The You That Your Friends See

Your friends don’t see the horrible story that your mind is telling you that you are. In fact: no one does. It is a habit of your mind to get you distracted from anything that threatens it’s paper tiger kingdom. When you give yourself a break you are really giving yourself a break from your mind. You will have a lot more energy for having done so, too.

The Opposite of Numb is Sense

I’ve got a favorite story. It has been for a long time. I’ve always wondered why and you probably will too once you hear it. I was born in Milwaukee, WI. My parents moved to Reedsville, WI to run a funeral home when I was a baby.

We lived in a wonderful old home. My parents had a station wagon. Eventually they had a Datsun Nissan Sentra hatch-back; the car with three names. The other one was a Family Vacation style station wagon.

What happened one day was that dad was driving, mom was in front, and I was in back. We got home and got out of the car. Not paying attention, I managed to get my fingers squashed between the car and the car door when my mom closed it. My mom didn’t notice though; because it didn’t hurt me. I stared at it wondering what was going on. I told mom and she opened the door. That is when the surprise came!

When the blood rushed back into my fingers I could barely make sense of it. It was confusing, and even exciting, all at once. It felt like suffocating, and then drowning, and then burning. My little mind said “Oh, OK, hmm…” and then things got really strange: then the pain came.

It enveloped by entire being; the prickly pain of a thousand tendrils of angry fire. The world stopped if only for a microsecond. Then it started again. Then the tears came. Mom hugged me. But, I couldn’t shake this one off. It took the rest of the afternoon to feel better. This is probably normal.

The reaction, I mean. It was all so sudden and the process was so quick. Little people have that strength of being able to go through the process in seconds or hours instead of years like big people. Big people can even end up forgetting what got them into that numb place so by the time they get back to sensing again it is even more baffling. The challenge is that all of the stages and feelings still come along with it. It can be baffling.

There you are happily plodding along in life as numb as can be and you start to feel the burning. It is shocking! Electric, truly.

The fun and glorious parts of the process get a lot of love and attention. Maybe these parts deserve some credit, too? Not to dwell on them, but maybe just recognize them as part of the process?

Being able to feel yourself take a great big breath of air, and exhale it, whenever you want, makes it all worth it.

Doing it for that little person version of yourself that is tucked safely away in the infinite space of your own heart so they can breathe easy makes it all worth it, too.

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

is an important and challenging book. It is important because it deals with 80% of the toughest interpersonal aspects of a professional working environment that will pay off dividends in every aspect of both your career and the health of the organization. It is challenging because it explains everything by example. I don’t blame them. They tackle tough philosophical issues and make them approachable and even actionable. This book is at least life, professional life changing. Give it a chance. If you read it once, try it again in a three years. You will find that the book has changed as much as you have.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

is the solution to 80% of the less intense communication issues in both a professional and personal relationship. This book is concise and a valuable use of your time. Only share with someone that “they could have handled it better” when you can say “and here is how”. This book is the “how” part.

So, you’ve got a problem? That’s good!

So, you’ve got a problem? That’s good! Why? Because repeated victories over your problems are the rungs on your ladder of success. With each victory, you grow in wisdom, stature and experience. You become a better, bigger, more successful person each time you meet a problem and tackle and conquer it with a positive mental attitude.

– W. Clement Stone

Brené Brown: Listening to shame

  • URL
  • “Vulnerability is not weakness”
  • “[It] is our most accurate measurement of courage; it fuels our daily life”
  • “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change”
  • “You gotta dance with the one who brung ya”
  • “TED is the failure conference; very few people here are afraid to fail and have failed miserably many times”
  • “The credit goes to the man in the arena”
  • “Shames drives ”Never good enough“ and ”Who do you think you are?“”
  • Regarding men and shame, a male attendee shared that “You say to reach out, tell our story, be vulnerable… but [the most important women in my life] would rather me die on top of my white horse than watch me fall down. When [men] reach out and be vulnerable we get the shit beat out of us and don’t tell me it is [from other guys] it is the women in my life who are harder on me than anyone else”.
  • “Shame is an epidemic in our culture”
  • “Empathy is the antidote to shame”
  • “Me too; the two most powerful words when we are in struggle”
  • “Vulnerability is the path back to finding each other”

Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

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  • “An ordinary life as become synonymous with a meaningless life”
  • You can’t hear what she has to share too many times and in too many ways and this presentation is another great one
  • “Love and belonging are irreducible needs of [humans]”
  • Research shows that: “Our capacity for whole-heartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken-hearted which is terrible but truthful”
  • “Vulnerability is the path to [everything good about being human]”
  • “Empathy fuels connection; sympathy drives disconnection”
  • “I know what is like down here and you’re not alone” (Empathy)
  • “You wanna sandwich?” (Sympathy)
  • “Sympathy is how we respond when we don’t want to be vulnerable”
  • “Blame gives some semblence of control even if it blaming ourselves”
  • “Blame is discharging pain”
  • “Accountability is a vulnerable process”
  • “Empathy is not scripted; it is about being present and engadged”
  • “Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection”
  • “Shame is I am bad; guilt is I did something bad and the outcomes are hugely different”
  • “Shame corrodes the part of us that believes that we can change”

Two Easy Ways to Kill a Paper Tiger

There are two easy ways to kill a paper tiger.

The quickest way is with fire. It destroys the tiger; nothing remains. Maybe the fire gets out of control and destroys the torch-bearer, too. You never know.

The slowest way is with water. Draw a warm bath where the tiger is safe and gets some rest along with the opportunity to finally heal its wounds. You might end up with a friend afterwards and you might not; and you will definitely end up with a kitten at the end.