Today’s Thought: People of integrity do not hide their reactions or opinions. They do not manipulate others through deception and they do not pretend.
This week I pledge my integrity; that I will not pretend and that I will be courageously honest!
So I will start by admitting I am scared of failing, but I am not scared of learning the lessons from failure.
My anxiety is raging, but honesty calms its vexation.
Self-doubt is insidiously sliding into every cranny of my being, but honesty can clear those pathways for self-assuredness to take up residence.
This week’s reminders: I can do difficult things. Just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean I can’t do it and having to work hard at something isn’t a failure; it’s a triumph! I can and I will!
Today’s Thought: Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.
Soon I will have to do just this. I have been anxious for days, unsure as to why and grappling with the sensation that I am about to make a huge mistake. This week I hit upon the answer – I am letting fear influence my decisions once again; I am allowing myself to be manipulated because of my fear of someone’s reaction; because I have not been entirely transparent in my actions, because I wanted to keep someone who is seemingly powerful close. In short – I am trying to control my world again.
As soon as I consider a course of action that doesn’t involve pandering to the desires and wishes of this other person, I feel much calmer. I still fear their reaction, but I fear the consequences of making a decision based on the wrong reasons more; I think it will have far bigger consequences.
If I am to build a honest life; an honest organisation in which I work and an honest team who support one another, then I must watch my thoughts and actions closely. I must unwrap my courage and feed it and make a decision based on the needs of the many rather than the ambitions of one.
I can choose my words; I can choose my actions. I have power over whether I practice my values and we all know that practice eventually makes perfect!
Today’s Thought: Fear never goes away. All that we long for lies on the other side of fear. The best way to get to what we want it to go through the fear.
Confrontation terrifies me. It makes me curl up and submit just so I can avoid the sickening feeling of having created an atmosphere; upset someone; make myself look potentially silly or, most of all, avoid being shouted at. Confrontation or, to be more specific, what I believe confrontation to be, makes me feel like a child. I feel unsafe, vulnerable and as if what will follow will feel unjust.
Clearly all that I feel is old – it comes from somewhere in my past and whenever I have to confront someone, those old feelings return and hijack me. What can I do about it? All I want is to make that crushing fear disappear.
Unfortunately, I have to face it. In my pursuit for a more honest life, I have to confront some people and issues – it’s unavoidable. This means the fear is unavoidable – I am going to have to work through it.
Tomorrow I have a meeting; there will be someone there who is going to challenge lots of things, because they have an almost compulsive need for control. The right thing for me to do will be to challenge back when I genuinely believe that what they are saying won’t be best for the clients or organisation as as whole. This is usually where I come unstuck. Normally I find reasons to agree with them just so I can avoid them sulking for the rest of the meeting or coming back later to whine and impress the brilliance of their views on me again.
I must stop doing this, so tomorrow I am going to add to my honesty challenge. To be my most honest self, I have to remain true to my vision and therefore take a deep breath and calmly pose a different point of view. Whatever happens next is out of my circle of control and actually out of my responsibility. The only responsibility I have is to be calm and kind when I deliver my honest response. The response of the other person is not my responsibility – it’s theirs and I shouldn’t fear it, they should!
Look out fear, here comes honesty!
Today’s Thought: Speak the truth…even if your voice shakes!
Now, this is not me advising that you blurt out ‘yes, your bum does look big in those trousers’ or ‘you’re a right cow, you know that?’! I am simply advising that it’s important to be truthful, even when to speak your truth makes you feel afraid and vulnerable. This is because, although that moment will feel deeply uncomfortable and you will be fearful of what will happen next, if you don’t speak the truth, you will regret it and regret always weighs heavy. Not only will you avoid the shackles of regret, you will feel the rush of strength that comes from making your voice heard!
Speaking the truth comes with a responsibility, though. You need to be sure that your reasons for wanting to speak the truth are non-judgemental; positive and have nothing to do with trying to manipulate a situation so that it suits you better. I have fallen into this trap – I have spoken up in meetings, not because I want to better the situation for the whole organisation and its client base, but more because I was afraid of some other suggestion and wanted to get my two-pence worth in to prevent things going in a direction that made me uncomfortable! That’s not the truth; that’s fear masking the truth!
Be honest with those around you, but start by being honest with yourself. What are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? How are you going to respond (as opposed to react)? Will your response be kind, meaningful and help achieve a goal? Honesty only comes from a considered response; not from an emotional reaction and it takes practice to be truly honest.
Practice your honesty every day and your confidence will build by the regular injections of courage it brings. Measure the motives behind your honesty before you administer it and you will feel proud of how well you know yourself and handle yourself in all kinds of situations.
Sometimes honesty isn’t always about getting your voice heard by others, it’s about getting your voice heard by you before you share it with the world!
Today’s Thought: The things you hide in your heart….eat you alive!
Sometimes it’s difficult to admit the truth to yourself. It can mean that you have to own up to the more unpleasant sides of your personality and in this day and age of always wanting to present our best selves to the world, it can be twice as painful!
The thing is, though, if you want to be successful and if you really want to be your best self, you need to absorb the truth about yourself – even if it’s a little distasteful!
During a time in my life when things didn’t seem to go my way, I was quick to blame others, to moan and to seek comfort from people who would agree with my point of view. I expended a great deal of energy and emotion in this pursuit of validation – did I feel better? Yes – in the short term. Did I achieve my goals? Absolutely not!
Things only began to change for me when I started to consider that all those people who I thought were being unreasonable or unkind might actually have had a point. I made a change to the way I responded to a situation one day and saw a positive result.
It’s worth considering changing your responses to situations or challenges – see what happens. It’s necessary to stop viewing yourself a victim of your circumstances – you are only a victim if you allow yourself to be one. You won’t be able to change everything as you cannot control everything – you can only control yourself and your response.
Look inside yourself; admit those things you don’t want others to know about you and pledge to change. I set myself a goal this year to be more honest and it’s changing everything. I can see the motivations of others more clearly; I can recognise my motivations and challenge them more easily and I can manage difficulties with less anxiety. This is all because rather than running from things that scare me or telling half truths to cover something up or speaking unkindly about others so that I can feel a temporary bond, I stick to the truth. I am truthful with myself and truthful with others – a simple idea really, but trickier to implement than you might think!
All I can say is it’s bringing freedom, calm and happiness that I never thought possible. Be honest and set yourselves free!
Today’s Thought: The hardest person to be honest with is yourself.
We all get cross; feel frustrated or slighted when things don’t go our way. It’s easy to blame others when things go wrong and sometimes it will be someone else’s fault. Sometimes, though, we have to dig deep and realise that we have played a part in the thing that has ruined our day.
The next time something goes wrong, stop and think. What did I do? What could I have done differently? What have I learned? THEN consider what did others do? What could they have done differently? What do I HOPE they have learned? Then accept that the only person you can control in all of this is yourself!
You can dislike someone else’s behaviour or choices; if it’s criminal, you can report it and have the authorities deal with it. If it’s just plain annoying, or feels unfair then maybe it’s best to look at what you can do about it to change it into a positive experience.
Often, your first response will be to moan – but what does moaning change? Perhaps you’ll then try to seek justification or validation of your feelings by talking to several people about what has happened, how annoying it is and how unfair it feels. Again – what does this change? The very last thing we do is look at ourselves, analyse our own actions and feelings and work out what we have done that contributed to the unsatisfactory situation. Really, it would be more productive to consider these things first.
Imagine how amazing everyone would think you were if, instead of whining about how terrible everyone else is and how your situation is much worse than everyone else’s, you acknowledged how upset you were but then said what you would do differently next time and what you had learned from it. They would be so impressed by your reflectiveness; you would feel peace and the pleasure of having everyone else’s respect.
Honesty + self-reflection + lessons learned and changes made = respect earned
Today’s Thought: Real transformation requires real honesty. If you want to move forward, get real with yourself.
So often I have been frustrated; blamed others when I should have taken a harder look at myself.
I want to be different – I know it will make me achieve my goals, but to do that I have to take a careful look at my behaviour, choices and the triggers that set me back along my way.
Look at your barriers to success. Which ones can you do something about – even if it’s something small? Make sure that whatever you choose to do, takes you a step forward and won’t come back to bite you on the backside at a later date! If you have time to moan about something, you have time to do something positive about it! Nothing good ever comes easily, no matter what you might see on TV or on social media – it takes time and more effort than you can imagine!
Be truthful with yourself – how often are the barriers in your way put up by yourself? Is your confidence? Is it your fear of failure? Is it your dislike of the amount of effort required? Is it your fear of confrontation? Is it jealously that it looks so much easier for others? I guarantee that none of those fears and anxieties will cause you as much discomfort and dissatisfaction as not reaching your goal!
Identify your triggers: What annoys you? What makes you feel insecure? What scares you? What do you love to do? What do you hate to do? Know your triggers and make a plan as to what you will do when your triggers are pulled. Put the safety catch on before you start!
Tell yourself you can do this! Tell yourself that you are resilient! Look fear right in the eyes and tell it that you are going to do it anyway! Look at that hard work to come and celebrate, because at the end of it, you will have achieved something amazing!
Breathe! You are amazing – no matter how far you are on your journey to greatness, look over your shoulder and celebrate every tiny step. As long as you are still moving forward, it doesn’t matter how slowly you go.
If you want change, then find a way to make change happen. Make it happen with kindness, compassion and honesty and that change will lift you up further than you thought possible.