Day 11: Imperfection, Realignment and Leadership

We have been traveling down the road trying to figure out life, made decisions for valid reasons and our intentions have always come from the right place. Perhaps there have been situations where we said or did things we wished we hadn’t because we felt pressure or fear. We’ve had regrets and pangs of anxiety when we’ve heard the ongoing question in our heads; “What were you thinking?” and sometimes wish there was an undo button.

Then we are somehow reminded that imperfection is universal and our response is just a symptom of the problem, but not the result. We eventually come around, back to the place where we feel grounded and tell ourselves it is time to realign our thoughts, feelings and actions with our values, principles and goals. It is the spot of acceptance and redemption because we acknowledge being wrong, that we make mistakes and that the human condition is designed with perfectly imperfect flaws. Beauty and broken-ness teaches us there are rewards to staying on our path and to trust that nothing happens by chance.

Being a good leader means remembering we have all the tools we need and it is up to us to use them. Leaning into discomfort teaches us what we are supposed to be learning. Regret gives us the invaluable lesson that there is power in how we choose to use circumstances to move forward and do better.

On this journey of 21 days to happiness, I have wanted to go through this process the right way. Then I realized I get to define what it means to do things the right way. Although I have not written a post every single day, I am thinking about and practicing gratitude constantly because I am writing about it. That is progress, which I think is delightful.

😀

Three things I am thankful for today:

  1. The fresh smell of clean laundry
  2. Starting each day with intention
  3. That I am practicing gratitude each day

Day 9: Then is Now: Letting Go of Resentment

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Years ago I attended personal growth and leadership seminars by Earnie Larsen, who used the analogy of “Who is driving your bus?” to illustrate how people hold on to resentments and that often, “then is now.” So let me give you an example of what he meant by that.

When Johnny was 7 years old, his parents were constantly at odds and one day, while they were fighting, he began screaming at them to stop, started sobbing and ran outside. No one came to console him, apologize or explain the argument was not about him.

It broke a part of his spirit and sample messages he could have carried from that might be “love hurts, nobody listens to me anyway, I will never allow others to be that much in control again,” etc.

Now, what if we put that seven-year old’s outdated lie in charge of driving his life (aka bus) for 50 years? Who is behind the wheel? That is an awful lot of years of pain and false data from which he establishes his viewpoint. The reality is, his parents were probably young and just trying to figure things out themselves, but that was not what he took from the experience.

Examples like this play out every day at home and at work. As leaders,we manage people with various backgrounds and social styles. Perhaps if we keep stories like the one above in mind, it can help us incorporate emotional intelligence and compassion into our professional environments in ways that are healthy. Intent, usually comes from the right place and situations are not always as they seem at first glance.

Hanging on to resentment is a painful form of abuse that prevents us from having self-compassion, but all too often, we may not even realize we are clinging to a given injustice. That resistance gets us emotionally jammed and a majority of people do not have any idea how to get unstuck.

One solution? “And acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.”  Someone once told me there are four stages that shine in the face of love. They are:

  1. Allowing
  2. Acceptance
  3. Approval
  4. Appreciation

These four things are at the core of who we are when we are born. What if we made it our goal to live these principles in every aspect of our lives daily as a way to get back to our core being? Including loving all of our resentments and saying yes, accepting the things we can’t control. What if this was your personal growth homework? What have you got to lose? Try it for a few days and let me know how it works for you. Who is driving your bus today?

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. The process of allowing, acceptance, approval and appreciation.
  2. The idea that “If you don’t give yourself any options, you don’t have any choices.” There is always another way, we get to seek the counsel of others to help us with that.
  3. That I have learned how to give myself permission to let go of old resentments and lies