Have you ever thought about what you would ask for if you could be given superpowers? I often have and I always come to the same conclusion — I would want to read people’s minds. Whenever I give that answer others raise their eyebrows and think WHY!?! For me my biggest pet peeve, or strongest pain point, is trust and honesty. I often wonder how often are others really telling the truth and how often are they telling you what they think you want to hear.
I can take it — give me what you really think. I truly believe being honest and direct while sometimes hard — it is the only way to go truly deep. Going deep brings people closer together, it creates trust, bonds, and often allows others to open up. When we stay on the surface and never go deep, what is there to bring you closer together? Think about it in relation to a flower – the deeper the root the harder to pull out of the ground. I want those close to me in my life to have roots that are deep, and I would rather pull the loose flowers and remove them from my life.
Back to the superpower of reading minds. Many that have heard that as my response think “you would go crazy with all that information” and I think maybe, but it would be reality. A fun conversation with a friend last night makes me think of one other superpower that would be fun to have — but maybe slightly malicious. Have you ever been in a meeting with someone and they just got under your skin? They were rude, or condescending, or did not treat you with respect. You want to put them in their place, but you might not have the leverage to do so. Our fun conversation circled back to how fun (or funny) it would be if you had the power to make them poop their pants in a meeting every time they were rude to someone, or maybe a loud fart came from them. Maybe not the nicest thing to think about, but it might provide the comic relief to break barriers (among other things).
I continue to have conversations with individuals who ask me questions about how I might want to raise my son. I always have lots of ideas to share with them, but one in particular comes so strongly to me that I wanted to share with you. Honesty and trust.
You might find me out in left field, or strange, or just not at all mainstream, but I am not sure I want to raise my son by telling him lies. I wrote a blog about it last May — the idea that we basically lie to our kids about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny (and I am sure a lot more). Yet, I continue to be baffled that we want to teach our kids to tell the truth and have honesty and integrity, yet we somehow are horrible examples of that. Of course we want our kids to have mystery and adventure in their lives, but there has to be a better way.
Yes, I will try to find a way to be graceful about it all so that he does not ruin it for other kids, but I want to be honest with him and not create this world where he later finds out that the stories we tell about these holidays are all made up. How then have I truly taught him about trust, honesty, and integrity? We can still celebrate the real meaning of these holidays (which I wonder how much of that is really lost on so many kids because they learn this fairy tale rather than the essence and significance of these holidays).
This conversation keeps coming up, and it has brought about some interesting dialogue. Maybe I am rogue or on the fringe, or maybe we are not asking the right questions. As parents we should be the examples. My dad’s answer was often: “Because I said so.” Which I hated because it meant he either did not have a better answer, he was too lazy to explain it, or he just wanted to have control over what I thought. As exhausting as it might be I want to be transparent with this little boy entering the world and give him honest answers that help him weave together and make sense of an already complex world.
Sometimes we come across something that might be a bit out of our realm. We explore it, it opens our mind, and then we want to share it with others. I bet that happens all the time. Well, I suppose first you have to be looking at the world with an open mind, curiosity, and a desire to learn something new. I came across the blog: “Bad Witches” and a specific blog post titled: “Ten Signs You Are a Bad Witch.” It is an interesting read.
A line in #2 is how I live my life: “This may mean that eventually you go into stealth mode so as not to continually create alarm, but you don’t go stealth because you’re hiding or avoidant. You do it because you’ve got things to accomplish and only a limited amount of time here in the third dimension.” That is the way I see the world. I suck the life out of every damn day. I want to look back and know I did all I could.
#5 is a favorite: “You can always tell when someone is full of it.” So true, so true. I feel like my shit detector is always on, awaiting the moment someone goes on and on, and you think: “they are full of it.” Maybe I watch for that because telling the truth and trust are very important things for me. I cannot stand lies. Once they have started it is very hard to ever gain back that trust (at least for me). Mostly because then you never know going forward what is true and what is a lie.
Why else do I like this article? For many years I have had a strong passion for intuition and listening to the way of the world. I am very aware and in the moment to what my body is telling me and what energy I pick up from those around me. I try to always be very aware of the energy of the person/people I am interacting with throughout my day. Are they happy? Are they present? Do they need me to listen? Do they need guidance? Can I help them? Can I just be present with them?
While this article mentions witches (which is not a term that I gravitate towards) the ideas of being your badass self still resonate. Be your own badass witch.
Where do we learn the behaviors that make up who we are? For some reason I was retrospective today. Thinking about my childhood, my teens, college, and my early professional career. At each stage I was a different person and I am still growing into who that is today.
As a kid I was definitely strategic (even if I did not know it at the time). I would find a way to con candy out of the old ladies at church (maybe I would not have resorted to it if it was given a little more freely at home). I learned early on that my sister would get sick on rides at the county fair, so if I asked to go on the spinning ones first I could potentially get the rest of her ride tickets. I was often quiet in the presence of my father when I knew he was in a bad mood, I did not dare piss him off. And I was fun and playful. I liked to be silly.
Somehow as I grew into being a teenager, I grew quieter and more introverted. I had seen too much in my life. Death, anger, poverty, sickness, desertion. As I look back at my senior year of high school, I feel a sadness. I barely made it through to graduation. I was lost and sad, but did not really know it at the time. On the outside I probably looked fairly normal. I was social, had friends, was a cheerleader, but my sadness came from not really having a home or parents to ground my day-to-day life. My last three years of high school were spent at a boarding school, so living away from home (that did not exist) sans parents was strange and so different from my classmates and friends. There was no one I could really relate to.
In college, I eventually found my way and I found my voice. That voice evolved into my professional life and experiences. I began to speak up for what I believed in without fear and decided that I had something to say and did not care what others thought of me.
Throughout it all I have been strategic, relentless, and thrifty. When I decide I want something I figure out how I am going to get it. I had to be that way. No one was taking care of me through high school or college so I learned early on to depend on no one but myself. While I now have people I depend on in my life, there is still always a thread that floats in the back of my mind. Will they drop the ball and I will have to pick it up? Will they follow through with what they said they will do? Each stage of my life has evolved into who I am today. Strategic, sometimes introverted, sometimes extroverted, intuitive, blunt, thrifty, and relentless. I have to trust you, and when I do the rest is history.
I have been thinking a lot in the last week about awareness. Being aware. Watching. Being present. After a few day training session at work, I realized how much more I could be aware of my surroundings, my actions, and how I approach situations. Last Friday I specifically practiced awareness, and while yes I was only in day one, I had a very good day. It could have also been because the sun was out, which means that those I was around were in a great mood. Sunshine in Portland in February does that to folks.
Regardless, I focused on listening in each conversation. I stopped, slowed down, and was aware and I enjoyed the day so much more. Sometimes that means I am more focused in my listening, other times it means I quiet my mind and do not say all the things that are happening within it. I am an extremely direct and transparent person, but I am learning that does not mean that I have to say everything that comes to mind. Part of being aware is listening to see if the person you are interacting with needs to talk and share from their own minds.
As I learned last week, awareness takes practice. Just as an Olympic athlete must train every day, so must each of us as we continue to be better and better, or as we continue to learn how to be our best. All we can do is try again each day. Try to be more aware, more present, and listen more. I love a line from this Fast Company article titled: “How One Simple Change Can Make You A Better Listener.”
“When people feel as though they have been heard, they trust you more.”
As well as:
“Ultimately, the ability to extract what people mean from a conversation is one of the most important tools of any leader. It takes a lot of work. And it requires curbing your natural tendency to jump right to a solution to people’s problems.”
I have a lot of work to do. I need to resist my constant urge to find a solution to problems, and start by listening first. Here is hoping I can keep up with my awareness this week. Listen more. Be more aware. Are you with me?