Tag Archives: life

Asking for Help

In my leadership program we’ve all been given the challenge of asking for help in the two months between retreats — to stretch out of our comfort zones and ask for assistance in situations where we might not normally be inclined to do that. And also to notice how we feel about asking for help as we do this.

One of the things I’ve discovered is that I’m terrible at asking for help. Interestingly, so are many of the other people in the class.  And the reasons are all strikingly similar…

We are having trouble asking for help because we don’t want to seem weak or vulnerable. We have pride in our competence, we don’t want to admit that we might need help.  We’ve been taught to be independent and that there is shame in being needy.  We don’t want to be a bother to others or we believe ourselves unworthy of being helped by others.  We don’t want to take their valuable time or think we might be asking for too much. We may worry about rejection. We hire help, but we often won’t ask for it from the people closest to us. And sometimes we just don’t know what to ask for.

A 2008 study found that people routinely underestimate by 50% others’ willingness to help them.  In short, people are more likely to say yes to requests for assistance than we think they are.

I’m trying to remember that asking for help can be good for me and for the person I’m asking.  Asking for help creates connections and broadens possibilities.  I might learn something completely new or experience a new perspective. And asking for help gets easier with practice.

I’d welcome your thoughts on asking for help… it is easy or hard for you and why? Do you have any good resources on asking for help?

Here’s to Those That Matter!

I’ve had some time to think this past week and have a lot swirling in my head.  I’m not feeling particularly inspired to write however, perhaps because a head cold is clouding my brain.

So for today, I’ll just post this reminder to turn off that internal (or external) voice of judgment that might be telling you who or what you should be or do or say, and instead to just be true to yourself — and ever grateful for those who matter in your life.

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An Invitation to Re-examine ‘Busy’

busy

I read a thought-provoking post on the subject of busyness recently that got me reflecting about this subject a bit.

Everyone seems to be “busy” lately. In fact, it seems to have become the “go to” answer to the perennial question “how are you?”  “Busy,” we say, to anyone that will listen. We’re really, really, busy — crazy busy in fact. We’ve got lists, demands, obligations, expectations and we’re never done with them. We’re important because we’re busy. And we’re needed. We’re so busy that we’re stressed and tired and never have enough hours in the day to get everything done.

I don’t know that many of us have thought about the impact of this one word on ourselves and on others. In addition to projecting self-importance, “busy” accomplishes a number of things. “Busy” sets up a wall between people that’s hard to get past. When someone tells you they are “busy” it sends the message not so subtly “don’t ask me for anything” or “don’t make any demands on me.”  “Busy” keeps friends and colleagues at arm’s length and says “I really can’t be here for you right now.”  It minimizes the opportunity for connection. “Busy” is also a bit dismissive and vague. How different would it be to say,”I’m great and I’m working on some really interesting projects right now.”  That’s a conversation starter — whereas “busy” tends to block further inquiry.

To be sure, every one of us has times when we’re trying to finish a project or meet a critical deadline and we’re legitimately flat out. But you know what?  With all of the busyness, each and every one of us finds the time for what is most important in our lives.

I have a lot of projects and priorities. I have lists of my own that I will never finish. But I don’t want to be that person that’s too busy to take the time to really connect or to pause for the things that matter.

I invite you to join me in consciously letting go of “busy” as a lifestyle choice.

The Power of Perspectives

One of the things that’s been incredibly useful about coach training is understanding the power of choosing the perspective that you will take regarding a specific situation or set of facts. We really can choose to see the glass half full or half empty… or we can banish the glass entirely and replace it with an overflowing bucket. The choice is ours.

I’ve had a couple of hard weeks at work and have been in a bit of a funk post toe surgery.  I’ve decided to call that place “Wallow.” Wallow was a cold and dark place full of self-pity and self-inflicted misery. There was no exercise, no progress on important goals, and everything just felt more difficult than it needed to be. It wasn’t depression, I just felt mired in mud.

Yesterday I decided that Wallow wasn’t serving me very well. So I waged an eviction and decided to shift to the perspective of “Half Full.” Nothing actually changed in my life. The facts were still the same. But Half Full looked at the same set of facts and chose to see them differently – my toe was starting to heal, I really hadn’t gained any weight from not exercising, a huge project at work was behind me, the weather was improving, and my schedule in the next two weeks would give the freedom to begin making progress again.

That was a helpful change of perspective which put me in a better frame of mind, but it still wasn’t moving me forward. So with the help of friend from my coaching class, I moved to a new perspective we called “Running Free.” And I came up with 30 specific things that I’m going to do in the next 2 weeks to begin reclaiming my time, making progress again on the things that matter to me, and asking for support along the way–which I often don’t like to do. Some of these are small and some are pretty big.  But I’m excited to be moving in a positive direction again.  Also helpful is the fact that I’m accountable. The list is written down and it has been shared. I’ve got eight of them done and my list next to my computer as a reminder. I’ve promised to update her next weekend — and then the weekend after that.  Gotta get busy — time’s a-wastin’!

Running Free is lighter, brighter and full of possibility. I’m not actually running again and won’t be for a while, but I’m not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself because of it.  I’ve chosen a different path.

Is there a place in your life where you’re stuck or wallowing?  What new perspective might you find?

Guest Musings

This week I thought I’d take a break from writing and just offer up a few quotes and snips  that I’ve gathered in the past few weeks that have gotten me thinking:

“At times you have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you’ll discover will be wonderful.  What you’ll discover is yourself.”   -Alan Alda

“To be sincerely loyal to yourself is to allow yourself the freedom to grow, change and challenge who you are and what you think at any given moment in time.  The only thing you ever are for sure is unsure, and this means you’re growing, and not stagnant or imprisoned by old ways of thinking.” – Marc and Angel Hack Life

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.  And as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Nelson Mandela

“I doesn’t take as much as we think to step outside our comfort zone, it only takes a willingness.” – Mike Robbins

“Perfection, as it’s revered and pursued in our culture, is an unhealthy lie. A myth. A human construct. A marketing concept. In many cases, it’s a story told by people who want to manipulate your mindset and behavior to buy what they’re selling. And while it means different things to different people, the pursuit of it rarely leads to anything more positive than anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt and misery.” – Craig Harper

Do any of these resonate with you?   How so?

A Moment in the Sun

There are days when my running playlist inspires a blog and this was one of them.

It was a dreary day and hard to be out there and then John Fogerty’s song “Centerfield” came on. For a few minutes, the virtual sun came out, the snow melted and I was sprinting down the road — at least in my head.  I especially love that song this time of the year because it reminds me that the baseball season is just around the corner. Spring training is a little over a month away.  There’s the excitement… the new players to be assessed… the promise… the hope… Opening day… the crack of the bat and the cheers from the stands… it just doesn’t get old!

“We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field… Look at me, I can be centerfield…”

But that’s only part of the reason I love this song, and this blog isn’t really about baseball. I love the metaphors in this song.  For me, the lyrics are about hope, starting over, facing every day as a new day and being ready to shine.

“A moment in the sun…”

So many of my friends that have lost weight and taken up running have had positive changes in their lives that they attribute directly to their success at weight loss.   My friend Tiff got promoted and is just glowing from the self-confidence that she’s gained professionally and as a runner.  CJ has been featured in her local newspaper and is giving talks on weight loss using social media.  Melissa ran a marathon and has taken up a new career in art and writing. And there are so many more.  We’re all having “moments in the sun” that for many have been a long time in coming.  We’ve “spent our time in the Mudville Nine, watching it from the bench.”  And now here we are enjoying our own time in “centerfield” and loving the fun and new adventures that we’ve brought into our own lives.

Let’s give this game a ride… Because as Fogerty sings:  “You know the time is now.

 

The Why Behind Your Want

Are you making a New Year resolution?  Or simply wanting to do something differently in the coming year?  You know that if you’re going to be successful, you need to maintain your motivation day after day, and week after week. That takes commitment. It’s not going to be enough to say “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to start exercising” or “I want to launch my new business” unless you really get in touch with the WHY behind your want.  What’s the motivation that will keep you going when the going gets tough, you have a bad day, or your “resolution” fails? We’ve all got different motivations… and getting in touch with them is key to making lasting lifestyle change.

Here’s what motivates me:

Power: When I’m taking care of myself, I feel strong, powerful, and capable of doing just about anything. I can quiet the negative voices in my head that try to sabotage me. I bring a positive outlook to life, rather than complaining or feeling like a victim. I feel more aware and alive – controlling my destiny and not just reacting to what happens. From this place of power, I can choose to continue to grow and to learn.

Goals:  Having a goal that I’m working toward helps keep everything else in perspective. I am less bothered by the “little things” – annoyances that might creep into my day — when I am taking care of the things that are important to me. When I have short and long-term goals, I always have something new to discover or a reason to celebrate. I have my head up — looking out toward the horizon rather than at all the little bumps in the asphalt.

Health: Health is a huge motivator, especially as we add years. I know that because I have lost weight and gotten fit I am healthier than I was a decade ago.  That’s more than just a feeling; it is supported by objective data from the doctor’s office. I am hopeful that good health today will add quality of life in future years.

Inspiration: It feels great when other people tell me that I have motivated them to exercise or lose weight. I realize that I can be a positive force for good and that others can learn from what I am doing for myself.

Seeing Results: I love it when the scale “rewards” my efforts. Even though it’s still the same “me” in the mirror, my brain reports that I look better when I’m headed in the right direction.

Energy and Speed: I have much more energy when I’m on track and don’t just drag myself through the day. I also know that on average, each pound lost means 2 seconds off my per mile race pace. I love setting PRs in my races and I love the satisfaction of getting faster even as I get older.

Your list most likely isn’t the same as mine, it’s unique to you.  But having it – and writing it down somewhere that you can see it and remind yourself — will be helpful to you as you set on your journey of making meaningful changes in your life.

So… what motivates YOU?  What are the whys behind your wants?