Published: March 14, 2016, Copyright (c) Sandy Elrick
Rhetoric and marketing – two ways to drive someone to agree with or to do something. You are subject to them right now as you read this article. Why would I bring this up? I do so because it is a fabric of our reality now. Our media and apps seek our attention all the time and we’re paying attention.
Last night it came to me – I cannot remember the last time I spent a whole day without my iPhone by my side. I miss not having to respond to things. I have been going squirrelly responding to things and ignoring what matters most – sanity, quiet, and just me time. I think this is what I am crying out for.
I have had pseudo me time, in fact, being on the job hunt means that you can quite literally take it whenever you want. Yes, you are stressing out about finding a job in a depressed economy. Yes, you have obligations that with every passing day weigh more heavily on you until you have to make a decision to take fish or cut bait. The missing component is the real nut of the problem – why have I let it come to this?
True to Yourself
I’ll be frank and say that I am prepared to deal with most of the outcomes of losing a job. Having been in my career for two decades has armed me with experience that life isn’t an annual budget… life isn’t all candy and roses… and life is not about making the best choices 100% of the time. Life is about change and learning. If you repeat what you did before and are disappointed with the outcome, perhaps you didn’t take that first run at the lesson to heart.
Being true to yourself means you understand what drives you at your basic levels. It is what keeps you up at night if you blow away the detritus that comes from daily living. When one considers basic needs (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), we can focus on what really matters to us (the royal We as they say, yourself, your ego). When was the last time you took a long hard look at the truth as you see it?
When one is successful in their career and focused, they can typically reach peak level five of the hierarchy (Self-actualization). This great achievement seems like it is all it can be. It is good in and of itself, but it is not the most potential you can achieve. You see people tooting their own horns via LinkedIn and Facebook all the time. They crow about their latest conquest, success, or achievement. Consider though, what really matters. As I indicated, the detritus of day to day can cloud our judgement. Before you pat yourself on the back and advertise it to everyone, ask yourself if did you actually achieve something of value.
This question to be begged applies to any facet of ourselves that we are seeking to improve or the universe is giving us an understanding to improve upon. While ultimately we exist by ourselves, we are further defined by our relationships and our communities. How and why we interact are a result of the connectivity we seek with others. Maslow’s exploration of the self outside of the basic needs is a true representation of the broadest goals we can seek to achieve.
We all struggle to meet our day to day needs. How we frame our mind once we wake up (whether it is with purpose as we dictate or with random effect by what we wake up to) impacts what we get out the day and what others get as well. ‘With Purpose’ is a convenient phrase that spiritualists put out to help remind us that simply put, if we do not approach our actions with purpose, then the energy put forth will not go towards genuine actions and results nor add to our self-realization (and ultimately self-transcendence).
If you allow emotion and unguided response to dictate your day, you will be living in your own personal hell at times. That is the difference between life and living. As human beings, life isn’t easy. There is a reason for that. It is what we are meant to discover. It is our life’s purpose to discover how, individually and collectively, we want to go on living. I’m not suggesting you should be deep in it all the time, however, the more of you do engage in good intention and purpose, the easier it becomes. Literally like all practices, you can become a master of these given sufficient time.
Energy to Do More
It is easy to get distracted in times of stress and to waste energy on things that do not allow you to achieve greatness in your life. Don’t beat yourself up but also don’t give up either. It is the siren song of the ‘Easy Button’ to just let things go and to think that good things will happen if you will them. That can get you only so far. Concrete decisions and actions help you grow and achieve greatness. You don’t necessarily have to achieve greatness just for yourself. As you mature and learn (we all do so at different speeds and different times of life), you will gain the tools and ease to do more and for more than just yourself.
This is what great leaders do. You are first and foremost the leader of your own life. Understand your base drivers and you will be on the path to being a better you. Being human is the greatest gift to have – we have so much potential, each and every one of us. Transcending ourselves can help bring out the greatness in others. The events that allow us to share our drive and energy to great effect are true events worth celebrating and worth our time. This brings up the phrase “Quality over Quantity” in our discussions. What quality are you bringing to your day, your conversations, your smile to the people you walk by every day?
I have to remind myself, that I cannot exist in a vacuum. As much joy as writing articles brings me, I need to remind myself that I need to be with others to bring my full potential to the forefront. Active discussion and debate allows us to process our living. It allows us to see how we are reacting and in turn how we chose to respond (development or homeostasis). We are given time to figure this out (or not).
The most effective leaders engender this reaction and response process in those around them to inspire and improve those around them to achieve a common goal (and to some degree personal goals as well). How leaders achieve this is up to them and their makeup. I would like to think that more positive leaders achieve better results. That being said, there is something crystalizing about being forced into change by a leader who seems to be negative but ultimately is just expressing themselves. It is our perception of positive and negative in our own minds that determines how we see and react to those people… to ourselves.
Presence of mind allows us to see, respond, and achieve whatever it is we want. It is the 110% mentality that implies pure focus and pure results. It doesn’t need to be hard, but we are challenged every day to develop at some level – whether it is personal (did you acknowledge someone?), professional (did you gain or refine a skillset that advances your career?), or just a simple change in life. We get better the more frequently we try something. Failure is just another way to do something that doesn’t achieve the goal you think you wanted to achieve. It is how we develop and evolve.
So when you dial it up to 11 today, keep your presence of mind and try to achieve something that makes you develop or grow and if possible, allows that to happen for others as well. Share your energy! Good or bad, it is who you are.