Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

Are you lying your way to success? July 25, 2017

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They say there are no coincidences, and thus my ears perk up when I encounter the convergence of two ideas.

I stumbled across a study showing that people who demonstrate higher degrees of self-deception are more successful in the world.  Participants were asked a series of embarrassing questions written to reveal the dark side within us.   Those who lied reported being happier and feeling more successful in their pursuits.  This went beyond how they felt as they also earned more in their respective roles.

This study converged with a Buddhist principle I studied on self-compassion without self-deception.  The belief that if we drench honesty in compassion, we might live a more authentic, loving life.  Pema Chodron said “the definition of self confidence is self gentleness.”

If this is true, what do we make of the first study?  Have we, as a society, become so inept at self-compassion that self-deception is required to carve a happy productive life?  Have we replaced radical acceptance with deceit as a survival skill?

What if we could accept with compassion the whole truth of who we are without self-loathing?  What if we were amused by our flaws and forgiving of our failures?  What if we met weakness with a heart of curiosity versus a mindset of judgement?   Could this impact our joy?  Our authenticity? Our results?  And what if it had only one impact:  self love.  Would that be enough?

 

Pure Pleasure May 28, 2017

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Today I walked my childhood neighborhood.  I allowed my legs to stretch to the streets that were most familiar to me; remembering my secret hiding spots, the corner I crashed my bike, and the field of many kickball games.  My warmest memories were the treasured spots of playing freely without rules, structure, or consideration of time.  I smiled as I honored those places where I twirled cartwheels, flew from swings, and roller skated at top speed hanging onto the backs of bikes.

I am not one to dwell in the past, but there are lessons snuggled in history; reminders of the captivation of play, the magic of unstructured summer days, the connection of deep friendships cultivated while skipping through yards.  Nothing linear, nothing timed, no desired outcome.  Just pure pleasure.

There is no shortage of opportunity to be productive, and the world will rain accolades on your achievements.  But don’t forget to move your body in all directions for no reason other than bliss.  Drive the curvy road to work, flip a cart-wheel while taking the dogs out, & skip the online trolling to play euchre with your kids.  Embrace Play.

For when we fast forward 10 years, we’ll remember those goofy moments.

And of course, go forth and live your purpose.  Take risks, try big, work hard.  Pursue productivity, results, achievements.  Step into discomfort, fail, and try again.  But don’t forget to invite play into your life, because without fun, joy, and sparkles, what is the point of achievement?

 

 

Why Does Happiness Matter? July 25, 2011

Aristotle boldly claimed that that all human action is aimed at achieving happiness.  That happiness is a universal desire.  It doesn’t matter who you are or from where you hail; living a life full of happiness drives all of us.  Every decision and action is either a step towards or away from happiness.  In fact, happiness is the ultimate barometer of a life well lived.

I’m not talking about happiness as an emotional state of giddiness or exuberance.   I’m talking about the happiness of a content heart, a sense of peace and joy, a belief in something bigger of which we are a part, and a desire to live a virtuous, meaningful life.  Are pure joy & enthusiasm part of the equation?  Sure. But they are feelings we flow in and out of- not a state of being.  The difference?  We can sustain a state of being deep within regardless of our external circumstances by making a conscious choice to do so, and then filling our lives with the thoughts, actions, and habits that support that choice.

Here is an awesome parable from www.simpletruths.com about our ability to draw more happiness into our lives through an intentional choice to do so.

“The Road To Happiness”

A native American elder walks slowly down the path. The leaves of the trees and the soft breeze protect him from the heat of the noonday sun. In his worn, calloused hand is the small, soft hand of his young grandson. The two walk in silence.  After a time the grandfather interrupts the silence. “Grandson,” he begins, “there are two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is angry, vengeful, jealous and violent. The other wolf is peaceful, loving, compassionate and joyful.”

The boy looks up at his grandfather and asks, “Which wolf will win the battle of your heart?”

The wise elder replies, “The one I feed.”

 

Performance Anxiety, Glittery Costumes, & Joy May 15, 2011

Last night, I watched my 6 year old daughter dance in her ballet recital. 150 girls and boys from the age of 4 to 18 shaking it down, twirling about, flying through the air, & smiling the entire show. There were “incidents,” – tripping, missed steps, accidental hip bumping, & one wardrobe malfunction; but really, these kids didn’t care. The little glitches did not embarrass them, slow them down, or change the effort they gave to the next move. And they kept smiling. I’m talking big, smile with me smiles – not just impish, my teacher told me I had to look happy smiles.

They were having a blast. 36 Dance Numbers Later, and we’re back stage listening to all of the kids talk about how amazing they did, how exciting it was to be on stage, and how cool they looked in their glittery costumes (because it is all about the costume). No one talked about the production hiccups. The mistakes. The forgotten steps. The on-stage collisions of tutus. Just the successes.

I tell people all the time that I learn as much from my children as they learn from me. Kids are a gift for a zillion reasons, one of which is that they are pure & have not yet given a piece of their lives to fear. They haven’t developed methods to put up walls, self-protect, & hide from their mistakes. They don’t really care what the 400 people in the audience think. They love the stage, & they are simply doing their best & having fun.  If we’re smart, we adults are modeling our little masters in this arena.

What would be different in our lives – workplace or otherwise – if we showed up every day with no worries about what others thought and simply give 100%?  How about if we relished in our successes, learned from our mistakes, and didn’t allow our fear to taint our effort? What would change if mistakes were simply an opportunity to modify our path forward versus something we had to bury, make excuses about, blame someone else, or find a “reason for” (the economy, too little time…). What would change if we found joy both in the moments we performed lockstep with the choreography & the moments we didn’t?