It is said that KNOWLEDGE is having the right answer and that INTELLIGENCE is asking the right question.
I am learning the hard lesson – it is ok, and even good, to ask questions.
It is hard to ask a question. When something is being explained, and I ask a question, the other person can become defensive in a response. As if my question is calling their information inaccurate. It is hard at this moment to explain that I am asking questions because I do not fully understand. I am asking for clarification.
On the other side of that dilemma is after the fact when I make an error because I didn’t ask the question. When confronted I get often got the answer ‘you should have asked me’.
To a people pleaser, this causes great anxiety and frustration. If I ask I may be wrong. If I don’t ask I may be wrong. I can’t win.
Part of my People-Pleasing Recovery is accepting there will be someone unhappy with me. All the time. There will be no time in my life when everyone will be pleased with me.
Thus, I must look to myself. What information do I need in this situation? How will I be able to use this information to complete what I must do? There is only one way to find out. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION.
I am not talking about shared gossip, wanting to know more. That is a topic for another post.
This is requiring information for me to move forward.
If I am about to run a race, I need to be properly clothed and wearing appropriate shoes. Asking questions to seek knowledge dresses me for the occasion.
What information do you need to move forward? What do you need to know to make that decision that is weighing on you?
The gap between KNOWLEDGE and INTELLIGENCE is closed by asking questions.
What questions do you need to ask right now? Take time this week to journal your thoughts so you may close the gap.
I came across a quote this past week that started me thinking back over failures in my life with a new light.
Failure does not define me.
Failure refines me.
So many things I have tried, experienced, attempted did not turn out the way I wanted them to.
There were times I chose to accept that as an ending. Relationships failed, career opportunities ended, learning ceased.
I had difficulty looking at this. I found myself paralyzed, looking at the failures and remaining the mindset of defeat. “I am a failure, nothing I do is right.”
I call that thing Abstract Absolutes.
Webster defines “abstract” as disassociated from any specific instance; and defines “absolute” as positive, unquestionable.
An “Abstract Absolute” occurs when you take one moment of non-success and make it into an ALWAYS
Example: I just messed up making dinner tonight. It didn’t turn out right. I always do this. I cannot cook. I am a failure in the kitchen. I can’t even boil water!
WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?!?!?!
The truth in that scenario: I have fixed 3 meals a day without any problems for weeks/months/years. I had an issue tonight. That’s all it is. Something went wrong tonight with this one meal. I am a good cook who just didn’t fix a tasty meal this one time.
I had to choose to look differently at these moment. As I looked again, with a new mindset, I found that I grew in those times when I looked at what could be considered a failure and chose to work past it, learning, growing, refining.
I had to choose to look differently at the situation to intentionally learn and move forward.
Long time comedian, George Burns tells that when he started performing, he would do so bad that he would change his name so that booking agents would hire him, not knowing of the last failure. He learned from each failed performance, improving and perfecting his skills.
I didn’t have to change my name, but I have had to look at each ‘performance’ to improve and perfect my skills.
I will not please everyone.
Not everyone will like me.
This was a hard lesson to learn, but accepting it has helped me to move forward. For every criticism I received, there will be 9 compliments. I must choose to focus on the compliment. I can look at the criticism and determine it’s validity. If there is something there, learn from and grow. But I must not dwell and stop.
This week’s journal prompt asks you to look at your refining moments. CELEBRATE!! You have come a long way.
You may not be where you want to be, but look at how far you have come.
If you are comfortable doing so, please share your refining moments or thoughts.
Can you think back to a time you wanted to do something, but were afraid to do for fear you would fail?
When I look at that question my mind floods with a multitude of opportunities missed for this very reason. What if I fail?
Now think back. Think to a time you were afraid to do something for fear of failing, but you did it anyway. What was the outcome? What did you learn?
One such incident for me occurred last summer. I had been wanting to begin doing YouTube videos of encouragement, but each time I saw myself on video I said no I couldn’t do it. I don’t look good on camera. I am not professional enough. Who cares what I have to say?
One day I woke up, and I don’t know what got into me, but I brushed my hair, put on a little makeup (I am not much of a makeup gal) and with an idea in mind – not even a full script – I turned on the camera and started speaking.
I started talking about dreaming and made an acronym for the word DREAM. I described the letter D and said the others would follow.
I JUST COMMITTED TO AT LEAST 4 MORE VIDEOS!!
Knowing I would look inexperienced, I chose not to do editing. I checked the video to be sure it was framed correctly and the audio worked. After that I slapped on an opening and closing frame and posted to YouTube.
This COVID-19 crisis has radically changed our lives. Just a few months ago, we had no idea our ‘world’ would be confined to our homes!
This crisis is a powerful reminder of how important freedom is – and how much we need human connection!
Remember you are not alone. Because what is DIFFERENT here is that everyone is impacted! Your neighbor, mom, boss and friends as well as your counterparts around the world are all going through something similar.
With so many things going on you do not have control over, it’s important to remember:
Choose your attitude today. It’s one thing you have complete control over.
This is the challenge each of us must rise to! If we’re going to be stuck at home, we may as well make the most of it.
7 Steps to Choosing Joy while Physically Isolated:
1) Create a Healthy, Supportive Routine
When we feel powerless or helpless (as so many of us do at the moment), one EXTREMELY easy thing to do is to create a routine or schedule.
While we’re all stuck in anxiously waiting at home, it’s easy to lose our sense of time. Days can begin to blend into each other. A routine can give us an anchor and greater sense of control over our lives. And if you have children, creating a routine is especially important to give them a sense of normality.
This routine or schedule can be as simple as:
8am – Wake-up
8:30am – Breakfast
10am – Declutter one closet/area
11am – Talk to family/friends
12.00pm – Lunch
1-4pm – Learn a new skill through online courses or self-teaching
5pm – Make & Eat Dinner
7pm – Exercise
10pm – Bed
Be sure to include food preparation, social time, exercise and outdoor time and some learning or creativity so you get some benefit from this challenging time.
It’s also important to recognize weekends because it’s too easy for weeks to blur together. So, make a looser schedule for your weekends. For example, you could include:
Sleeping in/later bedtime
Movie night with popcorn
Play a board game with others in the home
A virtual happy hour with friends or colleagues
A larger project, perhaps scrapbook or some art, knit/crochet/sewing/ craft, gardening or home redecoration.
So, create a routine for a sense of control and mastery over your environment and life circumstances. Reclaim what power you can over your own life, because with all this uncertainty it’s important for you – and especially important for children – to have predictability.
2) Gain a New Skill with Online Learning:
There are so many opportunities online to gain a new skill and they’re growing by the day!
Grow your personal or creative skills or choose a new skill to learn and take back to work with online training providers like Coursera or Udemy.
There are many other providers.
If there’s a skill you always wanted to learn, search for it. But be sure to read the course descriptions thoroughly, check reviews if there are any – and check money-back guarantees as you need to!
And with so many learning options ranging from FREE to tens of dollars to the low hundreds of dollars, there will be something out there just perfect for you.
New to the use of Zoom? Check out my short training videos on the software here.
3) Be in the moment:
In THIS moment you are OK. You are safe. Take one day at a time. One hour or even one breath at a time if you need to.
This tip is about being super-present, not thinking ahead or remembering the past, but practicing BEING.
This is a PRACTICE – meaning you will have to do it over and over again – bringing yourself back to the NOW. Over time it gets easier, and it’s a great skill to have to take back to “normal” life.
When you start to notice you’re worrying, feeling twitchy and want to pick up your device and find out what the “latest” is about the COVID situation, say to yourself, “It’s OK. In this moment, I am safe. In this moment I am OK.” You can also add or say, “In this moment, my children/husband/family are safe.”
EXTRA TIP: Reduce or minimise how often you watch and read the news! And DON’T read or watch the news (or articles about COVID-19 or similar) just before bed!
Distracting ourselves from our fears is a valid technique for feeling better!
Laughter releases helpful chemicals in our bloodstream – Endorphins (our natural “happy” drug) and Dopamine (part of our bodily “reward” system).
Netflix, Hulu and other streaming formats have so many watching options, so find something that makes you laugh! What are your favorite comedy shows? Is there a comedian you like?
IMPORTANT: We should NOT use over-use laughter as a distraction technique. And it shouldn’t be used for ongoing and persistent fears in regular life. But for a situation like this, where this isn’t much that any of us can do other than sit and wait – distraction can be a great coping mechanism.
5) Start a Journal!
If you’ve always wanted to journal, now is a good time to start. More than just keeping a record of your day, a journal can help you explore and sift through your feelings and experiences and learn from them. It’s a great way to get to know you.
It’s great to choose a beautiful notebook, but the most important thing is to just get started. Here are some prompts to get started with:
Today I am feeling _________. I think this is because __________.
One big thing I have learned during this crisis is _________.
I remember the last time I was stuck in the house _________.
One thing that’s surprised me recently is _________.
What matters most to me in life is _________.
Describe your ideal day _________.
“A journal is expressive by nature and it contains feelings, emotions, problems, ponderings and it is more reflective on the meaning of life being lived.” Lynda Monk
You may find this How to Journal article from the IAJW (International Association for Journal Writing) helpful to get you started.
Last year I started posting some weekly journal prompts on my website. If you are looking for something to write about, check them out here.
6) Help and Encourage Others
Helping others is empowering and makes us feel better. Here are a few ways you could help others.
Check in on a neighbour or friend and see if they need anything. You can do this by phone, or in person, remembering to maintain a 6 feet distance.
Offer to get someone groceries if you’re going.
Help someone less technically savvy learn how to use Zoom or WhatsApp or whatever they need to get online.
Host a virtual get-together with your regular friends.
Reconnect more deeply with friends or relatives who have moved away.
Send “real” snail mail cards and letters. Go old-fashioned. Who doesn’t love to receive a lovely card or handwritten letter in the post box! Rediscover the lost art of letter-writing and make someone’s day. Yes, you could send an email appreciating someone, and that’s great. But imagine your recipient’s face as they pick up that hand-written card in the mailbox.
Wondering what to say? Write from the heart! Here are some ideas to get started:
I really appreciate having you in my life because ________.
I love hanging out with you when we ________.
I’ve realised that you bring ________ to my life.
I bet you have some organizational things on your to-do list (like going through winter clothes, sorting out toys to donate or tidying the laundry closet, garage or shed) that have been on there for a while. Use this isolation period to get them done!
Getting organized and de-cluttering allows us to exert some control over our lives – and therefore feel less helpless! Plus, it willl feel amazing just to have it done.
Organize your closets, your garage, your books, your photos, office, kitchen equipment. Whatever needs organizing. Or perhaps you need to go through your receipts or file your taxes!
If you need some inspiration (and great clothes-folding tips) you could watch the Marie Kondo series on Netflix!
A simple 3 Step Method to go through your stuff:
If you’re keeping it, be sure to DECIDE where it will “live” from now on.
If you’re not keeping it, create two piles:
Things to DUMP
Things to DONATE (and if relevant to pass on to specific people).
When you’re done, put each pile into bags or boxes, and then once this crisis is over you can get rid of what you no longer need.
TIP: You don’t need to do any of this ‘in one sitting’, do an hour a day – you’ll be surprised how much you get done if you keep it up for a week!
Only you can control your attitude. It is possible to experience peace and joy, even in the midst of difficult times. There is much you cannot control. This is something you can. It’s your choice.
Believe you have the skills and power to tackle this situation and you will! Choose to make the best of a difficult situation and no matter what – you’ll find a way.
This current and strange COVID-19 situation will end. When it does, you’ll be proud you chose to make the effort to learn something – whether it’s about yourself, fresh knowledge, a new skill – and who knows what else.
As a Certified Professional Life Coach, I empower women to overcome the lies of negative self-talk to that they may step into the truth of their worth. As a speaker I address women’s groups on this subject.
I have authored two books as part of a “Knit and Crochet Bible Study devotional/journal” now available on Amazon.