The cost of maturity

I saw this bottle cap at my friend’s house yesterday.  I think this is a battle worth fighting, with one caveat.

Growing up is tough

Do allow maturity to enhance your life.  Don’t give up in life what fuels your spirit.

5 reasons procrastination has nothing to do with “being lazy”

The bane of my existence.  The thorn in my pride.  A pain in the a** (for others).

Say it with me.  “I am a procrastinator”.

Now, for those that aren’t procrastinators, I say congratulations.  I have no ill will towards you.  My wife is a non-procrastinator and I derive endless inspiration from her tireless energy to “get things done”.

For the rest of my procrastinating brethren,  I offer this list to help with your understanding of what procrastination is not.  Not so we can procrastinate more and push-off responsibility, but so we can shed light on what gets in the way and be more honest with ourselves.  It makes more sense to OWN our procrastination, and what we feel with it, and allow it to guide us to use more of our energies doing what we love.

There is a tendency to feel guilt and shame around the subject of procrastination because we associate it with being LAZY.

procrastination is not being lazy

Here is a list of reasons that suggest your procrastination has NOTHING to do with being lazy.

1.  You don’t like boring routine tasks.  Nobody does, but for you it’s excruciating.  The more importance and meaning a task has for you, the easier it is for you to do.

2.  You have a waning attention span.  It’s hard for your attention to not go to things that are attractive to you.  These are things that you don’t procrastinate on.   They’re fun and entertaining.

3.   There is a level of anxiety about starting tasks.  Maybe you are a perfectionist and there has to be a set amount of time for you to just start the task.  The thought of starting something and then stopping in the middle of it gives you and your perfectionist side anxiety.

procrastination is not being lazy

4.  You are a creative type.  I’ve found that the most creative people who I know are procrastinators.  There seems to be a positive correlation between creative energies and procrastinating, maybe for the same reason as with ADD and creativity.

5.   You are successful at many areas of your life and don’t procrastinate in those.  At work, being a parent, coordinating nights out with your friends.  You excel in these areas and you AREN’T A LAZY PERSON.  Getting the basement organized?  Not much excelling going on there.

Obviously, we all want to get better at being more proactive in getting things done and addressing the necessities of life.

But what if we’ve been looking in the wrong places to get us over the hump?  Reading books on how to get organized at home doesn’t work if you’re already organized and motivated at work, for example.  And we know self shaming and blaming doesn’t work either.

What are ways you’ve been able to successfully view, manage,  or improve your procrastination?

 

(This is part one of a two-part post on procrastination)

 

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

One moment you’re so sure that your mind and intuition are telling you the right things.

“I can’t tell him no.  He’s going to be really upset if I do that.”

“Don’t take the chance, there’s too much to lose.”

“Nobody really cares what I have to say anyway.  It’s a waste of time.”

The next moment you’re sure that your mind and intuition are telling you lies.

“I must be imagining this is happening.  Nothing this good happens to me.”

“My gut is telling me yes, but I remember the last time I was in this situation.”

“I know I should take a chance here because things feel right.  But what if they go wrong?”

damned if you do, damned if you don't

What if we were aware that we shape our situations with our thoughts?  What if we were aware that much of the time we are sabotaging our own success and needs?  What if we were aware that we could change how we listen to our minds and/or our intuition…knowing that our minds are not always telling us the complete picture?  And maybe when our minds, and intuition, are telling us the truth we choose to ignore the message.

Embrace the suck!

“Embrace the suck!” We used to say that to each other in the Army during miserable all day training exercises.  These training excursions were always accompanied by temps in the 30’s and 40’s and steady perpetual rain. Carrying heavy loads of equipment while playing war games in the cold rain actually became funny to us.  No, it was hilarious.  Beyond absurd.  Obviously, we forced ourselves into another state of mind.  It was a state of acceptance.  It was wrapped in crude humor and sarcasm, but it was acceptance nonetheless.

The closer we got to the discomfort, the less control it had on us.  We were free.  Free to crack jokes, laugh, tear down walls.  We really had no choice.  It was either be miserable fighting the inevitable, or laugh and cut loose while dealing with the inevitable.

Embrace the suck

It’s interesting when I notice just how much time and energy we seem to spend trying to be happy. Trying to make it look like things are always “ok”.  Trying to maintain control and not break.  I’ve enjoyed reading several blogs in the past few days that have talked about being alright with allowing our dark to come into the light more in our lives.

Embracing the dark

What happens if we allow some more dark to come through?  What if people knew that we aren’t always ok all of the time?  What if happy isn’t our default after all?  What if we allow the hard times to do what they do and not try and spend so much energy denying the inevitable?

(Here’s an older and slightly related post where I wrote about projecting the ideal self on Facebook and social media)

Honesty is a virtue.  People value it.  That and candor.  We’d be foolish to think that others don’t value those things when we let it come through in ourselves.

 

“I was weak, now I’m strong, so go sc**w yourself” A losing relationship strategy

When I posted my blog about how men in relationships and their lack of vulnerability, I promised that I would follow-up with something about women.  It’s not that we need to bash men or women and our flawed relationship strategies, we just need to shed some light on why they’re dysfunctional.  Let’s just call a spade a spade.

I previously mentioned the obvious change in women across the last several decades and how it has changed relationships.  Part of that change is the empowerment of the individual woman.   The strengthening of boundaries.  The courage to say no and stand up for one’s self, especially in relationships.  This is all really important stuff.

Losing relationship strategies

So where is that a problem in relationships?  To keep it simple, a completely autonomous stance of “I don’t need you” doesn’t send a good signal of relational stability into the marriage or partnership.  Let’s face it.  Men need women and women need men if they’re committed to being in a relationship.  It’s yin and yang.  Cats and dogs.  Peanut butter and jelly.  To forsake the man in the relationship and his needs is just as bad as the man withholding from the woman.

To be fair, most women I see in couples counseling do not take this approach.  It something, however, that can potentially undermine the empowerment of the relationship.

Losing relationship strategies

Think of it like this.  You’ve fought hard and have done a lot of personal work getting back in the boat with your partner.  You’ve been able to take control enough to help him steer the boat, or now you’re steering it all together.  Great!  Now don’t go and sink the boat by undermining the needs of the relationship.

(Courtesy to Terry Real and the Relational Life Institute for his coined phrase “I was weak, now I’m strong so go screw yourself.”  If you’re interested in learning more about relationship empowerment and how to navigate 21st century relationships, check out the link to his site.)

Getting away from fear as a motivator in your work environment

It’s Sunday and that nagging reminder the weekend is coming to an end has settled in our being.  Not only are we bummed about the weekend ending but we’re dreading Monday. Monday means that we have to go back to work.

Even if we love our jobs and the people we work with, it’s normal to feel some apprehension about starting the new week. But what if we don’t love our jobs?  What if one of the biggest reasons we don’t love them is because our work environment is fear driven?

Fear in the workplace

Here are some common themes in a fear based work environment:  “If you don’t do ‘this’ then ‘that’ will happen”, “If we don’t comply then ‘they’ll’ find a reason to get rid of us!”, “We need to do ‘this’.  You want us to look good, don’t you?”.  This is the “stick” part of the “carrot and stick” approach to managing.

Fear and stress in the workplace

Pressure, pressure, pressure.  Guilt, guilt, guilt.  Stress, stress, stress.  Sounds miserable doesn’t it?

What if there were other ways to motivate a workplace?

“Oh, sure!”, you are saying.  “That’s just the way it is.  That’s the way it has to be.”

Not necessarily. Check out this Ted Talk looking at work environments and motivation.

We’ve been accustomed to accepting a pure “carrot and stick”, or reward/punishment system, in the workplace.  What the science is finding is that by getting away from the old reward and punishment approach, many places of business are becoming much more productive.  On top of that, their employees are happier.

Doesn’t going to work and being happy sound good?

What to look for when choosing a therapist

Frequently I hear from clients that they did like or did not connect with their past therapists.  It could be easy to say that it’s just a simple matter of “there are a lot of bad therapists out there”, but I think it goes deeper than that.  Getting therapy that works is about finding a therapist that you fit with.  One that is getting what you, or you and your partner, need.

Just because someone has gone through graduate school, or received a doctorate, does not mean that they are automatically an effective therapist for your needs.

John Harrison Counseling Blog Finding a Good Therapist

(image courtesy smarttherapist.com)

Here’s a brief list of some things I would suggest anyone look for when choosing a counselor or psychologist to work with.

Find someone who:

-You feel a connection with and you feel comfortable talking with.  If you are not sure, refer to the people closest to you and noticing what about them makes you feel comfortable.  Your personal life, current issues, past issues, traumas, it’s all sacred.  It should not feel as if you’re “just another client”.

-Encourages you and supports you.   Even as adults, it’s important that we receive acknowledgement for our accomplishments.   It’s also helpful because it assists us in gauging our progress.

-Can be honest with you.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to hear someone’s thoughts on ourselves but it’s necessary to receive constructive reflection.

-You feel that you honestly express yourself with without fear of being criticized.  Being told what you are thinking or experiencing by a therapist is wrong is…well…wrong.

-Is meeting you on your level and for your needs.  There was no chapter titled “you” in those books the therapist read in grad school.  A good therapist is meeting you where you are, not where they want you to be.

-Does not make you feel pressured to do anything.  You should feel free to say no to something you are not comfortable with.

-Does not talk down to you and is not egocentric.  A good therapist remembers that they are human first and their credentials are a distant second.  Because they know they are human too, they use that as a basis of connection, empathy and understanding.

-Does not make you feel as if they are “just treating your diagnosis”.  A diagnosis isn’t “you”.  The focus on therapy is not solely on your diagnosis.  The focus is on you as a whole person.

What kind of things are important for you, or would be, if you were looking to work with a therapist?

 

 

Attending to our emotional hygiene

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We really do take our emotional health for granted.  We pay attention to our physical health in various ways, such as through diet and exercise, but we continually allow ourselves to cross our own boundaries internally. How often do we … Continue reading

How do I know when I should see a counselor?

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When is the right time to see a counselor?  This is a very good question.  It can be hard to know when we’ve crossed over from being able to “handle our stuff” on our own to seeking professional help.  Many … Continue reading

The lack of vulnerability in men and how we’re playing catch up with women

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We are arguably at a time of social change in history like none other.  The age of women’s empowerment is increasing and has been for the last several decades.  Women’s position in our society has changed drastically.  Women are more … Continue reading