I Love Myself, I Love My Life…

One day my girlfriend said “You know, I am not changing; I like myself.” 

That was a game changer comment in my world.  I reflected… Could I honestly say that?  Honestly?  I looked in the mirror and asked…”Do I love myself’?“ Well maybe not. So I asked “Do I like myself?”  Yes…kind of. The next question was “What would it take for me to ask the question…Do I love myself? And without hesitation or but; but; but; say “YES.” ”

Skip Downing, in his well-designed personal growth work, On Course, talks about our inner critic: I beat myself up, our inner defender: I beat others up, and our inner guide: I am kind to myself; and about the conversations we have with ourselves in our heads. 

I attended a conference and heard of this tale from the Keynote Speaker:

"Two Wolves" A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Here is the same story, but it is called "Grandfather Tells" which is also known as "The Wolves Within"

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed.”

Note: this story can also be found at: http://www.firstpeople.us

My challenge certainly was deciding which voice to listen; to or which wolf to feed.  AND getting to a place of saying “Well, either stop doing that - or stop beating myself up.”  What might I be beating myself up for? Eating too much; not getting up in the morning to exercise; not calling my mother enough; not handling things right at work; or having an extra glass of wine.  I am sure it would be easy for each person to make their own list.

I’ve invested the time in my life to make small course corrections.  Over the last few years I’ve worked continuously and consciously to teach myself to have nicer conversations with myself, about myself in my head. Now I am able to say “I love my life” and mean it! And each and every day I am getting closer to saying, authentically, “I love myself!”

Lifelong Learning

Intercon Messaging’s highest priority is education.  Education is first on our list of values, also included is innovation, fun, flexibility, respect and Integrity. I either read the quote or heard it somewhere but really started to understand that: “If people knew better they would do better”.  From that day forward I started looking for ways to help people know what they needed to know to be the best they could possibly be in their workplace and in their life.  That quote was the continuation of a journey to teach personal and professional development in our workplace.  Intercon encourages lifelong learning. 

In 2011 several of our people had the opportunity to attend courses and conferences away from the office.  They had the opportunity to learn via webinars, conference calls and in house at staff meetings. We have 2 staff meetings each time so that information is available to all members of our team.  We also had Elizabeth Manuel, a happiness expert come for 2 days so all staff had the opportunity to participate in Elizabeth’s very fun, interactive and meaningful happiness seminar.  There are strategies and choices each of us can do and make to fundamentally increase our level of happiness.  Probably one of the easiest is to say Thank you.  Thank you for today, thank you for all the people in my life, thank you for the privileges and opportunities of living in the greatest province in the greatest country in the world.  It is impossible to be unhappy if you are sitting and thinking about ten reasons to say Thank you.  Chips are down?  Times are tough?  Find some things to be thankful for then it is easier for the tough to get going again!

For Intercon we will continue to provide opportunities and motivation for our people to progress on their own personal and professional journeys of lifelong learning and continuous improvement.

Characteristics of lifelong learners are: 

  • They seek out formal and informal settings. They learn both in & out of a class setting.
  • A desire to set a better example and be the best they can be.
  • Goal setter; a lifelong learner has the ability to establish visions and directions and set goals to achieve these visions and directions.
  • Change agents; Learning requires change. They embrace change by being willing to adapt, try new things, explore new ideas and change to grow more as a person
  • Is a mentor for their peers
  • Are teachers themselves
  • Like to feel challenged in their work and personal life
  • Are insatiable knowledge seekers; curious – they wonder about how the world works and how to do things
  • Never think of themselves as the ultimate expert in anything; always keep a beginner’s mindset
  • Self-Awareness - they realize when they are actually learning and when they need to work a little more on an assignment
  • Honesty - this goes with self-aware, because effective learners won't skip over work just because it is hard, or tell themselves that they know it better than they really do
  • Expand their horizons through travel and/or learning about different places and cultures
  • Expand their network and meet new people in theirs and other fields
  • Ability to Be Self-Directed - they are able to motivate themselves and do the work without anyone telling them to do it
  • Don’t simply just take in information - they analyze, synthesize and or apply what they’ve learned
  • Willingness to Risk Mistakes - when you make a mistake, you learn a lot about why that didn't work and also about how to correct the mistake and do better next time

At Intercon we believe that if you grow your people, your people will grow your organization.

The person next to you … (flashback part 2)

This is a poem I found hidden away in my employee folder. I honestly don’t remember when I received this or even reading it! However I am glad that I was able to “re-discover” it. It is a bit long, but I hope you still enjoy it.

 

Look Around You, Who Is the Person Sitting Next To You?
                                                                                      -Author Unknown

Look around you…
Who is the person sitting next to you?

The person next to you…
is one of the greatest miracles you will ever meet at this moment
- and the greatest mysteries.

The person next to you …
is an inexhaustible reservoir of possibility
with possibilities which have been only partially realized.

The person next to you…
is a unique universe of experience
seething with necessity and possibility
dread and desire, smiles and frowns
laughter and tears, fears and hopes
- all struggling to find expression

The person next to you…
…is surging to become something,
…to arrive at some destination,
…to have a story and a song,
…to be known and to know

The person next to you…
…believes in something…something precious
…stands for something
…counts for something
…lives for something
…labors for something
…waits for something
…runs toward something

The person next to you…
…is more than any description
…is more than any explanation
…is more, much, much more.

The person next to you…
is searching…
…for meaning
…for inner-peace
…for self-esteem
…for something they already have - they just have to realize that

The person next to you…
has problems and fears, just like you
…wonders how he or she is doing
…is often undecided, disorganized and painfully close to chaos
- but endowed with great toughness in the face of adversity, able to survive the most unbelievable difficulties and challenges.

The person next to you…
…has something he or she can do well
…something she or he can do better than anyone else in the whole world
…has strengths they do not even recognize
…needs to talk to you about those abilities
…needs you to listen
…but do they dare speak them to you?

The person next to you...
…needs a friend
…wants to be a friend
…can comfort you
…can care for you
…can understand you
…and love you.


Isn’t that what you want?
It’s what they want.

The person next to you…
is a special human being
…and so are you!

You will want to get to know this person!

 

I think this is a great reminder that people are a combination of the experiences and of the people they have met in their lifetimes. You never know what great things you may uncover with each person you interact with!

You know you're a Valley Girl when... (flashback part 1)

The other day, my computer was down for a few hours to do some upgrades and I found myself rather lost! So I figured it was time to start cleaning up my personal employee folder on the network. After a few minutes, I decided that I need to do this more often! Not because there was tons of junk in it, but some of the old documents brought back a flood of fantastic memories!

One of the first documents I found was from our Christmas party in 2007. Gloria Tonne and I made mini posters and hung them up all around the lounge. They are a collection of memories from around the office, meetings, conferences, health and wellness trips and group get-togethers. Each memory begins with the phrase “You know you’re a Valley Girl when….” So I thought I’d share a few of our old memories (we had close to 80 originally) before I start working on making a new list!

You know you’re a Valley Girl when…

…when you run on “Valcom time”

…when you know what “Valcom” is

…you answer to: a. Crazy Canadian

                            b. One of Pat’s girls

                            c. Valley Girl

…you’ve been inside the Pink Room

 …you have been hot-tubbing with you’re co-workers

…you have worn the birthday sombrero or the foam cowboy hat

…your luggage gets lost before leaving the airport

…it’s not about the destination, it’s about the trip!

…hanging ‘unusual’ objects to your car antenna or roof rack is a pre-requisite for a good team-building experience

…you buy a second-hand pizza from a random stranger for $20

…when you wear scarves, toques, ascots, robes and your co-workers name tag to the hotel sauna, just for the reaction

…coffee is FREEDOM in a cup!

…you are the first to volunteer for examples in seminars

…you make or create your own hats and accessories

…you know what “Road Gold” is

…you put everyone else to bed!

…when you travel in packs and everyone drives their own vehicle wherever you are going

…April Fools ’05 is still on your short list of best pranks ever!

…when you have slept on the grey couch

…you work hard – but play harder!

…you remember Hypno-Marty

…you’ve taken your mom to Mama-Mia!

…you have called a hotel, tow truck, ambulance, realtor, vet and tribal council within the last 15min

…you are on a first name basis with STARS dispatch

…you understand what it means to take ownership

…you know what your stand, stoop, and definition of success is!

…the PIT will always be the PIT (it’s said with fondness!)

…you’ve taken 4 time management courses and still can’t find the time to use it!

…you secretly hope that Troy’s famous perogies will be at the potluck

…you’ve received a tear-jerker card from KV right at the perfect time

…you’ve been surrounded by RCMP officers on your way into the building and have to put your arms up and say “I just work here!”

…you’ve given yourself your job title and written your own job description

…you thrive in emergencies

…you have been volunteered to help people you don’t know, to do things you’ve never done before

…you NEVER sit at the same table with the same people twice

…you have gone to the Russian Tea House

…you’ve toured hotels just because you can

…you know who Wayne, Doreen, Helen and Floyd are

…you know who “He who must not be named” really is

…after your shift you still hear phones, radios and alarms everywhere you go

…Do. Dump. Delegate

…you know what Mumu night was and wish you had been there.

 

I hope at least of few of these have brought a smile to your face today...they make me smile everytime I read them.!

 

We do not remember days; we remember moments. - Cesare Pavese

 

Doing Whatever it Takes

I just finished reading John Izzo Ph.D.’s new book “Stepping Up; How Taking Personal Responsibility Changes Everything”.  WOW!!!  Great stuff. 

As a graduate of 21st Century Leadership the idea of “Stepping Up” is not new to me.  In fact I live a privileged life and have had the opportunity to participate in 21st Century Leadership 4 times.  Slow learner yes - but this is the stuff that contributes to emotional intelligence (EQ).  EQ is learned at a different place in the brain and requires fundamentally changing your behavior.  We all know how easy that is, so repeating 21st Century leadership 3 times gave me the opportunity to keep “Stepping Up”, to keep practicing “Ownership” or “Stepping Up” language (I, we). 

In my office we call it ratcheting it up, notching it up, or the opportunity to take your performance to the next level.  It is a continual never-ending opportunity to live your life at your highest level.  With a little feedback and encouragement from my friends, I strive to keep raising the bar in our workplace.

When we first start working, we get paid by the hour…or if like me you grew up on the farm, you had to work to live. You had to haul and chop wood to keep warm, haul and melt snow so you could drink (bathing was optional) and grow a garden so you could eat.  Regardless, my first job away from home was wiping tables in the residence where I lived.  I got paid by the hour.  Soon I got paid a salary, then salary + bonus. Unbeknownst to me at the time I had a built-in mindset that I would do whatever it took to get the job done.  This might have been the result of growing up on the farm or the guidance of my Grandmother www.drmaryjackson.com who was a rural doctor in Alberta. She taught me many of my first business lessons.  The point is hourly pay soon turned into “do what it takes to get the job done” pay!

Having the mindset I would do whatever it took to get the job done helped me get a bigger pay check and that certainly helped to increase my savings.  I already knew about pay myself first, so was well on my way to having a nest egg built up.  The “Do Whatever it Takes Mindset”, or as John calls it the “Stepping Up” behavior, I grew up with was certainly instrumental in helping us buy our business in 1996. 

Today with the help of many dedicated employees (who are growing with me in the mindset of “Doing Whatever it Takes to Get the Job Done”), we are enjoying providing service to our clients, many of who were clients when we bought the business in 1996.  Thank you to our lifetime clients, our soon to be lifetime clients, and our wonderful, “Do Whatever it Takes to Get it Done”, “Stepping Up” crew”!

I highly recommend the book “Stepping Up” by John Izzo, Ph.D. and will be bringing several copies to the office for our reading enjoyment.

I congratulate the Intercon Crew who are continually “Stepping Up”.