Posts tagged with ‘change’

30 may

Compassion at Work: Helping Grieving Colleagues Cope

Kerrigan2No one likes to talk about death. It makes people feel uncomfortable and awkward. It’s the ultimate change—the one thing that cannot be fixed or undone. Even the word “death” creates anxiety because it’s mysterious and emotional.

Death shakes our confidence. We are vulnerable in its presence. It’s the one thing we cannot control. We can only control how we think about it and react to it. There is no magic formula in the grieving process.

So, the suggestions I offer are from my own experiences in helping co-workers and clients cope. Hopefully, they provide some guidance and comfort.

Offer support to meet your colleague’s needs, not your own. Often, they need someone to listen. Sometimes, they need advice, or help with errands. Sometimes, they need the rest of the team to carry their load for a while. Sometimes, they need privacy. And, sometimes, they just need a place or a time to cry. If they haven’t expressed what they need, then ask. The best gift you can give is you: the comfort of your presence and the help from your attention.

Try not to judge or teach. Don’t feel as though you have to have the answer to death—no one does. Now is also not the time to pull out the “5 Stages of the Grieving Process” or to tell them what they “should” be doing. Your job is to be there for support.

Be genuine. Avoid sympathy-card sayings such as, “Your loved one is in a better place,” or “Everything happens for a reason.” It’s fake, forced and annoying. You can do better than that. Just be yourself. This is your teammate after all. Think: What would you want to hear?

Be patient. Mourning takes time. If a colleague needs to cry, let her. Don’t push her and think you can shortcut the process—you can’t. Know that each person grieves differently and at their own pace.

Assume nothing. You really don’t know how they feel. And, if you’re anxious about what to say or do, it’s easy to project your own anxiety onto the very person you wish to comfort. Never assume anyone feels the same way you do. This can be very dangerous if you’re wrong, so don’t go there.

Know that work is often a wonderful respite from grief. So, don’t be surprised if a grieving colleague returns to work sooner than expected. Activity is one of the greatest antidotes to depression. It grounds us, especially when we’re caught in a whirlwind of painful emotions. Work provides focus and meaning, and teamwork diminishes the sense of alone-ness.

In the end, grieving is about loss, change, acceptance, and moving forward. Your role is to support your colleague through their journey.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace confidence and performance who has been helping businesses and professionals grow stronger and more successful for over three decades. More at www.michellekerriganinc.com and www.workplaceconfidence.com

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on May 30th, 2014 in Career, Family, General, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

08 jul

Decisions, Decisions

MaricleDecision making can be a trying process for some of us. While many people are decisive, take action, and never look back, others hem and haw over career changes, how they feel about a potential partner, and even what to order for lunch. Whatever your decision making personality, taking the time to tune into your own inner wisdom can assist you in making positive choices that you feel satisfied with today, and years from now.

Mixed thoughts and feelings are what we usually refer to as ambivalence. Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines ambivalence as: “Simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action.” How can we feel opposite things at the same time? From a psychological standpoint, we all have separate, but overlapping parts of self, which we develop to serve different purposes. For example, I have a therapist, artist, wife, mother, child, and runner part, etc. You can visualize these parts of self as semi-overlapping circles that share certain skills, attributes, fears, insecurities, and habits. To get a clearer picture of this, think of how you behave at work – your tone of voice, word choice, posture, and timing. Now think of how you behave with your pet or your children at home. How would your child respond if you said, “I’d like you to consider moving nap time to somewhere in the window of 3 – 5 pm on weekends, as this would facilitate both afternoon chore productivity and morning play time.” Or vice versa, how would a colleague respond if you approached them the way you talk to your dog? “What a good employee! You met all your productivity deadlines this week! Good employee! Come get a bonus!” Thankfully, we can choose which parts of self to use in different contexts.

Because our parts overlap, more than one part often has something to say about a given decision. Let’s say you have inherited a little money, and are faced with a choice about how best to use it. The fun-loving child part of you says, “Go on a vacation! You deserve it. Life is meant to be lived.” The responsible, parent part might say, “Don’t be so selfish, invest and build up some money for your daughter’s college tuition,” and then a fearful part might say, “If you don’t invest in your retirement, your daughter won’t have anywhere to visit you because you’ll be living on the street!” Which of these voices is “right?” All of them are. The trick is to weed through berating, belittling, or shaming voices and decide if there is a nugget of wisdom there, or just the stones of self-doubt. Once you do that, you can sift through all of the information logically and decide on the best course of action.

How do you let these parts or voices be heard? To explore them, discover how they can help you make better decisions, and use existing strengths in different parts of your life, try the following exercise.

Create a parts map:

Draw a circle on the middle of a page. This represents what I will call your “core self,” the center of you, so to speak. Now draw an overlapping circle and label it with one of your roles (i.e. daughter/son, mother/father, student, employee, cat lover, athlete, skeptic, activist, etc.) Continue drawing overlapping circles until you feel you have represented the major roles/parts of self. Now label some of the qualities, both positive and negative that each part exhibits. Use colors, shapes, and symbols to make your map more illustrative and rich. You could also draw each circle on a separate page so that you can manipulate which circles overlap, depending on the qualities they share.MaricleFigure1

You may find that different parts of self have different strengths that could be used in other parts of your life. For example, in my work life, I have always felt confident and stable. I expect that good things will come my way, and they always have. In contrast, in my love life, I used to fear being left. This clouded my choice in partners and my behavior in relationships. I frequently felt hurt, abandoned, and dissatisfied. At some point, I began using my work self’s positive and secure attitude in my personal life. Using elements of my work self, I was able to let go of my desire to meet someone on a certain timeline, and of course, that’s when I met someone. This is a “fake it till you make it” approach in the beginning, but eventually it will come naturally. These are all parts of you, after all.

Getting a good understanding of different parts can assist you in listening to your own wisdom. You can clear away voices of self-doubt and unfounded negativity, making a path for new endeavors by heeding the inner wisdom that helps you avoid pitfalls and make positive choices.

Amy Johnson Maricle, LMHC, ATR-BC is a psychotherapist and art therapist in Foxboro, MA. She loves helping teens and adults find ways to live happier, healthier, and smarter. You can find out more at: www.amyjohnsonmaricle.com

DISCLAIMER: This information is not a substitute for professional psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content provided by Maricle Counseling and Amy Maricle, LMHC, ATR-BC is intended for general information purposes only. Never disregard professional medical or psychological advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you read here.

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Posted by Amy Maricle on July 8th, 2013 in Health, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , ,

26 jun

Corporate Dating Rule #1: This Is an Engagement, Not a Marriage

Kerrigan2So, you thought this would be about love in the workplace? Not really, except that the happy-ever-after in your career depends only on one relationship: the one you have with yourself.

I recently spoke with a college graduate who is beginning her job search. She wants to get a job in a prime-time newsroom because she hates change and thinks “newsrooms keep staff for years.”

What surprised me most is that anyone—especially a Gen Y—thinks they can marry a company anymore. Date? Yes. Be engaged for a while? Yes. Marry? No.

Let’s face it—today’s business world is fickle. Just think of your smart phone—the minute you fall in love with it, it’s altered completely or off the market. That’s how fast things change.

And that’s not a bad thing. Dating keeps you sharp and on your toes. There’s no time to get complacent or bored. And, it helps you become more grounded in your own abilities to adapt. And that’s the name of the game.

Make a commitment to yourself first and foremost. Develop your skills, stay current and connected, and bring your best to every company you date. That’s how to be more confident and successful in achieving your career goals.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace success who helps clients develop the practical skills they need to improve their confidence and performance. Michelle also writes and speaks on the impact self esteem has on success, and is currently producing and hosting a series for public TV, called Workplace Confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on June 26th, 2013 in Career, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

21 jan

WorkplaceRx: Is Hoarding Burying Your Company Alive?

MichelleKerriganThe topic of hoarding has been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. Anxiety-driven by a fear of letting go of something that may be needed later, the subject is portrayed buried under mountains of items that are not only no longer needed, but hidden from existence. The hoarder seeks shelter from change in a storm of stuff, and can barely function under the weight of it all.

In my years of working in corporations and with private clients, it has become apparent that hoarding is not just limited to the home. It spills into the workplace, not in the usual sense of “stuff”, but in the plethora of processes and procedures that may give some people comfort, and can bury an organization alive.

I have seen this all too often. I have heard it often too. Phrases such as “Well, we’ve been doing it this way for a hundred years…” is usually a call to action to take a much closer look.

Too often, clients come to me complaining that their company has just gone through a massive downsizing, and as survivors, they are now weighted with the responsibilities of those cut as well as processes that may not make sense in the new order.

A perfect example would be when I replaced a director who left unexpectedly. I inherited a massive report he distributed every week for 20 years to 250 executives. This report was miles long in excruciating details and took up to a full day to prepare. Since the company was rapidly growing, I needed to jettison as much as possible to make room for new goals. So, one day, I just stopped sending the report. The upshot: Only one person called to inquire. Yes–one.

So—as a new year is here, I offer you 8 tips for purging what may be keeping your company from functioning and meeting new and important goals:

1. Review and renew your goals and keep and/or adapt only the procedures and processes that bring your organization closer to them. Let go of the rest.
2. Whenever you downsize your organization, repeat this process.
3. Look at meetings, reports and schedules that could be shortened or deleted. Keep a log of how long these things really take—you will be amazed. That’s time that could be holding you back from more important endeavors.
4. Remember that not all things are created equal: some processes or reports may need to stay, but may not need to be as complex or as detailed as they were before.
5. If you truly fear a procedure or process may be needed again, write it down and store it in the archives. Keep only active ones at point of use.
6. Get input from your team and the departments you touch. Often, processes, meetings and the like have intrinsic value to only you and no one else. So, you may be holding on to what you think is treasure but is trash to others.
7. If you hear or say the magic words “Well, we’ve been doing it this way for a hundred years”, it may be time to start sorting and purging, keeping only what’s essential to reach the company’s goals.
8. If you still have trouble letting go, always prioritize (and purge) according to the revenue line. Ask yourself: is this making my company money? Is it bringing us new or repeat customers, improving our products, or increasing our market share? If not, it’s time for the heave-ho.

Avoid being a hoarder—it will lighten the road ahead for you and your organization and keep you both from being buried alive.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All rights reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping organizations and individuals improve performance and productivity in the day-to-day workplace. A trusted expert who uniquely combines extensive leadership and operations experience with powerful coaching and organizing techniques, Michelle helps clients develop skills and confidence critical to the bottom line. More at www.MichelleKerriganInc.com.

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Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on January 21st, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

18 jul

New Hire Checklist – What to Do During Your First 30 Days

JenniferSmithThe first weeks on the job for any new hire are overwhelming. There is often an avalanche of introductions, orientation meetings, training sessions, and new hire paperwork and administrative tasks. While these are all important, here are six things new hires should do on their own within their first 30 days to set themselves up for success.

1. Understand your role and responsibilities.
The responsibilities of the job you were hired for could change by the time you start work. Reach out to your manager about what may have changed, and make sure you have a clear understanding of your current role, responsibilities, and authority before you take on any projects.

Also, find out how you will be measured to determine if you are successful in your job. Ask your manager to define the requirements for success in the job.

2. Come up with an elevator pitch.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. So, before you start introducing yourself to everyone, figure out what you’re going to say when you meet them.

Prepare succinct responses for anticipated questions about what you were hired to do, what company or school you’re coming from, and what your professional qualifications are. Give the people you meet a reason to continue building a relationship with you.

3. Learn everything you can about the business.
Before you can begin to contribute to an organization, you need to figure out how the company works. What are the business objectives? What’s the organizational makeup of the company? How does your company do business?

Taking the time to explore the business will help you understand how your work supports departmental and corporate objectives. According to Tracy McCarty, Senior VP of Human Resources for SilkRoad Technology, that’s the biggest difference between average and exceptional employees.

4. Interview your boss.
The key to being a successful new employee is helping your boss be successful. Find out what keeps your boss up at night and come up with creative ways to alleviate those worries.

Also, ask your boss about goals and objectives for the team. Determine how you can use your skills to help the team accomplish those goals.

5. Be ambitious, but have restraint.
You might be eager to start contributing right away and fixing everything wrong you see with the organization. That intention is good, but tread lightly. As a new hire, you won’t have the historical context about why a policy or process may or may not need fixing.

6. Be proactive about your onboarding.
One day of orientation and a meet and greet with your team may be the extent of your company’s onboarding program. If so, be proactive with your managers about their training plan and what you need to accomplish in your first three months on the job.

To read the full article by Jennifer King, HR Analyst at Software Advice, visit her HR blog.

Posted by Jennifer King on July 18th, 2012 in Career | No comments Read related posts in

06 jan

Pet The Lizard

RickHansonDown deep, do you feel at ease?
The Practice:
Pet the lizard.
Why?

I’ve always liked lizards.

Growing up in the outskirts of Los Angeles, I played in the foothills near our home. Sometimes I’d catch a lizard and stroke its belly, so it would relax in my hands, seeming to feel at ease.

In my early 20’s, I found a lizard one chilly morning in the mountains. It was torpid and still in the cold and let me pick it up. Concerned that it might be freezing to death, I placed it on the shoulder of my turtleneck, where it clung and occasionally moved about for the rest of the day. There was a kind of wordless communication between us, in which the lizard seemed to feel I wouldn’t hurt it, and I felt it wouldn’t scratch or bite me. After a few hours, I hardly knew it was there, and sometime in the afternoon it left without me realizing it.

Now, years later, as I’ve learned more about how the brain evolved, my odd affinity for lizards has started making sense to me. To simplify a complex journey beginning about 600 million years ago, your brain has developed in three basic stages: Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on January 6th, 2012 in General, Health, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

30 aug

The Choices We Make

Jodi ChapmanTake a look at your life right now. Look at where you live, who you spend time with, how you support yourself financially, your level of stress, your state of mind, your health – all of it. Is this the life that you want to be living? Is this a life that you consciously created or is this a life that you created on autopilot?

We make choices every day. Choices that affect how we live and how our lives turn out. And oftentimes we aren’t even aware that we are making choices. We are simply surviving – getting by – and trying to make it through the day. We aren’t thinking about our vision for our future. We aren’t thinking about manifesting our ideal life. We are thinking about what needs to be made for dinner or what time the kids need to be picked up or whether we have time to finish that project for work that is due the next day.But what’s so crucial to realize is that the universe doesn’t know whether we are creating our lives on autopilot or in a conscious state of awareness. The vibrations that we are sending out are exactly what we will get back.

The choices we make today will affect our life tomorrow. Some of the choices we make today will have a lasting impact on our lives far into the future.

Becoming aware of the choices you make on a daily basis is the first step to creating change in your life. When you recognize that you are about to make a choice – ask yourself this question:
Is this choice leading me toward or away from my ideal life?

So often we know what we want for our future, and we can’t figure out why we never seem to get any closer to our dreams. It’s because of the choices we are making on a daily basis that aren’t moving toward that vision. We are looking for instant gratification and seeing life in the small picture rather than putting aside our wants and desires in the short term to make sure we reach our long-term dreams and visions.

Let’s say your dream is to run a marathon.
You know that to do this you will need to start training every day.
You begin the first day by running for an hour, which feels great! You are on your way!
When you wake up the second day, you are feeling tired and sore and think you will just take the day off as a reward for working so hard the day before and start up with your training again the following day.
This is a choice that you made.
Did this choice move you toward or away from your long-term goal and your ideal life?
Definitely away from.

And if this continues to happen, soon you will realize that the marathon is quickly approaching, and you are not even close to being ready for it. And you become angry with yourself because you realize that your choices put you in this situation.
And if you keep sabotaging yourself by not training, you have to ask if this is something that you truly want for yourself. If it is, it’s time to take a look at what is holding you back. Is it simply that you are lazy and lack discipline or could it be deeper issues of limiting beliefs about what you feel you are worthy of achieving?An alternative solution to this example would be to find another way to reward yourself rather than taking time off from training. Perhaps you can go out to celebrate, or make a special meal, or watch your favorite movie.

It all comes back to the choices we make each and every day.
One harmful choice usually leads to another and another…

But the opposite is also true! One positive choice leads to another and another…
This means that if we are conscious of our choices and make sure they are in line with the vision we have for our future, we will be right on pace to reach our dreams!
So let’s first visualize the lives we want to live.
And then let’s make sure we are consciously making choices that lead us closer to this life.
And soon enough you will see that you are living your ideal life and reaching all of your dreams!

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jodi Chapman on August 30th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , ,

25 aug

Hearing Fear Out

Jodi ChapmanHave you ever embarked on a wonderful new adventure that you were super excited about, and just when you really started to get into it with both feet in – fear stepped up and started listing all of the reasons why it’s probably not a good idea for you to do this after all and tries to get you to see how much safer it would be for you to just step back into your comfort zone?

When this happens, what if we took some time to listen to what fear has to say?
It’s there to protect you – it doesn’t want you to get hurt or fail or be disappointed.
So the next time this happens for you – take some time and write down everything that the fear inside of you wants you to know.

Get it all down on a piece of paper. Give yourself the time and space needed to go within and bring up any reason why your new adventure might not be a good idea or why it’s a scary place to be.
And then you can crumble it up and throw it away.
Or…
You can go through your list one by one and turn it around.
Fear is ego-based and faith is soul-based.
Give your soul a chance to counter each point that your fear brought up.

I think you will find that if you really dig deep and go within, you no longer need fear to protect you on this journey. Your old patterns of letting fear take over will no longer work in your new life.

In my own life, I am writing my first full-length book. It’s a very personal book for me to write, and it requires me going within and really looking at myself and my life with what feels like a magnifying glass. And this can be a hard process that my ego doesn’t want me to go through – it can be painful and yucky and sad to relive certain events or examine my patterns and habits that haven’t always served me. And yet my soul knows that in sharing my story – in putting it out into the world – it will not only help to heal myself, but hopefully others as well who are sharing similar experiences.

So when my fear starts taking over (and boy is it strong!), I recognize it for what it is: a scared ego that just wants me to be comfortable.

And I thank it and let it know that we can’t learn and grow if we always stay comfortable.
And then I get back to writing.

So please take some time today and look at the role fear plays in your own life. Give it a voice – let it be heard. And then either crumble it up or counter what it had to say with all of the reasons why these fears and ways of sabotaging your spirit will no longer work in your new, soulful life.

And then get back to what you know you need to be doing to grow into the person that you were meant to become.

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jodi Chapman on August 25th, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 comment Read related posts in , , ,

18 aug

Pushing Through the Obstacles

Jodi ChapmanSometimes we are on a roll in our lives where everything feels like it’s going really well and flowing effortlessly.

And then we add something new – something that is out of the norm from our every day life. We stretch a little bit out of our comfort zone and expect things to continue flowing.

And sometimes they do.
But sometimes we come across obstacles where we didn’t expect them to be.
Sometimes we even come across road blocks that seem to be right in the way of reaching our dreams.

When this happens, take a look at these obstacles and notice where they are coming from and what messages they are conveying.

Are they coming from fear – is our ego stepping in and warning us that it might be scary to try new things?

Are they coming from outdated beliefs that we have about achieving success and finding true happiness?

Or maybe we haven’t stretched our adventure muscles in awhile and just need more practice.

Over the past week, I have been writing my book, and I have stumbled upon many obstacles – some that I had a feeling would show up and others that I’ve been surprised by.
And while I recognize them for what they are (old fears and distractions coming up to keep me comfortable), I still have to work through them and move them aside. This dream is too big to allow anything to stand in my way.

I was listening to a powerful telesummit yesterday with Jack Canfield where he was talking about how we can live our ideal life – even with the obstacles.

He brought up the great point that we are always going to have obstacles – but our response to these obstacles is entirely our choice.

We get to choose our thoughts, which means we also get to choose our outcome.

So the next time we are reaching for our dream and we come across an obstacle – take some time to go within and try to get to the bottom of the message it brings up. And then thank it for showing up and teaching you more about yourself, and either push through it or go around it. Keep moving forward.

We are all learning lessons every day. And with each lesson, we are all getting closer and closer to our truest self – our divine soul.

And every obstacle and road block is helping us do just that. They are also great tools to show us just how passionate we are about achieving our dreams and living our ideal life.

Every obstacle we push through and every barrier we eliminate leads us closer to our dreams.

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jodi Chapman on August 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

14 aug

The Power of Labels

Jodi ChapmanHave you ever had a moment where you wanted to change in some way, but you didn’t because it seemed too crazy, too out of the box, too “not you”?

The labels we give ourselves are really powerful.
They can define us – and this can be empowering or stifling depending on where the label came from (our higher self or our comfort zone). If your higher self created the label, then you know it’s something great that you either currently embody or you can strive for. If you create labels for yourself from a point of low self esteem, comfort, or because you think you should – then they can hinder your growth and box you in to a life of comfort and stagnation.

I recently took a look at what labels I give myself – both professionally and personally.
I have been designing, writing, and making journals for over six years. Our business completely supports us, and I am comfortable calling myself an entrepreneur, a designer, and a creative spirit. But for some reason I had some blocks with calling myself a writer and an artist. For me, these words were powerful and I had to step back and think if I could truly embody these labels.
It’s so funny to realize this – the power of words is so strong!
I AM a writer and I AM an artist.
I can choose to create these labels for myself and fully embrace them.
Look at your own life.

What labels do you use to define yourself?
What labels do others use to define you?
Take some time today to write down these labels.

You could write: mother, friend, good cook, likes Chinese food, sensitive, artist, computer savvy, deep thinker, seeker, spiritual, nag, dependent, emotional, etc.

Write down every word you can think of that you would use to describe yourself.

Next, take a look and see if it truly describes the person that you want to be – your best self. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Think about where each label came from. Is it something that you created for yourself or something that someone gave you that never seemed to fit (or no longer fits)?

Are there any labels you would like to add? Anything that you would like use to define yourself?

Here is an example of how powerful it can be when someone else labels us:
Let’s say you have always wanted to sing, but in junior high your choir teacher said that while you had a nice voice, you really weren’t able to project it. So you probably would never be a professional singer. So the label you put on yourself was that you had a soft voice and probably shouldn’t sing in public. Years go by and the love for singing is still inside of you – you receive support from friends and family urging you to use your voice and sing out. But that darn label is still there.

But… what if you created a new label for yourself? What if you said that you were a singer? There is no judgement in this word alone. It just is. You could then embrace that label and do what singers do: sing!

You can also create labels for yourself that you grow out of.

And when that happens, it’s hard to let it go because you have become defined by this label – it is part of you.

What if you loved Chinese food. It was your favorite food ever. And then one day, it didn’t taste as good to you anymore. And you kept eating it because you had labeled yourself as someone who liked Chinese food. And you had created a life around this label – you would go eat it with friends every week, you would cook it for yourself at home. It was a comfortable identity – but it was no longer serving you because you realized that you no longer loved it like you used to.

This is a funny example, but you could take out “Chinese food” and replace it with any part of your life that no longer feels like “you.” And if you do decide to relabel yourself as someone who no longer loves Chinese food – there may be friction. Your friends will no longer get to see you weekly at the restaurant. They may feel hurt and wonder why you are choosing to not be there. They may take it personally instead of realizing that you simply don’t like the food anymore. But you know that it’s simply because you no longer like this type of food. And why would you put a label on yourself that no longer fit?
Continuing to look into the labels we create for ourselves is part of self growth.

If a label is no longer serving you – if it no longer represents who you are or who you would like to become – than replace it with one that does.

“But I always have been that.”
or
“But everyone expects me to be that.”
aren’t reasons to continue being someone that you no longer are.

This isn’t an easy process, but it’s so worthwhile to go through.

It’s part of becoming conscious and truly being aware of how we define ourselves.

The first step is realizing our labels.

The second step is making sure that each label fits who we are and want to become.

Living a conscious life is a lifelong practice that takes some work – but it’s so worth it!

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.com

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Posted by Jodi Chapman on August 14th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , ,