Bob Marley said, “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have”. That gives me chills. Sometimes I wonder what being strong even means. When we are young I think being strong has a lot more to do with physically ability. That's fine. We are growing physically and want our bodies to support us. To some degree that never changes.
And what about inner strength? What about facing adversity; meeting it head on; overcoming it and thriving? And what about testing our limits; speaking up; pushing through obstacles? I wonder if that is any different than the strength it takes to hold ourselves back; withdraw; stay silent; just stop.
It seems to me that being strong has more to do with listening to our inner wisdom and being strong enough ... or courageous or brave or defiant enough ... to follow that guidance no matter what.
I'm curious ... what does being strong even mean to you? And how are you being strong in your life?
While walking along my peaceful rural road I noticed a large grey mass of clouds overhead. Surrounding it were pockets of blue sky, some areas of pink and some of billowing white. It was beautiful. And it struck me that if there weren't differences with their contrasting colour and texture they might not be so stunning.
And so it is with people. Our differences create the intriguing background of our lives. Just as the houses lining the streets of St. John's, Newfoundland or Tobermory, Scotland are delightful to view because they are painted different colours, so are we more interesting because we are, for the most part, different.
I love this lesson from the universe. Hang out with people who are different to see the beauty you create when you are in community.
It's the time of year when people are reflecting on 2019 and creating visions for 2020. There are so many ways to start fresh or begin again. What if the only thing you did is to have one very honest conversation with yourself? Would it be about your contribution to the struggling world around you or the battles within? Would it be about your successes or failures? Would it be about how you make a difference or what you do to get in the way of using your gifts?
What have you been in denial over, avoided facing, tried to forget, longed to say out loud, silently believed? What truth has circled around the edges of your life waiting for the moment you pause to listen? What honest conversation would change your life and bring light to the shadows of your heart and mind?
And can you do this with deep love and compassion for yourself so that whatever is said lifts your spirits with joy and possibility?
Just have that conversation now; telling the truth in words written or spoken in front of a mirror looking into your own eyes. And then be brave enough to share this honest conversation in the safety of a solid friend or compassionate witness who will stand with you through the curves your life might take from knowing this now.
The year is coming to a close and even in our busyness there are prompts to remember the successes and challenges of the past twelve months.
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." Meister Eckhart
I'm always starting new things. I'm good at that. It feels exciting and energizing. Sometimes it is the short term gain or immediate benefit that I want. Other times I go for the long game and am willing to let the process roll out over time.
I saw a sign that read "A year from now you'll be glad you started today." I thought, "Yes, I sure would." I would be glad I started today with putting more consciousness into telling the truth, making hard phone calls, closing conversations, asking questions, taking that pause, opening possibilities, making commitments, ending relationships, giving my permission, holding space. I'd be glad I started being courageous, vulnerable, empathetic, quiet, kind, sincere, forgiving, surprised, contemplative, and more. I'd be glad I started showing up, standing up, speaking up and sitting out. I'd be glad I started listening and caring and admitting my biases. I'd be glad I started taking responsibility, letting go of control, taking sides and giving in.
It's a good reminder that what we do today has an influence and impact on what our life looks like one year from now. It's not a judgement on what we are doing now, rather an invitation to consider where we could up our game. What will you start today?
It is remarkably easy to declutter when you are ready to let go. When you want space for something that really matters to you, the stuff that is already filling it becomes redundant.
Most of us have too much stuff. Too much physical stuff and too much emotional stuff. Busy lives leave precious little room for spending time unpacking the minutiae that fills the nooks and crannies of our inner and outer spaces. We get used to climbing over, pushing aside, wading through, searching and reorganizing instead of letting go. Then one day, we need the space for a wonderful new opportunity, a piece of art, an intriguing project, someone we love and ‘Surprise’, out goes the stuff.
Make room now for what might be ready to bring more meaning and purpose to your life.
“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu
A colleague shared this quote with me and I knew immediately that's what I do. I help people uncover the mystery of why they are falling into the river.
When we are certain we are right we can be very deliberate about not wanting to hear the other side of the story. We might say ‘It doesn’t matter’ or ‘It’s not relevant’. We stop listening; shut people down; divert conversation; withdraw. And that means we stop connecting.
It’s easier to see this in other people who we disagree with on something. It’s wise to see it in ourselves when we are the ones not listening to the other side of the story.
Just because someone else has a different perspective doesn’t mean our side of the story is wrong. It means that they have a different perspective. They bring to table the same things that we do: Our history; our experience; our defaults and biases; our training; our passions; our fears; our willingness or not to accept others as they are.
Leave a little room in your life for both sides of the story. It will bring you closer to others who have just as much need to connect as you do.
Why Being Nice Matters That's the name I'm giving this video. I love it because it aligns so well with the TED* work that I teach. Very helpful both personally and professionally.
If you haven't already discovered James Clear and his book Atomic Habits you might find his weekly 3-2-1 Thursday interesting. I am always surprised by how relevant his 3 Ideas, 2 Quotes and 1 Question usually are. Here's the October 10th 3-2-1 Thursday newsletter. Made me sit up straight ... again!
Maybe some of the people around you are skeptical or resistant to change. Maybe they have heard the spiel before and don’t want to waste time and energy jumping on board with a new idea. Maybe they just aren’t ready. Maybe you just aren't ready.
And a rising tide lifts all boats. We are all better off for improvements to connection and communication. Whether we wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to live more intentionally or dig in our heels at every turn, we still benefit from the rising tide of awareness around us.
In my opinion, it’s not okay to do nothing when doing something would bring us closer, create safety, be inclusive and sprinkle kindness on us all.
Adversity does not build character, it reveals it." James Lane Allen
This quote is almost 100 years old and yet its relevance today is as true as ever. We all face adversity in our lives and the past two years I have watched as someone I care deeply for has shown their strength of character. Not that it was planned at all!
This man has been a loyal friend, a positive influencer, respectful co-worker and what most of us would call a 'good person', living with integrity and kindness. A devastating cancer diagnosis suddenly changed his life and he ultimately had to retire from a career he loved and refocus his days on surviving and thriving. He has faced serious challenges with treatments, mobility and communication. Through it all he has remained a steadfast loyal friend, a positive influencer, a respectful co-worker (even in retirement) and a good person ... still living with integrity and kindness. So I got to wondering how that happened and this quote landed on my desk.
Watching the evolution of his illness and recovery I realized that while the adversity had changed him physically, emotionally and psychologically, it hadn't touched the core of who he is: his character. Definitions of the word "Character" include 'distinctive qualities', 'mental and ethical traits', 'essential nature', etc. All great words to explain what we all see or feel when we spend a little time with others. What I learned from this experience was that while the health problems seemed on some levels to change who this man was, they had not eroded his character; his way of being in the world.
In my work with individuals and organizations I talk about the Creator within (from the TED*/3VQ work); the part of us that helps guide our way of relating to others. In every instance, as people dig deeper into what I am reminded of is their character, they discover a profound sense of wellbeing and certainty. This is the powerful fuel that builds bridges between colleagues, friends and family. This is what makes us work that much harder to create a safe, inviting workplace. This is what keeps us going through adversity.
Ms. Daryl Wood is a Certified Coach and TED*/3VQ Practitioner dedicated to sharing The Empowerment Dynamic (TED*) with organizations who understand that healthy relationships are critical to their success. She also coaches individuals to live with integrity and resilience. Visit www.darylwood.com and www.therespectfulworkplace.ca
"A ship in harbour is safe, but that's not what ships were built for." John Shedd
Sometimes I feel like I'm a ship in harbour, waiting for directions to my next destination. I see so many possibilities that I am sometimes overwhelmed and reluctant to make a choice. So I sit still in my harbour.
The world is full of endless opportunities to learn, to engage, to teach, to explore. We are all well equipped to take on new challenges no matter where we are in life. While there is nothing wrong with a good, healthy pause to process and reflect, I know how easy it is to stay in port. We keep searching the sky, the water and the horizon to see if the path we are considering is safe. We think about the pros and cons of our next adventure. We get advice from others about how they have navigated their vessels. And in the end, it really comes down to us choosing whether we want to play safe or not.
There is nothing wrong with choosing to stay put. I've done that many times. And I also know that we each carry a burning torch within that says there is something intriguing about risk; something compelling about taking chances with our destiny. Each time I announce a new event I put myself out into the world to see if what I'm offering is a good fit. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I learn.
My ship has spent more than enough time in harbour being safe from criticism, judgement and rejection. I know for certain that out there in the vast sea that calls to me there is also acknowledgment, support and hungry searchers who want just the part of me that is willing to dare.
Ms. Daryl Wood is a Certified Coach and TED*/3VQ Practitioner dedicated to sharing The Empowerment Dyanmic (TED*) with organizations who understand that healthy relationships are critical to their success. She is leading a public workshop for individuals called I've Got This! Creating Extraordinary Relationships in Cambridge Ontario March 23/24, 2019. Visit www.darylwood.com and www.stopworkplacedrama.ca