The Month in Review, January 2022: At Home & Work, Writing & Blogging, A WDYS Poem, and A Note on Overwhelm

At Home & Work

Last Years Garden, Corvallis Oregon

This past month I’ve begun preparing for the community garden, which will officially start in March. As you all know, I participated in a community garden last year, and it was a wonderful experience.

I’ve started to think about the veggies and flowers I want to grow, and have also started to collect cardboard, which will be used to cover the plot until it is seeded. The harvest last season was abundant, and I look forward to more fresh vegetables from the garden this year.

The boys are doing well, Jason is with his mom full-time, and will turn 18 this year; and, Justin is preparing for his internship, and last year at University. Amazing. These two boys, nay, men now, are the light of my life, and seeing them succeed in their individual endeavors fills my heart.

At work, we are preparing for the spring term schedule. We will have about 150 classes on offer, most of them will continue to be remote. We are also filling our Leadership Academies, and will begin to fill our Small Business Management classes in March. 

Both of these training programs are excellent opportunities for local leaders and small business owners to be in critical conversations creating transformation within their lives and their businesses. So much fun.

Writing & Blogging

As you know, I had a poem accepted at Spillwords Press this month. What you may not know, is that the poem, with all their scars, was trending as one of the top 3 poems the week it was published. This happened because of your unwavering support. 

Many of you took the time to visit Spillwords and read and like the post. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You all mean the world to me, and your support is a blessing.

I also had four poems published this month in MasticadoresIndia and MasticadoresUSA, 2 poems in each respectively.

In case you missed them, here they are:

Another heartfelt thank you to all of you for visiting both the Masticadores sites and reading, liking, and commenting on my poems. It means a great deal to me.

I also have a few new things planned for the blog this year. 

  • This month I published the flowers brome, which is a piece of prose poetry. I will write and publish more prose poetry in the future, and may even have a piece of prose to add as well.
  • I am also planning on doing some spoken word poetry this year, and have already purchased a microphone for this new endeavor.
  • Additionally, the month in review will be a new series this year, and will come out at the end of each month.

I will also submit poetry to new magazines and journals this year. I’ve actually already submitted to two, one of which is the Bangalore Review. I’m excited about these new publishing opportunities.

A WDYS Poem

Image credit; Tathanhtaun @ Pexabay

I’ve been doing the WDYS prompt for over a year-and-a-half now. It’s the only prompt I do on a regular basis, and is always fun. The WDYS prompt is created by Sadje, at Keep it Alive. 

If you’ve never done the prompt, I invite you to visit Keep it Alive and take a look sometime. You might find it fun, as I do. 

Alright, here is my response to the WDYS #118 prompt.

our heart’s love…
glasses set for two, the beauty in you,
I see too

a rose
tinted fragrance
wafts upon the shore

it is discord, and accord
both, a common
motion
of

this hearts healing contortions, as
pain racks the heart
and mind

two
becoming one
combined

in a
tale of
romance and
tragedy

we think and feel close…

loving,
while
wandering
a

tightrope

designed for those destined to love
the most, sending their
hearts out, into
the fields
they
go

spreading our heart’s love,
in repose…

A Note on Overwhelm

As I get insights on any developmental topic, I always find avenues to share them with family, the team, and with all of you. They are shared via my poems, the A Blogger’s Diary series, and will also be shared here in this new series.

These developmental insights come as a product of my own internal development, and spending a large portion of the past 30 years in leadership and education.

This month, I’ve been reflecting upon overwhelm. Partly because I’ve been present to my own overwhelm, which comes and goes, and because I’ve been present to the team’s overwhelm, which also comes and goes.

Overwhelm as a concept and practice is simply a state of being overstimulated by our environments. These moments of overwhelm, sometimes last longer than we’d like. They are moments where our bodies are physiologically, psychologically, and sociologically, under more stress and this stress manifests in various ways for people.

For me, the most important thing to remember about overwhelm is that it comes and goes. It is a state of being, like most, which is transitory, yet, often, as human beings, we desire to hold onto these states, and do so unconsciously. 

Yet, as we become more aware of our own overwhelm, we can make new choices. We can stop what we are doing, take a break, go for a walk, sit somewhere quiet and just breathe in and out. 

It is very important to stop when overwhelmed. Stop what we are doing, and do something else. Sounds simple, and is quite simple. When we create the space to breathe, to do something different than we’ve been doing, we create a different response to our environment, and will get back a different reaction.

The next time you are overwhelmed, I invite you to stop what you are doing, and do something different, and see what you get back. You might be surprised.

Alright, that’s all for the January month in review.

I appreciate each and every one of you, send you my love,  and wish you a blessed coming week.


#poetry, #breathe, #healing, #heart, #home-and-work, #human-development, #january-review, #life, #love, #mindfulness, #overwhelm, #pain, #poems, #strategies, #writing-and-blogging

Understanding

Photo by Huper by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Inquiring within,
just makes you grin
while you continue
to ponder
and reflect upon
all of life’s wonders.

Connection so deep,
you hear the ocean
in every breath,
and feel the breeze of
it’s salty mist,
even after you’ve already
left.

Considerations run
along a thread
of time,
which is sublime,
and, at times,
difficult to find.

Contemplation
requires
a measure
of boldness,
to face
the pain
of another’s life
with stoicism.

Cradling love
in a basket,
weaved with tears
of both pain
and pleasure,
you realize
it’s in between the two,
where life’s requesting
a measure of your solitude.

Quiet now,
you listen and learn
about the riddle,
which perplexed
the mind
for a very long time.

Stillness requires
a sense of vulnerability
and resiliency,
to guide us to the table
of our
greater understanding.

#poetry, #contemplation, #introspection, #mindfulness, #poem, #poems, #reflection, #stillness, #understanding

A Blogger’s Diary 4/25/21: On Writing and Reflecting, Portland, Reading, and Breathing

I’ve been thinking more this week about how important it is to take time for ourselves. It is interesting, as I know this truth viscerally today, and have written about it several times in the past few months, and yet as life continues to move, I am continually present to the need to stop and breathe. Important.

Alright, more on that in a moment.

Writing and Reflecting

First, let’s take a look at a few reflections from the week.

Flush

The poem Flush occurred to me this week after I dropped off my guitar to be worked on at the local music store. I hadn’t realized how much I’ve loved learning to play the guitar until, all at once, it was removed from my presence for a couple of days. 

I actually went to the music store one day, while they were working on my guitar, just to play the guitars on display. I love the feeling that comes with playing the guitar. In fact, I’ve always loved music, which has been a large part of my life, for, well, always. Moving, deeply satisfying, and inspirational. Lovely.

Hug

The Hug poem was inspired by the WDYS #78 prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje. As I pondered the picture of a small table, set for two, it reminded me of times as a child and youth at my grandparents house. Being around all of my cousins, and feeling that deep sense of connection and love you get when you are near so much family.


Though I don’t get to see much of my extended family today, I relish these memories. Beautiful.

Next Week

I don’t have much to write about the writing that is coming. That’s fun.

I know there will be more poems, and I do have plans on a post about purpose, yet have not begun to write this piece. All of this unknown is part of the process and joy of creation, which I adore.

Portland

Photo by Sean O. on Unsplash

My oldest son has an internship with Intel in Portland this summer. Yes. Exciting. I went up to visit him yesterday, which was my first time in Portland in over 15 months. It was an amazing experience.

We went to a wonderful local grocery story called the India Supermarket, and ate at an equally lovely restaurant called Apna Chat Bhavan. Delicious. We then played guitars for the afternoon. It was so lovely to see him and spend time with him doing things we love to do, two of which, we’ve been unable to do, or have chosen not to do, for a long time. Lovely.

Reading

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The remote book club is still alive and well. We just finished The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende. An elegant and descriptively written book about war, violence, oppression, love, family, and life. I highly recommend this book. Just know that the book does contain many violent scenes, which may be disturbing to some readers. The book contained about as much violence as I can handle these days.

I am now reading the Mahabharata, by Kamala Subramaniam, which is part of my continual spiritual and devotional development. I am only about 100 pages into the text, and am already seeing parallels to all of life, which I know will continue.

Breathing

Have you ever had someone ask you if you are breathing, or, have you had someone say, don’t forget to breathe? Yep, me too. In fact, I am the one that often says to people, remember to breathe. Yet, more context is needed.

When I say to someone close to me, remember to breathe. These words come along with a historical conversational context about what remembering to breathe really means. 

It means creating time in all of our days to stop. Stop working, cooking, cleaning, erranding, working, etc., and just be. Creating time to focus on our breath and be with ourselves. As I’ve written before, you can accomplish this by taking 5-minutes away from everyone and everything, and just focus on the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. 

And, as thoughts arise, such as I need to do this, and I need to do that, just let that be. And, return to the breath. If you choose to walk during this time, count your steps as you inhale and exhale, which will help keep the mind at bay.

The point?

We all need time to let ourselves be. Away from all of the “needs” that are arising within us.

When we begin to learn that, in fact, those “needs” never really cease, and that we can take actions to slow down the reactivity of the mind to stimuli; by, for example, taking a 5-minute break away from everyone and everything. Using this time to just breathe, we begin to deepen our understanding of how our minds work. Helpful.

Alright, that’s all for this week.

Have a lovely week.

#apnachatbhavan, #bhagavadgita, #blogger, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #breathing, #contemplation, #diary, #indiasupermarket, #introspection, #mahabharata, #mindfulness, #oregon, #poem, #poems, #portland, #reading, #resturants

The Reflection Series Part 9: The Power of Silence

In Leadership and Life

Photo by Tim Hüfner on Unsplash

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon the power of silence; and, maybe more importantly how in that absence of sound and other stimuli there lives a very powerful reservoir. One that, as many of you know, I was not in touch with for many years.

In my reflection this past week, I’ve also been pondering how in today’s fast-paced, go, go, go, culture, I do have the United States in mind here, accessing silence is even more important. The paradox? It’s harder to access. Though not for the reason you may be thinking.

It’s harder to access, not because there is less silence available in the US. In fact, accessing silence has nothing to do with spaces and places. The reason that it is harder in the US to access silence is actually rather simple. It’s not valued, nor taught. In fact, one could argue that the opposite is valued.

Fast-paced, loud, go, go, go. Right? These may be horrible generalizations, yet take a look around any metropolitan city in this country, and what do you see? People moving fast, cars driving fast, animals moving fast. Habituation to a lifestyle that proceeds all of us, yet we also help to continue to perpetuate this lifestyle. Interesting.

In this post, I want to create a space to discuss some practices that anyone, no matter where you live, can take up to secure themselves a little silence each day. These practices are common sense. No great mysteries here. Yet, it’s the planning and doing and repeating that matter most in this conversation. (Re)habituation.

(Re)habituation

Photo by Omar Flores on Unsplash

Well, I’ve not defined a word in a while in a post, so let’s do that, shall we? Good. Here we go.

habituation

noun /həˌbɪtʃuˈeɪʃn/ /həˌbɪtʃuˈeɪʃn/[uncountable] (formal)

  1. habituation (of somebody/something) (to something) the action or condition of becoming used to something

There we go.

So, what then is (re)habituation? It simply means the process of habituating ourselves to a different set of stimuli, actions or conditions, while letting go of the ones we are currently habituated to. Simple. Yet, when we are habituated to an action or a particular set of conditions, it can be difficult to (re)habituate ourselves to something new.

I’ve written on this topic before, and think, especially right now, it is important for everyone to consider how they can get at least a few moments of silence in their lives each day.

Just a short 4 years ago, I never created silence for myself. In fact, I thought reading and watching television was, in their own way, silent time. And, when you don’t know how to access silence, and, in fact, are quite afraid of it, then watching TV or reading a book can seem like silent time.

Yet, accessing real silence takes practice. And, guess what? Once you’ve created a new habit to access silence, and you’ve done so for some time, you begin to realize that silence is always available. Even when you are busy. A paradox? Yes, and no.

Here are a couple things you can do on a regular basis to begin to access silence.

  1. Stop – when you are super busy. Stop. Stop, and set an alarm on your phone for 2 minutes and just sit there and focus on your breath. The way the air is inhaled into your lungs and the way it is exhaled out. Just 2 minutes. Do that periodically throughout your day. You will find that in just 2 minutes of silence, you can quiet your mind a little, and gain more focus. As you practice this 2-minute silence break, increase it after a couple of weeks to 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. It is amazing how much focus and mental equilibrium can be created out of just a few minutes of real silence.
  2. Walk – calendar yourself for regular walks. You can start with a 5-minute walk. If you’re at work, maybe it’s just around the area you work, inside or out, it matters not. What matters is to focus on your breath as you walk. As you take a step, inhale in, and as you take another step, exhale out. You can even count the steps as you take them. I still do this today without even thinking about it. Habituation.
  3. Listen – when you are super busy, stop what you are doing, and listen to your mind and body. How do they feel? Are you tense? Is your mind super active? If so, stop and breathe for a few minutes, or take a walk, as described above.
  4. Repeat – the most important thing about creating a new habit, or (re)habituating ourselves out of our current habits and into new ones is repetition. Daily is best. Yet, it is also important to set a schedule you can work with and that will feel good. So, if that’s every other day, so be it. Getting started is key, and then continuing as you are able will create more workability for you inside of creating a new habit.

Alright, there are a couple of things you can do to habituate yourself into a new habit, which will help you gain access to silent time everyday. Remember, if you forget, which will happen, or feel you don’t have time so choose not to access silent time one day, it’s okay.

There are no demerits here. It’s about creating more workability by increasing your focus, attention, and mental wellness, something everyone needs, and leaders must have.

Leadership and Silence

I’ve found accessing silence one of the most powerful concepts and practices of my entire life; and, remember, the person writing this post did know how to access even one minute of real silence until about 4 years ago. True.

Yet, when we create the time to be silent, to quiet our minds, to listen to our bodies, and to just be, what we get back is so much more. We get more focus, attention, and mental wellness, and we also get more insights. Insights into our own humanity. A sacred and beautiful experience.

Here are five few ways that silence has impacted my life and leadership.

  1. Mental Flexibility – when we are mentally flexible, we are open and willing to listen and learn.
  2. Calmness – remaining calm under great pressure and stress is key to keeping yourself and your team on track and in alignment.
  3. Clarity – developing clarity means that your communications will be more clear and understandable. Communication is one of the most important functions in leadership, so being clear, concise, and understandable is key.
  4. Patience – the ability to demonstrate patience shows your team that even under extreme pressure, you will remain open and flexible. Demonstrating patience will give your team more confidence in you as a leader.
  5. Deeper Understanding – to lead, you must understand yourself well; and, you must be able to relate to all people, staff, peers, customers, clients, everyone. Developing a deeper understanding of your own humanity, means that you develop a deeper understanding of all humanity, which makes you more relatable, empathetic, and compassionate.

There are many more ways that silence has impacted my life and leadership, yet these are important for all of us, and for leaders they are critical. The ability to be mentally flexible, remain calm, have clarity, demonstrate patience, and create a deeper understanding of yourself are skills that every leader needs.

Remember, then, the next time you feel overwhelmed at work or in life, create silent time for yourself. It can even be 1 minute to start. What matters most is getting started.

It’s about accessing the silence that is always within you; and, watching that grow over time, as you continue to practice the act of creating silent time for yourself.

#clarity, #creatingnewhabits, #creatingsilence, #deeperunderstanding, #habituation, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #life, #mentalflexibility, #mindfulness, #patience, #personaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #reflection, #selfdevelopment, #silence

A Blogger’s Diary 3/21/21: On Writing, Reflecting, Next Week, and Silence

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon, well, the last year. Phew. As businesses begin to open up more here across the country, and the vaccine becomes more and more available, it is interesting to ponder where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we are going.

It’s also interesting to ponder and be present to the need to create time for ourselves away from the chaos, so we can just be; and, be in silence.

Before I get to my reflection on silence, however, let’s have a couple reflections on this past week’s posts, and a look at what next week holds.

Writing

I spent some more time completing the Leadership Series this week, with the final entry on building high-performance teams, which will publish next Saturday. Now that that series is complete, I will turn some of my attention to a new leadership series, Leading from Within.

I also spent some time this week, writing poetry for future posts. It’s fascinating to me to watch people develop, myself, of course, included. When I look at the first poem I wrote several months ago, to the most recent one, there are similarities, yet they are quite different. Iterative development. Fun.

Alright, here are two reflections from this week’s posts.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1-1.jpg
Image credit; Sonny Mauricio

Dream

The poem Dream was inspired by the WDYS prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje.

As I pondered the scenic picture, I reflected upon how we gaze upon nature, and how nature gazes back. It’s all quite lovely. I began with that thought in mind, and then just let the words come. Well, better language would be that the words just came. I don’t have anything to do with the “letting” in this process.

I also reflected upon and played with the concepts of perception, diversity, and the vast ocean of both we have in this lovely world. It is so beautiful to contemplate all that we see within and without, isn’t it? Lovely.

I obviously also played with the concepts of dreaming and reality. For now, I will only say that that is up to the individual. Each of us. What’s a dream to you, and what’s real is for you alone; and, I think it is quite lovely that way.

Streams

Ah, the poem Streams was inspired by my childhood in Los Angeles; and, yes, there really was a “river bed” out back. It was the only real river I saw on a regular basis. Know though, that, as kids, we did get to see real streams, yet they were few and far between in the big city in which we lived.

Funnily enough, you don’t actually have to travel far in LA to get to a stream, yet most of the time I spent in water was, as many of you know, at the beach. Love the ocean, always have, always will.

I also played with the concept of existence in this poem. Pointing to a reality only found within. And, lastly I reflected upon dreams and how important it is to have them, tend them well, and to, yes, water them with love and affection. Nurture them, I say, and they will surely manifest for you one day.

Next Week

As was aforementioned, this week, I finished the Leadership Series with a final installment on building high-performance teams. I am amazed, and then not, at how long this series took to complete. Factually, I wanted to write an installment on organizations, yet am going to wait to complete that installment in the Leading from Within series, which I’ve started.

I am also working on new posts on silence, strategic thinking, sleep, and, yep, another post on gardening. Fun.

I’ve also written several more poems this past week, they just came, and am looking forward to sharing those with you in the coming weeks.

I have a lot more ideas, and will let those percolate for a while.

Silence

I wrote a poem once on Silence. Actually it was one of the first poems I wrote when first swept away, quite literally, with ideas, images, and language for the poems that have come since that time.

I had a couple of challenging days this past week, and I’ve never in my life been more grateful for the silence that I get to take part in today. Sitting in silence is such a wonder. It is all at once, empty and full of healing beyond a description that any language can conjure.

Suffice to say, or write, rather, as I have before, that if you find yourself overwhelmed with life, emotions, people, places, or events, try to create some silent time for yourself. Away from everything. For it is in the spaces that we create to be silent where the mysteries of this universe become more clear; and, when there is more clarity, there is more space for you to live and to love.

A wonder.

Have a fantastic week.

#poetry, #abloggersdiary, #blog, #blogger, #blogging, #contemplation, #diary, #dream, #existence, #humandevelopment, #introspection, #leadershipseries, #leadingfromwithin, #losangeles, #mindfulness, #poem, #reality, #silence, #streams, #writing

Sitting

Photo by Raychan on Unsplash

Though we run
After our thoughts often

And, feel behind

Know that this
Is only
A manifestation

Of the mind

Running after itself
In a
Convoluted loop
Expressed as so

Since the beginning of time

Though, as we begin
To pay attention
And have
The

Realization

That this is so
We learn
To sit
And

Notice our thoughts

As they come and go

They are
An expression
Of memories from afar

Which we need not
Trod to bring to heel

Rather, sitting
And watching can
Bring the freedom,
And healing

Which is such a natural
Feeling

So, friend, do sit
And partake in all
The splendor your mind
Can conjure

And release the burden
Which are brought
Without
A second thought

#poetry, #life, #love, #mind, #mindfulness, #poem, #poems, #sitting

A Developmental Moment #1: Inspiration

How Inspiration Relates to Our Personal and Professional Development

Photo by Mona Eendra on Unsplash

In the article, The Leadership Series Part 1: What is Leadership, and Why is it so Important?, we discussed several leadership characteristics. And, it is these characteristics, which, by the way, are applicable to every aspect of our lives, that we will cover, one at a time, in this new series. Where to start? Let’s see.

Well, let’s start with this past week’s reflections, shall we? Good. Here we go.

Alright, so this past week, I’ve been reflecting a lot upon inspiration. What is inspiration, where does it come from, how can we get more of it, and what do we do if we run out of it. Very important questions. And?

Well, this week I’ve also been reflecting upon the creation of a new series. A series that can encompass a multitude of topics, and, yep, this is it, and inspiration will be the first topic.

Some of these developmental discussions will be longer, and some will be shorter. It will depend.

Alright, for this entry, let’s tackle the first question on inspiration. Ready? Good. Let’s go.

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

I really do love this topic, as it seems so simple, right? Inspiration, well, it’s all around us. Some people say they find nature inspirational, or other people in their lives, such as their friends and family, or coworkers. And, that is beautiful. Truely. Yet, there is something missing here. Do you know what it is? Hm.

It is the viewpoint. Meaning?

That inspiration does not live outside of you. Nope. It lives inside of you. We look outward and place inspiration onto other things and people, yet that inspiration comes from within. Always has come from within, and always will come from within.

Why does this matter to your development? Good question. Here is one, of many, reasons why.

  1. When we know inspiration comes from within, we stop looking outside of ourselves for our own inspiration. Being aware of the source of our inspiration is important to our development, because when we fully realize that our inspiration comes from within, we are not bound to the changing tides of people and things. Simple. And?
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Well, we know that change is inevitable. It is part of life. Yep. And, when we get clear on the fact that inspiration does not live in the changing world, that, in fact, it can be developed, and maintained, regardless of external circumstances, we become more powerful. Really.

Does that mean that we don’t ever feel down, or stressed, or sad? No, it does not. We are meant to feel all of our emotions; to feel them, know them, and learn how to talk about them.

And, yet, we can still find our inspiration even during the most stressful times. Why? Because even though we may consider a situation stressful, we know that our inspiration is always there. Waiting for us.

Alright, so what can we do to connect, or reconnect, to our own inspiration? I think there is one thing we can all do that will assist in making our connection, or reconnection, to our inspiration stronger. What’s that?

  1. Make time for yourself. A must.

When we create time for ourselves, to be with ourselves, just for ourselves, we get to know ourselves better. And, the more we know ourselves, the more clear on our own inspiration we become. Really.

Next time, then, when things are really hectic, and you are feeling overwhelmed, stop. Stop doing what you are doing, and go for a walk, sit down under a tree and look around, or look up at the beautiful stars in the sky. Stop and just be.

For it is in this space, where your inspiration will find you.

#clarity, #compassion, #connection, #contemplation, #emotionalintelligence, #emotions, #inspiration, #leadershipdevelopment, #meditation, #mindfulness, #overwhelm, #personal-development, #professionaldevelopment, #reflection, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement

The Leadership Series Part 2: Why Developing the Self is Always the First Step in Leadership

The Leadership Psychology of How We Think and Feel

Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash

This past week a colleague of mine and I were talking about leadership. Well, to be more accurate, we are always talking about leadership. Fun.

Anway, this colleague was talking about the upcoming leadership group training they would be facilitating, and they were talking about how important it is for leaders to understand how they think, feel, and act.

After reflecting upon the concept of thinking, feeling, and acting, which I totally agree with, another concept occured to me. Speaking. Also important.

Thus, the idea for this first-half of the two-part article on Developing the Self was created. Before we get into our discussion, however, let’s reset the first installment in the Leadership Series.

In the first installment of the Leadership Series, The Leadership Series Part 1: What is Leadership, and Why is it so Important?, we unpacked leadership as a concept and practice.

We also discussed 2 things that are very important to be clear about early on in any leadership development journey, which are

  1. Understanding yourself.
  2. Understanding your leadership style.

In this second installment, we will discuss understanding yourself as the very first step in a leadership development journey. Why? Good question.

Let’s take a look, shall we.

There are two ways we will approach this discussion.

  1. Psychologically
  2. Sociologically

Ready? Good, let’s go.

Leadership Psychology

Right, so, what in the world is leadership psychology? Well, in this context, we are going to address two main concepts. Thinking and feeling. Both are very important to understand for anyone in leadership.

If you don’t know why you think and feel as you do, you’ll never be able to understand how and why others think and feel as they do. Simple.

And, as a leader, you must understand how the people in your team, organization, business, and or family, or friend network think and feel. Very important.

Having an impact starts with us. Each of us. Understanding how and why we think and feel as we do is a necessity in any leadership role. Any and all leadership roles.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Thinking

An entire article, nay, book can be written about how we think in regards to, well, just about everything in life. Leadership included. It’s that important.

In fact, how we think drives everything else we will discuss in this article. It all starts with the mind. The quality of our mind. Meaning? Good question.

As I’ve written about in other articles, human beings are meaning-makers. Meaning, pun intended, that we take in data, information or stimuli, and we convert those stimuli, whatever they are, into narratives.

We do this to make sense of the world, and our place in it. A simple example can illustrate this point.

If my thinking is about the past, and all of the wrongs I’ve suffered, or bad things that have happened, I will bring these thoughts, feelings, verbalizations, and actions into the present moment. And?

I, in essence, will recreate the past. Reliving, as possible, past trauma again and again. And, so will everyone else I am interacting with and in relationship with.

Photo by Zachary Kadolph on Unsplash

However, if I am aware of my thoughts, and how I think, I can work on the thought impressions, called samskaras in sanskrit, and, over time, release them.

When they are released they stop showing up as a thought. It takes time.

These samskaras, thought impressions of old patterns and habits, loose power when you inquire into why they are there in the first place. Meaning, that creating self-awareness for a leader is a crucial aspect of leadership development.

When we have some sense of our own self, we can step outside of those thought patterns or habits and create new ones.

And, it is in the creation of new thought patterns where true empowerment is found for leaders, first, yes, for themselves, and then for their teams, organizations, families, and friends.

There are four things I do on a regular basis to increase my self-awareness.

  1. Meditation
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise
  4. Coaching

Each of these contributes to self-awareness in unique ways, and they combine to increase clarity, calmness of mind, well-being, and insight into who you are as a human being, and how you relate to yourself and everyone else. Very important.

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Feeling

As was aforementioned, how we think really does affect, even predict, how we feel, speak, and act, and how we feel on a general level and even on a more specific level, which is very important.

Important to how we relate to ourselves and everyone else.

I grew up in a household where people definitely displayed emotion, yet it was still hidden, and definitely not talked about. And, that’s not a demerit. Why?

Because my parents were not shown how to understand their emotions and then how to constructively talk about them. It is far more normal, especially in the United States, than people might imagine. And?

Not helpful to your own development, nor is it to your teams, organizations, families, or friends. If you don’t know why you feel the way you do, you will not understand how others feel.

And, if you are unable to understand how you and the people around you feel, you cannot talk about feelings in productive and constructive ways.

However, when you know how you feel, understand why you feel as you do, and learn how to talk about emotions in healthy ways, you can navigate more complex conversations and situations as they arise.