Sometimes though we have our best intentions we end up pushing friends away when they need us the most. When a friend is struggling or even just debating a next step, it is important to know how to be there for them. Being conscious and careful about how we respond is a kindness to a friend that will be appreciated and reciprocated when our time comes. It can be the determining factor between being pushed away or let in and make a real difference in how our friend procedes.
So how should we respond to a friend in need?
It sounds simple but real active listening is a skill that requires practice. At the core, it means being present to hear without a planned response and without thinking about what to say next while listening. It means being fully with your friend and engaging all of your senses to understand them as completely and accurately as possible.
Especially when we know someone for awhile, it can be easy to assume we know all about them. This really gets in the way of an authentic relationship in which we allow the other to grow and change and to contradict. As you are with your friend listening, imagine you are with them for the first time. Get background information. Ask them to clarify. Look for what’s missing. Paraphrase back to them and check if you’re understanding correctly.
Trust & Believe.
Sometimes all we need is for another to trust and believe in us. Even if your friend has fallen short a thousand times on promise to themselves, let them know you trust and believe they can succeed. See it for them before they can. Tell them they can have their dream if they want it. Build their esteem.
Follow up with your friend like you would with a lead or job referral. Don’t let it go too long. Let them know you are thinking of them and interested in updates. Ask a poignant question when checking in that lets them know you are really with them. Be specific and caring about what you ask. Let them know they can come to you and how best to reach out.
We all make mistakes. We all fall short. We all repeat patterns again and again before one day breaking them for real. You are not a boss or a teacher. You are a friend. Love your friend regardless and let them feel that love through their failures and successes equally strong.
Have you been showing up for your friends? In which of these ways or what other way? Comment here and share your experience.
If there is one secret I know about life it’s to show up for it. Even if you are not ready, unsure, and frightened as hell, you will always prosper in some way from showing up even if it’s to learn your lesson for next time. Growth will never come from hiding.
My commitment to showing up was the beginning of a major shift in my life, one which has continued to reveal ongoing benefits. One great thing about learning to show up is it gets easier and easier each time until you don’t have to think about it at all.
One day you realize that you are just naturally in the muddy mix of your life and you can’t believe there was a time you chose to stand on the sidelines.
Here are 3 simple ways to start showing up more in your life and gaining the immediate benefits of engagement:
- Say “yes”. Shonda Rhimes Book Year of Yes is a great one to read if you have a tendency to say no to things and want to make a shift. Forcing yourself to attend parties, meetings, and events is a real necessary and level one part of showing up. Start saying “yes” to invitations (even the challenging ones) or they’ll stop arriving. Risk being uncomfortable for the reward of being present.
- Quit the snarkiness. Snarkiness, sarcasm and judgement are ways of disengaging. They keep you outside the story. Drop them and get inside where the mess of life happens. That’s next level showing up. You’ll never be fully in your life if you’re always judging how others are living theirs. You will never understand the tough choices people make until you are busy making your own.
- Dissent. Showing up means bringing all of yourself, even if that means towing unpopular opinions. Share them and let yourself be known for all that you are. This is the highest level of showing up. It involves bringing all of yourself, even the dark, quirky, and strange parts into the room. When you can show up in this way and be accepted you know you are in the right circles. You’ve found your people and you’ve found you.
Which level of showing up are you and how could you level up your ability to show up this summer? What do you find the most difficult and most rewarding aspects of showing up? Take the time to reflect on how you are showing up in all aspects of your life and relationships. Share your stories in the comments below!
“I wish I had your discipline”
is something I hear so regularly it got me thinking. It’s said as if it is something I inherited from parental dna and not actually what it is, something I learned, nurtured, and refined. I want to answer, “You could” but it’s always clapped back with “I’ve tried” “I just don’t have it”. That defeatist attitude finally drove me to write this blog and lay out once and for all how you too can grow your discipline to equal or even beyond mine.
10 Simple Steps to Becoming More Disciplined Today:
- Break down each task/goal. Avoid overwhelmment by making a list of what you want to achieve and breaking down each task/goal into its smallest components. Commit to which tasks you can do in a given time period and put each one in your calendar treating them as any other important appointment. Consider that things will almost always take longer than planned and build in lots of room for set backs so when those obstacles happen they are already accounted for.
- Shut down distractions. Multi tasking is so 2010. 2019 is all about putting full focus into one thing at a time and refusing to allow any distractions in. Before you sit down to work on any item on your to do list, make sure you are ready to be fully present. Shut off ringers and close open tabs especially but not only those related to social media. Refuse to be reactionary. You do not have to respond to calls/texts/emails every minute. They will be there when you emerge from your task.
- Set a timer. One of the best ways to train discipline is to set a time frame for working on one task or project and commit to staying on task until that time is up. This may feel really uncomfortable and challenging at first but this will pass as you train yourself to stay with tasks through the urges to run. You will build a unique and powerful inner strength and discover how much you can accomplish when you refuse to dilute your focus.
- Take the questioning out of it. Decide in advance that once you create your plan of action, it can not be negotiated after. Know that there will be voices in your head suggesting otherwise and be prepared to actively ignore them. This will become easier with time as those voices tend to back down when they are not attended to. When you are very advanced at discipline you may be able to adjust your schedule/make acceptions after creating it, but in the beginning when you are building self discipline you should not allow for any alterations or rationalizations for why something can not be done.
- Do not wait for inspiration or to feel like it. It’s a dangerous myth that one has to be inspired or moved to get work done. Have a day you’re not feeling into it? Do the work anyway. That’s the pro level. Everyone thinks inspiration leads to action but few realise the greater truth that action leads to inspiration. That’s your edge.
- Re-write your why every day. In the My Bliss Book planner there is a place to do this on every page. Remembering your big picture and why you started and keeping that vision clear and present each day is going to make taking all the actions you need to take to get there so much easier.
- Think long term. Train your mind to visualize the long term payoffs of discipline. See clearly where you will be when it all comes together. Draw it. Write about it. Put it up on your wall if that helps. Make a commitment to choose this reward over and over again against immediate pleasures and gratification. Prepare for temptation by practicing seeing yourself resist temptations that have diverted you in the past. Rehearse in your mind exactly how you will respond moving forward.
- Remember that you are an adult. The train has left the station and the time to get it right is running out. Take responsibility for your actions, lack of action, mistakes, and setbacks. Refuse to blame others when you fall behind. Grab hold of your life the future you desire.
- Award good behavior. Celebrate all successes, even the small ones. Award yourself with anything you want except by giving yourself slack when it comes to discipline or by allowing bad habits. Buy yourself a treat. Congratulate yourself verbally, in a journal, to friends and family. Bask in the richly rewarding feeling of getting things done. You will call upon and remember that feeling in the future when you have doubts and it will fuel your continued growth in self discipline
- Get support. Don’t try to do it alone. Find a friend or an accountability buddy that will help you to stay on track by checking in on you each week. Choose that tough love friend who doesn’t let you get away with lying to or shorting yourself. Just telling another person your goals will provide you with that extra pressure to come through.
Do you relate to any of these tips? Tell me which ones you’ll be using in the comments below and share you have other self-discipline techniques that have helped you.
What is love?
Living in New York City the signs of love can get very confusing. In a city of driven creative workaholics whose first question is “what do you do?” evaluation of and compatibility with others tends to be transactional (even though we often don’t see it that way).
When I was looking for love I did the typical smart NYC girl thing and downloaded a stream of podcasts and blogs soaking up their find love fast advice. There were two common yet somewhat troubling recommendations across all of them:
- Find self love first.
- Make a list of what you want in a partner.
Everyone says to focus on self-love. In fact to this day when I post any advice on finding love, I inevitably get a comment about how I should be guiding people to find self love and not a partner. But why can’t you put some efforts into finding a loving partner if that’s what you want? You can!
Of course self-love is important, but we mustn’t act like it’s a switch you turn on or a thing you find (and never lose) which makes finding partner love instantaneous. Self-love is an ongoing process and contrary to popular belief, a good deal of that process can be done in the throws of a good healthy relationship.
It’s also valuable to note (in this age of social ME-dia) what self-love is not. Self-love is not selfishness, self-promotion, self-indulgence, or self-centeredness. It’s quiet and consistent and occurs side-by-side love of family, community, and cosmos.
Making a list of what we want and don’t want in a partner has some unexpected downfalls. The pros are obvious. Putting down what we want out of life is a helpful practice, but it can also be constricting and detrimental if we are even the tiniest bit confused or misled about what we should be asking for. And we always are. The problem is we feel SO clear when we write these things down. We don’t even know we are limiting ourselves unnecessarily and often asking for qualities we think we want/need, not the ones that will actually make us the most happy.
So.. how do we find love?
- Get out of your own way. Self-sabotage is perhaps the single most common reason so many of us are not in a loving partnership. We say we want love but we push away or destroy any viable opportunity. By creating unearned doubt and getting ahead of ourselves we end things before they even begin. We do this for many reasons, including fear of getting close, our addiction to our story of being alone, and our suspicion of the unknown. Combat this habit by practicing the yoga technique of staying present. Go day by day and keep showing up in gracious curiosity for yourself and for your potential partner, being with any doubts and peculiar feelings which arise. Give yourself and the person you are dating a chance before throwing it all out because of a fear of living with an attribute not on your list!
- Say no. Say no to old habits, place savers, actions and activities which are covering for or filling the space of what you desire. If you really want love you’ll need to recognize what you’ve been doing that hasn’t been working and start shifting those patterns. You’ll need to allow yourself loneliness, quietness, boredom, and sometimes uncomfortable, unfilled time. Say no to anything which numbs how you feel and those things that provide only temporary relief. Instead keep your heart open and even broken for signs of the real thing.
- Take risks. Date someone different. Go somewhere different. Expand your experiences and expectations. Question your key attribute list. Become what you desire so you don’t need someone else to be that and can allow for a partner who might be different. Stay open to new dynamics. Be less sure and more curious. Look into any idealized notions of love and partnerships and throw them all away. Get ready to be surprised.
- Stick with it. Timing is a funny thing and we are not always ready just when we think we are. That’s a good thing. The extra time with ourselves is something we can look back later on and recognize as a true gift. Just because a love match is taking longer to manifest than you expected, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It just hasn’t happened yet. Recall other times when things came to you suddenly, delayed, or seemingly accidentally and take comfort in the knowledge that we are not in charge. All we can do is set the stage and be ready to accept love when it appears.
For more detailed counseling on finding and maintaining true love relationships consider private coaching where we can get into your specific blocks and patterns and help you take actionable steps in the direction of love.
I did an Instagram post on New Year urging elimination before goal setting and I wanted to share more about that. In some ways, it’s very simple. Most people, however, miss this step when trying to conjure something new in their lives. You need space before anything new can come. The first step to achieving your goals or manifesting your dreams is getting rid of something else.
Categories to consider eliminating from include:
- Thoughts / thought patterns / emotional crutches
- Physical items / Clutter
- Unnecessary activities
- Draining / Unhealthy relationships
- Old, no longer useful rituals/practices
Once you decide which category you want to start with asking yourself these questions:
- What is unnecessary in this category?
- What is bringing me down or distracting me from my deeper purpose?
- What if I chose to let go of it would make significant room in my life / open things up?
- What am I holding on to because it helped me so much in the past, not because it’s helping me now?
Pick one manageable but impactful thing to release based on your answers to these questions and write it down.
Now you are ready to do the work.
To release an unwanted element in your life:
- Identify how that element has been serving you. There is some way it has!
- Thank it for what it’s done for you.
- Recognize both the payoff you’ve been receiving for holding onto it even though it’s no longer serving and the payoff you will get for letting it go.
- Get clear on what will replace the element you are eliminating. (That vacuum will be filled by something, so choose for yourself before it’s chosen for you.)
- Make a plan for slowly replacing the element you release with the newness you are summoning.
- Expect setbacks. Greet them with compassion and understand. Make your agreements to self small and doable to reinforce your self-belief and ability to change.
Want to go more deeply into resolution and long-lasting change? Grab your copy of My Bliss Book now from my site or Amazon and enter your email for the special My Bliss Book coaching program. My Bliss Bookers will be the first to receive the link for my FREE webinar February 1st 12 pm on the 5 Simple Things You Can Do this Year to Make Your Resolutions Last.