Finding your “tribe”

Youth Of A Nation:Bent not Broke

There are people out there who are just as weird as you who will value you and your gifts because they’re uniquely yours, not despite them being yours. The unique value that you bring to the world can only be done by you and the more you try to fit in, the less remarkable you’ll be. The more you accept and share your gifts, the more you will stand out and be able to connect with people who want to be around you for who you are. I know this is terrifying because that means you’ll be seen, but you have tried hiding out and what did that get you? the more you understand that your weirdness isn’t a bad thing and something to hide in the closet, The more you’ll be able to find those people who see how uniquely beautiful you are rather than how weird you are. Think about…

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from government executive magazine

Promising Practices
Before You Fly Off the Handle at Work, Consider This
MICHAEL LEE STALLARD | JULY 10, 2014 9:50 AM ET
E PLURIBUS PARTNERS

Is your boss or a co-worker increasingly irritable, angry, withdrawn or acting in a predatory manner? Or are you noticing that behavior in yourself?

With rising demands in today’s workplace, emotional and behavioral disorders have soared. In Untangling the Mind: Why We Behave the Way We Do, Dr. Ted George, clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington School of Medicine and neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health, helps us understand America’s surge in emotional and behavioral disorders, including those we see in the workplace. Grasping why we instinctively react in certain ways is the first step in affecting change.

From a neuroscience perspective, these disorders arise when the emotional part of the brain (the amygdala) overrides the rational part of the brain (the cortex). According to George, the neuro-connections between the cortex and the amygdala control the emotions/behaviors that have their final pathway in the periaqueductal gray (PAG), a little-known structure in the middle part of the brain. Looming deadlines, unrealistic expectations, unhealthy competitions, certain facial expressions or tones of voice, and even exclamation marks in emails can serve as threats that weaken these neuro-connections.

When you feel threatened, you become more susceptible to emotion-driven reactions such as:

Anger that triggers the fight response
Fear that triggers the flight response
Depression that triggers shutdown
An absence of emotional anger that triggers predatory behavior
Research shows that 70 percent of U.S. workers (88 percent of workers globally) are not working optimally. In previous articles, I have written about steps leaders can take on an organizational level to improve engagement. I have found George’s work to be insightful when an individual employee’s extreme emotions or behaviors are disrupting the workplace.

There are a number of healthy ways that people struggling with emotional and behavioral disorders can find relief. One strategy is to reduce sensory input through meditation and prayer, undertaking a relaxing activity, and/or getting away on a vacation. Another strategy is to calm the nervous system by lowering or eliminating caffeine and alcohol intake, taking deep breaths, and/or exercising vigorously. While these actions often provide temporary relief, they do not address the underlying cause.

George’s strategy entails working with people to identify and address the threat that is the catalyst to their emotional or behavioral disorder. Threats could include “my sales are under plan,” “my boss doesn’t like me,” “my colleagues are excluding me,” “that person is smarter than I am.” To help people identify the particular threat setting them off, George has them verbalize what they are feeling and take a personal inventory of their behaviors. The process of talking through their emotions and behaviors guides people to see whether the threat is real or perceived.

Once the threat is identified, he aids people in developing realistic expectations and a plan of action. For example, this includes determining whether their boss or colleague is open to addressing the underlying issue. Throughout the conversation, George encourages people to enjoy the sense of personal satisfaction that comes from taking active control of the situation rather than thinking of themselves as passive victims.

Using George’s “talk therapy” approach strengthens the rational brain so that it exerts greater control over the emotional brain and is less likely to be “hijacked” by it in the future. This approach provides the best long-term solution because it addresses the underlying problem rather than treating symptoms. However, if anger, fear or sadness persists, it may be time to seek professional help.

As you see evidence of “fight or flight,” withdrawal or predatory behavior in your workplace, engage the rational part of your brain through conversation with a trusted adviser to assess and address the threat underneath. By taking action to help yourself, your boss and/or your co-workers, you will improve your work environment and help improve the performance of your organization.

This article provides a general explanation of complex issues. I highly recommend reading Untangling the Mind. If you have questions about emotional or behavioral issues in the workplace, e-mail them to me at mstallard@epluribuspartners.com.

Michael Lee Stallard, president of E Pluribus Partners, speaks, teaches workshops and coaches leaders. He is the author of Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity (Thomas Nelson). Follow Stallard on his blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or on LinkedIn.

recognize energy vampires

How To Know If You Are An Energy Vampire

Energy vampires are people who lower the vibration of others. In other words, they’re an emotional drain, a buzz kill, and are usually avoided if possible.

What if you’re one and you don’t even know it? That would suck. So let’s run down the checklist and see where you land. You might be an energy vampire if…

You state your opinion like it’s fact

An energy vampire can have very strong opinions. They’re usually pretty proud of their opinions and treat them like facts. Have you ever said something like this to someone, “Those shoes are so ugly. I can’t believe you’d even consider wearing them outside. I can’t go out with you if you’re going to wear those. Look, I’m just trying to protect you from embarrassment.” How do you think the person to whom you were speaking felt about that statement? Did you justify it by saying, “Hey it’s only my opinion but seriously, those shoes are fugly dude.” You’re squashing someone’s energy when you state negative opinions as if they are facts. 

If you don’t like their shoes, or something else about them, keep it to yourself, gently suggest an alternative in a way that empowers them (“Hey I think you’d look smokin’ hot in those black pumps.”), or keep your opinion to yourself. An opinion that does not empower someone is an energetic attack on that person.

You complain endlessly about your problems

When you manage to get someone on the phone to talk to you, or someone to dine with, what comes out of your mouth? Do you share the good news and positive things going on in your life or do you drive right over to complaint city and pick up a six pack of grievances to share with your friend? “Oh my god, my boss is a total schmuck. He asked me to stay late one day this week to finish something that I was supposed to have done earlier. I mean, I’m a human being, I can’t do everything. What does he expect? And when I asked for a raise, do you know what he said? He said I hadn’t earned it yet. That’s ridiculous. So what if I don’t stay late and finish my work, right? They’re not paying me overtime so why should I do anything for them?” And so on. If your friend is nodding politely while desperately ordering a third martini, you might be an energy vampire.

Think back over your interactions with others and see if you use others as a complaint department. If so, try to see the bright side of your life and only share that which is empowering to you. It can turn your life around and save your friend from a life of alcoholism.

You throw pity parties every day of the week

Also known as “poor me” syndrome is the pity party. Ever hear something like this coming out of your mouth? “I broke the heel on my shoe crossing the street. No one even stopped to help me. I would ask my boss for a raise but I’m sure he’d just tell me no. I can’t get my dates to call me back, and I don’t understand it. I mean, I’m reasonably attractive and I don’t smell, so how come guys never call me after a date? There’s no way I’m going to have enough money in my retirement fund to get through the end of my life. I’ll probably have to just kill myself in 10 years so I don’t go broke.” Cue the violins, get the tissues, and let’s all say it together, “How sad for you. This is terrible. I don’t know how you go on.” 

When you play the victim you’re asking other people to use their energy to uplift and hold you in a higher vibration. How long do you think they can do that before they’re drained too? How long do you think your friends will be willing to do that when you drain them so badly? You can ask your friends for help, but you must accept their help. If you don’t, you’re just out for a quick fix, and your life is still going to suck the next day.

You wield guilt like a weapon of mass destruction

A Jewish man calls his mother in Florida. “Hi Mom, how are you?” “Not too good,” says the mother. “I’ve been very weak.” The son says, “Why are you so weak?” She replies, “Because I haven’t eaten in 38 days.” “Mama,” the man says, “that’s terrible. Why haven’t you eaten in 38 days?” The mother answered, “Because I didn’t want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call.”

And that my friends is how you wield guilt like a weapon of mass destruction. If you seek to lower someone to the vibration of shame or guilt, on purpose, you are engaging in energy vampirism. If you need someone to feel guilty so that you can feel good or justified then you are using emotional manipulation to take energy from others. If you want to make a point there are other ways. Example, “Son, I love hearing about all the great things going on in your life, and I’d love it if we could talk on the phone at least once a week so I don’t miss anything. What do you say?”

You spread fear around like it’s going out of style

Like a good conspiracy theory? Is the government out to get us? Is the economy going to hell in a hand basket? Do you start your conversations like this, “Did you hear about how the dollar is failing and we’re all going to be standing in bread lines soon? What do you think? Should we start stockpiling gold?” Do you carry fear around with you like a bag of treats, ready to share with anyone and everyone willing to listen? “Carrie, did you hear that the company is downsizing and laying people off right and left? Do you think we’re going to get fired? I don’t know about you but if that happens I’m really screwed. I don’t know what I would do. I’m totally freaking out about it. Should I just quit and try to find another job now or…” 

Don’t spread fear like it’s fact. Don’t give your power to things outside your control. And definitely don’t bring others down with your fear. It forces your friend to try to calm you down, and that wastes vital energy. If you need others to hold your hand, mollify you, reassure you constantly that everything’s going to be okay, you’re drawing upon their strength to do it. Find your inner strength. You can prepare for the worst while still planning for the best. If something hasn’t even happened yet, why give it any of your energy? React to things as they happen instead. And don’t use your friends as shields.

You’re stubborn to the point of ridiculosity

I had this friend in college who was the most stubborn, opinionated person I knew. One Friday I was at the student store and saw that the schedule for next semester had already come out even though it was supposed to come out the following Monday. Excited, I called my friend when I got home. Here is how our conversation went.

Me: “Mark, the new schedule of classes is out.”
Mark: “That’s impossible. It doesn’t come out until Monday.”
Me: “No, yeah, I know that’s what they said, but I was just at the student store and it’s out.”
Mark: “No, that’s impossible. You probably have last semester’s schedule.”
Me: “Uh, no, this is definitely for the upcoming semester.”
Mark: “It probably just looks that way and was a big printing error. You don’t have the new schedule. It comes out on Monday.”
Me: “Look man, I’m holding next semester’s schedule in my hands right now. I’m looking at it with my own eyes. I’m picking classes right now with my own brain.”
Mark: “No you’re not. You can’t be. The schedule doesn’t come out until Monday. You’re wrong.”
Me: “Uh, okay, whatever dude. You go wait until Monday. I’m going to start registering for classes.”
Mark: “Fine, you do that, but you’re picking old classes from last semester.”
Me: “Uh, yeah, sure. Look, I’ll uh, talk to you next week. How about that?”

Seriously, that was a real conversation I had with a friend, who by the way is someone I now speak to about once every two years. It’s just too frustrating to talk to him. He’s a total drain on my energy. Do you insist you’re right even when you know you’re wrong? Do you refuse to bend in any direction other than your own? Are you closed to hearing the valid opinions of others because you don’t want them to have power over you or you can’t stand to be wrong? When you do this, you block the flow of energy between you and your friends. Instead of a creative exchange you put up roadblocks. This will kill any chance of energetic flow and will be a real drain on your friendship. Stop it. Be comfortable being wrong sometimes. Happens to the best of us.

You never get invited to parties, lunch, or other social occasions
Lastly, you might be an energy vampire if you never get invited to spend time with others. Clue in. If people don’t want to be around you, there’s a reason. You drain them, and people can only take so much before they cut you loose.

*Note*

It’s okay to slip into these habits sometimes, but if they’re your constant way of doing business with your friends, relatives, and co-workers pretty soon you’re going to be all alone with no one to complain to. Friends are a great resource. Friends can lift you up when real tragedy strikes. Friends can raise your self esteem and help you find creative solutions to your problems. But if all you do is squash their energy or take their energy without giving any back, eventually they’re going to be so depleted they’ll have to dwell elsewhere. Don’t be an energy vampire, be a battery instead. Charge people up, ignite them to action, support them when the chips are down, encourage them to reach their potential. If you are supportive, caring, and encouraging you’ll have friends. Who wouldn’t want that around?

By: Erin Pavlina

present moment

“You have to pull all your energy back to the present moment. And the moment the whole energy becomes a pool, here and now, the explosion of light happens and you are, for the first time, absolutely yourself — an eternal being, an immortal being, who knows nothing of death, who has never come across any darkness.”

Osho