“Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.”
—Wallace Stevens, 20th Century American Poet
Image from Unsplash by Delbert Pagayona
When I was a boy, one of my hobbies was maintaining a tropical fish tank with many varieties of brightly colored and various shaped species. In the early years, before they knew my level of commitment, my parents purchased a small set that included a ten-gallon tank.
As my interest grew, I graduated to more elaborate set-ups, which always involved a larger tank.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was that almost all fish species grew a bit larger in their expanded environments.
Examine some of the professional and personal containers in which you swim each day. How large is the container that supports your growth? Who are the individuals that influence your nature? What attitudes and behaviors do they exhibit?
“Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become.”
—Jim Rohn, 20th Century American motivational speaker
Image from jimrohn.com
Jim Rohn, who passed away in 2009, was a personal development pioneer.
His over 6,000 seminars, countless books, tapes, learning programs and, of course inspirational quotes, have influenced millions.
Many of his wisest lessons were focused on our abilities to work on ourselves and contribute to others in our various communities.
One of his many students was a young, broke, down-and-out Tony Robbins, who has said many times that Rohn was the man who turned his life around. Tony, as we all know, has been working on himself for decades, and has paid forward similar lessons to millions.
What are the strategies, habits, and behaviors that help you continue your personal best journey?
What additional approaches can you incorporate in your days to both contribute to others and attract the success you desire?
“A lie never lives to be old.”
—Sophocles, ancient Greek tragedian
Image from Unsplash by Bahram Bayat
How well do you sleep at night? How much do you like who you see when you look in the mirror? To what degree do you keep secrets, fib a bit to spare someone’s feelings, or perhaps keep silent on one or more of your most important beliefs?
Such behaviors are becoming increasingly difficult to hide due to our gossip-starved, always on, hyper-connected world. The media actually keeps count of out-and-out lies, half truths, and perceptional sleight-of-hands many politicians and celebrities exhibit.
Beyond the idea that lies never live to be old, consider the actual aging caused by the insidious toxic effect for all of us when exposed.
Where in either your personal or professional life would greater truth set you and others free, so you can get a much better night’s sleep?
“The easier it is to do something, the harder it is to change the way you do it.”
—Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple, Inc.
Consider how easy it is to cross your arms, clasp your hands, and brush your teeth. You probably don’t need to think about these tasks because they occur habitually.
What about traits like hitting the snooze button, eating out of boredom, watching TV or using social media? In many situations, taking the fastest and easiest path is helpful, productive, or at least has no real negative consequences.
On the other hand, sometimes what is easy can have significant negative impact to the lives we profess to desire.
What automatic and easy behaviors do you practice that are limiting or preventing you from realizing your top priority goals? What disciplined effort and added support can and will you put in place to fulfill your commitments in these areas?
“Put your light on the table where it can shine, without blinding others.”
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Most people would agree that bragging, showing off, and calling excessive attention to ourselves are unbecoming traits. A question to ponder might be how do we toot our own horn without blowing it?
Perhaps if we simply consider our gifts, talents, and creative ideas as a form of light, we can use our own personal dimmer switch to tone things down a bit, not blind those around us, and offer them the opportunity to shine as well.
In what ways can you become more aware of how to contribute and illuminate various situations without blinding others in the process?
Consider looking for opportunities to help others shine and add their own contributions as well.
“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”
-Catherine Aird, British Crime Fiction Writer
Image from jarofquotes.com
The other day I had a coaching session with a client regarding his parenting strategies. When he examined the behaviors that worked or didn’t, he looked to his own parent’s example for clues.
This man tends to emulate or copy the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of those he admires, and often does the opposite of behaviors he considered as horrible parenting.
How can you benefit most from examples set by others to coach yourself toward a more successful professional and personal life?
Where can adjustments in the examples you set coach your children as well as others in your life to lead more successful lives of their own?
“Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack.”
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Today’s quote makes me think of the times my clients state that a colleague, coworker, or client “threw them under the bus.” In almost all cases, they say it was in an unfair, unjust, and detrimental way.
Blaming, bullying, one-upmanship, and office politics are common occurrences. How we respond to such attacks, and how we rise above their potential negative impacts is a skill which we could all benefit from time to time.
A book that I have read numerous times over the years – The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – points to fundamental ideas that can help us all return, leading the pack, when we are thrown to the wolves. They are:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
“We have a tendency to want the other person to be a finished product while we give ourselves the grace to evolve.”
-T.D. Jakes, Apostle/Bishop of The Potter’s House
Image from responsiveuniverse.me
How guilty are you of having a double standard regarding the people in your personal and professional worlds?
How often do you hold people to some form of ideal to which few ever match up? How often do you use this same standard of excellence as a measure of your own efforts, behaviors, and achievements?
If you are in the smallest way guilty of this double standard, examine the costs it may have in key relationships. What adjustment can you make in your perception and point of view to accept and embrace that we are all “works in progress”?