Deliberate chaos is an interesting thing to look at. Do you see others creating or do you yourself create chaos? Chaos is confusion, extreme drama, disorder and even mayhem. People deliberately create chaos for many reasons – to maintain control by unsettling those around them, to avoid having to deal with something, to create energy that they can use for themselves or to cover up something they do not want others to see. They may do this consciously or unconsciously, but the effects on themselves and others are the same.
Take a look at creating chaos relating to yourself and observe those around you. What do you see?
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For many years, I studied personal growth and development with Lynn Andrews. One concept she taught was that of surrender versus sacrifice. The idea was that when an uncomfortable situation arose, you had choice regarding how to respond to it. Surrender, in this context, was accepting how things were and then choosing a response. Sacrifice was responding by harming yourself in some way – giving up on goals, not taking care of yourself, giving your power over to someone.
Say, you are in a circumstance where someone is saying you must do something that you do not want to do. First, look honestly at what is happening. Where do you have control and where do you not have control? If there are aspects of the situation where you have no control – surrender to them. If you have control, maintain it and avoid sacrificing yourself.
Can you see the power in surrender? It is being in the present moment and acting realistically. Once you surrender, you are fully present and can decide where to go from there.
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Are you enmeshed and fully engaged in your life and work right now? Being so can be a positive state and also, at times, a negative one. You may see yourself as active, vital and committed to your life and work – good for you! What happens, however, when your life and work entangle you in dramas, doubts, fear or uncertainty? At that point, you may want to detach a bit so you can regain your perspective.
Ways to detach include: getting to a place where you are alone, bringing your emotions back in from being all over the place, thinking about what is going on, observing rather than participating, reminding yourself of your values and reaffirming your confidence in yourself.
Detachment empowers you. Balance engagement with detachment and you will be better for it.
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Your skill as a communicator has a lot to do with understanding what goes on beneath the surface of an interaction you have with another person. Each person has hidden factors – emotions, fears, conditionings, negative experiences – that affect their interactions with others, as do you. These hidden factors can have a major impact on how you interact.
It may not be possible to readily identify these hidden factors in another. However, your awareness that they exist creates a “knowing” that goes beyond the surficial aspects of an interaction, helping you to stay away from negativity or friction. Try some observing of your communications with others. See if you can develop awareness of any hidden factors that are present. Examine the hidden factors that affect your interactions with certain people. In doing so, you will develop an awareness that you did not have before and your communication skills will sharpen and grow.
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Knowing how to plan and direct your way through your workplace culture is essential to your success. “Doing your job” is not about performing tasks alone. You have to navigate personalities, emotions, workplace values, hidden agendas and rules, as well as assure your own path to career success.
When you widen your focus, you can see all the elements at play in your workplace. Tunnel vision or putting on blinders will not benefit you. You need to navigate obstacles, changes, threats and surprises, at the same time that you get your work done. Successful navigation is aided by developing your emotional intelligence, keeping your eyes and mind open, observing workplace culture and the actions of others, building your skill base and finding the root causes of any problems or setbacks you encounter.
See yourself at the helm of your career ship and set your course in the direction that best serves you!
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Awareness: knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.
You may not think of awareness as a work skill. It is an important one. When you are aware of your self and your surroundings you can respond to people and situations in ways that align with your values and needs and promote common goals. When you are unaware, your values, needs and goals can go unheeded because you are in the dark.
One way I became more aware was when I met my husband Ermanno. I was a New York City girl and although I always valued the natural world, I often did not slow down within it. My husband was much more attuned to and aware of nature. We would be driving in the country and he would say “there’s a hawk” or “look at the light”. I gradually became much more aware of my surroundings in the natural world, instead of quickly passing through and taking only parts of it in.
In your career and your life, it is a big plus to cultivate your awareness of people, interpersonal and organizational dynamics, key elements of your particular professional field, levels of communication and things that lie below the surface of your work environment. Cultivating your awareness moves you closer to excellence and , ultimately, success.
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Quandry: a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation.
Sometimes, the path ahead of you is not clear. Choices are needed. When you are in a quandry, best to face head-on the choices you have to make. They may take you out of your comfort zone; better that than making a choice that keeps you “safe” but does not protect you or your interests.
Quandries can move you forward, if handled well. They are inevitable in the course of your life and career. Recognize and honor their power in creating the life you want to live. Once you handle them, a new path is ahead of you.
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If you can read minds that is quite a talent! If you cannot, why would you think you know what another person is thinking? Communication is central to the proper functioning of organizations. Best that you develop your emotional intelligence so that, in lieu of reading minds, you can benefit from sensing the hidden and not-so-hidden cues others give you regarding what they are thinking.
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Can you have certainty when you declare “never”? You do not know the future or its circumstances. Give some thought before saying ”never”. Is doing so a reaction or a response? Is it a result of fear or confirmation of a value you currently hold, but may not in the future?
Saying “never” is a strong statement that can box you in. Use the phrase sparingly or not at all.
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Running can be helpful when you need to get away fast. However, sometimes running is a reaction to unfounded fear or avoidance and that is never a good starting point.
Stop – just for a moment. Why are you running? If a situation or person must be faced and you are in fear, you can diminish your fear by looking squarely at what is happening and figuring out a plan of action that serves your interests. Make sure your running is productive and will get you somewhere that you want to go.
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