to waste time crabbing about how it isn’t measuring up to my expectations. From the time we are small, we begin to learn words for the negative side of life. I remember an old research study where they asked a girls’ basketball team to describe how they felt about themselves when they were playing well. There were only a few words to describe the positive performance. Then they asked them to describe their game when they weren’t playing well and the descriptors came pouring out. Over and over again, we see that we have more words to describe the negative or dark side of something or someone than we do to describe the upside.  That is really sad to me.  Part of savoring for me is learning to look for the best in whatever place I find myself.  A simple example is from 2 days ago. The park where I usually walk my dogs has turned into a treacherous ice rink. The hill up to the park is solid ice and most of the sidewalk has been covered with melted snow that freezes when the temps are cold. It is very challenging to find any dry spots.  As I was walking the dogs this week, I felt myself begin to be frustrated with the situation, and a bit fearful about slipping and falling. Last year I got a concussion falling on the ice in the park. The year before, one of our dogs tore her ACL slipping on ice in the park. I have good reason to be crabby about our walking paths!   However, I remembered that I wanted to savor life this year. In that moment, I chose to look up at the very blue sky, and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I decided that we could walk safely if we simply walked slower and took smaller steps. As I looked to my left and right I saw patches of frozen, crunchy grass that would provide sure footing. Before I knew it, I was relaxing and thoroughly enjoying my chance to be enjoying this walk with my two beautiful dogs. One of them is 11+, which is older than any of our other huskies have lived. She is healthy and strong and I thought about how grateful I am to still have her in my life.   By the time we got home, I was filled with delight – truly!  I had a smile on my face and I was filled with gratitude for the experience I just had.  The cool thing is that the ice hadn’t melted – the slippery spots hadn’t disappeared – it took longer than I had planned, but I shifted what I was focused on and by choosing to experience the best in the moment, I was filled.

It’s going to be a good year. I look forward to learning how to bring my own unique flavor to life, to find the best in all situations, to say yes to more experiences, and to fully be wherever I am. Here’s to a year of SAVOR!!!!!!!!!

Becoming Unfrustratable: It's a Good Choice

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What do you do when you get frustrated?

Slam doors?

Swear?

Stomp around?

Clam up?

Raise your voice?

Take it out on other people?

Quit?

At some point in my life I have behaved in all of those ways. I’m not proud to say it, but it’s true. I know I have encountered people in cars, airports, stores, or work groups that have no idea what they did to deserve the looks or words I sent their way. Fortunately, for all humans, as well as inanimate objects, I have learned to accept a situation as it is – take a deep breath or a walk – and make a choice to dismiss my frustration.

I have a coaching client who really lets things get under his skin. Most of the time, the things are outside of his control and they aren’t bad things – they just aren’t being handled the way he would do it. During one coaching session I could feel myself becoming frustrated with his constant frustration, so I asked “Is this really how you want to spend your life?  Seems like a huge waste of energy to me, but it’s your choice and if you like the feeling of being frustrated, then stay there. However, I don’t want to hear about it anymore.”  

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That might not have been my most brilliant coaching moment, but it got us on a path that led to the declaration “I am going to become unfrustratable.” Here are the steps we took:

Step 1:  What frustrates you?  (When management makes stupid decisions)

Step 2:  What frustrates you about that? (They don’t understand how the decision affects me)

Step 3: What frustrates you about that? (No one cares about my opinion)

Step 4: Now that we are at the core of your frustration, let’s figure out what choices you have when someone that frustrates this core value of yours. How do you currently respond? (I don’t say anything and just wait for their decision to bite them in the butt)

Step 5:  What are the benefits of that action? (The brain/ body enjoy frustration as it increases energy when we feel like we are fighting something. It gives us an excuse to do things the same way, which means we don’t have to learn anything new. It reinforces my story that management doesn’t listen and gives me a reason to continue to mistrust them.)

Step 6:  What are the costs of that action? (I get frustrated. They don’t hear my ideas. I get labeled as someone who doesn’t like change.)

Step 7: How could you handle this differently? (Discuss at least 3 options)

Step 8: Choose an option and come up with action steps of how to put it in place, and ask for accountability

This conversation took about 30 minutes and at the end, my client said “I am going to become unfrustratable.” Not sure that is even a word!  He made this choice because he very much likes to be in control, and once he recognized that he was letting other people’s choices dictate how he felt, and how he showed up at work, he decided that he needed to take control back.  For him, that meant he would not allow frustration to dominate his thoughts, actions and take a toll on his health. By the way, we can become frustrated with ourselves and that can be even trickier because we don’t have an external focus. That is why I emphasize that we need to not let frustration control us instead of saying other people’s actions – sometimes it’s our own actions that frustrate us.

Now becoming unfrustratable isn’t as easy as flipping a light switch, but neither is it impossible. He has made great strides. The things that help him have been:

·       Stepping away

·       Getting fresh air, as in outside

·       Keeping his body moving

·       Asking himself 3 levels of why this is frustrating him

·       Asking himself what is most important

·       Asking himself how he could share his perspective in a positive way

·       Celebrating that he shared his perspective and then letting it go and getting back to the task at hand

I, too, have put these steps into practice and the two actions that offer me the best hope of dismissing my frustration are to take a walk outside and ask myself what is most important.  I have never answered that question by saying that the most important thing is for me to stay frustrated and let everyone know it. Those moments still come for me, but they are short lived and I know that I am healthier – physically, emotionally, and socially – for refocusing my energy on choices that move me forward!

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Breaking Trail ... Who Knew?

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It’s April 15th in Minnesota and I am surrounded by people who are completely disgusted with this late spring blizzard. I’m not sure if it’s my generally optimistic nature or my love of winter that has me excited about the storm. Whatever it is, I couldn’t wait to get dressed in my best winter gear, grab the girls and hit the trail. Apparently, no one else felt the same excitement,  as our streets and neighborhood have been incredibly quiet the last 48 hours.

We were the first ones on the walking path through the park this morning. The snow was about a foot deep and there were no footsteps to follow in. It was us forging the trail and it was a slog! I understand the combination of exhilaration and exhaustion. I couldn’t help but think about what it’s like to be the first … to try anything. The first to share a new idea. The first to bring a product to market. The first to go to college in your family. The first person to say no!   No matter what the “it” is, being first takes strength, persistence, vision, and support!

The wind was blowing with gusto from the south for half of our walk and it provided another type of resistance.Who knew that snowflakes hitting your eyeballs at 40 mph could hurt? There was never a time on our walk when it was easy, but we kept pushing (and pulling) ahead, determined to make it all the way around the park regardless of how hard it was.

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When we got to street crossings there were snowbanks that were 3 feet high and we had to get beyond them in order to keep moving forward. The girls got over the banks much easier than I did because they have 4 legs and I only have 2. At each bank or drift, I watched them push off on their back legs and bounce up and over.  Meanwhile, I struggled with my 2 legs because I had to walk through it; I didn't have legs to push off and legs to land on.  I thought about why work is so much easier with a team. My dogs have a 4 person team and my team  has only 2 to work with.

As the leader of the team, I did have to keep us moving ahead. There were times that members of my team were distracted. Critter smells, debris blowing around, another spot to pee on and there is always the temptation to play with each other.  All of these presented chances to get off track. Just like in real life, there were times when I was pulling- leading the way, and others when I was being dragged along. How grateful I was to be on this journey with others.

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When we walked in the front door all we wanted to do was flop down on the front room floor and take a nap.  The voices in my head were sending conflicting messages:  "You have lots to do. Take off your snow gear and get busy." and ”That was really hard work. You could have skipped the walk this morning, but you persevered. It's okay that you take a rest and savor the experience."  I chose to rest and savor the moment.  It was from that rest that the idea for this blog came. Had I jumped right into work, I would have moved on and missed these reflections.

I am so grateful that I continue to receive lessons/ thoughts/ insights from my daily life. I hope you make the time for your own reflections as you move through the day-to-day.

p.s. These are not pictures of my own dogs, but they are a close resemblance. I could not handle a camera and 2 Siberian Huskies and a snowstorm!

NOTICING - Do you hide your bossiness behind a question?

NOTICING - Do you hide your bossiness behind a question?

Seems to me that I spend a lot of time lately working with leaders to develop their inquiry skills. in Humble Inqury, Ed Schein, paints a convincing picture of the "tell culture" that we live in. I certainly see it in my work...and in my own life.

NOTICE is my word for 2017

How many parts of your life do you NOT notice?

What are you missing?

We can't change what we don't notice!

We can't be grateful for what we don't notice!

We can't talk about what we don't notice!

It's kind of a big deal... I've NOTICED!

I am going to notice everything I can this year - I challenge you to turn up the noticer in yourself!

GO!

10 LIFE LESSONS FROM STRETCHING

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I am three months into my 2016 ONE WORD challenge, and I already have 10 life lessons to share.  STRETCH can be literal or metaphorical - you choose!

1. Everyone's point of stretch is different. Never judge whether anyone else is stretching far enough- you don't know!

2. Stretching for 45 minutes once a week is not nearly as effective as stretching for 5 minutes every single day.

3. Each day is a little bit different; don't expect your stretch to increase every day.

4. Just because it's good for you doesn't mean it won't hurt sometimes.

5. Not all parts of you stretch equally - accept that you may have limitations.

6. It really doesn't matter when or where you stretch - just DO IT!

7. You need to stretch right up to the point of discomfort and STAY there for awhile! Growth doesn't happen in your comfort zone.

8. You can always stretch further than you think you can!

9. Progress might be measured in a fraction of an inch and not feet - it's still progress.

10. The first thing you lose as you age is your flexibility; don't be old and stiff - be old and flexible. It's much better to bend than break!

 

STRETCH is the word for 2016

tiger stretch I gave up New Year's Resolutions about 3 years ago. I switched to a focus on ONE WORD for the year. ONE WORD that could be applied to every part of my life and make it (or me) more of what I wanted.

STRETCH is my word for 2016

  • Physically, I am losing flexibility faster than any other physical factor. I am going to stretch my body every time I think of it during the day. Consistency will win out!
  • Emotionally, I tend to stay in the box and avoid situations that can bring up emotions that are uncomfortable for me. I'm tired of avoidance. I'm tired of living in the comfortable emotional space. Time to venture into a space where I feel my emotions might be teased up on their edge.
  • Intellectually, I am going to stretch myself to learn deeper. I am great at a superficial level where I am learning a little about lots of things. Great at the level where it comes easily. If it requires me to really fire up the brain and hang in there to understand, I sometimes check out. No more pretending that I know - it's time for me to engage in the challenge - find out what's it like to struggle to learn something.
  • Socially, I have myriad opportunities to stretch. I am great socially when I'm in charge of the conversation - the who, the what, the how long, the where. That needs to stop. This is the year where I will meet people where they are at. If it's small talk (which is hard for me), I'll stay there and see what's in it. If it's on the phone (which I detest), then I will use my mobile device for something besides texting and talk into it.  If it's in someone's home (in a location or situation where I typically don't venture), then I need to go into their space. If someone else connects best early in the morning or late at night, I'm going to make the effort to stretch to their timing - not mine.
  • Spiritually, I have much to learn through study - through faith - through prayer. I have been comfortable with my level of spirituality for far too long, and it's time to stretch myself.  Not really sure what this holds, but I know that it's been awhile since I felt as if I was reaching for anything here.
  • Work; it's time to take risks and try new things.  I know what I'm good at. I don't know how good or bad I might be at many things - it's time to check it out.
  • Family; it's time to stretch into being a better grandmother - unplanned time with these precious children, who do not need an agenda or a place to go - what they need is me and I need them.
  • Friend; this is about stretching to be more of what my friends need from me (a listening ear) and less of what I do well (coach, offer solutions). This may be the biggest stretch of all for me.
  • Service; I love to serve, and up until now, I am best when it is convenient for me. That needs to stop.  My stretch opportunity is to serve when it's needed, not when it fits my schedule.
  • A final thought about the benefits of stretching is that you are less likely to be injured or hurt - you can fit into more places/situations - it raises your awareness of your limits and little by little you go beyond what you thought was possible.  That's a pretty great thing.

I shared my STRETCH 2016 because I know if I put it in writing, I will hold myself more accountable. I also hope that you might consider the ONE WORD that you can take  into every facet of your life this year and grow/develop as you have never done before.

Get creative - t-shirt, post it note on the bathroom mirror, phone password, screen saver - put it everywhere and let it seep into your DNA!

Anyone want to share their ONE WORD for 2016?

Feedback Is Hard Work

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Spencer Johnson, the author of Who Moved My Cheese, said "Integrity is telling yourself the truth. Honesty is telling the truth to other people."

A large part of my career has been spent in helping individuals, teams and organizations embrace feedback. I have found that feedback is not a favorite thing to give OR receive. Even the people who say they enjoy receiving feedback typically don't. It sounds brave and mature to say that though.

How does Webster (the true authority on meaning) define feedback?

: an annoying and unwanted sound caused by signals being returned to an electronic sound system

: helpful information or criticism that is given to someone to say what can be done to improve a performance, product, etc.

This definition made me smile. As I find myself in situations where I am either providing feedback or helping others provide feedback, or in many cases helping someone else receive feedback, I think it is often thought of as "an annoying or unwanted sound". It's somehow okay if I say something critical about myself, but I really don't want to hear you say it. Isn't that interesting? As I read the 2nd definition, I notice that it says "helpful information or criticism..." - do you think that "helpful" is meant to describe both "information" and "criticism", or even in this definition, is criticism seen as not being helpful?  Is it only information that is helpful?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions I am posing. Actually, there is no right answer - there is only your perspective.  PERSPECTIVE - that is the most powerful word to remember about feedback. When I offer someone a piece of feedback, I am offering them my perspective on something ... their idea, their process, their choice of restaurant, their taste in music, or even the way they drive. When I offer my perspective, I have no control of how it will be viewed through the recipient's perspective. Will they see it as helpful?  or as criticism?

This topic is on my mind today because I had the opportunity to share 360 survey results (feedback) with a coaching client today. It used to be that I would get pretty worked up about those sessions where I needed to help a client receive someone else's feedback. It's gotten easier and as I left the session today, I began to reflect on what was different for me these days as I work with feedback.  I always start by asking my client what they appreciate about the feedback. Most times I hear them say "I'm happy that people were honest." This isn't saying that the feedback was welcomed or easy to hear or even agreed with ... it is saying that people appreciate honesty from other people. That aligns with what Spencer Johnson says.  Honesty is telling the truth to other people. I would alter that and say honesty is telling "your truth" to other people.  It isn't very often that feedback can be actually labeled as absolute truth, but if you believe something to be true, then it is truth to you. We spent quite a bit of time today, my client and I, talking about how refreshing it is to know what someone thinks or feels. This client will now have the task of going back to each person who provided feedback and deepening the conversation, and the learning.

Here are a few key lessons I have learned about feedback:

* Begin by asking if someone is interested in another perspective. If they say no - try to honor that.

* The best feedback is both honest and honoring.

* Not everyone wants to receive feedback in the same manner. Practice the platinum rule and give unto others as they would like to be given unto.

* The sandwich principle of something good - something critical - something good  is POOR!  Everyone knows there is a stinky middle in this sandwich and it often makes them discount the positive things you wedged around the stink.

* Think of it as feedforward (Marshall Goldsmith coined this term) and make the conversation focused on a successful future instead of a failed past.

* When receiving feedback, just breathe and say thank you.  No need for reaction.

* Feedback is neutral - just like events are neutral - you are the one that attributes a negative or positive connotation to it.

* You always have a choice of what to do with feedback (when receiving).  When giving, remember that the person you are offering it to has that same choice. You can only offer it/ give it - you have zero control of the reception once the gift is given.

This was not meant to be an exhaustive list of tips about feedback (sorry that it kind of turned into a lengthy post); it was meant to be a reminder that feedback is hard. We can all improve in how we give it and how we receive it. We all have places in our lives where we need to be brave and speak our honest truth.  We all have places in our lives where we need to keep our perspectives to ourselves. I hope that this bit causes all of us to ponder which is most appropriate - speaking or refraining from speaking - knowing that there is a cost and a benefit to both of those choices.

Just Be Who I Want You To Be

People tell us who they are and we ignore itThis quote popped up on my FaceBook Newsfeed this morning and I had instantaneous resonance with it.  I am interested in what your interpretation is or in what it stirs up for you. Let me share my stirrings! Stirring #1 - When I see people who are really sad, I want them to not be sad.  Someone has a death in their family or is diagnosed with a terminal disease or loses their job and they are sad. I can get so caught up in wanting them to not be sad that I put all my effort into trying to get them to move on - breeze through this sad part - get to the place where life is better. That is not fair and it is not healthy!  I do not have to jump into the sad space with them; actually, I cannot because even if I have had something similar happen, it's not the same. What I do need to do is recognize that they are in a sad space. I can name it "I see that you are really sad and this is really hard for you right now."  Naming it is a great thing. I don't have to try and pull them out and tell them my story. I need to let them know that I see them and see how they are being. "I see you trying really hard to be strong. I see you reaching out and helping other people who are struggling with this too."  I had a coach who taught me about acknowledgement and the power of that.  It is really quite simple.   "I see that you are a sad mom who is working really hard to be brave for your children."  That is powerful!  I see the person as they are and I let them know what I see.

Stirring #2 - I am a pusher and a driver. I love challenge. I want to live up to my potential. I think life is better that way. So, I push other people to want MORE! One of my greatest realizations in life came during my first marriage. I was married to someone who really was content with life as it was - job as it was - we, as we were. I, on the other hand, always wanted more for him. Because I like change, challenge, goals, and being driven to achieve, I thought he should want that. I somehow believed his life would be better, our marriage would be stronger, and he would be happier if he just pushed harder.  WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   He was telling me with every fiber of his being who he was and I was ignoring it!

Stirring #3 - I'm pretty sure that people who know me would not describe me as being easily offended. It's quite difficult to hurt my feelings. I'm just not that sensitive.  I'm not saying that it's good or bad; I'm simply owning the fact that I don't let what people say or think affect me very much. In many ways, life seems easier to me that way. When I see people I care about getting their feelings hurt, I continue to push on the fact that they don't have to be that way. "You really aren't that sensitive. You are choosing to let people hurt your feelings. Stop that - it doesn't do you any good."  I want to believe that they are not really that sensitive and that what other people think or say doesn't really matter to them.  Guess what? It actually does. And, the fact that it does actually makes them pretty kind, wonderful people.  Because I see the angst it causes them, I continue to try and see them as someone that can change - that should want to change.

Moral of my stirrings - We really do need to meet people where they are at - wherever that is. We don't need to go and live there, but we must meet them there.  It doesn't mean that we can't talk about what we see as possible, but it does mean that we realize they have choice. Their choice may not be our choice - that's okay. I have seen others want something for someone else more than the person wants it for themselves.  I have BEEN that person.  STOP!   We can convince ourselves that if I want this badly enough for you that you will want it too. We can believe that if I see you in a certain way and tell you enough times that you will believe it. I'm not saying that we give up on sharing new ideas or possibilities or nudging others; I'm saying that we need to try and see someone from how they see themselves. We need to try on their perspective, and then we could ask them to try on ours. Ultimately, each of us gets to decide which perspective we want to wear!

 WHAT DOES THIS STIR UP FOR YOU?