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Posts Tagged ‘personal development’

“Would you let me know what time you’ll be home?”
“I’ll try…”

“I know I should clean up my room, but I don’t want to…

“Would you like to be part of our amateur choir?”
“Oh that sounds like fun, but I can’t sing!”

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There are a couple of words that I banned from my vocabulary. You just read a couple of examples of those. (another one is found in this blogpost).

Recently, I realized that this is only one side of the story. There is a whole different side of the story, one that people sometimes tend to forget about.

I’m all for being motivational, all for achieving things, maximizing yourself and going beyond what you think you can do. I’ve experienced things that tell me that boundaries are illusions and that if you push yourself hard enough, you can do whatever you want. The examples are, in my opinion, a way to sabotage yourself. By saying them, you get a free pass to not do something that is actually a bit scary. By saying them, you keep yourself small so you don’t have to step up your game.

There are certain circumstances in which the use of these words are helpful, though.

Consider these following sentences:

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I used to say: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”. It was a coping mechanism that I don’t fully support anymore. It tells you to want something, be attached to the outcome, and if you don’t get what you want, force yourself not to be sad about it. I don’t see the truth in this anymore. I deal with things differently now.

I’ve been talking a lot about not attaching to outcomes. I think it’s good to want something, but not to be attached to the outcome. But I’ve also found it very hard not to be attached to an outcome. If you want something, it’s natural to think about what the outcome could be like. And just thinking about outcomes will gently and very easily nudge you into the direction of being attached to a certain outcome. So what to do?

I don’t know the answer to that question. Permitting yourself to make mistakes might be part of it. Accepting a different outcome than the ones you anticipated, in whichever way, is another. But then, is it really such a bad thing to hope for the best? (I really don’t like the negativity of the ‘expect the worst’ part anymore.)

Today a friend got me thinking about the difference between hope and faith. For some time now, I have felt like hope does not help me anymore, whereas faith has helped me and continues to help through my life. It has always been with me, and has only grown in the past couple of years. This friend asked me what I thought the difference was between the two things.

I thought for a while and the answer I came up with surprised me in its simplicity. They both voice an anticipating to a certain outcome, without attaching oneself to it. But with hope, the underlying sentiment is uncertainty. And with faith, it is certainty.

With certainty comes confidence. And with confidence comes positivity. And with positivity good things come your way. I feel like this might be part of a bigger question yet unasked. To be continued.

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This weekend I decided to do something a bit differently than I normally do, just to see what I would gain from it. I purposefully changed my perspective, to see what I would learn from it.

I’ve been a mentor for a couple of times at this event called Evolv now. At Evolv we teach people who are interested in being an entrepreneur about the Lean Startup Methodology. I won’t go into what that is – because that’s more a topic for my business blog – but I will tell you that this time, I really wanted to be a participant, and not a mentor.

Doing my work as a coach in part of this methodology, I had encountered a couple of interactions with clients that made me realize that I did not know enough about what you’re going through when you go through this process. And it was in my opinion that I needed this experience to be able to coach people better in the process. So it was decided. I was going to be a participant, and not a coach, at this edition of Evolv Weekend. To learn more about Lean Startup myself, and also to experience what it would be like in the role of participant.

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Today I had a good experience; apparently I learned something without actively pursuing it, which is — to state it lightly — a new experience for me.

I was in a compliment-avalanche with someone I had just met that day (don’t ask, it came quite naturally, really đŸ™‚ ) and at a certain moment, after he had done something that had required some gathering up courage and pushing oneself across a threshold, I complimented him on his win.

He looked at me and I saw him skip the compliment to proceed to the next topic, moment, feeling or whatever it was that occurred at that moment. I decided this was a guy that can handle the remarks that I sometimes can’t help making, so I stopped him and said: “Wait. Hold on. First accept the compliment.”

He stopped, looked at me, and said (I’m paraphrasing, but it was something in line of): “That’s funny. I had realized you were doing that earlier. You take a moment to accept a compliment and then you go on.”

Now, this in itself, although it is a very nice interaction, is cool. But what was even cooler was that I had decided quite some time ago, that I wanted to take a moment to accept a compliment when someone would give me one, without shame, without excuses, without anything other than let it be and accept it. (I could go on that in our times it’s not normal to just accept compliments, but I’ll leave it for now).

The point is, that even without actively TRYING, I somehow managed to internalize that. 0.0. I didn’t even know I was doing that and I just did. Never knew I was capable of learning things without being overly conscious of it! I like how I can still surprise myself after all those years :).

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This is how I would like to react when later, I grow up and have children, whenever they come to me with a problem or situation.

– What are the things you can do about it?
– What could I do to help?
– It’ll be ok, baby.

It could be my standard palette of reactions, which will undoubtedly annoy them beyond crazy :).
But I think these reactions are very helpful because of the following reasons:

What are the things you can do about it?: This helps to empower someone to think for himself and solve their own problem. It also encourages discovering what’s within one’s circle of control. and what isn’t.
What can I do to help?: This shows that you are not alone, and there are other people willing to help you. It also gives the person the responsibility to state what he needs, instead of me making assumptions about what he needs.
It’ll be ok, baby (Komt wel goed, schatje): Sometimes people just need to vent. After they’ve done so, this is the only response I can think of. They don’t need help, they don’t need to do anything about the situation, but they just want someone to listen to them so they feel understood. It could help them accept the situation.

All of the presumed benefits stated above are things that I would like to teach my children, encourage them in, or support them in. Of course, all of the above can also be beneficial in interactions with other people.

Do you agree with me on this? Are there more initial reactions that you find valuable?

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We have all these beautiful people surrounding us, yet we insist on solving things by ourselves and being alone.

There’s one word that’s been coming up lately. Trust. And I decided to dedicate not one, but three (yes, three!) blogposts to it. For the other ones, click on these links: Trust that my friends will want to support me, Trust that my friends will want to spend time with me.

Trust that my friends will (want to) help me

I always thought I was a patient person. I always thought I was good at trusting other people to do the tasks that were assigned to them. Turns out I’ve got some more learning to do.

This is where I came from. I was brought up seeing people not wanting to ask for help. I’m so very proud of my mom, who let us do almost all the cooking over Christmas! I’ve been surrounded by people most of my life who solve everything by themselves.

I’ve come to see that asking for help is not something to be ashamed of. (more…)

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We have all these beautiful people surrounding us, yet we insist on solving things by ourselves and being alone.

There’s one word that’s been coming up lately. Trust. And I decided to dedicate not one, but three (yes, three!) blogposts to it. For the other ones, click on these links: Trust that my friends will (want to) help me, Trust that my friends will want to spend time with me.

Trust that my friends will want to support me

I learned this when I read the following sentences in the book I’ve been staying away from for a long time (but am reading it now and am quite enjoying most parts of it); Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, where he says: “Needing” is openly reaching out and asking for support from a man in a trusting manner, one that assumes he will do his best. This empowers him. “Neediness”, however, is desperately needing support because you don’t trust you will get it. It pushes men away and makes them feel rejected and unappreciated.

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