Friday, September 25, 2015

Leading the Followers

Leading the Followers

How´s your vision these days? I'm not talking about your eyesight. I´m talking about the vision for your life.

In the days of yore, I avoided thinking about it. Instead of thinking about how I wanted my life to go, I spent time thinking about all the things I was afraid would happen. I am serious. I made up the craziest, scariest scenarios. I was particularly brilliant at composing my personal horror stories late at night, stomach-roiling, nail-biting tales of terror. I made myself sick with fear and fretting. Tension headaches that hurt all the way down my back. Leg, knee, and foot pain plagued me. I felt so awful I ended up at Mayo; acute, chronic nervous tension! I did it to myself.

I have to say, I fought that idea, that I was doing it to me, with tooth and the proverbial nail. Back then, I believed that anxious, miserable, frightened girl was just the way I was. After all, my life was horrible, so I should feel horrible.

On the one hand, I was committed to misery. On the other hand, I really wanted to be happy. In those days, I didn't have a clue how to make that happen. I spent a lot of time wishing I were happy. I didn't understand that wishing for stuff reinforces me staying stuck. I have to think about being where I am to wish to be somewhere else. It’s how our minds work.

I inadvertently happened on a good Creative Question. Usually we use bad creative questions like, “Why can’t I get ahead?” Or, “Why am I so miserable?” Or, one of my old favorites, “What’s wrong with me?” What I started asking was, “How can I be happy?”

When we find our vision of how we want our lives to be, when we find our passions, when we feel our purpose, things change. We start to feel focus, we feel more authentic. We are, perhaps, born with our vision.

I was clueless about mine for a long time. On the one hand, I was always a thoughtful kid who loved to write. I had mystical visions as a matter of course. I loved to teach. On the other hand, because that was “just how I was” I tended to discount those things as my purpose while searching with a feeling of almost desperation for my “true” purpose.

Why am I a leader? What makes me happy to do what it takes? Why am I willing to be seen?

As I came to accept my vision, my purpose, I found that I relaxed. As I began to do this work, I felt more joyful in my everyday life. As I allowed myself to know what I know, I felt more confident in sharing that knowledge. Allowing my natural leadership to emerge made my life better in so many ways.

We are all natural leaders. We each have special talents, talents that the world can use to make lives better, to help humanity grow. We may have gifts that impact millions, we may have gifts that impact just a few, but living in our own truth, realizing our own vision, brings us into an alignment that we often fight.  

When we step into our natural alignment, life gets easier, more satisfying. When we allow that we are natural leaders, we find that we have good opportunities to lead. It may be by example, it may be by teaching, it may be through inspiration, but it will be.

How have I changed from fearing or fighting my leadership to relaxing into my natural role?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 09252015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Fascination of You

The Fascination of You
One of the many tasks I have worked on over the years is learning how to chat. I still don’t feel comfortable with small talk. Frankly, I'm not even sure what that means. I want to connect with you, feel shy and a bit insecure, yet there are so many circumstances where I am at an event and need to make some kind of conversation with strangers.
Why do I like people? How are you interesting? What makes me feel warm towards you?
I used to ask, ¨what you do for a living?¨ That turned out not to be a very good conversation starter. People often have complicated feelings about how they make a living. I found it much more fun to ask, ¨ what do you do for fun?¨ Or ¨what makes your heart sing?¨ Or ¨where do you find joy?¨
They are fun questions for several reasons. One reason is that I hear about what gives someone joy. They tend to light up when they tell me about their passions. Reading, horseback riding, music, cooking, gardening! So much love and happiness! Another reason is that sometimes they look at me blankly and say, ¨I have kids.¨ or ¨I work full-time and go to school.¨ Those responses give a nice entrĂ© into more questions about their family or their schooling.
People are so interesting. It is so often worth digging a bit to find out why.
When I ask you about you then listen to your answer, I learn stuff. I learn about activities I didn’t know people did for fun, like ironworking. I find out about books I haven’t read or music I haven’t listened to. Somehow, wherever I go, I meet really interesting people.
In the dark ages, I was afraid of you. I feared that you would hurt me; crush me with cruel words, cut me with sarcasm, or snark, mock me, ignore me. I saw my world as a terrifying place filled with danger. It wasn't true, but it certainly was what I filtered for.
Most people I encountered treated me kindly, respectfully. I didn't notice. At the end of the day, I rehearsed the wrongs that had been done me. Once in a blue moon, I would recall a kind gesture, and marvel at how rare they were.
I was filtering for rotten behavior.
As I worked with my teacher, I learned to look for the niceties, the kind gestures, the smiles. I would pause and take a moment to let that good stuff sink in. I would think about the nice things that happened as I finished my day. I stopped rehearsing the crummy stuff, I stopped paying attention to it, I stopped letting it in.
The more I filtered for love in the world instead of hate, the more love I found in the world.
The more love I found, the less frightening you seemed, the more fascinating you became. The more compelling I found you, the easier it was to set aside my shyness in favor of my curiosity and interest. The more I did that, the nicer my world got. I like having people in my world.
How have I changed from hiding and avoiding people to enjoying connecting with you?
(c) Pam Guthrie 2015 all rights reserved 09112015