Relax. Relax. Relax.

Janet, a fellow coach who’s also a writer, recommends her clients use the acronym “CAR” when communicating their strengths and experience during job interviews. It helps maintain the focus and natural progression a story should take – challenge, action, result.

It’s simple. Not easy, but simple. Just like yoga (deja vu to my last post).

Nuggets of wisdom that resonate with me, like this description of the CAR process, will often ping around my consciousness (aka the three-ring circus of my brain). And, like many thoughts during yoga, when I’m SUPPOSED to be focused solely on breathing and listening, it surfaced and had a delicious collision with the Bikram practice dialogue resulting in an even deeper (to me) application. I’ll explain…

Towards the end of the class, there’s a stretching posture that includes in the instructor’s dialogue the prompt to pull, pull, pull (pull your toes to your nose, into the stretch). For a variation, some instructors will prompt to push, push, push (push your flat back and body to your knees). Ever a dialogue renegade, Leo instructed us to, instead of pushing or pulling, to just relax, relax, relax (relax the tension, release the energy).

At his prompt, I took a deep breath, exhaled, and let go, just relaxing into the posture. With the tension out of my body, there was more room to drop into a level of flexibility than I’d ever previously experienced. My body flowed into the stretch. I just loved it. I can still feel the sensations of the moment.

Driving home, with the words, push, pull, relax, echoing, I had an Aha! moment, an image of how I (and many of us) relate to challenges.

Looking at my hands, I thought of how, in the course of a challenge, I visualize my hands fully energized and engaged. I imagine them clasped firmly for the pull, or faced palms down for the push. I asked myself, what if I extended the prompt, to relax, to my hands?

What I found was, when I relaxed, my grip disappeared with the loss of tension, and, my open hands turned upward. Neutral and calm, they are open-palmed, cupped, all the better to receive.

Long story short, today’s thought is a commitment to get curious about relaxing. Relax my head, heart and hands. I’ll be poised to ask and to receive – knowledge, love and support.

Simple, but not easy.

I Met Myself In the Arena (Mirror Work)

Daring Greatly

It takes a village. At least, that’s the self-development community I strive to live within, therapists, mentors, coaches, yogis, peers, healers, learners, seekers. The reasons for the size of the population are another subject. In this post, we’ll deal with this week’s experiences.

Returning from spending spring break with my youngest son, visiting my family in Nevis), the week opened with an appointment with our therapist. Skilled in a variety of methodologies, I connect with her positive psychology model. Working and wading through complex, overlapping and emotional issues with a trusted navigator to arrive at a simple re-framing has been, and continues to be, transformational to me.

Homework assignments help me integrate the information into behavioral change. Often, the tasks are simple. Simple, but not easy, just like yoga (another post!). And, just like yoga, both can be awkward and clumsy. Here’s some homework I’m working on.

First, I’m reminded, again, to journal. Analog, digital, whatever. Just write down, without edit or desire for perfection, what I’m noticing. Essentially, notice what I’m noticing. For someone whose brain is always racing, this is having a surprisingly calming effect, particularly if I can resist the temptation to make any sort of meaning about what I’m noticing. Just notice what I’m noticing and journal it. Got it. Doing it. All good. Yay me.

I want to preface that describing the second task is making me cringe as I type. So many feelings about being vulnerable and sharing the task and why it’s hard for me. It’s almost like I’m daring my self. This brings to mind “Daring Greatly” and all the positive, strong emotions I associate with that phrase, the book, the workshop, the learning. I can breath again, heart rate slows. Using the countdown tip to break resistance, three, two, one, go!

I have to do mirror work. I have to look into a mirror, smile at my self, and say aloud the following four phrases. Oh, and, I have to say my name as well. Here’s the instruction:

  • Smile at myself. Say aloud.
  • I forgive. As in, I forgive you, Chris, for (insert less than healthy behavior or thought pattern here).
  • I am proud. I am proud of you, Chris, for (insert behavior choice or thought redirection here).
  • I commit. I commit to you, Chris, that (insert future intention here).
  • I love. I love you, Chris.

People, I’m confessing to you, I made SUCH a story in my head about how hard, awkward, lame, weird, shamefully selfish this was going to be. Avoided doing it for days. Found so many reasons to be too busy to do this. Can you blame me???

  • I forgive you, Chris, for not focusing on your blog and writing posts, something you advise others to do.

  • I am proud of you, Chris, for writing this post about the mirror work.

  • I commit to you, Chris, to write 3 posts per week. If you seek inspiration, notice what you are noticing. (See what I did there, two birds, one stone.)

  • I love you, Chris.

I’m here to report, I did it.

Want to know what it was like? Sorry, you have to be in the arena with me. You do it, too. Then message me and I’ll share my experience.

Spoiler alert: I’m meeting my self in the mirror daily.

Life & Leadership Lessons: Doug Pederson

Exceptional leaders capture passion. Attuned to the needs and dreams of people they lead, they create conditions for individuals and organizations to thrive, and soar. And they use their emotional intelligence to do it. Leaders also come in all shapes and sizes, 
What does that look like? Well, to those of us in the Philadelphia area, this week it looks like this:
Doug Pederson, Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles
Doug Pederson is head coach of the underdog Philadelphia Eagles who are headed to the Super Bowl this weekend despite losing their MVP quarterback, Carson Wentz, to injury 6 weeks ago.
Biggest strength? According to ESPN article, it’s: 
His lack of ego. Instead of trying to harness power, he distributes it to his coaches and players. Pederson formed a leadership council consisting of about a dozen players and has created ownership by empowering them to help guide the team. Wentz has growing input into the offense and has been given significant pre-snap freedom at the line of scrimmage. Pederson sets the tone and the agenda, then trusts the people around him to do their jobs.
“I’m thankful for the guys that we have, the culture that we have, but that all starts with Coach Pederson,” Wentz said. “It starts with him and creating that culture, the atmosphere of unselfish play. It’s really shown all the way back to OTAs, training camp, we were spreading the love.”
I was just drafting a blog post about life and leadership lessons from this season of the Philadelphia Eagles. Glad I didn’t get far. Robert Mays (The Ringer) did a MUCH more comprehensive version that I could have ever written.

Philadelphia’s Football Revolution: How a Cultural Shift Explains the Eagles’ Rise

Culture, a DIRECT result of leadership, is EVERYTHING. 

The Tech Industry’s Gender-Discrimination Problem

By , The New Yorker, 11/20/17

The dramatic imbalance in pay and power has created the conditions for abuse. More and more, women are pushing for change.

“Many startups begin as a collection of young entrepreneurs in a room, with no clear rules. They rarely have human-resources departments at first, meaning that there is no one charged with fielding complaints. And the emphasis among venture capitalists on “growth at any cost” often leads investors and board members to ignore workplace problems—as well as more serious violations—so long as a company’s valuation is going up.”

Almost half the women who get tech jobs eventually leave the field, more than double the percentage of men who do so.

Read the entire article here.