I remember facing a huge obstacle in my career, and my friend Vicki sent over a quote: “the obstacle in the path is the path.” I found it oh so comforting to know that I didn’t actually have to move Mount Everest. I was right where I needed to be, and Mount Everest was my friend, not my enemy. I could ask for help climbing it, I could walk around it, or I could walk away from it, but I didn’t have to move it. In the process of accepting Mount Everest, I would discover detours and vistas that I would never have seen otherwise. I’m facing an unexpected obstacle in Project Butterfly – my challenge is to respond well. More on that below.
Back to our journey. Last week we were to think about a word or phrase that would be our beacon, our harbor in the tempest, over the next six weeks. Mine was “WONDER-fully FEARLESS” because I started this whole thing with a desire to add more wonder to my world, and added FEARLESS when I realized that I needed a bit of courage to make essential changes.
Today’s request: Share an experience of how your phrase emerged in your world this week.
I’ll go first. My WONDER-fully FEARLESS mantra popped up in a spot I never expected! And yet, upon reflection, I can see it is exactly where I need to focus. In fact, I’m horribly delinquent. Here’s what happened.
My boss was in town this week. I really like him, and regret that he’s in England and I’m here. For only the second time in seven months, we met in person. My Individualization strength was delighted to learn more about him – where he went to school, where he has lived (he’s lived a lot of places), and how he got to where he is today. He has an entrepreneurial streak which appeals to me, because that’s my sweet spot, despite working for a large company. I simply operate more effectively when I am well-acquainted with my colleagues. Anyhow, eventually we had a career chat, and when he asked me about my aspirations, to my complete surprise, what popped out of my mouth was, “First of all, I need to get healthy. I need to take better care of myself than I have been. I work too many hours, and it’s having an impact on my health.”
This is WONDER-fully FEARLESS on my part because I’m the last one to take care of myself (let alone tell my boss!) I will gladly work myself to death, juggle 18 projects, and put other people’s needs above my own. I have a lifetime pattern of this behavior, going back to when my father died when I was young. I was the oldest child, and only girl, with three younger brothers. However… It’s one thing to recognize a pattern, it’s another thing to do something about it.
My task for 2014 is to own and improve my well-being. I need to learn how to ask for help, and to say, “Enough, already!” This is a skill I have never known, and if not now, when?
Over the next six weeks, I’m going to be WONDER-fully FEARLESS about saying “I’d love to, and before I commit, let me look at what else I’ve got on my plate.” Or, more difficult yet, “Can you help me?”
Case in point. I have an appointment for a procedure coming up and need someone to take me to the doctor. I haven’t asked anyone yet. It’s hard for me to ask for help – time to step up, own up, and say, “Can you take me to the doctor? We’ll be gone about 3 hours.” I would do it in a heartbeat for a friend or family member. Yet, it is hard for me to allow others to give me the same gift.
It’s like rescuing that poor butterfly as it suffocated beneath the snow. I saw the need, and took action. I just had to put my snow boots on, trek over there, and do it. Can I do the same thing when I look at myself in need? Can I perform a “self-rescue” when I’m struggling?
My Project Butterfly is going to shift from constantly pushing the boundaries of the universe, to looking at myself as I would a dear friend, and say, “I’m going to be nicer to you than I have been. What would be best for you, today?” I shudder to write it… but if I write it, it is more real. And then, when it’s more real, I can believe it. If I believe it, I can do it.
What about you? What did you observe? Feel free to add your adventures in the comments (click on the register link if you haven’t already done so to create a user id/password for commenting.)
Project Butterfly Activity for This Week – the 2% solution:
1. Pick a strength (if you haven’t taken the Clifton Strengthsfinder, go to www.gallupstrengthscenter.com )
2. Read your Insight Guide description of the strength in the morning. Pick a favorite line to focus on for that day (and if you want to share your MOST-EST FAVORITE line with us, please do!)
3. Observe your daily interactions, activities, learning – as you focus on the strength over the week, do you see it appearing more often? It’s there, the challenge is to see how it manifests itself in you.
4. Apply the 2% solution rule – we work at least 480 minutes per week (40 hours X 60 mins) – take 2% of that time (9.2 minutes per week, or 2 minutes per work day) and write down what you did or learned about the strength– how did it pop up and what was the impact on your world? Were you happier, delighted, surprised? What about those around you? This is a success tracker exercise. Set the timer for two minutes, and then do a quick brain dump. Be fun, be self-encouraging, be aware that you are truly totally awesome!
5. At the end of the week, finish this sentence: I was at my best this week when ________
I’m going to focus on IDEATION, my #1 strength. I’m an idea machine, and I look forward to focusing my IDEATION talent on taking better care of my health.
That’s it, my friends. I hope you’ll share what you learn with us, because then we can complete the circle and educate our flock of butterflies together!