Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Take a Hit and Rise Up Soaring

    You've been positive, you've been focused, you've garnered support from mentors and confidants, but alas, you've not attained your desired outcome. Maybe it's 'the' perfect new job, a career-boosting client or Ms. or Mr. Right who makes your heart sing. Not receiving the offer, landing the contract, or being rebuffed is a major hit. A panoply of responses overwhelms your mind, heart and body. "It isn't fair!" "Now what?" "What's the matter with me?" you hear yourself repeating. All you see is a blurry gray void. Frustration, anger, sadness, embarrassment and physical exhaustion seep from every pore.
     How do you move from devastation to righting to walking to soaring? 
  • It starts with wallowing! Wallow? Yes! (Of course, wallowing does not include hurting yourself, others or a wall!) A first step of recovery is recognizing your authentic reactions. The key here is: wallowing is only the first step. Staying in that place, however, is not self-honoring. One powerful practice from a Native American tribe is repeating a sorrow or negative circumstance three times only and then letting it go.
  • It's remembering and reclaiming who you are, job, client or partner aside
  • It's making new choices about:
    • what you say -  "I'm valuable." "I wonder what's next?" "I've got potential."
    • what you see - a vast horizon of possibilities (with 8 billion people on the planet, it is quite likely that other career options, clients and partners exist)
    • what you feel - open, curious, proud, energized, or at least looking forward to being so
  • Activate and boost these choices by engaging in activities that make you say, see and feel these ways: exercise, hobbies, meditation, being outdoors,...
  •  It's about connecting with supporters, asking for help in refocusing and restarting your efforts
  • It's having gratitude for yourself, your supporters, your learning (from this hit and otherwise), your presence in the present and a future that you are going to create
What do you do to survive and thrive from a hit? Please share your tactics!

Supporting you,


Friday, August 16, 2013

Nay, It May Not Mean What You Think It Does

    Whether you're aware of it or not, up to 92% of your communication is exhibited through your body language. While you can try very hard to control it, involuntary shifts in your body language during an interaction reveal that you're having a reaction to what's being said. Being authentically curious during a conversation, facilitated by a smile -- because your physical body affects your language and your emotions and vice versa -- opens up possibilities that a ridged forehead and rigid mindset prohibit.
     Since communication is a two-way street, it's just as important to pay attention to another's body shifts, eye and other facial movements and changes in skin coloration as clues to a match, or not, between what you're trying to convey and what they're hearing.
     Here are two essentials to keep in mind as you interact:
        1) Communication (words) involve three components: Your words, the words themselves, and another's words. Given that we each have our unique understanding about what words mean, we cannot assume that the words we use carry THE universal definition and will therefore be clearly understood by everyone else. Everyone's unique experiences drive their unique definitions of words that may or not fit your or the dictionary's definitions. Shifts in another's body language as you're speaking may be a clue that there is a disconnect. Checking for understanding is essential. Just ask!
        2) Look for patterns versus isolated instances of body shifts as clues about what's really going on for the other person. As with words, we each have our unique understanding about what body language means, so wcannot assume that movements are universally made and understood. Someone placing their hands tightly over opposite elbows while you're speaking may signal a retreat because that's what you do when you don't like what's being offered or requested. But they're not you (neither the person nor their body language). Their gripping action may just as well mean that they overdid it on the golf course over the weekend, so they're trying to ease the ache in their elbows! Don't assume. Ask if you see/sense that there might be a disconnect. 
The goal in communication is to authentically connect so that 
you can each get what you want from the interaction.
That requires speaking, listening and observing.

Do you know what I mean?
Nay, What Do You Mean?!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Words: They're a Natur-al Thing

     I'll bet that you've all looked up in the sky to behold a dog or spaceship or whale-shaped cloud. Maybe you've been hiking where you've seen figures frozen in the rocks, like my son Jack and I have at Pinnacles National Park, of huge bullfrogs. Such serendipity! 
     A few months ago, I decided that, rather than depend on happenstance, I would set out to intentionally look for and photograph every letter of the alphabet-in nature. I was in central Oregon, a magical place teeming with natural wonders: snow-capped mountains, towering waterfalls, wildflowers and plants though changing hue and fading in the Fall, rushing rivers and a host of animals including scampering chipmunks, dappled horses and enormous black cows. I also decided that because the area is farm country, I could capture letters found there (love those barn doors each faced with an X!). 
     Never did I imagine how fun this goal would be, nor how surprising. For ten days, no matter where I went, I was on the lookout for those 26 letters. That smooth cliff reflecting in the still Crooked River became my U. That horse's head, an artistic P. Looking down while on a hike was, what? A round piece of lime green moss with a little tail and a little piece of bark right in the middle, my perfectly shaped Q! Surprisingly, the hardest letters to find were D, which I finally spotted as a 15-foot high rust-colored rock, and C, which I found on day nine in a half-circle cluster of pinecones on the ground. 
Focused creativity is intoxicating. What are keys to keeping it alive? 
1. Be specific about your overall outcome.
2. Be realistically time-bound.
3. Take breaks - outside (this will allow you to literally refresh and reenergize).
4. Celebrate your successes along the way.
I wrote on my FB biz page a few months ago that I'd taken some of my letters, formed a word and submitted them to the City of Berkeley for an art contest to be considered for placement in the offices for a year. While my photos were not selected, I promised to share them and have since turned them into a card reading: ...well, what do you see in nature?!

, Dana

Friday, August 2, 2013

Are You True Blue?

No, this picture's blue hues have not been doctored. However, this pool should not have been here at all. At least that's what the geologists and engineers, the experts, thought. In 1966 the McKenzie River was dammed upstream, blocking the waterfall that used to cascade into and create the pool. Or did it? Mysteriously, water continued to fill this area up! How was that possible, the experts asked? Ah ha! From underground, the McKenzie River 'springs' back to life, creating this mini-lake, sans waterfall, as cold as ice and as pure as it is translucent. (Faint ripples on the old waterfall side of the lake reveal its source!)

How often do you get distracted or diverted by 'expert' influences from your natural flow? Worried about what others might think of your ideas, your hopes, your desires? Covering your struggles and pain with busyness or anger or by relying on a favorite vice?

Diversions keep you from facing what 'is', creating a pent-up reservoir. Hiding who you are robs you of living authentically and in the present. Life, and you, become an unnatural, manipulated blue, your true expert within held hostage

How can you access your true expert? Find your natural flow? Two trails can lead to your blue pool:
1. Begin by embracing COURAGE. Courage to stop, look and listen. Might you discover what you really value, so much so that it doesn't matter what others say? Be ready to move forward once you access such reasons to be; they're powerful! Might you get mentally or emotionally bruised in the process? Those can only and will heal if exposed and tended to. 
This brings me to the next trailhead: 
2. Let others SUPPORT you. No one, including you, has to, or is on the planet to go it alone. Yes, asking for support is vulnerable, but once you've activated your courage, use some of it to ask for the comfort or guidance you need. Be surprised neither by others' willingness to help you nor by your growing energy to take deep care of yourself and others. 

Here's to being true blue