Monday, May 14, 2001

Things I Can Choose To Be

A very cool coach, Andrea Wistar wrote this one and sent it my way. Enjoy!

Things I Can Choose to Be at any Moment that I am Not
Loose Cannon and Proud of It!

Weird title, huh? What it says is that a chosen behavior should not be confused with a state of being; i.e. I can choose to be lazy without describing myself as a lazy person. And more to the point, I should be able choose to be lazy without risking being called a lazy person by you. Here's an example – if I'm “taking a break,” and therefore am not responsive to your request for action, you may describe me as lazy. Is that because of what I really am, or is it a reflection of the fact that at this moment I'm not conducting myself as you would like me to? Or to put it another way, you may describe me as lazy when my relaxed behavior is interfering with your agenda for me. And the flip side is that if I were in high-energy mode, you might describe me as hyper if you felt like relaxing. So, it seems that often the word being used by the speaker says not much about the character or condition of the person about whom she's speaking, but speaks volumes about what the speaker wants from the other person at that moment. Below are a few more examples.

1. Wishy-washy

I'm wishy-washy when I choose not to make a decision or take an action in the time frame that suits you. If you think the decision or action requires the same amount of thought that I do, you might refer to me as circumspect.

2. Selfish

If I do something that appears to put my own wants ahead of yours, I may be described as “selfish.” If you think I have been victimizing you by behaving as a martyr and I unexpectedly do something that promotes my happiness and releases you from guilt, you are glad to see that I've finally taken responsibility for my own well being.

3. Hard Ass

If I hold a firm position that is difficult for you to respond to, I'm tough. If I hold that same firm position and you agree with it, I'm decisive and strong.

4. Long-winded

If I'm talking after you've lost interest, I'm long-winded. If I'm talking for the same amount of time about something you are interested in, I'm spellbinding.

5. Permissive

If I let someone do something that you disapprove of, I'm permissive. If I let someone do something that you approve of (although others may disapprove), I'm open-minded.

6. Nit-picky

If I notice detail that you overlook or think is insignificant, you will say that I'm nit-picky. If you rely on me to work at the detail level, you praise me for my great attention to detail.

7. Pushover

If you see me “give in” on an issue where your stake was damaged by my decision, you call me a pushover. If you see me “come around” on an issue where your stake was improved by my decision, you call me responsive.

8. Stubborn

If I am holding to a position which you do not agree with, you proclaim that I am stubborn. However, if I am steadfast in my beliefs or my actions, and those beliefs and/or actions are consistent with yours, you identify me as committed, persistent or principled.

9. Loose Cannon

In a meeting where most everyone is participating in primarily linear thinking, my “off the wall” idea may cause the group to refer to me as a loose cannon. On the other hand, in a situation where there has been a persistent problem and nothing we have tried has worked, I may be heralded for my “out of the box” thinking.

10. Impulsive

I do something unexpected and apparently without much deliberation which you disapprove of, and I am labeled impulsive. I do virtually the same thing, but instead you approve of it, and all of a sudden I am wonderfully spontaneous.

11. Opportunistic

I “beat you to the punch” with an idea or contact that appears to advance my career at your expense; you'd probably be holding back in characterizing me as opportunistic. But if I employ the same strategy and you are my partner in experiencing the benefits, you might be more likely to say that you are fortunate to be aligned with someone who is politically astute.

12. Secretive

If I am withholding some sensitive information that you are interested in getting, you may say that I am secretive. However, if you are the person whose sensitive information I am guarding, you will be glad that I am discrete.

If you're trying to heed the now popular advice to avoid taking things personally, it may help to keep in mind the possibility that when someone describes you in negative terms, it's often more a statement of what they want than of who you are.

Friday, May 04, 2001

What You Feel Is What You Get

I've been reading Lynn Grabhorn’s book, “Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting” and I must admit I'm inspired. Grabhorn says “we create by feeling, not by thought.” And, “What we feel is what we get.” What we're “vibrating” out is an exact match to what we will attract in. If we are feeling good (she sometimes calls it “buzzing”) and attach a want to that feeling, we get what we want. Anyway, once you're in a place of “buzzing,” and knowing what you want, the next thing to do is follow what she calls a “hit,” the idea that comes in to your head to take an action, follow a path, make a change, do something, choose.

This is pretty contrary to the way we traditionally decide to handle a want. Big or small, we most often think about what we might want, weight the options, develop a plan and then move forward, carefully. Or, if the want is urgent, we start pushing and striving. Grabhorn calls this “Hi Ho Silvering.”

So during April, I've been playing with “buzzing,” “vibrating” and acting on “hits.” I’ll admit to you that I approached all of this with some skepticism. Believe me, the word “buzzing” alone is enough to put fear in the heart of a recovering adrenaline junkie. But it's spring and I'm in an experimental mood. And I'm not good at making decisions anyway.

It's mushroom season here in Northern Michigan, a time I look forward to all year. And it's also a time when the outdoor chores grow exponentially each day. About a week-and-a-half ago, I was raking the yard and “buzzing” like crazy just because it was a beautiful day, I was outside, and with each passing minute, the yard was looking pretty good. I moved to a patch of wet leaves and got triggered by the smell of musty earth to drop the rake and head for the woods to look for the elusive morel mushroom. Now, admittedly, this particular “hit” may have been genetic as much as anything else (I come from a long line of morel hunters). But I was feeling good prior to the idea and it felt like a hit to me. I’d been getting regular mushroom email reports from my buddies and had not heard much promising news. Someone had found two, someone knew someone who knew someone who had found 24. All pretty low counts to get me to stop doing those never-ending spring chores. Here's what I got from that hit. 227 morels (2 lbs.) in two-and-one-half hours. Not bad.

Now I'm intrigued enough with this attraction thing to take Grabhorn’s suggestion to start choosing one thing each day I can switch to when I recognized my thoughts are heading south or I'm just doing what she calls “flatlining.” I started practicing switching to feeling good at the drop of a hat.

As most of you know, I've been doing quite a bit of clutter clearing. A lot of what I'm clearing out has some value and so I decided to check out eBay and see what I could do with some of this stuff. As soon as I got on eBay, it became apparent that I’d need a digital camera. Oh, well. One of the links on eBay was to another web site called eappraisals. This site will look at a digital picture of your item and give you an idea of what it might be worth. When I got to eappraisals, one of those damn pop-up windows was in my face. I really hate them and always close them immediately. But this one was a chance to win a digital camera and I was feeling good enough to say, “why not?” I registered on the last day of the contest and about two days later I got an email saying that out of over 50,000 registrants, I’d won! Yikes! The last thing I won was a cake when I was ten.

Okay, I'm really interested in this “buzzing” thing now. 224 morels when I was feeling good anyway and then a digital camera when I had decided to incorporate good vibrations as regular routine in my day. But what about those times when I'm really down and need to turn it around. Can I do that?

I was having a particularly bad day last Monday. A few days before I had my feelings hurt, I snapped at a good friend and another friend had allowed me to carp and grouse about it for a few hours (not a favor according to Grabhorn). All in all, I was feeling pretty unlovable. “Okay, Deb, let's see you turn this one around.” I started to put myself into a feel-good place and immediately got a “hit” to go to the grocery store. Of all places! Those of you who know me know I HATE to shop and grocery shopping is the worst. My idea of shopping is to put anything I need on a list and let someone else do it. And there were really only three things on the list. But, I went. I got to the store, grabbed a cart and headed for the milk and orange juice. In front of the cooler, right in the way, were a man and his three-year-old son. Grumble, grumble. I decided to try to squeeze past them and only said, “Excuse me” because of the three-year-old. You know, polite example, blah, blah, blah. Well, as soon as I said it, he perked up and proceeded to tell me he had learned “excuse me” at school from his teacher. We actually had a ten-minute conversation (well, he did most of the talking, I just asked questions) and I felt my funk begin to lift. As I said good bye to this charming child and was moving on down the aisle, he turned around and said, “Oh, and I love you.” Funk totally gone now!

And here's the really cool twist. I was feeling so good, I decided to come home and reschedule a doctor's appointment for the next day that had taken me a month to get but was contributing to my funk because it was smack dab in the middle of a day off. Now, this I would normally not do because it's just too irresponsible to cancel at the last minute when others are planning on you. I was on my way to the phone to make the call when it rang. It was the doctor's office needing to reschedule and apologizing to me!

So that's my little experiment, for what it's worth. Grabhorn is much clearer than I am about why feeling good works so well in attracting what it is we want. I'm still wondering if good vibrations were attracting like vibrations or I just put myself in a place of feeling good to the point where I was more apt to notice and enjoy what was coming my way? I don't know and I don't care. The bottom line is, it really doesn't matter, does it?

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

“When you shut down your inner dialogue, you are shutting down your inventory of all the things that offend you.” ~Wayne Dyer

“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“Too often, the opportunity knocks, but by the time you push back the chain, push back the bolt, unhook the two locks and shut off the burglar alarm, it's too late.” ~Rita Coolidge