We are a culture of success. We want everything to be perfect, dialed, and done right the first time.
My father ingrained it into us as kids “do it right the first time.” I do not know if that was ingrained in him as a kid or if it was after being in the military, but he was hard-core and would often yell if we did things (mostly chores) and our results were not up to his standard. Imagine over time knowing that if it was not perfect the first time — you would receive his anger and frustration. Yet, it meant that we only learned to fail with negative consequences.
When I heard about Pema Chodron’s book: “Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better: Wise Advice for Leaning into the Unknown” I knew I had to read it. It is the transcription of her 2014 commencement address at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Her granddaughter is in the graduating class. It is a quick read (a book with text on only the right side pages, and small, so it can be read in less than an hour), but a powerful message.
I love this idea she shares:
“‘Fail better’ means you being to have the ability to hold what I called in the talk ‘the rawness of vulnerability’ in your heart, and see it as your connection with other human beings and as part of humanness. Failing better means when these things happen in your life, they become a source of growth, a source of forward, a source of, as I say in the talk, ‘out of that place of rawness you can really communicate genuinely with other people’.” Page 115
To think about failing and being vulnerable — that is where we learn. There is so much I can take from this in work and home life, and especially with this ‘lil man that is going to soon join us. I vow to let my son learn in his own way, fail, and be vulnerable. Hopefully it means he will not have the message that has haunted me for years — that I always had to do it right the first time.
I found a print over the weekend via the fabulous, Elizabeth Gilbert that sums up what I think about a lot of things. It says: “Own your Shit.” I could never frame it and put it on the wall, as it has a bird on it, and I am not a fan of birds. I like the print because it says what I constantly have running through my head. To me “Own your Shit” means bring yourself 100% to your job, relationship, family, wherever in your life. Know who is counting on you, know what is expected of you, and bring it.
I struggle a lot with others that do not take accountability for their actions. If you say you are going to do something do it. Follow through. Think about the individual on the receiving end of what you need to do. Does your not following through leave them hanging? Does it make them look bad? Does it tell them you do not care?
When you drop the ball, own it. Put yourself out there and communicate that you did not own your shit. Let others know. You own it when you are transparent about when you did not come through. It gives you more credibility. When you do not own your shit, you can lose all credibility.
Whatever story you are telling yourself for why your life is more important, or what you need to do is more important than honoring your commitments, it is bullshit. Do what is your responsibility to do. Do not expect someone else to do it for you. Do not take the easy way out. Own it. Know it. Be it.
I love to share good things. It feels wrong to me to keep them to myself. I wrote a blog post in December titled: “How do you fascinate?” that shared ideas from the book: “How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination” by Sally Hogshead. I have now had more time to process and contemplate this book and the personality test that is included in this 400+ page book. Let me share the turn of events. I took the test and shared my interest in this book with a co-worker. They in turn were curious and found a link online to take the test for free. It spread quickly with my team at work. We were intrigued, fascinated (no pun intended), and learned a bit more about ourselves.
You might be thinking, rah, rah, another personality test. It is, and it isn’t. I have read the 400+ page book. I have studied the 49 different results. This is not just a personality test for me. It is a new way of looking at myself and others. Why? Well the premise of her book is that we are 99% boring and 1% fascinating. The results of the test are meant to tell you more about your 1%. That 1% is what the world sees when they see you.
Did you take it? I have more to share, but it might make more sense after you have taken the quiz. I promise it only takes a few minutes. Done? Okay, so here I go. My results took me a while to process. I was shy about it. I thought, really? This is how people see me? Then, I embraced it. You have an archetype that is made up of a first and second advantage, and then a dormant advantage. Your advantages are how you communicate.
My archetype: The Maestro (Ambitious, Focused, Confident, Uncompromising, Formidable) My first advantage: Power – You lead with command (Confident, Goal-Oriented, Decisive) My second advantage: Prestige – You earn respect with higher standards (Ambitious, Results Oriented, Respected) My dormant advantage: Mystique – You communicate with substance (Which means hiding my emotions or opinions drains me.)
While I struggled with my results, or maybe was a bit shocked, I am everything the adjectives describe. Relentless to make things happen, focused on the goal, and all with excellence leading the way (I have a hard time completing anything that does not meet my high expectations).
Did you just learn a lot about me? I am curious what your results are – leave a note in the comments section with your results and how you feel about them.
Usually when Chris and I have the time to go out on a date, I am not at a loss for words. The last time we went out for dinner, just the two of us, was before New Years and we were annoyed by the guests sitting next to us. Since then our dates have been over weekend brunch, which is often our weekly date. Either way we always have lots to talk about, and there is never a lull of communication between us. So when I read this idea in the book: “The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help” by Amanda Palmer I thought I wonder if I could pull this off?
“One night in a candlelit restaurant in San Francisco, shortly after we got married, I asked Neil if we could just write each other notes during the whole meal. In real time, like texting, but with pens and paper. The waiter thought we were slightly strange, but by the end of the meal we’d shared a degree of intimate information that we probably wouldn’t have if we’d just been sitting there chatting. And we could illustrate our points with pie charts and cartoons. And we really enjoyed our food, because we weren’t literally talking through it. The couple next to us asked what we were doing, and when we told them, they ordered a pad of paper and two pens from the waiter.” Page 39
Interesting isn’t it? What if we were quiet and poised, and did not go on and on in our verbal communication, but rather made the date a written experience? As someone who writes and documents the world, and tracks life moments in a calendar, I can see how interesting it would be to look back many months later and see what communication we had during our date. It also makes me think that there would possibly be less miscommunication since it is all done in written form. Maybe we need to communicate more often in writing? Like the lost art of letter writing.
I would like to try it. I am sure those that are dining nearby might think that there is something odd about our interaction. I can remember when we were on our honeymoon many years ago and most of the other couples that were on their honeymoon would sit together and not talk or interact (so very strange to me). Based on that I am always aware of watching other couples in a restaurant to find out if they talk, or if they just sit there and eat and stare at each other.
Chris will you try writing notes on a date with me?
Yesterday I was talking to a friend about relationships. The ebb and flow of the romantic relationships in our life. Men and women are so different. We often really are from different planets. Recently Chris and I have disagreed about different topics and the key component of our disagreements have been around listening.
Listening. Such an interesting aspect of relationships. In the end all we really want is to be heard. We want others to listen to us and most of all we want to be understood. The rare occasions that Chris and I fight and bicker usually results to being heard, trusted, and listening. Kind of a no-brainer really. Who does not want to feel like they matter and the person they love and care about most is there for them?
There are ten other great signs, but those are the ones that stand out to me most. Chris will tell you, when I am all in, I am all in. Step aside because when I get something in my mind and decide to do it, there is no stopping me. I am not a quitter. It is a strength and a weakness, but hey, we all have flaws. We all fart and burp, puke and stink. We are gloriously flawed. And since I am an open book, he always knows what I am thinking unless I am deep in process/thought mode, but even then I am usually discussing my thoughts with him. Nothing is off-limits. However, it does not mean we talk about every single thing. There are things that happen in the quiet and stillness of being together and doing our own thing.
In the end, and what matters most is that we stay true to who we are. I am an all in, flawed, say-what-is-on-my-mind, badass woman. He has the unique and special opportunity of waking up next to me everyday.