Honestly Listen.

Today’s Thought: When you’ve spent your whole life listening to others, it takes courage to pay attention to the sound of your own voice.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to listen to others – I mean, if they are genuinely trying to help you then by all means listen! It’s when they are saying things that feed the fears inside of you that you need to stop and truth check.

When that chime of anxiety rings within, ask yourself, ‘where is the evidence that what they are saying is true?’ An opinion or a feeling is not evidence. Evidence is concrete facts that demonstrate truth. For example this week I was told I don’t hold people on my team to account enough. I was disappointed to hear this, but reflected on the evidence that led them to say this, researched what holding people to account should look like and found their assessment to be true. I don’t always follow through on my expectations of others – this means I am not always effective at holding people to account, therefore it is worth me making adjustments to improve this. I am still disappointed, because I want to be the best at my job, but the flaw is fixable so all is not lost!

If there is truth, then look at what you can do to change it (if it is something that needs to be changed and is holding you back).

If there is only opinion, then note the person’s opinion and then let it go. You are not responsible for their feelings (unless you have been intentionally rude or unkind)!

Create a positive voice, telling yourself what you are or wish to be: I am kind; I am considerate; I persevere; I am creative; I work hard and try my best; I encourage others. Tell yourself what you are every day. You will have evidence of this because of the actions and words you use each day. The more you tell yourself, the more your self-belief will build.

Make sure your own voice is louder that everyone else’s; be your own champion and you will win!

Making Truth Visible

Today’s Thought: They are angry because the truth you speak contradicts the lie they live.

This week a colleague of mine had to have some tricky conversations with her team. Some of them responded in a defensive manner and both she and I felt infuriated by it. Why weren’t they as keen as we were to make this better for our clients? Why couldn’t they see the barriers to success? Why weren’t they passionate about what they do? How could they miss the point of their role so much?

Reflecting on the meetings, though, I can see that those colleagues have responded in fear, confusion and a deep need to protect what they thought they knew. It’s so difficult to challenge a long-held belief; even harder to do when it’s held by someone who is essentially a good human being, who works hard and is just trying their best to manage in a world of work that seems to expect ever more from individuals.

We must persist, though. It will be a bumpy journey for our colleagues, but if we can help them see the truth – that they are missing the point of some imperative aspects of their role, they we can help them fly. They will feel more successful and more satisfied in their roles than they have ever done before. Our clients will reap the benefits of the improved practice and resources: it will be a win/win situation.

The truth will cause pain for a while, but ultimately it will empower and heal. How typical of life that the route to freedom is not straight-forward and that enlightenment first requires discomfort!

Seeking Honesty

Today’s Thought: Trust starts with truth and ends with truth.

When reflecting on what helps me to feel less anxious and calm in general, I know that it is being assured I have access to the truth, whatever that truth may be.

Being unsure that you are being told the truth or knowing that you aren’t telling the truth lets the anxiety dogs out to run wild!

If you want to feel inner peace, tell the truth – especially when it is most difficult. Obviously there are times when it can be kinder to tell a tiny fib – ‘no your hair doesn’t look greasy today’ or ‘What spot? I can’t see one!’. Just make sure that when the truth counts, you tell it.

If you want to feel that all around you is real, ask for evidence that what you are told is true; surround yourself with trustworthy individuals who you are confident only share necessary truths and ensure your create conditions where people can be honest with you without fear of recriminations.

Be true, be kind, be calm!

When Did Opinion Become Truth?

Today’s Thought: There are four very important words in life: Love, honesty, truth and respect. Without these in your life, you have nothing.

In my job I have to provide information; offer advice and sometimes draw attention to what people are doing wrong or inappropriately. It means that I unintentionally upset people because I make them face uncomfortable truths. This sometimes means I am the target for their guilt and anger online.

I guess the question I have is when did their opinions become truth or fact? They seem to think that by ranting about what has been said/told to them on their social media pages will sometimes change the facts they have been provided with into something they feel happier about. The reality is that it changes nothing. The truth is still the truth whether they like it or not. All they have done is show disrespect; projected their guilt and have avoided reality.

When did we decide that if we disagree with something and share that disagreement online, that it somehow means our disagreement/opinion becomes the fact, the truth and everyone should therefore change reality to fit in with it? Human’s use of social media as an outlet for their rage is an unfortunate habit. They seem to feel protected by the shield of the screen; surprised when the target of their wrath finds out what they wrote and defensive when challenged about the appropriateness of their actions.

It somewhat contradicts the title ‘Social Media’. It becomes ‘Anti-Social Media’. We need to change; we need to acknowledge that sometimes our anger comes from guilt, from feelings of inadequacy or fear. If we could face that truth, then perhaps social media would be more social, more collaborative and much kinder. For that to happen, though, we would need more collaboration and kindness in the real world. That’s when we will see genuine change to a gentler and more empathetic society – surely that should be our goal, that should be the prize.

Honesty Sets You Free!

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!

Is Your Perception Truly Reality?

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