Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm Not Mad!

When someone tells me what they are "not"... there is a very good chance that it is, in fact, exactly what they are. This almost always comes up in conversations around anger.

What is it about our polite society that says "anger is bad?" I'll concede that hitting someone over the head with a baseball bat while in a state of rage is bad. But, all anger? Not in my world.

When I feel angry and I say that I am not angry, I am lying to myself. I am disconnecting from my truth and beginning to create a made-up fantasy story of life as I want it to be. What a waste of energy! When I am mad... it's okay to FEEL MAD!

And the irritating thing to me is this. When someone tells me they are not mad... and they are... I get mad!!! Damn you!!!

"I'm not mad. I'm just frustrated." Ha! What's the difference between frustration and anger? NOTHING! Any number of words we use all fall into the primary emotion bucket labeled "Anger"... frustrated, irritated, dissappointed, pissed, crossed, de-valued, violated... all point to anger. So kids... when we're angry, express it as anger. "I feel angry!"

AND... keep the baseball bats in the closet. Protect yourself and your loved ones from leaking anger. Go hit a tree. Talk it out with a trusted friend. Go to the batting cages. Try and push that brick wall three feet south. Anything to release some energy so that we can talk about the anger, as opposed to being driven by it.

Okay?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Can I Make it Right?

"So team, how do we support one another when one of us stumbles or falls?"

Great question! Unless, you are the CEO and you are the one who has stumbled.

Ouch.

The CEO-employee relationship has unequal power because the CEO ultimately signs the paycheck of everyone in the room. And, this creates a parent-child dynamic. And, the ice gets very thin when parents ask their kids for support. Why is that?

A child cannot be asked to provide for the emotional needs of the parent. At some level, this defines abuse, or at the very least co-dependency.

A child will always want to please the parent, even when it goes against their nature or their desire or "what is right". So, in this way we risk asking the child to step away from authenticity and into a masked character or persona. Again, not the target we're aiming for as parents... or as CEO's.

Children need to know that parents have the maturity to self-generate their own support and affirmation. They also need to know we're human. And, that we take 100% responsibility for our emotions and our actions.

So when a parent stumbles... or a CEO... the appropriate response in my belief is to clear the issue while taking 100% responsibility for it. "I did this. I see my mistake. And, I feel bad. I also see how it affects you. How can I make it right with you?"

When we first hear the question... "how can I make it right?"... we assume that whoever we are asking it of will come back with horrendous, over-the-top, or impossible demands. Not my experience. The question, when asked in a curious and "want-to-be-in-relationship" kind of way more often brings humility, mercy, understanding and connection. Wow. And... that is what I want with my kids... and my employees.

Onward!

V

(More? "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward, PhD)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What if you do nothing?

She had laid out her whole story... all the background data, her assessment of the issues and how she perceives them , how her emotions are in play, and she was beginning to develop some options for moving forward.

And then, one of the other forum members asked, "What if you do nothing?"

Ha! Talk about stopping a train on a dime. Quiet filled the room.

"Well, it might just work itself out. We're doing a lot of the right things. Maybe it is just time..."


Sometimes when we get caught up in being "action-oriented" people we forget that "doing nothing" is a viable option. And, at the very least, reflecting on where the "doing nothing trail" might lead is an effective way to become an observer of my own life. It lifts me out of my desire for action, and helps me take stock from a different perspective.

And, doing nothing is sometimes the very best thing to do.

Onward!

V