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Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

A dear friend mentioned that self esteem comes from our parents. This was not news to me as I thought it was about our sense of value and that it most likely came from our parents…they/we are always the culprits. More importantly and specifically it is from being consciously listened to with eye contact. This sounds simple right? Not so simple these days. The busier we are the more things we are doing at the same time fracturing our attention from others. Not on purpose as if we don’t care, we just feel the pressure of time bearing down on us and are not present in the moment.

How about when you are chatting on the phone with a friend, are you doing the dishes or feeding the dog? I have noted that there have been times when I have been doing several things simultaneously and stopped to wonder what I was doing. Writing is one thing that I do not or maybe cannot do at the same time as anything else. Working with clients is another time I can stay focused on just the other person, but as that is mostly over the telephone eye contact is rarely a part of it. Listening with intention becomes primary and equally effective when the voice is all you have. Meditation is another but almost all else it is a real effort to stay focused on just one thing, or person.

Okay, go back. Go way back (for some of us it may feel like an eternity) to when you were a child. What kind of attention did your mom give you? Was your mom attentive to you when you were a wee one toddling around? For some, you may answer “of course she was!” But for many you either hope she was, don’t know or are sure she was not.

Mom may have been overwhelmed with many children and depended on older siblings to help take care of your needs or maybe even off at work before you were even one year old. Things have changed and moms get to stay home longer than say thirty years ago. Is it possible she was at home baking cookies when you got home from school? Or was she frantically trying to get everything in the house done like laundry and supper then baths and snacks with no real time to even read a book and tuck you in with a big hug.

Was there real time for listening? Can you envision in your mind’s eye her looking into yours with loving care and attention? Some of you can and some of you are getting a little uncomfortable now and maybe even a bit resentful. This is not my goal here. It’s about how we all can make a difference for others while we go along in our day. How can we affect our children’s, parents, friends and associates lives? One person at a time we can raise their self-esteem, their sense of personal value by giving them a small moment of your time.

If you don’t think that listening has value, just go back and think about someone who did – maybe your dad, grandparent, neighbor, relative, teacher or friend. When they took the time to really give you that care and attentive listening – how did you feel? I know that I felt special. I felt worthwhile. I felt wanted. I felt cared about. I felt loved! I no longer felt invisible in the world, even if just for a moment. Somebody thought that what I had to say was important. It felt GREAT!

Even just eye contact with a stranger walking by can more often than not elicit a smile of knowing. Knowing that they really are alive and seen by at least one other person can lift their spirit. We can go along our days unconsciously hardly seeing another person or we can make a decision that we matter enough, others matter enough to give them the time and care to stop, look and listen.

If you want to lift the SPIRIT through the self esteem of our world one person at a time, please forward this post on.

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BASE Building

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I fell off my bicycle 2 weeks ago. Not to worry, I am okay with mostly bumps and bruises. I sat in the street in agony laughing my head off. The two retired women who came to my rescue couldn’t help but laugh as they scraped me off the asphalt and dragged my bike the 3 houses I got. It was my beloved’s old bike actually and I was just giving it an around the block test-drive to decide if I would actually ride it or sell it. The ride lasted 30 seconds but I am still paying for it, but healing.

I have been building my strength and energy for the past year or so. The idea that I may actually be interested in riding the bike was not mine.  Although I am always looking for things to do with my beloved, I truly did not think that I would be into the bicycling thing, but I did not think I would fall or plan for it. So why did I get on the bike?

Well, I figured that I owed it to him to try. I didn’t get on the bike for me as for us really. I love spending time with my beloved so if only for me, there would have been no test-drive. I do no seem to have great natural balance so have fallen of roller blades and bikes and things with wheels and blades – heck even a toboggan! I have always been just more safe when I stay on my feet, planted firmly on the ground.

This is not to say I will try other things. I have considered zip lining between trees with a friend of mine. This will have to wait until my shoulder heals, though. Even para-sailing off a dock over the water, but to land in the water is not my bag either! Even the idea of jumping off a cliff tandem with someone who has a glider strapped to their back has some appeal. I think its that feeling of flying through the air that I want to try!

I am not writing this to discourage you to try stuff out, frankly quite the opposite. If you want to be sure that something is not for you then give it a shot. If you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane with a parachute strapped firmly to your back, JUMP! Why not? I am continuing to heal and build strength and energy at the gym on a bicycle that is nailed down and only one wheel as I see it. This is giving me energy while doing cardio and adding circulation to  heal my leg.

What will you try out just to see if it’s your thing? Be sure to wear a helmet and elbow pads!

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Don Juan DeMarco

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“There are four questions of value in life…

What is sacred?

Of what is the spirit made?

What is worth living for,

and what is worth dying for?

The answer to each is the same.

Only love.”

(Don Juan deMarco – 1995)

-Johnny Depp

How would you answer each question?

I would love it if you can add them to the comments.

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My beloved comes home from getting a haircut and hands me a bag or roasted chickpeas. I am pleasantly surprised and welcome a treat so I reach in, grab a few and pop them into my mouth. They tasted awful! So awful after a few timid chews I spat out the remains. I immediately said they were horrible and he agreed. I asked if he wanted to throw them away and he said he would feed them to the birds. Sounded reasonable even though I was surprised he did not agree to the discard idea. He LOVES to throw things away. I am the one who can usually find a second use for almost everything.

The next day, I asked if he wanted to feed the chickpeas to the birds now, while he was busy with the yard. He looked at me and said “No the squirrels would eat them all so throw them away.” Now I heard a tone and different words. I heard “Are you nuts! What a dumb idea! The birds won’t have a chance because of the squirrels so why would you want to do that? Throw them away, of course.”

Instantly all I wanted to do was throw them at him! “I was going to throw them away yesterday. Why didn’t you let me pitch them then?” He looked slightly miffed and said “Why do you have to talk to me like that?” (Like what? Okay maybe there was a tone in there. I had wanted to be right after all.) “To be sure that you knew” I said “it wasn’t MY idea to feed these to the birds it was YOURS, just in case you did not remember!” Off I stomped into the house and promptly threw them away.

What was the point in all of this drama? I can’t believe it but I felt the need to defend myself. By this point in my life with all the work I have done on personal development, I can get here when I am not paying attention or taking care of myself. I spent a long time defending myself to the world and the knee jerk just showed its horribleness, yet again. I have been feeling a bit off as of late and I guess this feeling left me feeling not completely whole…more like I had a hole.  That’s another story.

A do-over would be terrific right now! It took me hours to apologize for my shortness and totally needless blow up including rant. Not because I hadn’t cooled off or didn’t know I needed to…maybe somehow I hoped it would just go away. Frankly, I was embarrassed. Then I just wanted to be snotty for awhile then calm down. Except that I wasn’t – and it just went away – I simply forgot. I can always be sure that the memory of an error will come right up in front of me again and I will step up. We were cleaning up after supper and I just said “Sorry I was a bit snotty earlier today.” He said “That’s okay.”  It was done. It really was over with.

The cool thing about taking responsibility for my actions and the dreaded reactions to stuff, they are gone. I am more aware of myself and my defenses but they are not carried forward into another day to be planted, fertilized and fed, shone light upon and built into a mighty oak tree with roots near to China!

Relationships need tending to by feeding it love and understanding, forgiveness and compassion, weeding and maybe even tying it up to something else more sturdy until it grows strong. Ours is over 20 years strong and we have gone through many seasons, through the rain and snow as well as the newness of spring and the coolness of fall. I just know on the next cloudy day, the sun is around the next corner. There are less and less cloudy days in our relationship and we don’t take the rain or the sun for granted. We definitely enjoy the sun!

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  John W. Gardner quoted “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

 I figure life is more like drawing in permanent marker! Life has not always been easy. In fact life was pretty difficult when I was young. Mistakes seemed ever so permanent. I also thought everything was permanent. I was surely going to be in school forever! It was going to be a living hell for eternity in my first marriage. I loved those television shows that rewind bits of time and have a do-over – but life is not like that at all!

 I made some poor decisions – a ton of them actually! They were the best I could have made at the time given the circumstances and what I knew then. Even some of the choices I made I had other information but not the courage to choose differently.

 I made many mistakes, some humongous whoppers! Lots were not as important but most were UN-doable and UN-fixable. The consequences have been set and delivered. Guilt came with lots of them along with resentment and anger of others. I wanted it to be somebody else’s fault, not mine! I couldn’t have been responsible for all that carnage. All this made the consequences seem unbearable. I came through it all whole – intact. I just didn’t know how well my life would turn out even with all those mistakes and poor choices.

 If each not so good decision was written with permanent marker so were the good ones. Like my two sons from the marriage from hell as well as my beloved. So I suppose, will the better choices be that I make today with of all the amazing learning opportunities from my past. This is good information for me. I no longer have to carry the weight of those past horrors I survived, the past choices and blunders that I made as I moved along my life learning, growing and maturing.

I cannot erase my past and have a do-over, and in fact I am quite comfortable with it. I am quite good enough, thank you very much! My experiences were just that, my experiences. My life and all that came from it, wee born of all my choices, decisions, errors, blips, boo-boos, slips and miscalculations. My ego has been bumped, bruised, hurt, wounded, broken and healed over and over again. I am grateful for the humbling experiences gained along the path. I am not or ever will be perfect; nor am I alone.

 If life was art, I would be a Picasso! You sometimes couldn’t quite see what I was aiming to draw but it went down in history none the less. I am quite sure what we saw from Picasso was his best stuff! My best stuff is yet to be, and you can rest assured it will be done in permanent marker for all to see in black and white, whether I like it or not. Gracefully or clumsily I will continue on just like Picasso. Just doing the best I can, given what I know, the circumstances and courage I have at the time. Just knowing that we are not alone makes the ride seem a little bit more interesting.

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reflection

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Am I worth reflecting?

I read a blog post called “Clouds in a Cup” that sent me off on a reflection about reflecting.

I love it when I see the reflection of something beautiful in a window, mirror or any shiny surface worthy of it. It doubles the pleasure! Sometimes it is just like the blogger on “Love out Loud” that noticed the reflection first then took the time to enjoy it when she noticed the simple pleasure of the reflection of the clouds in her tea cup on a lovely spring day.

There are other kinds of reflections as well. I have been known to do some reflecting on the past. Past events, past reactions or responses, even past issues that seem to have re-surfaced…yet again, seem to be right there to see even if I don’t want to. These can be opportunities to see repetitive behaviours that may need amending lest they torture us for the rest of our born days.

I do love to reflect back on some of the most joyous events of my life as well. The birth of each of my sons, my weddings (Yes there were 2- the second relationship with my beloved has stuck for over 21 years!) holidays with friends and family, even time on my own that was impactful can come rushing to me in those moments.

I sometimes look at my relationships and reflect on how much I am truly involved in each of them. Am I doing my part to nurture them? Am I taking them for granted? Are they relationships that are good for both parties, or have they changed as we all do over time? Is it time to let them go on their way or do I want to step up? There is a lot to reflect on here, really!

I wonder if I am reflecting well in others. Am I seeing my mood reflected in others and is it something I am pleased about? I realize that when I am in conflict with another I may have either picked up their reflection or vice versa. This most often happens with the one who is closest, my beloved. I would love to say that if it is unpleasant, it’s his dark cloud reflection that is responsible. But it is not always true, it may have been mine. (Sssh, don’t tell him I said that!) It also may have been that I chose to engage and be that shiny reflection for him. Why couldn’t I choose to reflect back love and care, empathy and understanding instead of judgment and perhaps criticism and ridicule?

Awareness of this will allow me to notice earlier when this choice on reflecting could just happen. I can have that cuppa tea and look deep into it to see if it’s my grey cloud. I have been known to laugh at the drama and change my beloved’s spirit to something fun then he wasn’t so serious about “the stuff”. It never matters what the stuff is, just that I have a REAL choice that only takes a moment to decide what kind of reflection it will be.

If I choose to live in love, peace and harmony, I too can look into that cuppa tea and see a warm reflection of myself. I can laugh at my imperfections and be grateful for yet another moment in love with life. I can look for a smile in there and enjoy that moment too, can you?

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Office

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[tweetmeme source=trcoaching] What do you do when your employee acts like the office is their personal domain?

I know that this may sound very familiar to some of you.  I will describe the situation that lead up to this coaching event.

Employer #2 John, (not his real name, of course and as there are 2, someone has to be) has walked into the office mid morning after being out of the office for a meeting. The receptionist, we will call Sue, is chatting with someone who works in a different office. She somehow acts like this office is an extension of her own and hangs out here much too long daily. This action has been irritating John for some time and as yet, not dealt with it.

Sue has works for the current employer #1 Wayne (…again, fake name) as well as for a previous employer in the same office. I suspect that Sue’s actions have not altered in many years. Often when an employee works at the same place for a long time, there is an ownership that may ensue allowing them to believe that they can make their own rules. By the way, when no office rules/boundaries have been clearly set, this seems perfectly appropriate to said employee. What possible consequences can there be with no standards stated from the employer?

John has only recently joined the team and has been taking a bit of time to become familiar with the staff and their roles in the business before taking on any changes. Wayne has been busy with his professional expertise, so managing has been a “fix as necessary” thing so adding an on-sight manager seemed  necessary – so John, #2 employer.

John was quite irritated this particular day as Sue was also shopping online. This is both unprofessional and completely inappropriate.  To be fair, there have been no rules and it is necessary to explain what is expected and the consequences when this is not fulfilled.

John waited for the person from the other office to leave Sue’s desk then once she was free from a quick business call, asked her to come to his office to speak with her privately. Remember, he has not been happy with her for some time and is angry at this moment. (Never a good time for a calm discussion) He believes he is in the right and she is in the wrong. (Clearly, emotions are running this show.) John felt he was professional and started off in a calm tone with her.

First off, he mentioned the fact that she was shopping online on company time.

Her response was she would clear the shopping site from the computer if a client came. (Apparently not near busy enough or what this looked like to her employers.)

As John was on a roll now and no longer calm (or professional) he asked about a call she had just answered before John approached her. A potential client was brushed off to someone else, who wanted some information. She clearly could have known the information considering she had worked in the business for many years. Where was her interest in actually being of service to their clientele?

Now SHE was angry and defensive then walked away.

I am sure she was quite surprised to be called on behaviour that had been quite acceptable before now.

There are some questions I asked John.

How do you want your business to be presented to the public/clients?

Professionally

Friendly

Approachable staff

Premium customer service

A team that knows what is expected of them

What are your expectations of your employees?

To be of utmost service to their clientele

To be clearly professional at all times

To work the hours they are paid for

To do and be their best at all times

To do all personal items on their own time

How will you clearly pass on this information?

I have to set aside some time to discuss this with Wayne (Employer #1- he really was first)

Write up a clear expectation for staff to follow

Explain to all staff what their expectations are and maybe why

What will be the consequences for breaking said rules?

Instant firing! Or maybe something less drastic if the offence is not the first.

Is it possible that Sue may not have known what was expected?

Yes…

How can there be more clarity with what the consequences are for the infraction?

Being clear myself with what I want for the office and getting them onboard.

How will you feel when your office runs with a full staff that are all behind you and doing what is expected?

It will be great! I imagine that the staff will feel comfortable knowing what is expected and the environment will be relaxed yet efficient. Professional yet fun as there will be no underlying energy of discontent. I will feel on top of what I am responsible for, so no anxiety or stress over things that need taking care of. I will no longer feel resentful of past management choices or staff’s poor performance as I can follow through with what I asked for. If it is not met I may remind a staff member of what is expected, then follow through with the consequences as have been set forth in advance.  It is a win-win all around!

There is a clear opportunity here for growth on everyone’s part. Coaching is a great way to get clarity and a solution so this type of issue no longer happens. It is a set up for the employee when there are no clear expectations and guidelines on appropriate behaviour and consequences within the office space and work hours.

There is need for both John and Wayne (sorry about that) to come to an agreement on their office goals, priorities as well as how the office must function. There is a necessity for clarity so the employees know what is expected of them and what the consequences will be with non-compliance. If there is a common goal and mutual benefit, they will climb on board the office band wagon to support their employers. If they do not support it, then there are choices to be made by everyone.

Coaching has allowed John to understand how this situation came about and where to go from here. I will continue to work with John as both he and the situation evolve. If you are having situations with relationships at home or at work – this may have been helpful. You may be thinking, “Yup! I am having issues just like this and I am not quite sure how to handle it.” Or maybe you just wish it would go away all by itself knowing clearly it won’t.

All relationships need to be tended to and can grow when they are. If you are ready for change and want to have a chat on how I may support you, please send me a note with your number on the contact page and I will be happy to call you at your convenience.

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