This Fellowship has provided (and continues to provide) so many opportunities for me. One of the most amazing things that has changed my life is the ability to have coaches and to dig deep. This work led me to figure out not only what I want to do with my time left on this earth, but more importantly WHY I want to do it. It has also led me to some very important realizations that I wish I would have figured out much, much sooner. I would not say these are regrets because everything I have gone through has led me here, but they are concepts that I would like to pass on to others sooner rather than later. The following are just a couple of notions that have made a huge difference in my life.
Three Concepts I Wish I Knew Earlier in Life
1-Listening to the “Right” People
The following amazing two chunks of knowledge from Brene`Brown’s book, “Dare to Lead” would have made a huge difference in my life had I known them sooner. They are both worthy of reading and rereading, repeatedly, daily, or however long it takes to get it in your system. In Section One of the book, she talks about a “mandate” that she adheres to:
“If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I’m not interested in or open to your feedback. There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their lives but who will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgment at those who dare greatly. Their only contributions are criticism, cynicism, and fear-mongering. If you’re criticizing from a place where you’re not also putting yourself on the line, I’m not interested in what you have to say.”
How many people do you know in your life who are heaving feedback at you from the “cheap seats”? Like many people out there, I have been pummeled more times than I can count. She goes on to say,
“Get clear on whose opinions of you matter. We need to seek feedback from those people. And even if it’s really hard to hear, we must bring it in and hold it until we learn from it. This is what the research taught me: Don’t grab hurtful comments and pull them close to you by rereading them and ruminating on them. Don’t play with them by rehearsing your badass comeback. And whatever you do, don’t pull hatefulness close to your heart. Let what’s unproductive and hurtful drop at the feet of your unarmored self. And no matter how much your self-doubt wants to scoop up the criticism and snuggle with the negativity so it can confirm its worst fears, or how eager the shame gremlins are to use the hurt to fortify your armor, take a deep breath and find the strength to leave what’s mean-spirited on the ground. You don’t even need to stomp it or kick it away. Cruelty is cheap, easy, and chickenshit. It doesn’t deserve your energy or engagement. Just step over the comments and keep daring…”
“Snuggle with the negativity?” “Rehearsing [my] badass comeback?” That section slapped me in the face...hard...because it was (and still is sometimes) so true to my mode of operation. Whenever I would hear crap from the “cheap seats”, especially from leaders (who I now recognize should have read this book) and people who may never have “stepped foot in the arena”, I would roll in all of that negativity, ruminate on every nuance of what was said, how it was said, the look on the person’s face, etc. I sometimes would do this for days until it faded and something new came along. Although I read this book prior to my Fellowship, it did not sink in until I started doing my Fellowship work and started digging deep with the help of my coaches. I do not think I realized how it was affecting every aspect of my life until I started doing the work. I highly recommend this book!
2-Being Positive with Myself and the Meaning of Humility
This past year I've been working on being more positive with myself and trying to hone in on when and where I take those little negative jabs at myself. My coaches and one of the leaders at Bush made me realize how I am not very nice to myself. I didn’t realize that anyone could see and hear the negative way I felt about myself. I thought that I had kept it hidden. Much of that self-doubt, etc. stems from decades of me believing in the criticism of these “shame gremlins” that I let have power over me.
Now, every time I catch myself mumbling something negative about myself or even thinking of doing it, I say something positive instead. I am also trying to continually say positive affirmations to myself like “I am worthy; I am good at what I do; I may not know it all, but I have a great gift to share that can help people far and wide”, etc. Even if I still have negative thoughts, I don't beat myself up because I am learning to have empathy for myself and am making strides in the right direction.
I learned this saying at a webinar, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less” by Rick Warren. It spoke to me, so I searched for more information, which brought me to this website with such a unique name (fairygodboss.com), and some great advice on the subject in my opinion. The article goes into describing what humility is and 15 ways to practice it. #15 struck a chord with me, and I included it and the link to the article because it is really noteworthy. https://fairygodboss.com/career-topics/practice-humility
“Recognize that being humble doesn’t mean dimming your shine. Traditionally, people have thought of being humble as minimizing your positive traits and achievements for the sake of other people’s comfort, but we know better than that. A more modern understanding of being humble acknowledges that minimizing your achievements and dimming your shine for the sake of allowing others to have the spotlight isn't the goal. Instead, being humble should be about mutually allowing people to exist in their confidence and achievements alongside your own.”
This was another one of those things that just made me say, “OMG that is me!” I have a tendency to do just that, sometimes multiple times per day. I really thought by kind of “dummying” myself down, I was doing a good thing for someone else. I did not realize how much it was hurting me in the process.
3-The Importance and the Benefits of Self-Care
One of the best things that I learned throughout this Fellowship is how self-care can not only improve your health and well-being but how much it can improve your effectiveness on the job. I actually thought that taking time for myself was the opposite of what a leader was supposed to do. I thought that I would be able to help more people and do better at my job if I worked more hours and worked harder. Taking time with family, learning a new hobby, just reading a book for pleasure, and more have meant all the difference for my work.
It may seem frivolous, but self-care can actually enhance and improve your work. I have said this before in my other posts, but it really is just like the saying on an airplane where you “need to give yourself oxygen first before helping someone else ''. Think of doing these self-care things (whatever they may be) as your oxygen, giving yourself the energy to then give your best self to others. Self-Care is not “Self-Ish”; it is exactly what you need to be your "BEST-Self.