We’re all familiar with the saying “It’s not you, its me...” Well, I’ve been spending a lot of time learning more about myself - what I am willing to tolerate, the types of relationships I’m seeking; both professional and personal, improving my self awareness, accepting more personal responsibility, understanding what I’m good at and what I’m not and working to create and sustain a life that supports me wholly.
My thought process is that by gaining clarity of who I am and what I do, that I can become a better father, husband, provider and person overall. But it all starts with me. If I’m not comfortable in my own skin and putting my mental and physical well being first, then I’m no good to myself or any of those who depend on me or are around me. What I’m also learning is that that is not selfish. It’s actually quite selfless.
An African proverb says, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can do you no harm.”
Self-awareness is one of the most important skills for success. I'm also hearing from a lot of middle aged men struggling with it.
How do I want to be perceived? This is what you can expect of me. This is what I expect of you.
How you behave and respond to external situations is governed by internal mental processes. Self-awareness uncovers any destructive thought-patterns and unhealthy habits. This leads to better decision-making and behavioral responses. (Thai Nguyen – Entrepreneur Mag)
A friend of mine recently gave me a book called Vivid Vision. I haven’t read it yet; (I know, good set up right?) I plan to do so next week when I’m living in a tent for a week in upstate NY (more on that to come…), however the cover itself already resonates with me as “A remarkable tool for aligning your business around a shared vision of the future”. Yes, that’s what I want exactly; an alignment between my business and what fills me with energy, power, purpose and passion.
To break it down more succinctly; Do more of what feeds you and do less of what depletes you.
This doesn’t mean avoid doing the hard stuff, even getting to do what you love the most comes with great difficulty and challenge at times, it’s called work for a reason; it means that if you’re living a purpose-focused life then you are not allowing time and energy to be stolen from you by outside forces that are not aligned with your goals.
Here are some things that I’ve been working on and that perhaps may work for you too:
Listen to what your body and mind need...then provide it. Jay Shetty wrote “You owe yourself one hour a day of self maintenance. It can include reading, writing, yoga, exercise, dancing, meditation, painting, or whatever, but you owe it to yourself. One hour, 1/24 th of your day. That’s less than 5%. It matters, it really does”.
Don’t make decisions in a good mood and don’t make decisions in a bad mood. Make decisions based on objectivity and your goals. Stop and breathe. Controlled breathing is the fastest, most effective way to trigger the relaxation response, enabling you to think more clearly and perform better under pressure. “We take better care of our phones than ourselves,” says Lynne Everatt, coauthor of The 5- Minute Recharge: 31 Proven Strategies to Refresh, Reset, and Become the Boss of Your Day. “When our phone battery goes from green to red, we immediately stop and recharge. But when our own bodies go
into the red zone, we push through. Living in the red zone means living in a zone of depletion where we’re more susceptible to burnout, anxiety, or depression.”
You are what you are willing to tolerate. I’m a pleaser by nature. I thrive on saying yes, trying to be everything a client, friend, partner wants me to be (for them…) This “need” feeds my ego and insecurities so I tend to get taken advantage of, then get angry, resentful, hurt..The ability to say “no” to others as well as myself in order to put off short-term gratification for the long-term gain is an important life-skill. Like a muscle, it is strengthened with exercise. The more you practice saying “no” to small daily challenges, the better you can withstand major temptations. (Thai Nguyen excerpt)
Set boundaries. Can you say the things you want to say to the people you want to say them to when you need to say them? Can you get your point across without emotion and without fear in order to get the intended result? Do you want to feel more in control? Make sure you communicate your limits. “True strength is found in standing firm, yet bending gently” – Author Unknown. The first step in setting boundaries is getting clear about what your limits are--emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, etc. You do this by paying increased attention to yourself and noticing what you can tolerate and accept as well as what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed. These feelings will help you clarify your limits. (Donna
Gianta & Dan Guerra)
Talk to a friend/coach regularly. I need people to hold me accountable. Otherwise I have a tendency to believe my own bullshit. Accountability coaching is actually a thing…And one that I’m growing increasingly fond of and seeing tremendous value in. Find someone who will call you out, push you to stop talking about what you’re going to do and hold you accountable to actually doing it. The definition of accountability is: the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. Learn it. Live it. Own it.
Get physical. To help offset my social anxiety I need to do something...it’s really hard for me to just “socialize”, go to an event, mingle, make small talk...It makes me very uncomfortable. The same is for business. Face to face business conversations, meetings, dressing up and being a “Business person” is terrifying for me...And this is after 20 plus years of surviving Harvey Weinstein, Michael Eisner, producing movies, starting businesses, closing businesses, insuring over 1000 clients, hosting 106 TV and podcast episodes, performing live in a band, competing publicly in athletic events....I exercise because it makes me feel good. I have to do it. It’s where I feel most comfortable and confident (even when I fail). It’s a form of stress release, meditation and enables me to function in everyday life. It’s not to be ripped, to show off or to please strangers on Instagram or other people in my life. (Paraphrased
Wear it. There are items that I wear that give me confidence. Develop a personal style uniform, a look, a presence. For me, a style uniform, aka a signature style is the epitome of security and effortless personal style. It’s a strong daily statement that encapsulates my personality, lifestyle, functionality, and aesthetic (paraphrased from Corine Rothfeld). If you feel bulletproof in a power suit, own it. If you’re at the top of your game in jeans and a t-shirt, make it look like a million bucks. It’s also my own little way of putting up a force field. Having a personal uniform has simplified my life. I have fewer choices and
focus on quality iconic items over quantity and trends.
"People romanticize their plans but dread the execution. The magic you're looking for is in the work you're fucking avoiding".... (Syn Martinez)