the bricks and mortar of personality

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New Orleans seems a chill out, fun loving city. It’s French heritage giving it a relax and ‘take it easy’ style, which it marries with a party hard and ‘be who you are’ mentality. It’s unique, it knows it and it’s proud to be who it is.

Memphis seemed a city proud of its heritage – it’s musical and black freedom roots at its heart. Yet somehow stuck there, in its past. Desperately holding on. Maybe scared or unable to change?

Boston seemed a confident city. Wise, relaxed and fun loving. Proud of its foundations and confident of its place, yet not shouty. Not, ‘come look at me’.

Washington seemed noble. Clean, sharp dressed, well presented. DC knows its role and presents itself with dignity, as if putting on a good show for the parents. It’s not forced though, just befitting of its status.

Nashville, it seemed to me was trying to grow up. Musically the home of country, now trying to become a modern city. And in that growing up, a little confused. Like any teenager.

Chicago seemed to carry a weight. Heavy. It seemed to be trying, perhaps too hard? Architecturally a little confused. Working city, tourist city, modern city, industrial city. Its race to build taller, seeming, in contrast to Boston, to be a ‘look at me’ stance, almost like the second child.

Cities seem to have personalities, like us.

Personalities grounded in their past, like us.

And if our personality doesn’t fit our city, I guess we move on? Or rebuild ourselves?

a bit worried about worry

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I met a potential coaching client the other day, wanting to explore how they could spend less of their time in a worried state. The brief conversation led to me being curious about worrying. Its intent, patterns of behaviour, structure, purpose etc.

In pondering my own experience I notice that I don’t typically worry when I’m in a really good mood.  When things are joyous, happy, positive, worry seems to be absent?

The next thing I notice is that worry seems to be in two broad forms – imagining a future potential scenario or assessing a past one. I worry about something that might or might not happen, or I worry about what I’ve just done, or not done. This leads me to notice that worry seems to be neutral in some way – it shows no favoritism to good or bad, might or might not, did or didn’t.

Worry seems to be a state of disablement.  Worry, in a sense, stops me acting.  It occupies me … with worry.  I don’t know that worry achieves anything other than keeping us busy. I am reminded of this quote (attributed to a number of people)…

Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere.

I have also met people for whom worry becomes a state of existence. They develop beliefs about the need to worry in order to be themselves. Worrying develops a heightened state of challenge that delivers, it seems to them, a better result.

Curious that we worry.

That’s enough worrying about worry for now. Time to just be.

 

don’t be disappointed but…

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I received an email today. I was one of a number of recipients. It started…

“Don’t be disappointed, frustrated or any other negative emotion please, but…”

Until I read that, I wasn’t.

Upon reading it though, I am well prepared to take on any number of negative emotions, even before I get to understand what I am going to have to get emotional about.

My state, my intent has been pre-programmed by the writer, if you will.

Ironic really.

 

emotional culture

happiness

Many organisations pay attention to cognitive culture rather than emotional culture.

They attend to the known things such as values, goals, objectives, rules and policies. They measure employee achievement in terms of these and they pay attention to employee behaviour in this context; are you doing what is required and are you doing it the right way?

What and how. It’s what many appraisal systems focus on too.

Does your workplace measure the emotional culture though? Do they check in with you on how you’re feeling about work, today, this week, this month? Are people having fun, enjoying their work? Are you happy, sad, demotivated, excited, anxious, enthralled? Does your boss know?

In reality your emotional state is likely to have more impact on your behaviour that a set of cognitive ‘these are the behaviours we expect’. It is also likely to impact your productivity, your performance, your levels of engagement with your work, your sense of wellbeing – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual – and therefore minimise your days off sick.

How we feel about our work feeds our sense of belonging and our sense of purpose. If we enjoy our work, we get a degree of excitement from doing it, a sense of improvement, achievement and personal growth.

How happy were you at work today?

happiness

 

we walk differently in the rain

state physiology rain
It’s drizzling.

Earlier I walked from Aldgate to Tower Hill tube in the drizzle. I had an umbrella, but noticed the way I was walking was different to the way I might have walked in the sunshine.

My eyes were turned down, seeking slip hazards, puddles, potential splash zones. My shoulders were a little hunched and my elbows tucked in, a sort of self imposed protection posture, to keep the wind and rain out. I was partially hidden under my umbrella, peeking out on occasion to avoid human collisions in busy streets. My pace was more deliberate, seeking to minimise time in the rain.

I wonder to what extent we do this when our emotional and psychological state reflects drizzly? When we are feeling a little weather worn, when we are feeling the need to protect ourselves, when we are aware of potential external ‘attacks’ on our safety and well-being? Do we also shrink a little in posture, strike out with only occasional awareness of those around us, become more sensitive to personal trip hazards, take cover from the precipitation?

How consciously aware are we of our body language, its connection to our state?

How could we learn from paying more attention and being curious?

are you lonely sometimes?

lonely alone state of mind
Someone I know passed away very recently.

Their partner is still grieving and confided in me that they felt so alone. Not lonely, but alone.

I was curious about loneliness and alone, so researched a little.   Here’s what I found…

Loneliness can be described as a state of mind. It is a lack, a feeling that something is missing, a pain, a depression, a need, an incompleteness, an absence.

If you are feeling lonely it means that, even if you are with other people, you are missing something or someone. Somehow, you feel empty inside.  I suspect this is what my friend experienced.

On the other hand, being alone means you are without company, isolated.  It is a state of being – you are alone.

‘Aloneness’ can be presence, fullness, a sense of being alive, joy of being. You are complete. Nobody and nothing is needed. You are enough.

 

The seduction of addiction

seduction of addiction
Drug addiction can be a destructive thing.

Yet we are all drug addicts and at the same time drug pushers.

Our addiction in life is often our way of being. It is seductive to stay with the familiar, however much that familiar harms us, limits us, hurts us.

Being exhausted. Lonely. Always moving. Looking out. Looking in. Critical. On the edge. Miserable. Hyped. Caring for others. Not caring for yourself. Catastrophising. Leaking power. Being guilty. Hiding. Needing love. Taking responsibility. Blaming. Saving. Out of balance. Looking back… and many more drugs of familiarity. Each with a high. Each with a low.

We can also become used to beating ourselves up in that internal dialogue of not good enough, not smart enough, not beautiful enough, not talented enough… In a strange way the familiarity keeps us safe. It becomes seductive to keep doing it. Hard to kick the habit. We find ways to give ourselves the fix – seeking evidence to prove the theory, so we can reaffirm its ‘truth’ again, and so stay safe.

We can do this in relationships too. Give our power away. Bemoan the way the behaviour of others makes us think or feel. Yet we are often drawn back, to get another dose. Sometimes because there is an element of that interaction, that relationship, which meets an unspoken need deep within. It gives us a reward. An unconscious lift, an energising boost, a buzz. But all before we experience the fall, the difficult feeling, the disappointment, the hurt, the down after the drug wears off.

Beware the pushers. Those who draw you in with their sweeties. But especially look out for the pusher within. The part of you that also gets you hooked; seduces you; feeds you the familiar yet painful drug.

Choose what you consume. Notice what is addictive. Seek out the truth of the seduction.