3 Paradoxes of Leadership All Leaders Should Know

A Journey From the Unknown to the Known

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I often write about paradoxes, well, because life is full of them. Really. And, as we recognize a paradox, we are poised to reconcile what is seemingly unknown into something that is known. Yep.

And, how does that aid leaders? Well, first, I consider leadership something that lives inside of everyone. Yep.

Leadership is something we can all do; and, in fact, leadership is something that most of us already do. Really. In some way in our life, we lead. Even if the leading you do is just for you; you are still leading.

And, we also know that in leadership the self is where it all starts. Yep. Also tue. Leadership goes out from you to everyone and everything else. It’s just how it works.

Leaders also need to know that most things are unknown, and that we know far less than is knowable. Important.

Therefore, inside of a paradox, there is an opportunity to turn something unknown into known, which is helpful for yourself, yep, and for everyone you are leading.

Now, before we go further, let’s define leadership, so we are all on the same page. Okay? Good. Here we go.

leadership

Pronunciation /ˈlēdərˌSHip/ /ˈlidərˌʃɪp/ 

NOUN

The action of leading a group of people or an organization.

The state or position of being a leader.

Lexico

Right. Pretty ambiguous. Hm.

Let’s try lead instead. Here we go.

lead

Pronunciation /lēd/ /lid/ 

TRANSITIVE VERB led

[WITH OBJECT]

Cause (a person or animal) to go with one by holding them by the hand, a halter, a rope, etc. while moving forward.

Show (someone or something) the way to a destination by going in front of or beside them.

Lexico

Ah, much better. Here is what we have so far. A leader is someone that goes with someone, or shows someone something by going in front of or beside them. Very good.

Alright, so what are these three paradoxes? Right. Let’s get right into our discussion, shall we? Good. Here we go.

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1. The Real and The Ideal

As a leader it is important to know the current reality. Meaning to know your strengths and weaknesses, and that of the teams. Super important. Yet, that’s not all. Nope.

You must also communicate that reality, and do so often. One of the most important functions in leadership is setting the pace and the reality. A reality that will include both strengths and weaknesses. It has to.

We all have areas to develop, as do teams, and when we own them, guess what?

We have now created a context that welcomes development, one that is open and growth-oriented. Fun.

Now, once you know and have communicated the current reality, it is time to begin to balance the real (current state or reality) with the ideal (future state or reality). Very important.

And, how this is done is predicated on knowing that everything we do today informs tomorrow, and that tomorrow is simply a mirror of today. Yep. Say more? Of course. Here we go.

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2. Today and Tomorrow

Alright, so when we cast a vision for our life or our team, we are setting down in language that which we want to accomplish in a certain amount of time. Might be a week, a month, a year, or several years. Depends.

What matters is that we tie that vision, those specific goals, to objectives and priorities that we can set our sights on and work towards each day. Yep.

When we connect our daily actions to our long-term goals, we are actively creating tomorrow today. Wait, what? Yes. It’s true.

When we take actions today that are connected to goals we have in the future, we are creating our future from this very moment. Therefore, when we take action today, tomorrow ends up being a mirror of today. Meaning?

We are actively actualizing tomorrow’s goals today. One action at a time. Fun. And, truth.

The concept of creating your future from today is a very powerful concept for leaders, teams, and, well, everyone. And, what happens when we create a context full of this type of possibility?

Well, we lead, yes, and so do those around us. It works that way.

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3. Lead and Follow

Right, so leadership as we’ve defined it has to do with going out in front, paving the way, if you will, with a vision that ties back to objectives and priorities that you, and your team, if you have one, work on each day. Yep.

And, when you are out in front like that, sometimes, you will have to pull back a bit, as the team moves closer to you. Yep. Or, if they are moving quickly, you may have to go out in front even further. Depends. And, guess what?

Sometimes, your team will move right on past you. Yep. Can and does happen. It is a beautiful thing to see really. And, when that happens?

No problem here, you, like they would, catch back up. Simple. The point?

That leadership is a complex, and yet very simple, set of relationships you have. First with yourself. Always with yourself first. And, then with everyone else around you.

Relationships are leadership. And, leadership is about having high-quality relationships. Yep. Bottom line? Sure.

Leaders lead and follow, both. They are, in fact, one and the same. Not separate at all. One.

Alright, so there are three leadership paradoxes that, when we have an awareness of how they function, create a context where we are connecting the unknown of tomorrow, or 5 years from now, to today. Meaning?

That we are creating the known from the unknown. In this very moment, in fact. And, well, that’s fun, and powerful.

#creatingthefuture, #fromtheunknowntothenkown, #humandevelopment, #leadandfollow, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipmindset, #leadershipparadox, #therealandtheideal, #todayandtomorrow

Why It’s Important to Understand Your Own Sensitivity As A Gift

A Spectrum of Sensitivities

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In the post, The Paradox and Gift of Being A Highly Sensitive Person: Clear and Strong, Not Hurt and Damaged, we unpacked and discussed sensitivity in terms of being a highly sensitive person.

For me, it then follows to ask the question, is high sensitivity binary, as in you have it or you don’t? Or, rather, is high sensitivity a spectrum of experiences? Hm. Good questions. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Alright, so let’s first define binary and spectrum. Ready? Good. Here we go.

binary

noun /ˈbaɪnəri/ /ˈbaɪnəri/,  /ˈbaɪneri/ (computing, mathematics)

a system of numbers that uses only 0 and 1

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Well, that’s fun. Now, for the purpose of this conversation, think about being highly sensitive as a 1 and not being highly sensitive as a 0. Make sense? Okay, good. Now spectrum.

spectrum

noun  /ˈspektrəm/ /ˈspektrəm/(plural spectra  /ˈspektrə/  /ˈspektrə/)

[usually singular] a complete or wide range of related qualities, ideas, etc.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go. Again, for the purpose of this conversation, you can think about a complete or wide range of related sensitivities, as a spectrum of sensitivity. Make sense? Good.

Now, why is this important? Good question.

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Sensitivity as a Spectrum

Because if we think about sensitivity as binary, we limit the experience of being a sensitive human being; and, we also limit our own experience of what it means to be sensitive.

As we discussed in the previous post on sensitivity, being sensitive is not a problem or an issue, it is, rather a gift. And, being able to own that gift, and really internalize it as such is an important and empowering experience.

Really, important.

And, at the same time, it is equally important for everyone to have access to the possibility that they are also sensitive. Why?

Because understanding our sensitivities, whatever they might be, is such an important aspect of being a human being. Truly, truly, this is so.

People that are highly sensitive often turn to substance abuse and other forms of self-abuse in order to dull their sensitivity. And? It is extremely damaging.

Yes, of course, for the person with sensitivity, and also, for those around them. Both. Yet, it need not be that way. Truly.

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Are You a Highly Sensitive Person?

Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to see if you too might be a highly sensitive person. Ready? Good. Here we go.

  1. Are you sensitive to light?
  2. How about being sensitive to cold or heat?
  3. Maybe you are sensitive to noise?
  4. Are you easily overwhelmed?
  5. Do you feel your own emotions more?
  6. How about feeling other people’s emotions more?

Now, you can use these questions, if you choose, to start an investigation into your own sensitivity. Yep. Oh, me?

Yes, to every question listed above, and more. I typically score between 17 and 19 on the highly sensitive person questionnaire, which I recommend everyone take. Everyone. Seriously. Why?

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Sensitivity As a Gift

Because finding out that I was a highly sensitive person was pivotal in my life. A gift, as was previously stated.

Therefore, I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to explore their sensitivity, free from bias and judgment. Yep, that’s about it.

Further, I believe that everyone is highly sensitive in some way. Really. I do.

Remember, sensitivity is a spectrum, not binary. Meaning, that it is quite possible that everyone in some way is highly sensitive to something. Yep. Possible. And?

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Removing the Stigma of Being Sensitive

Well, removing stigma about sensitivity, especially in the United States, is super important. Especially for young boys. Really.

Young boys are often raised to dissociate themselves from their sensitivity, yet, that is so very unhealthy. It is unhealthy for them as a developing child and youth, and is also unhealthy, as we’ve discussed, for them later in life.

What is healthy?

Proper education about sensitivity. For instance, positive reinforcement and education about what sensitivity means; and, knowledge about how to cope with emotions. All. Important.

Bottom line? Sure. Here we go.

We all have sensitivities. We have to. Why? Because we are all human, and all humans have senses. And, these senses are, at times, maybe all the time, sensitive. And?

That is perfectly okay. More, as we’ve discussed, it is a gift.

Embracing our sensitivity creates more possibility. More possibilities about ourselves and our lives, and more possibilities for those around us.

When we model acceptance of our sensitivity, we remove the stigma about sensitivity and create spaces that are more inclusive and loving.

And, I for one, think that acceptance, inclusivity, and love are needed in this world. Nay, they are very much needed in this world. Today, yep, and, well, tomorrow too. And, for all time.

#acceptance, #emotionalintelligence, #empowermentandsensitivity, #healthysensitivity, #highlysensitivepeople, #hsp, #humandevelopment, #leadership, #love, #selfimprovement, #sensitivityasagift, #spectrumofsensitivities

What Does Being Present Really Mean, and Why Does it Matter?

A Paradoxical Skill for Life

Just want the world to READ.

Have you ever thought about what it really means to be present? I mean really present. Present to yourself, to those that surround you, and to all that is around you? Hm.

For a long time, being present wasn’t something that was, well, present for me. Not so today. Being present is something that I am always present to; does that sound funny? Well, it is true.

And, yep, being present is a paradox, like most things in life. Meaning? Good question.

Meaning that being present is actually quite simple, and, yet, many people find it difficult. Why? Well, people are often focused on two other things. What two? Yep. Here you go.

  1. The Past – when you are focused on yesterday, you cannot be present today, in this moment.
  2. The Future – similarly, when you are focused on tomorrow, you cannot be present today, in this moment.

Hm. What to do?

Well, there are four strategies that I’ve found over the past three years that have increased my ability to let go of yesterday and tomorrow, and be present today. Yep. What are they?

Ready? Here we go.

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Meditation

In the post, Creating a Meditation Practice: 3 Steps in 4 Minutes, I write about three simple steps you can institute to develop a meditation practice.

Meditation is and has been an experience that, well, quite frankly, has transformed my life. How? Yep. Here are three ways.

  1. Increased focus – the focus you develop in meditation, focusing on the breath, or some other object, carries out to every area of your life.
  2. Developed patience – sitting for any duration of time, free of people and distractions, can be difficult, thus, doing so, greatly develops your ability to be patient. Both with yourself, and, of course, with others.
  3. Greater presence – when you sit in deep concentration, you also get to know your own mind much better. Meaning, that you can see your mind as your awareness grows. And, with a more expansive awareness comes an ability to shift your attention from yesterday and tomorrow to today.

When we intentionally create quiet time for ourselves, to be with ourselves, away from all people and distractions, we are able to breathe, reflect, and just be.

It takes time and assistance to develop a meditation practice. I mean to really develop a practice that is sustainable.

Meaning, learning from someone that has been schooled in the art of meditation is helpful. I still see someone regularly about my meditation practice, and, well, as I’ve written before, about all of life.

Remember, it takes time to develop a meditation practice. Example? Sure, here you go.

My initial meditation practice, what I then called breathing, was only once or twice a day for 2 to 5 minutes at a time. I could literally only sit still for that long. Yep. Today? Well, today, my meditation practice is much longer.

It just takes a dedication to practice. Practice daily, get some coaching, and it will come. Really, it will.

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Diet

Someone once told me, we are what we put into our bodies. I know, I know. A very common saying, and you’re right. Yet, it is also very true.

I spent a lot of years putting very unhealthy things into my body, yet have learned the truth of the aforementioned statement.

It’s really about energy and clarity. When you eat more whole foods and put less refined sugars into your body, you do have more energy, and equally more clarity.

What does that look like? Well, there are countless iterations of healthy diets. Really. What does mine look like today? Sure. It’s pretty simple.

  1. Fruits and veggies
  2. Beans, nuts, and some grains
  3. Greens

That’s basically it. Now, there are other things I do eat, for instance, I removed dairy from my diet about a year ago, so I now eat a dairyless oatmeal yogurt product. However, the core of my diet is listed above.

Now, also know that diets iterate. For instance, though at the moment, I’m not eating eggs, for example, eggs have been in and out of my diet several times in the past three years. Yep.

And?

Well, when you combine eating healthier with meditation, guess what? Your ability to be present also increases. And, there is another benefit. What, you ask? Yep.

Clarity. With a healthier diet and regular quiet time for ourselves comes more clarity. Fun.

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Exercise

This is a fun one, as there are two ways I think about exercise today. Ready? Here we go.

  1. Cardio and exercising to exercise – sounds funny, maybe? Well, what I mean is exercise, such as running, jogging, or hiking, lifting weights, if you like, and biking.
  2. Contemplative exercise – yep, really. What I mean here is taking a walk, by yourself, no headphones, phones, or other distractions, and just walk. Just like that. Contemplation time, just for you.

Both are important. Why?

Well, being active, and in motion, is good for the body and mind. It gets all of your muscles and joints moving, and gets your heart rate up.

And, spending time with yourself on a walk, for instance, is very healthy for your mind, and yes, your body too.

We all need time by ourselves, to contemplate, to just be present to all that’s around us, free of the myriad of distractions that typically hold our attention. Very helpful.

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Emotions

Okay, this is a very important one for me today, and, well, it is also important for you, and for everyone.

When we spend time inquiring into why we feel the way we do, we gain insight on what’s happening with ourselves, yes, true, and we also gain a better sense of our own humanity, and our shared humanity. Truth.

When we ignore our emotions, regardless of the type, guess what? They just sit under the surface, and sort of fester, if you will.

They don’t just go away, especially those emotions we would associate with “negative” experiences, thoughts, or feelings, such as sadness, worry, or anxiety. Yep.

Spending time writing out how we feel daily, if possible, has been a helpful practice for me. When we do this, we can ask ourselves questions, such as, why did that incident or situation, bother me?

We can then trace it back to where the originally thought, experience, or feeling originated. Takes practice, yet is a super helpful and therapeutic experience. And?

As we work through our emotions, we become lighter. Really. We end up carrying less emotionalness inside of us. And? Yep, we also become more present. True.

Alright, so we’ve covered 4 areas that contribute to our overall well-being, and presence. That was fun.

Here are some closing thoughts to round out our discussion.

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Closing Thoughts

When we

  • Meditate, or create quiet time for ourselves
  • Watch what we eat, reducing our intake of refined sugars and increasing our intake of whole foods
  • Get exercise, including contemplation time
  • Work on our inner-selves and our emotional well-being, well?

We understand ourselves much better. And?

When we understand ourselves better, guess what? We know when we are present, and when we are not; and, when we catch ourselves being distracted, we can let go of that distraction, regardless of what it is, and refocus on the present moment.

After all, it is really only the present moment that we ever have. Yesterday and tomorrow do not exist. Really. And guess what?

The more present you become to yourself, the more present you become to everyone and everything. It works that way; and is presently beautiful that way.

#beingpresent, #developingpresence, #emotionalintelligence, #emotions, #exercise, #healthydiet, #humandevelopment, #meditation, #presenceasaparadox, #psychology, #selfimprovement

The Reflection Series Part 1: What Does it Mean to Be Alive?

A 3-Minute Reflection on Being Alive and Experiencing Aliveness

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It’s interesting to title a post as a reflection series, as every post and/or article that I write is a reflection. Really. All of them. A reflection of myself and the world. Yep. And?

Well, I wanted a place to create a similar dialogue, conversation, and discussion with you in a shorter format. Yes, yes, it’s true. I do tend to write, and write, and sometimes, even write more. My challenge, then? Good question.

My challenge in this series will be to connect with you similarly , yet to do so in under 3-minutes. The next question? Yep, that’s it. Can he do it?

Don’t know. Yet, I do know that I’ll have fun finding out. Ready? Alright, here we go.

A 3-Minute Reflection on Alive and Aliveness

What does being alive really mean? I mean, really? Have you ever pondered what it means to be alive, to know your alive, to really feel alive, and the resulting aliveness, if you will? Hm.

As you reflect upon those questions, let’s take a look at what I see.

When I was growing up, being alive simply meant not being dead. Really. You were alive, that’s all. You breathed in and out, and you did this or that, whatever this or that was, and you lived your life. Yep.

Yet, as I’ve aged, and developed, I’ve come to think about being alive differently. Being alive, or experiencing aliveness, is different from simply accepting, passively, that you are alive, as in my aforementioned example.

Aliveness, for me, is an active activity. Yep, I did just use active and activity back to back.

Right, so being alive is about feeling, loving, working, being, and doing, and doing so intentionally. Creating our intention to live the fullest life possible, whatever that looks like to you, or me, or anyone for that matter.

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There is an important distinction here. Let’s spell it out more clearly.

  • Passively alive – reality happens to me.
  • Active aliveness – I create my reality.

A very important distinction. Why?

Because when we believe that reality happens to us, our locus of control, stay with me, is pointed outward; whereas, when we believe that we create our reality, or locus of control is pointed inward. Very important distinction.

Locus of control? Yep, here we go.

People with internal locus of control tend to expect reinforcements (1) to be the consequences of their own efforts or behavior, whereas people with external locus of control expect them to be the consequences of chance, luck, fate, or the actions of powerful others.

Oxford Reference

There we go.

Basically, locus of control is how we think about the world, and our place in it. Do we believe that we create our life, or is the creation of our life in the hands of someone else.

Now, there are two more important distinctions here. Ready? Here we go.

  1. Locus of control is not a binary – meaning that how people view their reality, and the creation of it, lives on a continuum.
  2. Locus of control is psychological and also philosophical – we will look at the former in this post, and, maybe, the latter in a later one.

Now, when we believe that we create our reality, that our actions cause change in the world, change for us, and change for others; we have an internal locus of control. And?

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And, if we regularly act on this internal locus of control, creating the life we want to live, one action at a time, we will experience more aliveness.

More feeling, more joy, more of, well, everything; and, this moreness in this example, if you will, does also include sadness. Why?

Because we are living more, doing more, creating more, risking more, loving more. Well, doing everything more, so it does follow that we will experience more joy, and also more sadness. It works that way.

Yet, we need not think about experiencing more sadness as a problem or an issue. It’s not. It is beautiful, because we are creating and living out our own authentic life. Fun.

The point?

Remembering that we are the creators of our experience, and, thus, our life.

We create our life, feel our life, and live our life via our intention. An intention about the aliveness we want to experience, which we create in every moment of every day. Now, and, now, and now. Just like that.

Phew. Did I make it?

Be wellness. Be aliveness.

#activealiveness, #alive, #aliveness, #creatingyourlife, #creatingyourreality, #experiencingaliveness, #externallocusofcontrol, #humandevelopment, #internallocusofcontrol, #mindfulness, #psychology, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement

The Paradox of Servant Leadership

Why Care, Compassion, and Accountability Are Engaging

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I’m always reflecting upon service. It’s always been a big part of my life. I started out in the “service industry” at 16, and never, really, ever looked back.

What I’ve been reflecting upon even more recently, is just how important service is in, well, everything we do. It’s not just about the work we do, in the professional sense.

It’s more about all of the work we do. All of it. And, it starts with each of us, and how we take care of and, in effect, serve ourselves. Really.

I was telling a colleague of mine today, as they prepared to train a group of local leadership, that in order to hold other people accountable, we must first hold ourselves accountable. It’s how it works.

Something this colleague knows very well indeed.

And, as was aforementioned, service is no exception to this rule. In order to serve others, we must first learn to serve ourselves.

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We are all looking for places to serve. Places where we can make a difference, where we can be a part of something larger than ourselves. A paradox? Yep.

Because in order to be a part of something larger than yourself, you must first be in touch with yourself, know yourself, treat yourself with love and kindness, and hold yourself accountable to a standard.

A standard that is engaged with and committed to creating and effecting change. Changing that which we know, the status quo, with something, well, quite different.

Within this possibility, there are innumerable opportunities to serve. Fun.

Alright, ready? Good. Here we go.

Servant Leadership

I’ve written a couple of articles about servant leadership, which includes, The Blog + Video Series #14: Servant Leadership: A Practical Leadership Style for Life and Work.

The basic tenant of servant leadership is that service is paramount to leadership as a philosophy and a practice. Both.

That to lead, we must lead from a perspective that fully understands that nothing happens without the entire team; and, that, it is because of each team members contribution to the team that movement and traction are even possible.

Servant leadership upends the traditional leadership hierarchy, putting the needs of front-line workers first. Important.

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

And, as we’ve already discussed, servant leadership is, both conceptually and practically, a leadership style that works for all aspects of life.

When we take care of ourselves and lead from within, we can then take care of others and lead from without. If not, well, true leadership of any kind is impossible.

Sometimes there is confusion about servant leadership.

Meaning that people sometimes connect servant leadership to a laissez faire type context. And, servant leadership both conceptually and practically is far from that type of context.

In fact, a servant leadership context will often be full of standards and expectations that are higher than other leadership contexts. Yep. Common. Why?

Well, inside of serving, as was aforementioned, is the need to create change. Creating new possibilities, new ways of communicating, new ways of, well, doing most things.

When you create a context that is committed to changing the status quo, no matter how small or large that change is, there have to be higher standards and expectations.

And, in some cases, the highest standard must be demanded. Why?

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Because there is so much more to accomplish. That’s it really. More work, more movement, more traction, more change. Amazing.

And, where there is change and innovation of this magnitude, there must be great care, compassion, and accountability, both for the self, the team, and the organization. And, yep, for the nation, and the world too.

Care

What is engagement, really? When you think about that word, what do you see, or think about? Hm.

For me, I think about contexts that are brimming with challenges and difficulties, yep, and celebrations. Why?

Because when you are truly engaged with yourself, and the people around you, you will experience both. You have to.

Being engaged, is living a full life, and the giving out of that life to everyone around you. It is extremely fun and rewarding and, yep, also difficult.

All service, regardless of the context, professional or personal, requires determination, persistence, and resilience. Oh, and great care. Yep.

When you are engaged, you care. Simple. Oftentimes, people get confused and think that when things are difficult that there is a problem. A paradox? Yep.

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When things are difficult, you are engaged, you are doing, and you are creating. No problem here.

When are there problems?

Well, if you subscribe to notions of problems, then the only time there are real problems is when there is disengagement. Where things are easy, moving simply, no speed bumps. Why?

Because, if there are no issues, nothing to overcome, then, nothing is really happening. Yep.

Now, that’s not really a problem either. Not really.

It’s only a problem if you are looking to be engaged. I always know when I am most engaged at work or in my life. How?

Because there is always, and I mean always, something to celebrate, and something to overcome. A challenge, always.

These engaging contexts also require, as was aforementioned, great care. Really. Why?

Because when you are fully engaged, and are working through issues that arise, care about all things and everyone, yourself, and all those around you, is always there.

And, that is because you are going through something.

You are developing, iterating, and, yep, in some cases, even transforming. Beautiful.

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Compassion

Because a servant leadership context is a highly engaging one, where people will bring their all every day, compassion is also required.

Compassion for yourself, for how very, very hard it is sometimes, and for those around you. Sometimes, people will decide it’s just too much, and that is okay.

There was a time when I desperately wanted everyone to stay. And, I would coach people endlessly to this end. No pun intended.

Yet, a servant leadership context is not what everyone is looking for, and that is also okay. Knowing this releases you and everyone else from an obligation that truly doesn’t exist.

And, practicing compassion is what that looks like. Understanding that people will leave. And, guess what?

It’s better for them to do so.

Better to find a context that suits them more, feels better to them, and will in the long run be much more beneficial for them. Important.

Accountability

One of the most paradoxical aspects of servant leadership is in the area of accountability. And, there was a time where accountability within a servant leadership paradigm also confused me.

The bottom line?

Accountability matters. People actually want to be held accountable to a higher standard. Knowing that their work and service, whatever it is, is making a change in the world.

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

Again, no matter how small or large that change is, matters much less, than that people get to participate in something that, yes, inspires them, and, even more importantly, actively creates change in the world. Fun.

It is a ton of work. Yep. Yet, who ever said that life was supposed to be easy?

I know. That is such a cliche, and yet it does work here.

Think about any change, nay, think about some of the largest institutional and cultural changes of all time. Now, answer this question.

Were they easy?

Nope, not a single one. They are not supposed to be. Therefore, having a high standard and instituting accountability is not only needed, it is also positively reinforcing the servant leadership context that has been created. How?

Because serving yourself, setting the highest standard for yourself that you can, means that you will also set that same standard for the people around you. And?

They will rise to meet it, just as you are.

For more on Servant Leadership check out these resources.

#accountabilityandleadership, #careandleadership, #compassionandleadership, #creatingchange, #humandevelopment, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #servantleadership, #teamdevelopment

3 Reasons Why Thinking About and Practicing Integrity Differently is Important to Your Life

On Being Whole, Complete, and Our Word

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Have you ever thought about the word integrity? I mean really thought about it?

People use the word often, yet, I think, there is some confusion, or, rather, maybe there is a better way to understand integrity as a concept and as a practice. Ready? Let’s go.

integrity

noun  /ɪnˈteɡrəti/ /ɪnˈteɡrəti/[uncountable]

the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There we go.

Okay, honesty and morality, such as right and wrong and good and bad. Hm. I’m not the biggest fan of right and wrong and good and bad. Why?

Because, good and bad and right and wrong, like happiness and sadness go together. Meaning?

That you cannot have goodness without badness, nor can you have rightness without having wrongness. Striving, then, for such concepts, such as being right and good, is folly, and can cause pain and suffering.

Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

We are all going to be both bad and good, and wrong and right sometimes. Inevitable. Hm.

Let’s try something different.

How about we think about integrity as whole and complete. Here is the next part of the definition from Oxford.

the state of being whole and not divided

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There. The difference, you ask?

Well, a state of being whole and complete, or undivided, increases the workability inside of the concept of integrity.

It takes away the judgment that can be found, and cast in the previous portion of the definition focused on good and bad, and right and wrong. Yep.

Therefore, if we think about integrity as being whole and complete, and a matter of that which is said, or our word, integrity stays within us; an, internal concept, if you will.

Here you go.

“We distinguish integrity as a phenomenon of the objective state or condition of an object, system, person, group, or organizational entity, and define integrity as: a state or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, perfect condition.” Werner Erhard

Quote Tab

There we go.

When we start the conversation about integrity as an understanding that we are all just as we are supposed to be, today, right now, just so. We start from a place of understanding, not judgment. Important.

Further, adding our word as the highest state of integrity, there is always workability. How? Simple. Communication.

Meaning, that if we are going to be out of integrity, we simply communicate this fact. Sounds simple, yes?

Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Well, many people struggle with this concept. Really. Think about how many times someone said they were going to do something, and they didn’t.

And, then think about how often they communicated to you they weren’t going to do it. Yep. Happens all the time. To me, to you, to everyone.

And, this is not a judgment. It just is. We are still whole and complete, regardless. We all are. Having integrity within this conversation means creating an intention to do as you say, and when you can’t or choose not to, to communicate about it. That’s all.

Why does this conception of integrity work?

Here are three reasons why.

1. Release Right and Wrong

When we know that we are whole and complete, just as we are, right now, in this moment, we can release notions of right and wrong. Integrity in this conception is not about being right or being wrong.

It’s about being our word, and when we are unable to do something we said we would, we simply communicate about it. That’s it.

Releasing right and wrong from our notions of integrity decreases stress and anxiety about trying to live up to an ideal that no human can really live up to, and need not try.

Photo by Amy Treasure on Unsplash

2. Let Go of Good and Bad and Right and Wrong

Being whole and complete also means that we can let go of ideas we have about being good and right, or being bad and wrong.

Integrity in this conversation has nothing to do with ideas of good and bad, or right and wrong, which is helpful. As was aforementioned, we are all “good and right” and “bad and wrong” sometimes.

Letting go of being good and bad, and right and wrong also reduces stress we might feel about trying to be something other than we are right now; and, may also reduce stress-associated anxiety that we may feel striving for conceptions of integrity that are impossible to fulfill.

3. Accept the Reality of Integrity

We are all out of integrity sometimes. Everyone says they’ll do something, and then is unable to follow through for some reason. Remember, integrity is not about being perfect, nor is it about being right and being good.

It’s about doing what we say, and then if we are unable, communicating about it.

Understanding and practicing integrity this way also reduces stress and anxiety people have about trying to live up to a perfect ideal of integrity that does not actually exist.

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

You are already a perfect human being, just as you are. Really. The iteration of you that you are today is exactly who you are supposed to be. How do I know that? Well, because that is the iteration you are today.

It is not the iteration that will exist tomorrow, nor in the next moment. It works that way.

You are whole and complete just as you are. And, your word is all the integrity you need. Chasing after other conceptions of integrity, such as being right and good is a never ending merry-go-round that will only ever leave you dizzy, stressed, and anxious.

Time to jump off that merry-go-round.

#goodandbad, #humandevelopment, #integrity, #leadership, #lettinggoofrightandwrong, #life-lessons, #psychology, #realityofintegrity, #releasingrightandwrong, #rightandwrong, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement

The Social Construction Series Part 5: The Social Construction of Time

7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

How often do you run from here to there, and back, checking the clock on the wall, in the kitchen, on your wrist, or on your phone? Yep, normal, we all do it, or, rather, have done it.

Time is such an important part of our life. We construct our whole lives, in fact, around it. Yep. Time. When we get up, when we eat, when we work, how we work, when we sleep. All of it.

Yet, time also provides people with tons of stress and anxiety. Really. How often have you said, or heard, or both, there’s just not enough time in the day? Yep. We’ve all said it, say it, and have heard many, or, rather, most people say it.

Phew. It’s tiring. Really.

I remember a time in my life where I was more concerned about what time it was, then about what I was doing with my time. Maybe you can relate?

Either way, time is not what we think it is.

Time is actually socially constructed. Meaning, it doesn’t even really exist, except for that we create it, agree upon it, and as has been aforementioned, organize our lives around it.

A social construction, you ask? Sure. Here you go.

social construct

Pronunciation /ˌsəʊʃl ˈkɒnstrʌkt/

NOUN

A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.

Lexico

There we go.

Now, time, you ask? Well, I think we can all agree upon the definition of time, yet, let’s go ahead and define it anyway. Here you go.

time

Pronunciation /tīm/ /taɪm/ 

Translate time into Spanish

NOUN

The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.‘travel through space and time’

1.1 The progress of time as affecting people and things.‘things were getting better as time passed’

1.2 Time or an amount of time as reckoned by a conventional standard.‘it’s eight o’clock Eastern Standard Time’

1.3 The personification of time, typically as an old man with a scythe and hourglass.‘Power began to flow out from Father Time’s scythe.’

Lexico

That’s fun.

Alright, so here’s what we have so far.

A social construction is something that is constructed and agreed upon by a group of people, of which time, as in the continued progress of existence and events as in the past, present, and future, is one. Phew.

You may now ask, well, there is a past, present, and future, therefore time exists. Yet, I would invite you to really think about that. Does the past really exist, or the future for that matter?

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Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Think about what you are doing right now. Does the past exist in the present moment? Does the future? Nope. They don’t.

The only thing that ever really exists is the present moment. Right now; and, then right now, and now. That’s it.

Therefore time is in many ways irrelevant, an illusion actually. Yet, we continue to create our whole lives around it. Pretty powerful.

You may now be saying. Okay. Fine. Yet, why is understanding time as a social construction important? Very well.

Let’s take a look at

7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life

1. Increased Flexibility

When we hold time as a social construct, we are more flexible because we understand that there is an infinite amount of time to do all that we’d like to do. Really.

We become more flexible as we continue to consider time as something that we can choose to release ourselves from. We know at a different level that, yes, we need to move our work and lives forward, however, we also know that there is plenty of time to do so.

2. Less Stress

As we become more flexible, holding the awareness that time is socially constructed, which takes practice, we then realize that we can release the stress that we create about time-bound situations and events. Yep.

We can release that stress, and replace it with a renewed interest in being present. Present to everything in our lives, in each and every moment. Precious.

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Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

3. Reduced Anxiety

Holding time within ourselves differently, which creates less stress, also reduces our overall anxiety levels. There are so many people on this planet that have high levels of anxiety.

Yes, about lots of things, yet, considering time as one of the most important aspects of our lives causes a ton of that stress and, yep, related anxiety.

Yet, releasing that time-bound stress, releases the anxiety. Very helpful.

4. Greater Understanding

We also learn more about ourselves, and then have a greater understanding of, yes, ourselves, and about all people. We can connect with people on another level entirely. Why?

Because, we have connected to ourselves on an entirely different level. It works that way. We become more aware of our time-bound habits, and then can see them more clearly in ourselves and in others. Helpful.

5. More Grace

As we are more aware of our own behaviors related to time, and practice releasing the stress and anxiety that develops as a product of time-bound thinking, we can give ourselves more grace. And?

We can also extend that grace to others. If there is one thing on this planet we can all us more of, it’s grace. Given to ourselves and to each other. Important.

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Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

6. Deeper Compassion

Along with granting ourselves more grace, we also develop a deeper level of compassion for the human condition. Most all of us are socialized to place importance on time.

With that knowledge, we can release ourselves from any blame or shame for the stress we’ve caused ourselves and others at the expense of time-bound thinking and acting.

And, as we deepen the compassion we have for ourselves, we also deepen the compassion we can extend toward others. Lovely.

7. More Peace

With our practice of holding time differently in our awareness, we also have more peace. More peace about all aspects of our lives that we once associated with time-bound situations and events, and the associated outcomes, or results.

And, when we have more peace, we can also extend that peace out to everyone. Phew. That is important.

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Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash

Alright, there are 7 Reasons Why Considering Time as a Social Construction is Important to Your Life. Fun.

Remember, time is only important, when we create that importance. I’m not saying that we don’t take our commitments and agreements that are time-bound seriously.

Those time-bound commitments and agreements are very important. My days are full of them; and, I mean full. All day, every day.

Yet, we don’t have to associate time-bound commitments and agreements with a stressful conception of time. It’s a paradox, like most things in life.

You can both hold time as a socially constructed illusion and as an important aspect of your life in regard to meeting our commitments and agreements.

It is really in between the two, considering ourselves as bound in time and not, where you have the power to live, laugh, and love with less stress and anxiety, and way more flexibility, understanding, grace, compassion, and peace.

Be well. Consider well.

#anxiety, #compassion, #flexibility, #grace, #humandevelopment, #peace, #philosophy, #selfimprovement, #socialconstruct, #socialconstruction, #sociology, #stress, #timeasanillusion, #timeasasocialconstruction, #understanding

The Social Construction Series Part 4: The Social Construction of Reality

A Fluid Representation of Many Worlds

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

In the first installment of the Social Construction Series, we discussed why understanding social constructionism is important to our daily lives. How we interpret our world, think and feel about it; choices we make, and practices we keep, or let go of. Important.

In the second installment, we discussed the importance of understanding that all knowledge is socially constructed. All of it. And, how the production, distribution, and access, or lack thereof, to knowledge affects our lives. Also important.

In the third installment, we discussed the importance of understanding that our identities, every part of them, are also socially constructed. Giving us power and the freedom to create our identity as we want it to be, not as someone has said it should be.

In this fourth installment, we will discuss the social construction of reality; and, why considering a different way to think about reality as important to our lives, to your life. Important to the human being you are today, and the human being you want to be tomorrow. Ready? Let’s go.

Well, what exactly is reality? How does it function, and why do we understand our world as the reality it is? Hm. Let’s define reality, shall we. Here we go.

reality

noun OPAL WOPAL S /riˈæləti/ /riˈæləti/(plural realities)Idiom

[uncountable] the true situation and the problems that actually exist in life, in contrast to how you would like life to be

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Very good. Ah, I see. Reality is a true situation. Well, then what does truth mean. Let’s take a look. Stay with me.

truth

noun  /truːθ/ /truːθ/(plural truths  /truːðz/  /truːðz/)Word FamilyIdioms

the truth [singular] the true facts about something, rather than the things that have been invented or guessed

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Okay, here’s what we have so far.

Reality is a true, or factual account of a situation inherent with problems that exist in contrast to what you’d like your reality to be. Hm. Not sure about these definitions. How about you? Let’s look at a different way to think about reality.

Here you go.

“Human existence is, ab initio, an ongoing externalization. As man externalizes himself, he constructs the world into which he externalizes himself. In the process of externalization, he projects his own meanings into reality. Symbolic universes, which proclaim that all reality is humanly meaningful and call upon the entire cosmos to signify the validity of human existence, constitute the farthest reaches of this projection.80 b.”
― Peter L. Berger, 

The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge

Alright, so what do you read here? Okay. Well, let me tell you what I read.

That reality, all reality, is a projection of what it is that we think it is. That’s about it.

Reality is about a created truth, our factual account, of a situation inherent with problems, and possibilities, that is seen to exist.

And, who prey, creates it and sees it? Well, you do, I do.

Our realities, however, are different. Your reality is not the same as mine, which is why having general statements, as in the aforementioned definitions from Oxford, are problematic. They’re not inclusive enough, and leave people wanting, and, in some cases, confused.

Right, well, what then?

Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why understanding the social construction of reality as a fluid representation of a world, nay many worlds (over 7 billion in fact), is important to your life. Ready? Here we go.

A Fluid Representation of Many Worlds

If we begin to consider reality as fluid, always shifting and moving, we release ourselves from the false notion that reality is in some way a static, or solid, representation of that which we see. Make sense?

Reality is influenced by several key factors. Here are a few.

  1. Our current state of mind
  2. Our emotional state
  3. Our past
  4. Our present situation
  5. Our future

Complex, yet simple. Another fun paradox.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

1. Our current state of mind

What we believe, we see. Yep. True. If we believe the world is full of bad people with hidden agendas, guess what we’ll see? Yep. A world full of bad people with hidden agendas.

Conversely, if we believe the world is full of good people with noble intentions, yes, that is what we will see.

Now, the world is not binary.

The world is full of both, that which we will find good and that which we will find bad. The point is that, what we expect to see, is what we will see; and, that then becomes our reality.

2. Our emotional state

Our emotions, like our mind, are powerful. How we feel, especially if we are sensitive to our emotions, like I am, influences how we see the world.

If we feel hopeful, we will see hope. If we feel despair, yep, we will see despair. It works that way. Again, complex, and yet quite simple.

Of course, we know that we have many emotions within us, and they come and go like waves in the ocean. Here, then gone, here again, then gone again.

The point is when we are unaware of our emotional state, we are not aware of how our emotions are influencing our perception of reality.

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

3. Our past

When we focus on our past, especially when that past is full of things we label as a problem, we can literally bring those problems into our present reality. Really.

If we are focusing more on what happened yesterday, than the present context, we are creating a disruption in the reality right in front of us, and, in effect, replacing that reality with an alternative version from a past time.

However, when we are aware that our minds work this way, we can catch ourselves living in the past, and shift our attention back to the present moment, and let go of the past.

4. Our present situation

If we are not at peace with our present reality, we will continue to see issues and problems. In effect, creating even more issues and problems as possible.

When we fight against the reality we see, we make our current reality into a larger problem, and, at the same time, increase our own pain and suffering.

However, if we recognize this pattern, or habit, we can disrupt the habit and replace it with understanding and grace. We can change our reality into something that is more congruent with what we want to see. Finding more peace and harmony in the process.

5. Our future

When we are scared of the future, or feel like the future will only ever be a reproduction of the past, limited and painful, that is what our future will be. Simple. That which we put our attention on expands, and becomes our reality.

Yet, when we let go of our past, and remain open to our future being all that we want it to be, we can begin to shift our attention and create a reality that is quite different.

We can begin to create the future reality that we want to manifest. One that is full of possibility.

Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

Many worlds

Reality is fluid and dynamic, not stable and static. And, we have the power within us to create the reality we want to live into. We do.

There are over 7 billion worlds (realities) on this planet. One reality for each of us. Yep. The paradox?

Sure, here you go.

Though there are over 7 billion worlds on this one planet, there are certain things we agree on. Yep. Example? Sure, we all mostly agree that a tree is a tree, right? The sun is the sun, the stars are stars.

Yet, know that a tree, the sun, and the stars were not always called such. They weren’t. There was a time when they were called something else, and a time when they were called nothing at all. They just existed. That’s it.

Know that the reality you want to live into is available to you. Has been, is, and will always be available.

Reality is socially constructed by each of us every minute of every day. Next time you find yourself frustrated about your current reality, ask yourself why that’s so.

Here are a couple questions you can ask yourself.

  1. In my current state of mind, am I expecting to see frustration?
  2. Is my emotional state having an impact on how I am seeing my reality?
  3. Am I thinking about my past experiences, and bringing them into my present reality?
  4. Am I not at peace with my present situation?
  5. Am I thinking that the future will only ever be a reproduction of my past?

When you ask yourself these questions, see what you get back. And, shift your attention away from these thoughts and emotions, and to the present reality. And?

Begin to create the future you’ve been waiting for. Make that future your reality now, today. You are the only one that can do so.

Create well.

#emotionalintelligence, #humandevelopment, #philosphy, #psychology, #realityasmanyworlds, #selfdevelopment, #socialconstruction, #socialconstructionism, #sociology, #thesocialconstructionofreality

The Paradox and Gift of Being A Highly Sensitive Person: Clear and Strong, Not Hurt and Damaged

Have you ever heard of the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)? Hm. Either way, know that although I’ve been a highly sensitive person my whole life, I had never heard this phrase until about 2 years ago. Here’s what happened.

About 2 years ago I was at a team building event, and we had one of our instructors come and talk about the highly sensitive person.

It only took about 10 minutes for me to get it. Yep. Then?

I read some of The Highly Sensitive Person book, by Elaine Aron; and took the HSP test. Yep, confirmed.

As I reflected upon the information I received at the teambuilding, and the new information from the book, so many things occured to me about my childhood, youthood, and adulthood.

I could clearly see my high sensitivity, what was then labeled as shyness or actually derogatorily called being sensitive.

I internalized my shyness and sensitivity as a problem for many, many years.

What I could have never known as a child, youth, or even as an adult previous to a couple of years ago, is that being a highly sensitive person is also a paradox, and a gift. Yep. How, you ask?

Sure. One, question first.

What do you think of when you imagine someone that is highly sensitive; or what association do you make? It’s okay. It’s not a judgement.

Did you see someone in a position of weakness, or in need of help? It’s okay if you did, today it’s normal.

What I am showing you is that in language being sensitive is associated with weakness; and, that that same language is what is used to experientially socialize children to think of high sensitivity as a weakness.

Here, let me show you.

sensitive

1: SENSORY sense 2

2a: receptive to sense impressions

b: capable of being stimulated or excited by external agents (such as light, gravity, or contact) sensitive cells

3: highly responsive or susceptible: such as

(1): easily hurt or damaged especiallyeasily hurt emotionally

(2): delicately aware of the attitudes and feelings of others

Merriam Webster

Now, though I am pleasantly surprised that the definition leads with receptivity and capability, it soon enough gets to easily hurt or damaged. Unfortunate, and just plainly not ture.

What is true is that being a person with high sensitivity, like most things in life, is a paradox. How, you ask? Right, well, let’s take a look shall we.

First, let’s explore high sensitivity. Now, know that my experience with the topic of high sensitivity is in being a person with high sensitivity. Meaning, that I’ve not read much about the topic.

Alright, ready? let’s go.

Photo by IIONA VIRGIN on Unsplash

What is High Sensitivity?

Having high senstiivty pretty much means as it sounds. That, in some aspects, people with high sensitivity are more sensitive to external and internal stimulation.

Here are a couple of examples.

People might be highly sensitive to light, sound, touch, taste, smell, and emotions, both their own, and other peoples. There are many ways these sensitivities manifest, which you can check out on the Highly Sensitive Person website.

More often than not, people that have high sensitivity do not know it. Some don’t ever end up knowing it, and some, like myself, do. Approximately 15 to 20% of the population has high sensitivity.

The issue with not knowing, is that people with high sensitivity may end up internalizing their sensitivity as a problem, which is unhealthy and can be destructive.

Many people with high sensitivity end up using unhealthy coping mechanisms, like substance abuse, to bury their sensitivity and inability to understand and cope in more healthy ways.

And, the paradox? Yep, here we go.

Photo by IIONA VIRGIN on Unsplash

High Sensitivity as A Paradox

I label high sensitivity as a paradox to push the limits of language and experience, of what is known. Important. Example? Of course.

I know several people with high sensitivity; and, all of them are clear and strong.

Yep, they are sensitive, and sensitive in different ways, yet that sensitivity makes them clearer and stronger.

A paradox.

In language, as we discussed, sensitivity is associated with a weakness, or deficit, which is simply not the case.

When people that are highly sensitive know about their sensitivity, they can learn to cope with their higher sensitivity, and, in many cases, higher emotional input and output in more healthy ways.

Further, because emotions are felt more, both internal and external, it provides the highly sensitive person with a gift.

The gift of feeling more, knowing more, and loving more.

Another gift is being able to sense where people are at emotionally. Super helpful always, and even more so in leadership roles.

It gives you the opportunity to meet people exactly where they are, free of any judgement. You understand your emotions more, and so you understand other people’s emotions more too. It works like that.

Photo by Vladyslava Andriyenko on Unsplash

Being a person with high sensitivity has been a journey from thinking for many, many years that I was broken to the realization that I am clear about my emotions and stronger for my sensitivities. Much Stronger.

If you think you might be a person living with high sensitivity, I recommend you take the sensitivity quiz on the Highly Sensitive Person website.

Regardless of whether you are a person living with high sensitivity or not, it is important to remember that our senses and emotions are part of being human. We all have them.

Yes, some people are more sensitive than others to their senses and emotions. However, we all need to take the time to understand our sensations and emotions; time to be with them, and greet them with compassion and grace.

Along the way, please also don’t forget to continue to extend yourself that same compassion and grace. You deserve it.

#emotional-intelligence, #emotions, #highlysensitivepeople, #highsensitivity, #hsp, #humandevelopment, #livingwithhighsensitivity, #psychology, #selfdevelopment, #senses, #shynessandsensitivity

Why Curiosity Didn’t Kill The Cat: 7 Reasons Why Remaining Curious Can Move You From a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

As I was walking back to my office this past week, and I entered into the breezeway just around the corner from my office, I looked up just as I came under the overhanging second floor. Why?

To see if the second floor was aligned with the top of the building. Wait, what? Yes, I did. Why, you ask?

Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

Curiosity.

I’ve been more present to my own curiosity, and sense of wonder, this past week.

Do you remember being a child, when everything, and I mean, everything was curious to you. Yep, me too.

Though early childhood memories are often fuzzy, I can remember that feeling of inner-joy as I explored every inch of my environment. Every inch.

I think retaining that childlike wonder and active curiosity about our lives and the world is important to our own development.

Alright, well, let’s see what others think of curiosity, shall we.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein

Awaken the Greatness Within

“Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Awaken the Greatness Within

“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” Mae Jemison

Awaken the Greatness Within

There are so many good quotes about staying curious. Why? Well, let’s take a look at why; yet, as always, I’d like to first define curiosity. Here we go.

curiosity

noun  /ˌkjʊəriˈɒsəti/ /ˌkjʊriˈɑːsəti/(plural curiosities)Idioms

[uncountable, singular] curiosity (about something) | curiosity (to do something) a strong desire to know about something

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

There. When we remain curious, we are actively acknowledging there is much more in the world to know about than is known. Yes, by us, and by everyone else for that matter.

I’ve written many times about the known and unknown, and, essentially, that it is the space between the two where people choose to grow or not.

We can choose to go back towards what is comfortable, known, and remain as we are today; or, we can choose to go towards what may be uncomfortable, unknown, and grow.

Those that are naturally curious, are intrigued by the smallest things in life. Things that other people might pass right by without even noticing.

In fact, I think people that are curious have a keen awareness of themselves, which means they also have a keen awareness of the world around them.

Photo by sergio souza on Unsplash

Alright, then, here are

7 Reasons Why Remaining Curious Can Move You From a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

1. Recognition of the unknown

When we know that there is much more to learn about the world, and everyone in it, than we actually know, we are instantly curious.

Being curious is about being real with ourselves about all that we know, and all that we don’t.

Just writing that last paragraph makes me smile. Smile because I know everytime I leave my house, there is an opportunity to learn something from someone. Always curious. Fun.

2. Replacing what is known with new knowns

And, as we learn more about the world from other people, we get to replace some of our knowns with new knowns. How?

Well, humans often get stuck inside of limited thinking. Thinking that because they are an expert in a certain field, that their learning is complete. No so.

Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

Every topic and subject is incomplete from a perspective of all there is to learn. Really. Every topic and subject.

When you are in a conversation with someone that proposes that their perspective is the final perspective on a topic, you can smile internally knowing that is not so, and remain curious about the topic.

I guarantee you there is more to learn and to know.

3. Remaining hopeful about the future

When we are curious, we are naturally hopeful about the future. We have to be. Why? Because being curious means believing in a future where growth and new possibilities flourish.

More, it means actively creating that future every day. One idea, goal, or dream and corresponding action at a time. Beautiful.

4. Recreating ourselves each day

Curiosity, like all things, starts within. When we do our internal work, inquiring into why we think and feel the way we do, we are actively interested in recreating ourselves often. Every day, in fact. Really.

In each moment lives the possibility of something new, a new possibility for that moment, and then, yes, the corresponding context, and the greater world. It starts with us, and goes out from there.

Photo by Bhargava Marripati on Unsplash

5. Regenerating our sense of self in each moment

And, as we recreate ourselves, we also create a new sense of self. We let go of the person we were, and welcome the developmental iterations that will come as a byproduct of our own curiosity and interest in ourselves.

And, guess what?

When we treat ourselves with this kind of respect, that respect, along with the curiosity and interest, go out to others. It will infect them with a renewed sense of who they are as a human being.

Wonderful to watch and be a part of.

6. Reinventing the contexts we engage with

As we recreate ourselves each day, we also reinvent the contexts that we’re engaged with. Why?

Because, as we recreate ourselves, we are leading a transformational process that will affect everyone around us. It has to.

And, as we reinvent our contexts, we get to invite other people to participate in our curiosity. Our curiosity, yes, about ourselves, first, and then our curiosity with other people, the work they do, the possibilities we see as a product of the work we are doing in ourselves. Much fun.

7. Remembering our truth

When we remember our truth about the human being we are, and the future human being we are actively creating each day, we stay curious. Curiosity is a transformational practice.

When we remain curious, we get stuck less often. We feel more connected to ourselves and to everyone else around us.

We are, in effect, living our lives as a child would, full of wonder and hope. Knowing that dreams do come true, because we actively see them come true all the time.

When we live our truth, we see the world through a whole new lens; and, part of that lens is a lens of the curious being that we are all meant to be.

Photo by Jorge Flores on Unsplash

When we are actively curious, question all things, we are living in a growth mindset, which really just means that we are open to learning about all things from all people.

We are open, flexible, and eager to learn.

A growth mindset is about learning as much as we can, and then using that knowledge to create the life we want to live. Each and every day.

Curiously pondering everything around us, wondering, dreaming, and then taking all that we learn and applying it to our lives.

Stay curious and apply all that you learn well.

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