Some from my professional diary, some from my heart, some from my perspective, some from good reads, some from observation, some from life's stories, some from imagination, some from sweet nothings of life...
"I don't just listen what people say to me, but I listen to how they say it, and what they don't say. I can tell from their tone of voice, phrasing, pauses etc, what is really going on behind their story." - Glynnis McPhee (INFJ)
When I took up the Myers-Briggs personality types test some couple of years back, I was boxed into the INFJ type. And as I read more about it, I got to know that this is one of the rarest personality type, only 1% of the world population fall into this category. This amazed me to be a part of the rarest bandwagon and scared me too. Because that would mean, I would have very less people who would truly understand me and relate to me. That was my thought then. Many times, I was accorded as being too sensitive & of having very deep emotions, tagged as an emotional person. Probably, I was more aware of the dark side of being an INFJ and not the gifts that it possessed. I used to wonder as to what do these personality types possess that makes them rarest. My biggest need all through out my life had been to be included and not accorded as being different. From my school days, I knew I was different and I didn't like being different. I wanted to be included, be a part of my community of people who would accept the way I was. Many a times I underplayed. I played low to be included, I toned myself down too so that I don't come across as different and be same as others. In this process, I did become like the rest but I lost myself. I never knew who I was until when I chose to take pride in my personality type; until when I decided to discover more about me and who I was. Because only when I authentically connect to myself, I will cherish that spirit in others. And today, after having met another person with an INFJ type personality, I was tempted to blog about my type. The INFJ type!
Only when I know myself well, I will be able to let others know themselves well. As a Coach it is important for me to go deeper. The deeper I go, I would be able to awaken that in people I work with, relationships that I form, awaken that awareness in my clients too. Hence, today I choose to talk about the INFJ personality type from my lens more because I can relate to the gifts of being an INFJ, the dark side of being that and the coping mechanisms we adopt to safeguard ourselves, the strategies that we use to keep ourselves safe, the drivers of our inner world, our strengths, our behaviours and what we create as a result of this. What follows is an accumulation of data and good reads on INFJ and this is also based on my personal experience as being one of them. So, here it goes.
What is an INFJ type? It stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging. INFJ indicates a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on feelings and values (Feeling) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging).
Gifts of INFJ type: Creative, insightful, inspiring & convincing, decisive, determined and passionate, altruistic, great verbal communicators, highly sensitive to the feelings of others, highly perceptive, able to read between the lines, genuinely care about the welfare of others.
Shadows of being INFJ type: Sensitive, highly vulnerable to criticism and conflict, extremely private, perfectionist, always need to have a cause, can burn out easily.
What INFJ type seek? INFJs want a meaningful life and deep connections with other people. They do not tend to share themselves freely but appreciate emotional intimacy with a select, committed few. Although their rich inner life can sometimes make them seem mysterious or private to others, they profoundly value authentic connections with people they trust.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms adopted by INFJ type: They tend to play ego-defensive survival games when they feel threatened, insecure, or forced to conform. They shut out emotions and become much more robotic in their actions and decisions. They tend to misinterpret other people and assume that they dislike them or misunderstand them. They appear unusually judgmental and self-righteous.
Healthy coping mechanisms adopted by INFJ type: They are comfortable with the fact that not everyone will like them or see things in the same way that they do. They.enjoy learning from a variety of people who are far different from themselves, and this allows them to be more open-minded and accepting. They don't label others as superficial or shallow, realizing that they may not have the whole picture.
Growth strategies for INFJ type:
1. Making sure you’re getting your needs met is equally important (if not more!) as getting others needs met.
2. Build the skill of knowing your boundaries and creating contracts around them. You’ll have to communicate them to the people in your life.
3. From being reactionary, instead be responsive to the triggers. Control your judgments instead of being controlled by them.
4. Choose to understand others than to be understood.
How to spot an INFJ? They often appear quiet, caring and sensitive. They may be found listening attentively to someone else’s ideas or concerns, feel things deeply, they are hard to get to know, fiercely loyal to their own system of values and will not follow others down a path that does not feel authentic to them. When their intuition tells them that someone’s intentions are not pure, they are likely to withdraw.
Famous INFJs (the list is not exhaustive): Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Nicole Kidman, Jimmy Carter, Oprah Winfrey.
To every side, there is a shadow. As we cherish our gifts, it is equally important for us to understand our dark side of the personality too. By doing so, we enable growth in us as a person and we broaden the horizon, the perspective to see through things from various angles. As we own our shadows, we own us in totality and that allows us to become our better selves, our better versions. To experience life in totality, our journey is to embrace ourselves in totality & be grateful for who we are. I welcome you to this reflection & introspection.
"Our shadows hold the essence of who we are. They hold our most treasured gifts. By facing these aspects of ourselves, we become free to experience our glorious totality: the good and the bad, the dark and the light." - Debbie Ford
Where is my community of people? I am looking for them knowing very well the fact that they are very much around, but they will not come forward because they are self-sufficient in their own ways. They can manage things on their own, they refrain from taking help because they are great givers, helpers themselves. They are the people having high levels of empathy, feelings for others' pain. They perform very well under stress, they are resilient, they dislike being a burden and fight their battles all by themselves. They are the fighters who chose to fight their battles in silence. They are good at masking their pain, their sorrows so that they don't come across as someone weak. They belief that a giver has to stand tall every time because that's what is expected from them. Life has conditioned them that way. And, they aren't aware of it. Have they ever asked themselves what they want? Have they chosen themselves over others? I am 100% sure, they haven't. Now that I have asked these questions, they are reflecting on it and even questioning my intentions. :-)
In this journey of giving, they forgot to give themselves that care & love that they so selflessly give to others. Yes, these beautiful people forget to take care of themselves. They have lost touch with their likes, dislikes, their secret fears, secret dreams. And alas, others assume them to be very strong and think that their world is perfect! But, they forget that they too are human and may feel pain and rejection. Because they are so absorbed in doing for others, they refrain from saying NO and also refrain from seeking help from others. They think that others will be able to figure out what they need by using their empathetic power & intuitive abilities the way they do. But, they don't realize that these are the qualities that they posses and not others. So, it is important to seek for help. Slowly, making others happy become their goal in life. They become so absorbed in doing for others that they lose sight of what they want. Sometimes, this realization doesn't come to them till the end of their life because as a giver they earn pretty much love and admiration from others. That satisfies them. They don't have time to connect to the vacuum inside them. Sometimes when that realization kicks in, they feel that they are being selfish. They are thinking about themselves. They also fear shaking the very foundation of their existence by questioning this. They are not used to defying the norms in the first place for their gains.They see this as not who they are. But, with selflessness, their is a selfish part within which screams to let them know that they too need love and care. They too need attention. That there is nothing wrong in wanting something for oneself. That by placing others ahead of them, they are not truly honouring their gifts that they have been gifted with. There is much joy in being a prosperous giver, that's a more powerful space to be in than just being a giver who is lonely from within. Just emptying the cup to fill others will dis-empower and drain you. Yes, you are finding hard to accept all of these because I found it hard too myself. I am very much like you. The only difference is, now I have become aware of this shadow side of me. And only when you acknowledge that side, you can chose to do something about them. You grow and don't stagnate. Yes, being a giver is beautiful, but there is joy in receiving too. Let it flow naturally. If we restrict the science of flow of energy, we restrict abundance coming our way. Allowing ourselves to receive is equally important for us to give back with much greater velocity.
To every gift, there is a shadow which we don't see until we chose to see. I want to connect with my community, my tribe of people; people whom I am meant to make a difference. People who are a reflection of me, my gifts & my shadows. People who would relate to my thoughts, my ideas and there would be deep connections. Only in such a powerful relationship, true transformation can happen. I am meant to be of service to a particular segment of people who are very uniquely like me. We know our strengths and our shadows too. Sometimes, we may find it hard to own some parts of us because it is hard and not easy. That which is our strength, that which we admire in others, that which we dislike in others, that which irritates us and many more, are the traits that's there in us. These are nothing but a cumulative of us. All of these are a reflection of ourselves. And because of these, we easily flourish in some careers, in some environments and fail in others. Our quest is to be in our zone of genius by making use of our gifts and owning our shadows to limit it's negative impact on our being. I know they are very much like me who find it very hard to break the ice and pick up a conversation. Yes, my community of givers, of ambiverts, of self-sufficient people, of creative & adventurous people, of high-performers, of ambitious people, people having high ideals & values, of fearless rebels, of dreamers, of deep thinkers, of highly intuitive people, of empathetic & compassionate people, who tend to look down upon themselves, who doesn't think highly of themselves, who chooses others over them and many more; I urge you to come home to yourself. Let yourself experience life fully. I chose to leave you with introspection & reflection. Few questions that I urge you to think through are:
1. For every gift that you have, what cost do you have to pay when you let that gift rule over you, when you use that gift too much?
2. What is the experience of life you are left with as a result of the above?
3. What strategies do you use to cope with the shadows, the dark side of having the experience that you have shared above?
4. What makes it impossible to achieve in your life as a result of your gift?
I would love to hear from you & connect with you.
In my entire career and life, I haven't found so much joy & fulfillment in what I do now. I was wondering what is it that I do differently now that I didn't do earlier?! There's got to be something more. What have I dropped? What have I accepted? What have I uncovered about myself? Today I choose to be vulnerable so that I inspire you to be vulnerable with yourself & others. As I looked back, I found few things that now I have embraced which earlier I didn't. I have shredded few fears that held me back from feeling joy in every work that I did and in every role that I played in life. Not that the work was not good or life was not good, but the space from which I showed up was not powerful enough to allow me to enjoy it fully and I wasn't even aware of it.
Shredding the 3 hidden fears:
1. Fear of losing out: I feared losing out in my career, in my life. Instead of enjoying what I was doing, instead of being grateful for who I was; I was more involved in securing a place for myself in my profession and in life so that I didn't lose out. When the focus is on doing not to lose out, to secure a position, what can you expect?! Of course a scarce, fearful mindset will attract more scarcity and not the abundance that we long for.I couldn't muster the courage to tell the kind truth to myself and others around me. I suffered internally and so thus my work suffered because I showed up from a place of seeking approval for my actions, pleasing others & not serving them. The dire need ingrained in me to be loved, respected and admired fogged my zeal to serve fearlessly. Fear of losing out actually paved the way for making this fear a reality. I actually lost out on many areas in my career and in life. But now, I have acknowledged this hidden fear & embraced it. I now don't fear to lose out, but I just show up to my best potential so that I can be of service at work and in all the roles that I play in my life.
2. Fear of being laughed at and be seen as an idiot: Many times I stopped myself from asking questions which apparently seemed dumb and also refrained from sharing my ideas thinking that these might seem to be stupid. I was fearful of being looked upon as someone not being smart enough or not being looked up to. This attitude let me down. I either withdrew fearing being judged, exposed to or simply showed off and lost out on the basic principle of forming deep connections. Yes, I won some battles, but I lost many too. Winning didn't fetch me joy and losing didn't teach me anything because my focus was on the destination only. But, today I am comfortable in accepting my flaws, my mistakes and best of all, take responsibility for the impact that has had on me and everyone for this attitude of mine. I feel more respected, more loved and more accepted now than ever before.
3. Fear of dropping the EGO for greater good: EGO is our self-projection, the mask, the armour that we use to hide some gap within ourselves. We know who we are. We know what our story is. We know what our truth is. Even though we may choose to ignore, we are self-aware about our own weaknesses and limitations. We inflate our EGO to hide these from others. There are so many quotes around EGO and dropping the EGO for greater good of self and others. But, do we chose WISDOM over EGO?! At least I didn't for many years. But finally I decided to come home to myself and love myself for who I am. I don't need any shield, armour to hide or project myself. This is who I am, in front of myself and you.
I dropped my guards, I have chosen to be vulnerable knowing very well that I may be judged. But the burden of masking is too high a prize to pay, it weighs me down to a considerable degree not allowing me to leverage my gifts. As I write all these today, I feel so relieved & happy. I am allowing myself to embrace vulnerability because I know it is power, it is courage that we muster over years of self-manipulation & smart concealing. More than anything, today there is confidence from within and a deep sense of fulfillment of living my purpose, my true calling. The process of self-discovery is a joyous experience. It's a journey and not a one-stop destination. As I proceed on my journey, I welcome you all to experience your journey too. Embrace the real you, embrace yourself. There's definitely something more to this...I leave it for you to uncover.
"When we avoid difficult conversations we trade short term discomfort for long term dysfunction."
We often avoid difficult conversations. We fear consequences & repercussions we are not prepared to face. The strategy that we often use is to distract the conversation, brush it off, put it under the carpet assuming that if we don't face it, we will be relieved. But, alas this is not the truth! The more we push the difficult conversations aside, the more we risk ourselves of it's bitter consequences. Difficult conversation could be with anyone, including self. Can be on any topic, any aspect of one's life. It's like a spring, the more you force against it, the more it tends to sprung. Interestingly, the cornerstone of true connection is the ability to have difficult conversations.
Are you in touch with your actual emotional state? Are you aware of the deeper emotions driving your thoughts, feelings, behaviors; sometimes without even you being aware of it? Do you know yourself truly? Are you willing to have that daring & difficult conversation with self first to be aware of your emotional state? Better self-awareness empowers us to make the desirable changes in life. We can accordingly build on our strengths & identify areas we would like to improve. By being aware, we discover our uniqueness and give ourselves the power to experience that. As far as my own experience goes, we deny having the difficult conversation. Sometimes we know the truth and the truth has the ability to shake the very foundation of our upbringing and hence we deny listening to that. When our intention to become our better selves is higher, we can easily challenge ourselves to have that conversation. But, when we are more concerned in protecting our hidden self from us and others, we find it difficult. There is a beautiful saying,"The cave that we fear to enter has the treasure that we are looking for." So, it is important that we challenge ourselves to enter that cave to look for the treasure.
Here are few steps to empowering yourself to having the difficult conversation:
1. Identify one difficult conversation that you are thinking about having or know that you need to have either in personal or professional sphere.
2. Identify your intention of having that difficult conversation. Is it sourced in pure joy of uncovering or a hidden agenda of blaming the other person or criticizing self?
3. Have an open mind to explore different perspectives & stories & not argue.
4. What will you take responsibility for and what actions will you take to correct it?
5. How are you going to deal with your feelings during the conversation? Unexpressed feelings take a toll on our self-esteem and relationships. Thus it's not about not expressing the emotions but about being matured enough to understand it and put it across in a receptive way.
I leave you with this inquiry, "Is the real conflict inside you? Maybe you need a conversation with yourself first than with anyone else!" What do you say? Are you ready to have a difficult conversation with yourself?
There is no shortcut to success. In fact, some virtues must be practiced without fail if you want to go far in your life and career. At the end of the day, we are the some total of these virtues and how we exercise these virtues not just consciously but also unconsciously manifests our true nature, our true character. Success attained with conflicting integrity is no success at all. Practiced virtues becomes our habits and habits form our reality. Virtue is nothing but a beneficial quality, feature or trait leading to excellence.
Here are a few virtues that leaders, inspiring people and people walking the path of holistic transformation practices. These are accumulated from good reads, workshops that I had attended & excerpts from real-time experiences with people while in the corporate & generally. The list is not exhaustive.
1. Curiosity: Instead of having the "know it all" attitude, these people have the childlike curiosity that enables them to see a situation or people from different perspective, thus widening their spectrum of understanding & awareness of self & others.
2. Vulnerability: They create trust and courage by being vulnerable and allowing themselves to be judged and seen by others. Vulnerability to them is strength & not weakness.
3. Deep Honesty: They serve from a place of deep honesty and hence they show up very powerfully in what they say, do & agree.
4. Authenticity: They are true to themselves and so thus inspire others to be so.
5. Fearlessness: They jump out of their comfort zones to challenge their thoughts and beliefs. They are comfortable not being good & not knowing everything. They are OK to let their guards down & deeply connect with self & others.
6. Integrity: When you are in integrity with yourself, there is nothing to fear because you are in sync with what you say, do and act. They walk the talk in every aspect.
7. Compassion: They are responsive to other's needs & feelings.
8. Justice: They respect the rights of all persons.
9. Humility: They know their gifts and use them to serve others to make a difference to their lives. People come first than self.
10. Wisdom: Wisdom enables us to discern correctly, to see what is truly important in life, and to set priorities. They make the right choices to maximize potential.
11. Patience: They enjoy & trust the process rather than the destination. They are patient enough not to adopt quick ways towards success.
12. Self-control: They are able to govern themselves, acknowledge & process their emotions with self-reflection & effective responses.
13. Love: Their actions are love-sourced & not fear based.
14. Gratitude: They choose to be thankful for everything in life: good, bad, bitter, joyous because that defines their journey & makes it more wondrous.
Questions that I would like to leave you with are:
1. Of all the virtues stated above, which ones do you practice & relate to most?
2. Which ones are challenging for you or you are out of integrity with & why?
3. What are you losing out in your life because of the absence of any of these virtues?
4. What can you do to practice all of these from today?
"The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands." - Anne Frank. So, you decide what is right for you.
"The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. Don't give up."
Many a times we get the low feeling, a feeling of not being able to see through the things. There are times when nothing happens as per our plan. There are rejections, there are NOs. And then we get drained. We then start losing our hopes and even start doubting ourselves. We even start thinking if the journey is worth it, if what we have chosen for ourselves is even the right path?! Our mind is clouded with doubts and pessimism. To top it, the rejections add on to our fears and our rational mind starts presenting us with past data that were registered from our bygone experiences. From a state of utter self-confidence we then stoop to the lowest level. Boom: We decide to give up. In fact many does. Even I gave up many a times when things weren't good. Negative emotions engulfed me and I gave up only to regret later. I learnt the hard way that when you feel like giving up, that's the time you shouldn't. You should never give up when you feel like because that's only a passing phase, a part of the process that leads to bigger success and achievement. Well, changing plans, refinement of ideas etc. are absolutely fine. But, not giving up on yourself. Because someday you are going to look back at all these and be so grateful for not quitting.
Today, as I discussed with one of my clients about the progress, my client too wanted to give up. Unable to deal with the pressure of rejection & NOs, my client too wanted to move back to the comfort zone and be safe. But, I challenged the desire which I knew was just a spur of the moment and finally the client decided to stick to it no matter what. The moment when you give up, you lose out on all the efforts that you had put in. When you become more conscious about getting to your goal, there creeps in anxiety and stress. The longingness creates negative emotion in us and makes us rethink because our rational mind seeks for constant validation. But, the truth is, we need to validate ourselves when every other force invalidates our efforts. That's how a champion is born! That's how a masterpiece is created!
To have extra-ordinary results, our actions have to be extra-ordinary too. We can't expect miracles by taking lesser leaps. We need to take big leaps. Sometimes these times of despair, inner turmoil, low moments can really be the launch pads for you to take the next big leap. If only to care to reflect on the real message that it is bringing to you. These moments allow us to reflect on our weaknesses, our habitual patterns, our habits, our coping strategies. If we care to throw light to these, we will get to the real issue and be able to take the next big leap. But, do we chose to do that is the big question?! We don't. We just try to find solace in the prevalent situation and give in succumbing to our self-created excuses. That's the reason we don't make it to where we are destined to be. We chose to play low and we re-create that system for us to play low.
When you get rejected, when you get NOs, rejoice and say to yourself: "Bring it on. I welcome rejection and NOs. I welcome this fear & uneasiness. I embrace this fear because I have faith in myself & the Universe." Sounds crazy right?! But just try doing it and see what miracles you create in your life.
Next time you want to give up, just don't. Just contain in that anxiety and instead of reloading, reflect to get in touch with the real issue.
Trust your journey when no one else does...
"Take care of the soul that takes care of others." - Mary Davis
Well, it's been a while that I really took time off from my work. Travelling to new places is a great source of rejuvenation for me. I love to travel to different places, learn about their lifestyle, their uniqueness, their culture and bring that learning back to my work & life. For a hands on person like me, travelling has a soothing effect because it allows me to sense and experience the place in person. It allows me to nurture my creativity & absorb the goodness of that place in my own subtle ways. Thus, the recent short trip to Singapore was a wonderful experience for me. And as I sat down to blog after a few days of gap, I thought of sharing few insights from my visit. I have actually fallen in love with the place. For a person with high aesthetic sense, the beauty & artistic portrayal along with scientific application is indeed hard to resist. So, here it goes:
1. Focus on your uniqueness and not on limitations: This is one of the biggest insights that Singapore very well manifests. They do not have much natural resources, they majorly import. Size-wise it is a very small country. Not even as big as any one of our states. But, that limitation didn't stop them from thriving and creating abundance. They owned that uniqueness and allowed the limitation to downplay by focusing more on their strengths.
2. Masterpieces are created by diligent planning & visionary strategy: The beauty, abundance & success of Singapore can be attributed to the proper planning & visionary strategy of their leaders. They had a vision, they planned and then executed it without fail. Malaysia received independence at the same time as Singapore did, but today Singapore is a developed country and Malaysia is a developing nation.
3. Leveraging technology for economic development: Singapore adopted technological advancement much earlier than any of it's counterparts. They used high-tech machines in their factories which led to lot of jobs being replaced by machines. But, they made sure that the units are made so big and large that they would need people to operate those machines. Thus, there's no unemployment scenario in Singapore. It was never people vs. technology but people enabled technology.
4. Art and Science can be blended together to experience abundance & fun: They know how to use scientific knowledge to create and add art to make it more joyous and fun. Learning can definitely be fun this way! Besides, the creation will display not only scientific expertise but also aesthetic expertise too. Look at their design structures anywhere. They used a small island, Sentosa to make a tourist hub with all the latest technologies and recreation facilities.
5. You can choose to grow old and call yourself weak or choose to challenge yourself & be fit no matter what: Almost all people that I had seen are super fit. You will see people running, jogging, cycling, walking anytime of the day. What struck me was the fact that the senior citizens were much fitter than you can even imagine. There's a service called Grab like Uber in Singapore. Most of the drivers are senior people and they are so active, energetic & lively. Even the room service personnel were active senior people of Singapore. Grey hairs didn't deter them from being fit, active & energetic!
6. Transcendent leadership: Transcendent leadership is to rise above or go beyond the limits & to triumph over negative or restrictive aspects. Do check out this Forbes link to understand more on transcendent leadership :www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/05/11/six-keys-to-transcendent-leadership/#60513a6a7e2d. As I took an early morning flight back to India, I was driven back to the airport by the owner of one of the renowned cab companies in Singapore. I was surprised when he introduced himself to me. According to him, one of his fellow drivers wasn't available and hence he chose to drive because customer commitment & convenience is the key. And I feel I am lucky because that 20-25 minutes drive to the airport was full of learning, wisdom sharing from the owner himself. I was awestruck to witness such humility, care & leadership. Worth emulating!
Last but not the least, check out this latest news on how they prepare the younger generation for a promising future: www.educationworld.in/singapore-abolishes-school-exam-rankings/. It emphasizes on the fact that learning is not a competition, but a self-discipline that needs to be mastered for life.
I can go on and on. From a small rejuvenating trip to a didactic experience, what more could I have asked for! Yes, this is the way I fill my cup to serve my clients and empower myself. The soul that takes care of others need to take care too. That's all for now till I hit another place and share my travel insights with you all.
"Detachment doesn't mean non-involvement. You can be deeply involved but not entangled." - Jaggi Vasudev
People who are involved in the professional care services almost daily encounter with situations when they deeply feel the pain that their client is going through, yet they maintain their cool & detachment. This doesn't mean that they don't care or that they don't have a heart, but that they are deeply involved in their client's well-being & hence refrain from overtly showing their emotions so that they can help them come out of the pain, mess and challenge. Compassion & empathy are the two most important traits that these professional have and they just fake the real emotions in front of you to take you out of the spiral. Hard to believe?! Yes, they do go through an emotional labour while doing this, it's not easy. But, they do it because they know that only in detachment, they can serve you more powerfully. For these professionals, at times it becomes emotionally draining to witness others in pain, to hear stories of challenges. But, as a leader he/she knows that when the client's only resort at that moment is he/she, he/she chooses to see things from a new perspective to be able to guide the client through the turmoil, to be able to help him/her surf through the challenge.
As coaches, we also have times when we feel the pain that our client is going through. When we see our clients break down in front of us, we too feel the pain. We are human too. But, we love you so much that we don't care to break down at that moment, but let you flow with the emotion by giving you the space to be vulnerable, to get in touch with your emotions that have been holding you back. As you let your tears flow through, we know that you are letting your pain flow out to make space for joy, lightness inside your heart.
In the process of letting go, you will loose many things but you will find yourself in this process. And we wait for that to happen to pick you up from that space. I was asked by one of my clients, "How do you manage with so much of emotional draining that happens for you in the day?" To that I just smiled and said,"By being detached. Detachment doesn't mean I don't feel the pain, but I know how to channelize my emotions to churn out the best in you. And that's what I do with every client."
Hats off to all the professionals who have to go through emotional labour in one or the other form. It takes lot of courage & real compassion to do that. You feel deeply and hence you know how to lead others from that agony, pain. Yes, you can be empathetic and compassionate yet detached. There's is much love inside us. If we can connect to the other being at a level which will evoke emotional response, an authentic genuine care, you know that you have got the access to the abundance inside you.
"Clarity about what matters provide clarity about what does not." - Cal Newport
What distractions are you using in your life to run away from the REAL ISSUE? This is a question that we need to ask ourselves if we want to really have inner peace & joy. Many a times the problems that we think are not really the problems. The actual issue is something very different and deep seated. In today’s world full of distractions, how do we even pause for a while to connect with our real issues?! We don’t have time for all these, that’s the very common and expected answer. But, let me remind you that by not reflecting on the real issue, you are in a way adding on to the issue which will erupt one day & then no amount of distractions will be a saviour.
Many years back, when I took sabbatical from work to raise my child, I used to be very active on Facebook. Then my only way to fill my inner vacuum was to get applause for raising my son. My sense of worth came from there. I used to upload pictures of my son and I would get numerous likes. Those likes gave me pleasure, outwardly. It validated that I was doing a wonderful job of raising my son. Did I believe myself?! I am not sure, otherwise I would not have craved for likes after likes. I was pretty active then on Facebook and every day, my network would get to see some pictures of my son. Then came my self-validation bit. I would post my picture and felt good to see numerous likes on my picture. As if the likes were a revelation of the fact that I am beautiful & still I am. How stupid of me! Yet, I missed something. I felt good for some moments, then I would feel vacuum inside and again I would upload, get likes. The vicious cycle went on. I didn’t know then that I was running away from the real issue.
One day, I decided to deactivate my account because some part of me was saying that this is not worth it. This is not me. No offense to those who post pictures please! That’s how I felt. As I stopped using Facebook to distract myself from the real issue, I got in touch with my real issue. I had self-esteem issues myself. Revelation for me! Did I think I am worthy enough? No. Did I think I am beautiful? No. Did I believe in myself? No. I embraced this pain. And questioned myself, “When people around you believe in your abilities, what is stopping you from owning that? What’s the real issue?” And the real issue was I had the habit of deflecting abundance in my life. Every time anything good happens, every time I got a praise, I had the habit of deflecting it. Meaning I ignored it and didn’t let myself feel the abundance, the joy in the moment & neither did I open myself up to receiving the abundance. This acted as a big barrier in my life. This habit limited my experience of abundance.
I challenged this believe in me and tried to ponder, what exactly could be the issue. See, when you really want to find an answer, you do get it. When you are ready, the Universe starts revealing the answers to you. I had been a high performer in my life and I never settled for less. I always wanted to scale from one level to another. Most of my job hopping can be attributed to that trait. My benchmarks were high. What was good for others, was mediocre for me. I never enjoyed the success because then I deflected it by saying that I could have done better than this. That became a habit and unknowingly it started forming the wall and blocked abundance from flowing into my life. I still remember my days when I was pursuing my MBA; after the semester, my friends used to ask me how my exam was, and I would say, ok. When I asked them the same, they would say it was great. When results came out, I used to outscore them. Then they would come and tell me that I lied to them. But, I couldn’t explain to them what my problem was then. I didn’t know myself. Now I understand that all my life, I had set high benchmark for myself.
Again, the real issue is much beyond that. When inwardly you don’t feel you are good enough, you keep raising the benchmark for yourself thinking that attaining the next level would make you feel good. But, alas that’s not the case! You must enjoy the journey and not focus on the upper limit. Because there is no upper limit. You can scale to whatever heights you want to. Only you create that limitation to distract yourself from the real issue.
If you want to really feel inner peace, joy & happiness, then let abundance, joy & success flow through you every moment. Don’t wait for a particular thing to happen in your life to feel abundance. That way you are blocking it from coming your way. I have learnt it the hard way, I don’t want you to do the same. Better late than never. Don’t run away from the real issue!
Here's a video where Dan Millman, the author of the best selling novel: Ways of the Peaceful Warrior talks about - What is a Peaceful Warrior? in his own words. www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9Q3lfnUuWo
"A warrior doesn't give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does." - Dan Millman
A major portion of my life was spent being a victim. Victim of circumstances, my thoughts, my habits, life's challenges, societal norms....the list is endless. I found joy in being a victim because that saved me from doing & acting in the moment but gave me the liberty to play the blame game as long as I wanted to. But, did I gain anything from that?! Well, not really. Today as I march ahead from being a victim, to a fighter to a peaceful warrior, I clearly see that there's much joy in being a peaceful warrior than in being a victim or a fighter. I have a fierce fighter spirit. Like a phoenix I have risen time & again after every failure, after every set-back that life threw at me. But, there was grudge, there was hidden anger for the system, towards people, towards what had happened. I regretted my past, I was worried about the future. But, I never enjoyed the journey, neither was grateful for the journey which is uniquely mine & beautiful. No story is exactly like yours. You are unique, your story is unique. In fact, we all are stories in the making. What do we all strive for ultimately? We all strive to have a peaceful life. But sadly, we spent most of the time being sad, worried, upset, critical, we long, we regret, we don't live in the moment. Peaceful warrior's way of living is the way to living with peaceful heart. A peaceful warrior is someone who has the warrior spirit, are willing to fight, but are also willing to do it with peace & love. There is a sense of balance in doing this.
There are two fundamental approaches to living:
1. Quiet your mind to create empowering beliefs, increase self-esteem to form commitment.
2. Just do it. What will you do now in response to the situation?
And Dan Millman uses the second approach which is just doing it. Peaceful warriors believe in here & now, in the moment. Life comes with ups & downs, tides of changes; we can learn how to sail through it. We can't stop the storm, but learn to sail through it. We can't stop the rain, but learn to dance in it. Yes, finding love in what we do is the peaceful warriors way.
In his book, Dan notes three basic rules of life:
1. Paradox: Life is a mystery. If you try to figure it, you will waste your time.
2. Humour: Keep a sense of humour.
3. Change: Nothing stays the same.
Here are the ways to becoming a peaceful warrior as mentioned in the book by Dan:
1. A warrior acts and only a fool reacts. I learnt this lesson the hard way. I was a fool majority of the time!!! Now I can make fun of this side of me!
2. You are not your thoughts and emotions. They come & go. You are more than that.
3. Be your own voice. Trust your intuition, your heart. No one can understand you better than you. And I am so happy to know this!
4. Be like a kid again.
5. Past is the shadow of the mind. Let go of your limitations.
6. Stop the paralysis analysis game.
7. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.
8. There's a purpose for everything. It's up to us to find it.
9. You are a piece of the entire Universe. This is so empowering!
10. We know nothing at all. Had we known, we would have always lived in the moment & be grateful for what we are, who we are & what we do.
I am a peaceful warrior. My journey from a victim to a fighter to a peaceful warrior is my story that I own & rejoice. I invite you to own your story & live the life of the peaceful warrior at your own right time.
Life & Leadership Coach