Forget Balance and Embrace Harmony

Article/Transcript:

 

Hey guys! Ralph Plaskett here, author of the acclaimed book, Deepening Growth: Powerful Lessons in Cultivating Your Personal Transformation, and founder of the Plaskett Institute where we help passionate coaches, consultants, and educators strengthen their personal and professional mastery so that they can create transformational impacts. 

 

Welcome to January 2020 guys. This isn’t my first video for January, but I wanted to be able to again, welcome you into 2020. It’s an amazing thought to be in a year that was so far away at one point but now is upon us. 

 

So I want to have a conversation about balance. Here’s my position. My position is, forget a balanced life. You see, a balanced life is a misnomer. It is like the thought of having to be perfect. It doesn’t exist, at least not in this life, in this form, to be balanced isn’t something that can be achieved in the human condition.

 

We see balance all around us in nature, but we can’t, and don’t have the ability for balance as a human condition. Here’s why I say that. Balance requires simplicity. See, balance is a balance of equal portions of a thing or things. It could be two or more, but it has to be equal portions so that the thing balances out, so we don’t have something that is off-kilter. Imagine something like that in your life. 

 

There is thought, conversations, and even marketing about having a balanced life. But if we stop and think about it, balance in its truest sense is not achievable. We have marketing around a work-life balance, for example. See, a work-life balance says there are equal portions of work and equal portions of life. It also assumes that you’re two separate beings. One being that focuses on the work, the other being is focused on life.

 

So that isn’t reality. You are one being who has a portion of their existence or their day at work, but that doesn’t mean that you leave that portion of your life at home. You see, when you come to work, you come to work with your challenges, your ambitions, your goals from home. As you go home, you go home with the challenges, the frustrations, the goals, and the hopes from work. 

 

To have a balanced life, one would have to have an equal portion of time, of commitment, of energy on either side. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I told my wife that I have to spend an extra 20 hours this week at work, but I’ll make it up with another 20 hours of time at home, or tell my boss that, that wouldn’t turn out very well on either side. But this is what we’re saying when we want work-life balance. This is what we’re saying when we want to achieve a balanced life.

 

You see, balance has been misconstrued – the thought, the purpose, the intent of where it was coming from has been misconstrued. 

 

We’re not seeking a balanced life, rather, what we’re seeking is a harmonious life. 

 

You see, when we’re playing music, music is a harmony of notes, harmony of instruments of various types to make a beautiful sound. If we’re looking at a painting, for example, it is not equal portions of a color or colors, rather it is a beautiful display of harmonious mixture to create the art that we see before us. 

 

If we are looking at dance, it is not equal portions of a two-step and an equal portion of the lean back. Rather, it is a beautiful mixture that creates a symphony along the dance floor. 

 

You see, we recognize harmony for what it is in these areas of artistry, but we seek balance in other areas of our life.

 

As I described before, balance requires simplicity. Harmony adapts itself to complexity and complexity is the very thing that we have in the human condition. 

 

Complexity is the very thing that we have in our day to day life. If we run with the work-life balance example, there was a time where the separation between the two was much simpler. But in today’s world, there is no separation, there is no cutoff point. We take work home, work is home, work is everywhere. Life is everywhere and there is no separation. 

 

There is increased complexity in a way that we deal with everything around us and the tool to deal with that complexity isn’t balance. The tool to deal with that complexity is harmony. See, this requires a shift in perspective, a shift in mindset. In order to be able to embrace complexity, we need to understand how we embrace harmony.

 

Harmony says, “Look, I might have to spend some extra time over here. But I need to create the conditions that make it harmonious not just over there, but everywhere.” It demands that there is a harmonious tune throughout. 

 

I was having a conversation with one of my coaching clients and we came to the point of this type of conversation where we need to seek harmony and not seek balance. You see, the goal that they were striving for was to be able to produce the same amount that they produced before their life changed completely to ever-increasing complexity, not ever-increasing simplicity. See, and in this, they required to have an ability to deal with and embrace harmony, deal with complexity by embracing harmony.

 

My client could no more produce 20 widgets in a week, for example. They now had to be able to harmonize everything else within their life so that they can produce three widgets, for example. You see, harmony embraces the complexity of life. Complexity is the state to where we exist and harmony is the tool that we use to be able to go through and embrace the ever-increasing existence that we find ourselves in.

 

So what does this mean? How do we go ahead and shift from a place of balance to a place of harmony? 

 

Well, one, we have to get rid of the notion of balance, the same way that we got rid of the notion of perfection. See, to get rid of the notion of balance we have to say, “It doesn’t exist,” and replace it with harmony. We must recognize that our lives are not equally proportioned. 

 

Call it out of balance, whatever you want to do, but it’s out of proportion where it is not singing a harmonious tune. So what do we have to do in order to be able to put it into proportion? That means that we need to raise the bar or lower this bar so that we have just the right amount of pieces in the parts of our life. 

 

Let’s bring it into a bit of practicality. I’m a husband. I am a father. I am an executive. I am a friend. Just use those examples. If I haven’t checked in with my friends in a while, am I really being a good friend? That means I need to check in with my friends on a consistent basis. Am I neglecting my wife and having our monthly deep intimate connections? Or am I putting that energy and attention in my work? Am I putting too much in my work where I’m neglecting my children and building them up in these formative years that they’re in?

 

You see, we cannot be everywhere in all places at all times. Certainly, it’d be great to have a clone. But is it really? It won’t be you in all of these places. It would be images of you in all of these places. 

 

So in order for us to be successful at living out a harmonious life, we have to be conscious of the elements of our life that are important to us, where we need to bring our attention. 

 

The second thing that we need to do in order to bring about a harmonious life is to realize that time is finite

 

No matter how much you want 25, 26, 30 hours in a day, there are only 24 hours in a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, unless there’s a leap year and there’s 366. The point is time is finite. Your time is finite. So if this finite resource that you have is being stretched to its limit, the question becomes not how to do time management, but the question becomes commitment management.

 

See, when we are looking to stretch time beyond its confines, we are saying that we are over-committed and we have too much on our plate. We’re balancing way too many plates. 

 

How are we going to be able to do this all? Well, we can’t. Plain and simple. 

 

Let’s come to a place of reality. We cannot. What we need to do though is do the things that are most important to us. Do the things that are most important to us in the moment, in the day, in the week. You see, when we’re looking at being able to do time management, we’re really looking at commitment management. I have too much on my plate and I need to move off things that are no longer important to me; the things that I said yes to where I probably shouldn’t have said yes to.

 

With just these two conditions alone we enable us to live and embrace a more harmonious life. 

 

As we get rid of balance as a perspective we can no longer hold with the greater complexity that we become aware of in our lives, we gain the ability to embrace harmony as the tool to thrive in the complexity around us. 

 

I’m Ralph Plaskett. This is my message for you today. Get rid of the thought process of a balanced life and embrace the mindset of a harmonious life.

Risk vs Reward

Summary:

During this time of the year with so many looking to accomplish new things in 2020, we have to assess the risks and rewards for our achievements. Typically, by March timeframe, many people have abandoned their new year resolutions and have gone back to the status quo. 

In this week’s episode, we look at how to assess the risk of NOT accomplishing your goals and how to reap the reward of accomplishing them. 

Article:

The achievement of anything crosses the threshold of the unknown, yet in that space of is the opportunity for reward. Push pass uncertainty to achieve!

Imagine that you are in a pitch-black room. There is absolutely no light. There are no windows. It is so dark, you cannot see your hand directly in front of your face. What do you do? How do you react? You have two options: Move around in an effort to find a way out or don’t move in hopes that someone will find you.

Scary thought, isn’t it?

 

Yet, this is exactly the situation we find ourselves in when we establish our goals. The purpose of the goal is to accomplish something that you have never done before. The goal is the darkroom. The goal is a risk that we are taking.

At first, the risk seems to be overwhelming. So overwhelming that it may not seem worth pursuing. But here is the thing: The achievement of anything crosses the threshold of the unknown, and in that space of the unknown, there is an opportunity for reward. Going back to the darkroom example, the reward is being able to find a way out of that room by risking obstacles that you cannot see.

When you see these words–risk and reward–they do not automatically lend themselves to be thought of as opposing forces. Yet, when you consider their counterbalanced relationship, you will see that one cannot exist without the other. One is the yin and the other the yang.

Often when you take a greater calculated risk, the outcome, if successful, is a greater reward. Likewise, if you take a small risk, the reward is equally as small. The problem that most of us face is that we are excited about the reward but unwilling to take the risks even when we understand the counterbalanced relationship. We are afraid of moving around in the darkroom.
When we aspire to achieve our goals, we are breaking into new and uncharted territory. This uncertainty stops most of us in our tracks if we don’t have the appropriate motivation to achieve our goals.

But how much risk is uncertainty and how much of that uncertainty can be reduced?

Calculating Risks

In everything that we do, there is a risk. Often we don’t think of them because we have become accustomed to evaluating the outcomes of everyday decisions without a second thought.

When we calculate a risk we often do three things:

  1. Assess the risk,
  2. evaluate its worth, and
  3. determine a course of action.

When it comes to the bigger decisions in our lives we focus on the risks first, just like our everyday decisions, but we look at it from a different point-of-view. In our minds, we highlight the negatives to such an extent that the positives–the rewards– are outnumbered. Then, when we begin to calculate risk, we evaluate its worth much lower than if we looked at the risk from an objective standpoint. And of course, most often we determine that the best course of action is to do nothing at all. Thus, our goals never get off the ground.

But what happens if we slow down the risk evaluation process and truly look at the risk of not working toward the achievement of our goals? What would we see?

At the least, we are able to better evaluate the value of taking the risk. Looking through this lens, we can visualize both processes of either taking or not taking the risk. We can see that the accomplishment of our goals have the ability to create a life we desire. We can see a future where we push pass uncertainty in an effort to achieve our goals.

I know of no one who can tell you exactly how the future is going to turn out. Even with all of the wonders of this world, there is no one that can tell you exactly what the future holds because your future is completely determined by you–the decisions you do or do not make. This is as wonderful as it is terrifying.

Without the proper relationship with your environment (remember that your environment is anything that has influence over you–mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) you run the risk of living a life full of potential. Evaluate the risk and reap the rewards that come along with the accomplishment of your goals.

Finding Silence in the Noise

Summary:

Intently focusing on something that is beyond the noise allows you to find silence in the midst of the chaos. In this episode, we cover the surprising benefits that silene can bring to your life immediately and the side effects of living in too much noise. You might just be surprised how you can find silence in the noise. 

Article/Transcript:

My children are ages 6 and 3 and like most 6 and 3-year-olds they make a ton of noise. Crying, screaming, playing, singing, acting, dancing, everything you can imagine and often for no reason at all. I don’t think it could get any louder in my house. Well, maybe if we added a few more 6 and 3-year-olds. 

Either way. We were sitting down for dinner and the kids just finished their meals. There was no background noise, no TV, no Pandora, nothing. It was blissful. So much so, that my son made the comment that it was so quiet AND that he liked it! Could you believe it?! It was like the pot calling the kettle black. The very person who generates all of this noise is confessing that he loves the quietness.  

Of course like most 6-year-olds, especially with his sidekick 3-year-old sister, this blissful silence didn’t last for long. Here is what I learned from this experience and frankly my very short time as being a parent. I’ve learned that one, my wife is a great inspiration for these episodes as well since she gave me the title for this episode and two how to find silence in the noise. 

So I found myself drowning out the noise that my kids were making. I think that this is a superpower for most parents. I slowly removed layer by layer of noise – my son talking loudly, my daughter singing a song, the noise from the kitchen, and the cars outside driving by. Now of course, I still heard them but they were not in focus. In this instance, I was focused on enjoying my dinner. I enjoyed this silence for a few moments before I was snapped back into reality. 

And although this is a superpower of parents, this is not a unique skill. Intently focusing on something that is beyond the noise allows you to find silence in the midst of the chaos. Do you recall studying for exams, working in a cubicle farm with noise from every direction, or having a conversation in the middle of noisy sporting events? The same skill of focus that you used here is how you can find silence in a world of noise – albeit short-lived, these moments of intense focus and its resulting silence is refreshing.

Here is what I mean. Research has linked noise pollution to increased blood pressure, sleep loss, and heart disease. These results have led to even more research on the long-term effects of noise. Sure drowning out noise even for a few moments may not sound like much but if you think of the feeling that you gain when you are able to do so, it should lead you to want more noiselessness. 

In recent research about various types of noise, it was found that silence actually provided rather interesting benefits. 

First is the growth of new brain cells – Duke University regenerative biologist Imke Kirste found that silence for approximately two hours a day produced new cells in the part of the brain associated with memory. 

The next benefit is the activation of the brain’s memory – Our brain is a tenacious organ. Even when we are in complete silence, our brains never stop working. It retrieves memories of song and lyrics, conversations and experiences. This allows your brain to exercise the memory portion of the brain. 

Lastly, silence encourages self-reflection – This as you might have guessed is my favorite benefit. There is much to learn about yourself and the world around you through the gift of self-reflection. Without the demands of the world on your brain, silence allows your brain to wander and in that wondering, you may find yourself able to reflect on the past week or day or a particular experience. If you practice mindfulness or other well-being practices, you can be more direct with self-reflection and learn how you can become a better version of yourself. 

You may not have two hours a day to find silence, I know that I don’t, however, finding a few minutes here and there throughout my day has given me huge well-being benefits even in the midst of noisy kids.

Fueling Your Achievement – Motivation

Summary:

If our goals are cars, then they need fuel to keep them going until they get to the finished line. In this episode, I share 3 driving forces that we have access to in order to realize our goals. 

Transcript / Article:

Do you remember your physics class? 

I know it may be a while for some of you guys. It is certainly is a while for me. But do you remember your physics class? 

It’s the very foundation of physics. It was a saying that was very popular that got everyone to remember the concept of energy. You see, it’s an object in motion will stay in motion unless a force, an opposite force, is placed on that object. An object at rest will stay at rest unless a force, an opposite force, is placed on that object. 

So this is what our conversation is about today – potential energy and kinetic energy. You see, this is the very foundation of physics and it applies to every other aspect of our everyday life. You see, this basic aspect of physics is something that we relate to day in and day out as it relates to our goals – the things that we are pressing forward to be able to accomplish. It relates astronomically well. Did you see what I did there? “Astronomically.” 

When we have potential, our goals are simply that, they are potential. The very definition of a goal is an intent to accomplish something. 

That’s all it is. There’s nothing else to it. 

There is an intent to accomplish something, but once we put it into motion, once we start activating it, once we start to go ahead and do something about it and we walk it out, our goal go from potential energy into kinetic energy. The further we go, the faster we go, the more we exercise our goals, the more kinetic energy that we release. 

So why are we getting all geeky, if you would, in physics and kinetic and potential energy? Well, because I want to talk about the opposing force which is the driving force of your goals. 

Last week we talked about how we utilize the energy around our negative emotions and we learned how to turn them so that we can have positive movement. Meaning that we leverage our negative emotions, leveraging the concept of Aikido to be able to use that negative emotion and move it into a manner that allows us positive forward progression. 

This week, I want to talk further about how we can utilize energy to be able to propel our efforts, our goal achievement further. See, the driving force is a critically important thing that we need to understand. We need to bring it to our conscious awareness. We’re all aware that there are some level of a driving force. We’re all aware that there are things that are going to propel us forward and things that are going to stop us, but we don’t think about how we can leverage those driving forces to be able to move forward for our benefit.

 

The one thing that I think is really important is to bring this to our awareness so that we have the tools that we can pull out of our toolbox and say, “I’m going to apply this particular tool at this moment because this is what I need in order to move forward.”

We have driving forces that will propel us and we have driving forces that will anchor us down and stop us. The latter will drive us into the ground and keep us planted or the former is going to propel us and move us forward. Motivation and encouragement are one of the support system constructs that I’ve talked about before that will help you, myself included, propel us forward. But then just the opposite is negative emotions. Emotions such as fear: fear of success, fear of failure, fear of the unknown and fear of public speaking for example.

Any level of distinguishing fear can cause us to be planted into our position and never moving forward. But I also want to talk about is the really interesting aspect of the positive driving force. As a reminder, we talked about leveraging our motivation and encouragement to help us move us forward in our support system construct. But what about this other sense of driving forward called a consuming desire? 

I love rags to riches stories. I love these type of stories of success and achievement because it really illustrates what it takes to get to the level of achievement that so many of us look at from the end result. We look at the end result not knowing all of the work that it took to get to that achievement. I love these stories because they illustrate the journey that one had to take in order to get to achieve their aims.

And what I have seen in these stories time and time again are three consuming desires – Three types of positive driving forces, which I’m calling consuming desires, that have the ability for us to move obstacles out of the way by either going over it, under it, or through it. 

The first consuming desire is a promise [of a love one]. Not any old promise will do because in today’s society it just seems like someone’s word is no longer their bond. It used to be that if someone said they were going to do something you knew it was going to be done. There was integrity in what they said. It seems like we’ve gotten away from that a little bit further than I would have preferred; this sense of integrity.

Nevertheless, that’s a completely different video for a completely different conversation. See a promise that moves you to the point where you stop at nothing to achieve because you’ve committed to keeping it. This is a promise of a loved one. 

This is a type of promise that moves you to the point where you are going to stop at nothing to be able to realize this promise. This is a promise that stories are made of. These are what we see at the movies or hear in the news and are astonished by what the person did in order to realize the promise. 

The second consuming desire that I’ve seen constantly in these stories of rags to riches and senses of achievement is the boiling frustration. Yes, the absolutely boiling frustration that you see something and we know that it can be better. But not only that you see it and you know you can make it better but really have that boiling frustration where you see it and you’re like, “I have the answer! And I am deeply moved by causing a betterment in this area.” 

So much of what we see in today’s society is that we let the things that frustrate us go but we are still mad, frustrated, and disappointed. We don’t allow ourselves to get frustrated, get angry, and actually do something about it. You see, there’s a lot of woke people out there, but not enough people who are taking action on their ‘wokeness’.

This is just like potential energy. You are woke, you have an awareness, you might be sharing that awareness on social media, but if you’re not actively engaging to make that thing that you have a boiling frustration about better then you’re no better for it. So when we have a boiling frustration, we need to act on that frustration. If you have an idea, pool people together so that you can realize that benefit of the idea. 

The third consuming desire that I’ve seen in so many of these stories is a goal for the greater good of humanity. These are social causes.

And it doesn’t have to be a social cause like the civil rights movement, which was one of the boiling frustrations that bubbled up into beautiful social cause [ending result]  that made us that much better of a society in America. 

But social causes like health and wellbeing. Psychological wellbeing is one of them. Health as far as physical wellbeing as well. Eating better, the way that we consume our food and knowing what’s in it. Organic versus pesticides [for example]. These are examples of social cause consuming desires where you want to see a [significant] movement from because of the greater benefit to a large portion of the population.

In these three consuming desires, we have the capacity to move beyond our barriers so that we can realize goals that extend beyond ourselves. Yes, the frustration starts [within us]. Yes, the desire starts [within us] but the realization of the goals that we have in these consuming desires or the achievement of these goals is for the betterment of so many more than our four and no more. We have the capacity to benefit a greater society, benefit our community, benefit our county, our state, our world. So not only that we benefit from these changes but our children’s children can as well. We can create the conditions that could result in a better experience in this thing called life. 

I’m Ralph Plaskett and I’m so excited to be able to share this type of information with you. I want to hear your feedback. I really do. So let me know in the comments down below. What really moved you in this video? What did you do differently once you heard this video? I would love to engage with you. 

So until next week,  enjoy the greatness that is life.

Fueling Your Achievement

We all face challenges of moving our efforts forward. Sometimes it is a skill we are missing or a connection we need. Most of the time it is the emotional toll it takes to make progress. This week, I share with you my story of converting a negative emotional response of the progression of my goals into a positive response. You might be wondering what Steven Segal and Will Smith have to do with it…

Overcoming Rejection

Summary:

  • Discover a powerful strategy to overcome rejection
  • Learn why its important to embrace rejection instead of shy away from it
  • Learn the common misconception of rejection.

Article:

We often don’t think about rejection. At least most of us would rather not. In fact, we avoid rejection at all costs because it causes us to deal with or question our self-worth, our ideas, our behavior…almost everything.

Rejection is something that we all experience but none of us desire. It is familiar to everyone but we spend so much time avoiding it that we are often ill-equipped to deal with it when it happens.
And this if often true with the things that we are most scared of.

We seek to avoid them at all costs – hoping not to deal with the monsters in the dark – when we should shine a light upon them so that we can know what we are dealing with.

There is a powerful philosophy that is spoken of in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War that says:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

It is critical as we deal with paralyzing emotions like rejection; we must understand how they work and how we interact with them. This understanding gives us the ability to combat these emotions so that they do not have control over us, but instead, we are in control of the very thing that we create.

Of all the paralyzing emotions that we have spoken of so far, I believe that rejection can be the most damaging of them all.

Yes, all of the paralyzing emotions can cause you and me to become stuck in that emotion, situation, or a place in life but rejection has the ability to elicit emotional pain like no other.

In fact, research has found that the same areas of the brain where we experience physical pain are the exact same areas where we experience the emotion of rejection. So much so that taking Tylenol, in fact, can reduce the emotional pain rejection elicits.

Think about this – if you were to recall a memory where you experienced some physical pain like twisting your ankle, breaking a bone or stepping on a sharp rock, your memory of that experience is maybe vivid but you do not re-experience the actual pain. Your neurological pathways in your brain do not respond as if you experienced physical pain.

But when reliving a painful rejection we are flooded with the very same emotional and physiological response as when we first experience the rejection, if not more intense.

But why is this?

Research says that “Our brain prioritizes rejection experiences because we are social animals who live in “tribes.”

You see, the paralyzing emotion of rejection served a vital role in our evolutionary development. If you have heard it before you have heard it a thousand times, there is strength in numbers. In part, this is why civilizations exist.

You see, when we were grazing the fields of the plains and hunting wild animals for food and clothes, to be kicked out of the tribe was a sure of a death sentence as any – because the likelihood of surviving on our own was slim to none.

Evolutionary psychologists theorized that our brains responded to this possibility by creating rejection to be so painful that we would avoid or correct behaviors that would have led our ancestors to be ostracized.

This is why rejection can destabilize our sense of belonging and riverdance on our self-worth.

We all have a need to belong and we often express this need by joining groups we have a strong affinity to and/or developing strong family bonds with the desire to be valued and accepted.

Without this sense of belonging and a devalued self-image, the emotion of rejection can easily turn to anger and aggression – the likes of which we have seen far too often in the media with school shootings and other quote on quote random acts of violence. We even coined the term “going postal” for this type of aggression.

Yet, I digress…

Rejection causes us to devalue our self-image. We begin to question why we were rejected; finding fault in ourselves and start harping on our inadequacies.

This is most apparent when we experience romantic relationship rejections of which we have all experienced. Try not to think of that time you were dumped or when your first love, began loving someone else.

So as we can see, the results of rejection are multifaceted and each part has to be addressed in order to appropriately become unstuck from the paralyzing emotion of rejection.

The worst thing that we can do is allow rejection to define who we are. We must recognize rejection for what it is and it is an event that occurs to us that we have the ability to recover from.

And in that recovery, we learn not so that we don’t experience rejection again, but we learn so that the next rejection isn’t as painful.

Here is a 3 part strategy for overcoming rejection:

  1. We must develop a rejection ritual. Most of the time, we don’t have a plan and this causes us to fail on the path of recovery from the rejection we face. When we develop a rejection ritual, we establish a plan that can move us from wallowing in rejection to overcoming. Your ritual can contain any steps that will help us on our path of recovery. I’d suggest it includes the next items.
  2. We must separate items from identity. When rejection occurs it is often viewed that we are being rejected. What’s often the case is the item (idea, thought, proposal, etc) that you brought forth is being rejected. If we can separate the item from our identity then we can look at and deal with the rejection from an objective standpoint. From this stance, we have the ability to make corrective actions to either turn that rejection into an acceptance or move forward from the rejection.
  3. We must embrace rejection. You can have all the rituals in the world and even look at rejection from an objective standpoint but the truth is, it will still hurt. We must learn to embrace rejection not because we like pain but because we seek to grow and develop from the lessons that rejections bring us. Embracing rejection also gives us the tools we need to better handle future rejections. One keen way to embrace rejection is to give it a name. When we put a label on the things we don’t want to deal with, we claim the power over it because we have the ability to address it and our emotions because of it. This gives us the strength to overcome.

Rejection is a fact of life.

It has happened to each of us from the moment that we began interacting with others. As children, we experience rejection from our friends who don’t want to throw us the ball. As young adults, we experience rejection of close friends or first loves. As adults, we experience rejection from employers, friends who unfriend us on Facebook, and spouses who turn into exes.

Instead of avoiding rejection, we must experience it, move past it, and use it as our fuel for progress. Our ability to appropriately relate to emotions like rejection will determine how much time we spend in recovery or moving past the emotion onto our next wealthy place.

How to Overcome Self-Doubt

Summary:

  • Learn what a paralyzing emotion is and how to overcome it
  • Discover how manufactured illusions of success can cause self-doubt
  • Learn 4 strategies to completely overcome self-doubt

Article:

A clarifying quote from John McKay summarizing the entire intent of this article. He says,

“Nobody becomes great without self-doubt. But you can’t let it consume you.”

I say that this is a clarifying quote because it clearly articulates that self-doubt is something that we all experience throughout our lives yet the difference is how people relate to self-doubt. Some of us allow doubt to consume us, freezing us in a paralyzed state, while others recognized self-doubt for what it is and move past the doubt into the achievement that they desire.

For whatever reason, there are people who believe that the successful have some secret that the unsuccessful is not previewed to. Some think they have the secret sauce of life and as a result, they are able to accomplish their aims.

People who think like this are those who allow their circumstances to be the thing that defines who they are. It is as if they draw a circle made of doubt, fear, disappointment, rejection, shame, and remorse and allow that circle to be their entire world; they allow that circle to be who they are and limit what and who they could become.

“Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.” Christine Bovee

So here is the reality. There are countless people out there for one reason or another that do not want you to succeed. No really. They are not a figment of your imagination nor are you paranoid about someone out to get you.

We eloquently call these people haters.

And no matter how good you are or how successful you become, these haters will always be there to remind you of your shortfalls, missteps, and failures. I’ve said that everyone has a role to play in life and these haters are playing their role in the stage of life.

But why do I mention all of this?

Look. The existence of haters is a fact. Just like it is a fact that we require air to breathe and food to survive. They will doubt you; your friends will doubt you; your family will doubt you; your parents may even doubt; And all of this is ok as long as you do not doubt yourself.

Like Christine Bovee said – “Doubt who you will as long as you do not doubt yourself.”

Doubt could be the paralysis of today or it could be the catapult of innovation for tomorrow.

It is the choice of the red pill or the blue pill. You could live in the circle made up of the paralyzing emotions like doubt or you can be exposed to the wonderful and awesome world of exploring who you are and the purpose that you serve to become the greatest you that the world has ever known.

Paralyzing emotions are we are any emotions that will cause us to get stuck or paralyzed, unable to move forward in achieving our aims. These will include emotions like the infamous fear, the sneaky emotion of disappointment, the vicious emotion of rejection, and the spooky twins of remorse and shame.

Now that we’ve gotten the foundation out of the way, let’s discuss that 4 strategies you can implement immediately to overcome self-doubt.

“We live in a world filled with manufactured illusions, in which achievements appear to happen extremely fast and in which we’re fed false, inflated images.” – Bruce Frankel

#1 Your self-doubts are unfounded in reality.

As Frankel said in his quote, we are often fed with images of achievement without the context of the effort involved in obtaining that achievement. Social media would have us thinking that our progress is slow and our efforts are unattainable. So without that context, we are left to believe that these illustrations of achievement are easily obtained. When we fall short, based on these inflated images, we begin to lose confidence in our ideas, our efforts, those around us and ultimately ourselves.

None of us are strangers to this train of thought. We all have fell victim to this at some point in our lives until we realize the truth behind marketers’ stories of achievement.

To resolve this, we must stay grounded in our purpose. When we are completely committed to our purpose then it shouldn’t matter how others are achieving because we are secure in the journey that we are on.

Now, I acknowledge that this is easier said than done and that’s why your purpose must be your grounding. Short of that, we will always look to inflated images of success as the attainment verse the goals we are to achieve in our personal journey of achievement.

#2: What we must do is keep the momentum of achievement.

Momentum is the only cure that develops self-esteem that moves beyond self-doubt.

If you find yourself making excuses, procrastinating, finding reasons why you shouldn’t do things, then you are likely in full swing of self-doubt.

Establishing small goals that take you a bit out of your comfort zone and are achievable within a two-week window, is a surefire way to build up your confidence.

When you have enough of these accomplishments under your belt, the next stage is to up the ante. Take on more challenging goals that are further outside of your comfort zone. Continue to do this and before you know it, not only will overcome self-doubt, but you will accomplish things that you never thought possible.

Superman himself, Christopher Reeve, once said,

“A hero is someone who, in spite of weakness, doubt or not always knowing the answers, goes ahead and overcomes anyway.”

Hindsight is 20/20. The thing that you are avoiding doing is not as bad as your mind is making out to be. When you do the thing that you are avoiding, you will find that it wasn’t nearly as difficult as we talked ourselves into believing.

Even if we have past experiences as evidence as why we doubt ourselves, we cannot allow the past to be our shackles – preventing us from achieving our future.

#3 Bring Your Self Doubt Into the Light

Self-doubt is the silent killer. It sneaks up on you. It is masked itself as caution, paralysis of analysis, and extreme due diligence. All these things are good until you overuse them as a cover for doubt. When we’re able to bring self-doubt into the light and have the conversations about the things that we have doubt about, then we can have a rational discourse with someone and determine if our doubts are grounded in reality.

Through this conversation, we can become clear about the aspects of our doubt that is grounded in truth while discarding those that are illusions of our reality.

#4 Establish/Nurture a Quality Support System

The support system is who keeps you grounded. They are the ones who build your confidence and push you forward. When you want to draw back, they keep your mission in mind to keep you moving forward. They are the ones who you have rational discourse with to see what of your self-doubts are truly grounded in reality.

Now your support system can come in many ways, shapes or forms. It can be your friends, family, close acquaintances. It can be coaches and mentors that you have. It can be YouTube channels and books. It could be anyone and anything that you could conceive that you know has your best interest at heart to be able to move you forward in the goals that you put forward.

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt” – William Shakespeare

You have the capacity to overcome self-doubt, especially as you use the strategies shared in this article and video.

Self-doubt is an emotion that we all face, every single person on this plant – past, present, and future. It is married to fear and both fear and self-doubt are traitors to the potential future that we could be afforded if we move past our fears…move past our doubts and into the future that we create with the boldness that we declare!

4 Well-Being Techniques for Effective Productivity

Summary

  • Learn 4 techniques to instantly become less overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.
  • Understand your unique productivity rhythms and Off Track Triggers
  • #1 is the most counterproductive technique to becoming an all-star producer
  • Grab your free copy of the lesson worksheet here

Transcript:

Here’s the reality. There are a ton of things that are trying to gain our attention. Not only are they gaining our attention, but they are also trying to claw their way into our time. There’s no shortage of this activity.

At work, it’s the million emails that we need to get to by the end of the day; it’s the countless meetings about meetings for a meeting all of which we need to attend; it is the onslaught of text messages about the problems that arise for your product or what-have-you. These are the things that are continuing to claw into our time and take our focus off of productive work.

At home, it’s the ever-growing honey-do list; it’s the gnawing feeling of the new year’s resolution that you haven’t even gotten to yet, and it’s already October, and it’s the commitment that you made to your family about spending quality time.

So what am I getting at? Is there is no shortage of things that are just vying for our attention, which means that we need to have an increased mental focus. This also means that there is an attack on our wellbeing.

When we give too much of our attention and time we become only one thing…overwhelmed. We become stressed and overworked. We need to be able to have a keen focus on our wellbeing. We need to be able to move things forward. We need to be able to manage the plates that we’re balancing and we need to be able to manage our wellbeing.

All of what I described doesn’t even consider the emotional toll of all of these activities much less the emotional toll of all the roles that you play in the stage play call life.

I want to cover four wellbeing techniques for effective productivity. So let’s not even delay. Let’s go directly into it.

#1:  Take a Break.

It’s a little counter-intuitive to productivity, taking a break. It doesn’t make sense when we’re talking about being productive. But since we are talking about being productive from a wellbeing standpoint, it makes perfect sense.

Especially in American culture, we seem to have a badge of honor when we run ourselves ragged [to the point of exhaustion]. We have an issue saying no and accept every task that comes across our desk.This results in becoming overworked, stressed, overwhelmed. And that only causes us to have a mental breakdown at some point.

So what do we need to do?

Take a break. Go ahead and enjoy something new, something novel.

Take a break in between your productive time. In fact, you could use a Pomodoro technique where you have 20 to 25 minutes of productive time and then you have a short break and then another 20 to 25 minutes of productive time. And then another short break. Breaking up your work like this can allow you to stay hyper-focused in this small chunk of time.

#2 Use visualization

First, visualize your work. You have to work in front of you, but it’s on a spreadsheet or in a notebook or worst, in your email. This lack of clearly visualizing your work causes you to miss things or realizing them only in the last minute which causes you to become overwhelmed.

Since your work is not really, in front of you, we should make it so that it is. Put it on post-it notes, index cards, or whatever you have access to in a moment and place it in front of you.

This does two things: One, it really takes it out of where it’s hiding in your notebook to spreadsheets, wherever you may have it. And, two, it places it right in front of you as a reminder of the things that you need to get done.

Now don’t allow this to overwhelm you because it can. If you put too many things up there. You may have this gnawing feeling an what it is, is a gentle reminder of the work that you need to get done.

The second part of using visualization is the reality that we have is that things are gonna pop up in our mind at any given time. The thoughts, ideas of suggestions are going to sneak in and they’re going to try to distract us during our time of being productivity. An exercise we can do here is imagine our mind as a theater screen. And on that theater screen, we have the ability to see our thoughts, ideas, and suggestions come across the screen. Now imagine that they come across and the leave the screen like credits. In this exercise, we’re trying to detach ourselves from the ideas and suggestions and thoughts that are coming up by visualizing them on the theater screen and ending.

Alternatively, you can allow those thoughts, ideas, suggestions to come and dump it onto paper. Take a moment and write down the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions so that you can unload it from the brain and you can focus on the productive work that you are trying to accomplish.

#3 Obliterate procrastination.

I’m the worst. At Christmas time I wait until the last minute to get my presents. But procrastination doesn’t always work out in our best favor. Surely, more times than not, it doesn’t work out in our favor at all.

Procrastination can cause a lot of stress and anxiety about the work that needs to be done. Anxiety is one of the secret killers, if you would, in American society. It is the secret killer because it doesn’t show its face and we often think we just need to “suck it up”.

When we are considering obliterating procrastination, it means that we need to make a commitment. We need to have a consistent commitment to delivering work. A consistent commitment to delivering value. What I mean by this is we have time during the week that we dedicate towards whatever we need to do. This may mean, we need to have the necessary conversations with our loved ones.

Say we commit to setting aside two hours to focus on writing a for our Blog, for instance, or to do a video, like this. This happens every week around the same time and everyone is aware of what’s going on. So when we are able to establish these consistent commitments in our week, in our month, in our year, we’re able to move things forward and obliterate procrastination.

#4: Count to Clarity

Again, the reality is things are gonna pop in our minds, people are going to come into our offices, people are going to distract us. This is a fact of life so we need to be able to get back to ‘center’ as quickly as possible.

One strategy we can use to get back to ‘center’ is to count to clarity. What this means is that you count the numbers as high as you need to to get back to ‘center’, but you do so slowly with deliberate inhale and exhale breaths. What this does is slows everything down: it allows you to focus on the thing that you need to get back to; it allows you to detach from the thing that causes you to get off course.

This exercise, counting to clarity, gives you the ability to calm your nerves, calm your monkey mind, and allow you to get to ‘center’ where you can then go right back into a productive mode.

Bonus #5: Find your Flow

If you’re interested in a video about flow, let me know in the comments down below. Essentially, Flow is a transcendent psychological experience where you get into the zone and you are hyper-focused. As a result, you’re hyper-productive. In Flow, your self-regulating self diminishes. You’re not questioning the thoughts and ideas that are popping up as you’re trying to focus.

There are many activities that you can do to find your flow. One of my personal favorite that allows me to get into flow pretty quickly is listening to drum and bass music. If you are a runner, you go for a run to achieve a “runner’s high” get into general adrenaline and endorphins pumping through your system that helps you get into a flow state. Alternatively, reading a good book and finding something new and novel can kick you into flow as well. Finding your flow is unique to you. It is a great tool, not only for productivity but certainly for having a transcendent experience where you go learn more about yourself than you ever think you can possibly do.

The thing that we’re trying to achieve here is a greater self-awareness and as GI Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle”. The other half of the battle are the techniques that I shared with you in this video. And to win both sides means that you win the war.

I’m Ralph Plaskett. I am so happy to share these strategies with you. Let me know which one is your favorite and which one you’re going to apply to your life in the comments down below. So glad that you could join me here today and until next week, enjoy the greatness that is life.

6 Must-Know Strategies for Embracing Complexity

Summary:

Transcript:

Well, welcome to October and for me, welcome to fall allergies. If I sounded a little funky, that’s the reason why.

Hey, listen, I want to be able to talk about complexity. You know, we don’t give enough credence to complexity and our ability to embrace it. This week’s episode is [called] The 6 must-know strategies for embracing complexity. Complexity is something that we tend not to embrace. In fact, we shy away from it. As we grew up, we learn to simplify everything that we possibly can. We look in terms of black and white [without] having an appreciation for the shades of gray that’s in between.

This type of thinking causes us to have a very narrowed view. In fact, there’s a term for this type of thinking and it’s called Either/Or Thinking. With Either/Or Thinking we are constrained with either and or. It’s either this or it is that! It either is or it isn’t! Either black or it’s white!

This thinking has its place and it’s very functional in certain areas. But as we look at the human dynamic and the human experience and the fullness as it is to engage in this world, Either/Or Thinking has its limitations. It’s is too restrictive to deal with all the complexities that we have to hold as human beings. Especially as change agents where we are here to help embrace the transformation and evolution and the development of individuals.

So if Either/Or Thinking is too constrained then what is more embracing?

Before we even go there, let me give you an example of what I mean by Either/Or Thinking. The question becomes, “Which one is more important: inhaling or exhaling?” Now, as much as you want to be able to figure out which one is more important, I don’t care how you slice it, they are both critically important for your survival; for the function of breathing. You need both inhaling and exhaling.

So if you apply Either/Or Thinking here, the result is that you don’t have the opportunity nor the time to think about the question because you would have a limited capacity to be able to either inhale or exhale and not do one or the other. That’s exactly what I mean by either or thinking – it limits our ability to embrace polarities. Inhale and exhale is a polarity.

The options that we have available to us then is Both/And Thinking. If we’re going to look at polarities, then a polarity of Either/Or Thinking is Both/And Thinking. In order to function as openly and embracingly as we can in this human experience [we need Both/Anding Thinking]. It opens us up, it’s more inclusive, it’s more inquisitive, it gives us the ability for further options, options that are not available to us in Either/Or Thinking.

There is a term that the U.S. Army War College came up with called VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. This was a means in the late 1980s to describe the world that has emerged. Certainly, in the 2020s, we have fully embraced such an environment where we have disruptions of technology that’s doing such a number on the world. And in that, we have to be able to embrace and have an appreciation to now embrace complexity as we’ve never done before in our human history.

When, when we were growing up, we learned how to simplify things with Either/Or Thinking, but because we did that, that didn’t cause the complexity to go away. As an example, as an adult male, you have a spouse, you have children, you are a father, you are a role model. You are a husband. You are a professional. You are a change agent. You are a coach. You are an educator. We hold many roles. I can’t simplify myself to be this one thing. Yet, we were taught to simplify ourselves into be one thing…to be determined as one thing. We are able to hold more complexity than we often even realize. And in that complexity, we can now embrace the fullness of who we are. In complexity, we can embrace and have a more open and inclusive understanding of the perspectives of the world around us. See, with Both/And Thinking as well as Either/Or Thinking we have more perspectives that we can hold and in doing so it becomes more of a challenge. We’re moving from a simple view of the world to a more embracing, more complex view of the world.

When we’re in this space, we need to be able to learn how to deal with it. This requires more mature thinking, a more mature process to be able to hold polarities. There are six strategies I want to be able to share with you right now on being able to hold these complexities.

#1: The first one is Surrender the Need for Control. See in Either/Or Thinking we have a clear understanding of the options before us and therefore we have an ability to control. But when you have Both/And Thinking, when you’re able to embrace the complexity, that’s when you don’t have so much of a clear understanding of all the options because the options are infinite and therefore we have to surrender the need for control.

#2: Which brings me to what we need to come to understand is there are Temporary Truths, meaning that in the moment, this thing may be true but in the next moment it may have altered and shifted and what was true no longer is. Now, in the present, is a truth that we hold. This thought [process] embraces development and evolution. So to say that there is only one truth and forever constant means that there is no growth and development in our understanding. You see when we are able to embrace temporary truths, that means that we understand and we have an appreciation for our growth and development and evolution. Knowing that we will change over time.

#3: Next is that we have to Embrace Diversity. Now certainly when [diversity] comes up it is usually around racial diversity and that is also true – we need to embrace diversity – but what I’m also talked talking about is every level of diversity. I’m also talking about diversity of thought, diversity of being, diversity of options.

When we are embracing complexity, we therefore also have to embrace all of the perspectives, all of the options that come with it. You may have heard the common phrase, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” Now, I’m not sure of all of the ways that you can skin a cat, but certainly, this is a description of the multiple roads that you can take in order to get to the same end result.

#4: Trade Assurance for Flexibility. In multiple options, there is less assurance. But in order to embrace in a whole complexity, we need to have a counter to the lack of assurance and the counter to or the polarity of that is flexibility. Flexibility gives us the necessary amount of [room] to move around in the, in the situation, in the circumstances, in an environment to embrace all of the options that are available and figuring out which option is best in the moment that you need to make the decision.

#5: Which brings us to Embracing Systems Thinking. This is quite noticeable in technology: in the past when we were able to look within the small confines of our system/organization/being we were ok. What systems thinking says, is no longer can you look at just your small piece of the pie, but you need to look at the larger part of the entire pie and how this small piece affects the overall.

One of the better examples that I have of this is in a traditional school system in the United States. The United States has these subjects and each of those subjects are taught specific within a silo and there is no integration across the whole. What this means is that if I’m teaching mathematics or science or history, I almost always teach them within those silos. But what if we can then take this, this mathematical thing that we are teaching and we can embrace it across history and science?

When we’re able to integrate across the system we can embrace the whole in order to get a better result and a better understanding and appreciation for how this small part affects the greater whole.

#6: The most powerful strategy is Look As versus Looking At. When we Look As we are putting our feet into the shoes of the other person and we are taking on empathy and having an understanding and appreciation and a perspective from their vantage point.

When we Look At, it is as if we’re looking through a microscope and we are observing from afar. In doing so we’re providing and passing judgments. We have no appreciation for Looking As the individual, as the organization, as the entity, and being able to have an appreciation for understanding and empathy of what they are going through, what is happening.

When we’re able to Look As instead of Looking As, it opens up our ability to handle and appreciate the complexity that’s going on instead of Looking At from a judgment perspective which is only a single vantage point of our own. When we’re able to truly put our feet into the shoes of others and I have an understanding and appreciation for what they’re going through, not only does it give us empathy, but it also opens up our perspective. It gives us more inclusiveness and inclusion and it allows us to ask more questions. And in doing so, learning more.

These are the six strategies for embracing and dealing with complexity. The latter being one of the more important ones I believe that you can embrace and hold today.

How to Stay Present

Summary:

  • You’ll understand what a time machine mindset is and the effects that it currently has on your life.
  • You’ll gain 3 strategies to avoid a time machine mindset and realize the gifts of the present
  • You’ll learn a key strategy on dealing with the past you want to change
  • You can access the worksheet that comes with this training here
  • Personal Transformation just got easier! Learn more about the Human Transformation Canvas and how you can leverage it in your practice.

Transcript:

Could have, would have, should have. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda. What could have been? What should have been? Imagine what could have been only if I did.

You see, we’ve all said some variation of these phrases sometime throughout our lives.

We’ve all come to the point where we wish we turned left instead of right.

We all come to the point where we went back in the past and we decided, “Man! I should’ve said this instead of that.”

We’ve all come to the point where we wish we, invested in this oddly named company called Google that did this thing called search engines back in the day.

We all been there where we’ve jumped into our time machines and went back into the past to wishing we could have changed something for the better. You see, science fiction is riddled with stories just like these: The person goes back in time to change the outcome of their present or what they expect the future to be. They go back in their time machine and they expect to change time and make it all better.

What we learn through science fiction, is that we have no capability of controlling life to get the exact results that we imagined [by traveling back in time]. Yet, that doesn’t stop us from trying. Individually, we go into our time machines and think about a time where we wish we could have changed something and in that change, the future would have been completely different, often better.

We imagined this state where we think that things would have been so much better only if this one small detail change completely. Now that may be the case, but we would never know. The reality is, we don’t have the capability to go back in time, and even if we did this, science fiction has told us that it will not come out the way that we imagine.

The past is the past. There is nothing that we can do about it, but the present is a gift.

You see, so many of us we get in this time machine mentality (mindset) where we dwell in the past. When we dwell in the past only two things can happen: First we get disappointed. We are disappointed that we didn’t make those necessary changes that would have resulted in some better outcome. Second, we get depressed. We get depressed because we weren’t able to make those changes. This is not an empowered state of being yet we carry ourselves to this time machine and we go back to the past.

Don’t think that it is just the past that we are concerned about. There is also a challenge in the future. Many of us project ourselves to the future where we come to a state of being anxious. We observe this future outcome and we become enamored with it. We love it. We want it now. The problem is it’s not here now but there in some distant future. Because of this, we [develop] anxiety around the gap. This gap is between the present and the future outcomes or the expected imagined future outcomes.

Don’t get me wrong.

I am a complete advocate for planning and strategy and utilizing your creative enterprise in order to create the world that we live in. Everything that we have ever encountered, every human achievement created have resulted from the leveraging of our creative enterprise. What does that mean? That means that everything that you’ve come to learn, value and love was once thought of and seen in the future and that person or persons or entity brought it from the future to present.

How did they do that? Did they jump in a time machine and capture ‘the thing’ and bring it to the present?

What they did to realize those outcomes was asked, “what are the gaps? What are the knowledge, capability, and personal development gaps do I presently have that is prohibiting me from being able to realize that future outcome?” When we do that type of exercise, then we can build the necessary we could build the necessary capabilities in order to realize the future outcome.

So what am I getting at?

If you want to be healthier, for example, don’t dwell on the fact that you just had a plate of pancakes. Instead, figure out what are the commitments that you need to make in order to achieve the healthy lifestyle you desire.
If you want to be a businessperson, binge-watching Shark Tank or The Profit is not going to do you justice. You can’t duplicate what you saw on TV. You can’t duplicate, from your couch, the connections, the capital, the blood, sweat, and tears of entrepreneurship. What you can do is own and understand what you need and then go out there and get it.

If you want a healthier, more loving family, you can’t dwell on the fact that you didn’t have that in your past. But what you can do, in the present, is love on your family.

When we are able to stay in the present and realize the gift that we have in the present, we can then surrender our past. When we are able to stay in the present and realize the gift that we have in the present, we can build the necessary capabilities in the present in order to realize that future.

There are three ways to stay in the present:

#1: We know one, we talked about it this whole time. Build the future by staying grounded in the present. Now again, I’m an advocate of leveraging your creative enterprise. Use your imagination and the theater of your mind in order to see what is or what could be. Bring that forward and say, what am I missing in order to realize this thing here in the future, and then build the necessary skills.

#2: We need to be grounded in gratitude. Gratitude opens up so much for us. You see in gratitude, we can realize the gifts and have an appreciation for the present. In gratitude we can understand what is valuable to us and in that value, again, we can surrender the past and we can shape the future.

#3: Equip yourself for the future. Again, we talked about this several times. When we are able to equip ourselves, we have to do the necessary work. We have to figure out what the gap is that we need to fill in and then we need to figure out how are we going to get there? Are we going to get a coach or we’re going to get a mentor? What education do we need to go and get how we’re going to achieve that education? Who do we need to talk to? What do we need to do in order to realize this thing?

You have more capability and more capacity than you could imagine. When we allow ourselves to get into our time machines and we go to the past, we become depressed and disappointed. Or we go into our time machines and project ourselves to the future we become anxious about the gap between the present and the future state. Stay in the present. The present is the gift of shaping a future outcome and surrendering of the past that you would have loved to change. This gift is not only a present for you but for everyone around you.

I’m Ralph Plaskett and thank you for joining me this week.