Chris knows how relentless I am. If I decide that I want something, I will do whatever I can to get it. Always. Which is why I love Seth Godin’s blog titled: “‘Pick yourself’ and taking responsibility.” Where he talks about taking responsibility for what you want:
“If you want to be responsible for making music, make music. If you want to be responsible for writing, speaking, making change happen, go do that. Waiting to get picked is a form of hiding, not realism.”
Somehow halfway through college I stopped deciding that anyone else was going to determine my future. Only I could do that. I stopped holding my thoughts and words inside. I started speaking out loud, and sometimes it came out with fire, and anger, and zeal. Over time I have honed that voice. Sometimes it is strong, loud, and abrupt, and other times it is soft, gentle, and emphatic. It depends on the situation. I know I will continue to hone and balance what I want with the fervor of getting my voice out. It is not always easy, and it does not always come out with poise. What matters first is that it is spoken.
Now that I know what it feels like to pick me, all I can want for others is that you pick you. It matters. Whether you are a mom, or a sister, or an amazing employee, others will always find ways to run you over, take advantage, and get what they want. You are the only one that can pick you. You are the only one that can truly take a stand. You do so by taking a stand for you. You cannot wait for others to step up and pick you. You have to pick you. Set aside time for you. Get a babysitter, take a day off, say no. Do it so you have a chance to put yourself first. I guarantee that you will feel the difference.
Maybe it was all those years I was a Girl Scout, or all the times I played in the back of the room during my brother’s Boy Scout meetings, or maybe all the Boy Scout camping trips I had to tag along on, but I have a strong inclination to leave a place better than I found it. Growing up I thought about it in the way of cleaning up after yourself, but over time that evolved to the energy you leave behind. I have frequently shared excerpts from the “Daily Om” newsletter I receive, and this one particularly resonated with me in regards to your energy footprint. It is from the Daily Om titled: “Blessing Space: Leaving a Positive Footprint.”
“Physical space acts like a sponge, absorbing the radiant of all who pass through it. And, more likely than not, the spaces we move through each day have seen many people come and go. We have no way of knowing whether the energy footprints left behind by those who preceded us will invigorate us or drain us. Yet we can control the energy footprint we leave behind for others. In blessing each space we enter, we orchestrate a subtle energy shift that affects not only our own experiences in that space but also the experiences of the individuals who will enter the space after us. While we may never see the effects our blessing has had, we can take comfort in the fact that we have provided grace for those that follow after us.”
Whether or not we leave a blessing matters, but so does what we leave behind. Toxic is the word I often use for certain people who suck the life out of a room, or the atmosphere. Their energy footprint drags you down, takes the life out of a situation, and often zap your energy. How we approach a situation, and how we manage our energy matters in every situation. There are times when I have to adjust the energy I exude because my intuition tells me that calmness and poise is more needed in the moment then my spewing energy. As the Daily Om states, we often never know how our energy affects the space, but we can know if we go into each moment being conscious of how best to handle the situation we are usually on the right track to bless rather than damage the energy flow.
Are you aware of what energy you bring to the moments of your day?
The last few times that Chris and I have gone out to eat (whether at a nice restaurant or a quick happy hour), the party sitting next to us has been obnoxious. Usually what happens is we are sitting there enjoying our dinner and partway through a new party sits next to us. At first it is fine. It is like a blind date, you are not sure what to expect. Will they be soft-spoken or annoy the crap out of you?
Lately, they have annoyed the crap out of me. Mostly when they are loud. I do not need to hear your life story. For example, just before the New Year, we went out to one of our favorite restaurants and partway through a man and woman came and sat right next to us (yet there were other open tables). The woman was obnoxious (to say the least). We could not help but listen to their conversation as it was so loud we could barely hear each other talk. I thought it was the strangest date. She seemed much older than the man she was with and he kept saying, “No, eat what you want. I am not hungry.” Which made me think maybe he could not afford dinner? At the very last minutes before they leave we learn that he is the son, and she is the mom. Wow. Very shocked after hearing so much of their conversation, and yet putting all the pieces together it actually made sense.
Another time, a few months ago, we had an amazing night out. The food was great, but the group that sat next to us near the end of the meal was beyond rude. Gratefully, we were almost done with dessert and, as soon as we could pay, we got the hell out of there. If they had not shown up we might have stayed a while longer. We did not let it ruin our evening, but I sure cannot forget the high-pitched sound of that woman on her birthday.
I do often wonder how much self-knowledge people have about themselves. I know at times alcohol can play a part in the volume of someone’s voice, yet sometimes I think that people are just all around obnoxious. They have no knowledge that they are yelling and that other restaurant guests around them are giving them death looks. The hard part for me is that all I want to do is go off on them, but what good would that do? If I was not so frustrated I might actually say with poise: “Could you keep it down, I am sitting two feet from my husband and I cannot hear him, yet I know all about the amount of wine you drank at your book club last night and how much your friend hates his brother. However, I cannot hear my husband as we brainstorm about redoing our backyard.”
If we could only be more aware of our surroundings, those around us, and how we show up in the world. Ah, what we learn from the parties that sit next to us in a restaurant… never a dull moment.
I heard someone say this yesterday: “I got swagger.” I thought to myself: “I got swagger, maybe not today, but I got swagger.” Yesterday was a strange day. I felt an array of emotions, from anger, frustration, to laughter, sass, and yes swagger.
How do we keep our swagger? I think of all the people who I have looked up to in my life. Those that have inspired me, made my jaw drop, or just had me often say: Wow. They are the people who make us think differently. A professor in college had swagger. She had a way of making you enamored with her. You wanted her opinion, craved her attention, and missed her when she was not around. She had swagger.
My niece has swagger. I have been watching kids on and off since I was nine. From all the kids I have taken care of, to the 6 week old and up children I took care of at a day care during college, to my friend’s kids, my niece has got it. Of course I am biased, how can I not be, but that kid lights up a room, makes you laugh, and has something very special about her. I mean look at this photo. (She is the blond at the back of the circle of girls that all want to dote on her.) Swagger.
My husband has swagger. I cannot handle frustrating customer service situations. I have lived in that world too long, that when I have a shitty experience I go volatile and cannot handle the fact that I get sub-par service. He handles it with poise, firmness, and patience. That man has swagger.
A friend is going through a hard time in her marriage. She is working it through in her way. She is so selfless at work and with her child. She makes us all laugh, keeps it real, and tells it like it is. She has swagger.
I tell it like it is almost always (I do have a tiny filter when really needed). I suck the life out of my day. I love people, helping them, listening, and doing what I can to be there for them. I am a bit sassy. I got swagger.
You know when you have one of those days when every possible curve ball is thrown at you, going at the fastest speeds and you cannot imagine how you are ever going to hit it out of the park? Somehow you do, and somehow you do it with poise. Are you like that, or do you know someone like that? Or, do you wish that is how you handled life?
Poise is attractive. It is sexy. Why? It shows that someone can hold themselves together, keep their calm, and not let the situation affect them. I can give you an example. My husband, that man has poise. He will probably hate me for calling him out for having poise, but call a spade a spade right? Hundreds of times over the past 10+ years I have heard him handle people over the phone. He is direct, polite, does not get flustered or angry, yet firm to get what he deserves. Boy, do I have a lot to learn.
There are a lot of aspects of my life where I feel I carry myself with poise, but for some reason (usually surrounding customer service issues) I can sometimes lose my cool, or my composure. Why is that? What sets me off? Often I feel like a victim, that the company has overcharged us and will not reverse the charge, or the customer service agent is rude, unhelpful, or will not fix something that is truly the company’s responsibility. It is easy to slide into that victim mentality and lash out aggressively in hopes that it will fix the issue. Does it work? Sometimes. I have to say that lashing out has worked and leading with poise has also worked.
Maybe the goal is to work towards more poise, and pulling out the feisty aspects when needed?