Remember to be kind to yourself along the way

I was told yesterday – by someone I respect immensely.

While I’m still trying to grasp what it means, I’m reminded of a very insightful article that spoke of a football manager whose greatest critic was himself – so much so that the journalist surmised that he probably ‘wilted against his own stare’.

Powerful words these.

On dealing with resistance – The consulting way

Rob had a tough situation at hand as he was facing intense resistance from Brad as he offered a few tips for Brad to improve his productivity at work. The annoying part here was that it was Brad who had asked for his point of view, and now that he was giving it to him, he was feeling a strong push back.

It was then that he recalled an exercise his boss in his consulting firm had taught him.

‘Put your palms together in front of your chest. Let your right arm be the client’s resistance and your left arm be your response to the resistance.

Then, move your right arm towards the left, and your left arm to the right at the same time. If you hold this position, both hands are stuck in the middle. That is what will happen if you counter resistance – tension goes up, energy gets drained and you get stuck.

Now, let your left arm give in to the right arm’s push. At some point, your right arm will stop as it will have pushed as far as it can go. If you hold this position, you will notice that the right hand, the resistance, gets tired and drops of its own weight to the centre. Now, contacted but unopposing, the left hand can maintain its own position with no tension and little loss of energy. Rest assured, this will always work…

pushing cannot last forever, after all

Smiling at the memory, Rob listened till Brad got tired of defending himself and eventually requested Rob to help him. And, help him he did..

As we are constantly involved in the act of giving advice (sometimes solicited, other times not), we’re all consultants and always have clients of varying kinds. I hope this little exercise is helpful in making your next consulting gig more positive and easier.

Source: ‘Flawless Consulting’ by Peter Block

The world’s worst boss

That would be you.

Even if you’re not self-employed, your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.

Odds are, you’re doing it poorly.

If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much as your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.

I’m amazed at how often people choose to fail when they go out on their own or when they end up in one of those rare jobs that encourages one to set an agenda and manage themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.

We are surprised when someone self-directed arrives on the scene. Someone who figures out a way to work from home and then turns that into a two-year journey, laptop in hand, as they explore the world while doing their job. We are shocked that someone uses evenings and weekends to get a second education or start a useful new side business. And we’re envious when we encounter someone who has managed to bootstrap themselves into happiness, as if that’s rare or even uncalled for.

(Aspirational, of course.. :) )

There are few good books on being a good manager. Fewer still on managing yourself. It’s hard to think of a more essential thing to learn.

From Seth Godin – I thought it was fantastic.

And that’s why I plan to write a book on ‘Managing ourselves’ 10 years or so down the line!

Whose life did you touch today

Mark Suster wrote a lovely post titled ‘Whose life are you going to change?’ where he recounted the story of how a mentor of his changed his life. The post is here.

I was touched by the post myself and left a comment on his blog saying so and also telling him a bit about this blog. It turns out he checked out the blog, and left a comment about yesterday’s quote even. This is despite the fact that he had many many comments on every post.

And in doing so, he touched my life and made a difference. A little bit of kindness can go a long way. And make no mistake, that’s what he was doing when he checked out this little blog by a stupid 21 year old – being kind.

He has inspired me to keep the faith, build my blog step by step and hopefully, inspire many – you never know whose life you can change after all!

The 5 most common regrets as told to a nurse

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have / had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content.

When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

‘In the end, it is our conception of death that decides how we live our lives’

Source: An Australian nurse by name Bronnie Ware