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!



    • bkorte

    • 10 years ago

    Once again, Maureen, you’ve posted something so very thought provoking. I’ve been considering how to use my strengths in a different way now that my life has changed completely. It’s hard to be an achiever/futuristic/activator outside that career structure! But I’m working on it.

    In the mean time, I’m trying to be positive about the weather. I’ll be making snow angels in my yard.

    Happy to drive you wherever you need to go!

      • Maureen Monte

      • 10 years ago

      Hello Barbara! Thank you for posting and sharing some encouragement about the weather! :-) I hurt my back shoveling on 1/6 and I’m still paying for it… I like your snow angel idea – take a photo!

      Indeed, knowing that your career has taken a new turn is both a challenge and an opportunity -especially with that kind of horsepower – Achiever, Futurstic, Activator! I know that good things are happening and look forward to hearing more about it as we move forward. What strength will you focus on this week? :-)

      And THANK YOU for offering to drive me – I have only a few local folks who follow my blog and I am so grateful – I will email you!! Thanks again, my fellow Rock Star!

    • Amy Beth

    • 10 years ago

    I’ve been reading this great book (below) and was told to check out your blog today.

    The Gifts of Imperfection By Brene Brown
    Page 36
    If we want to live and love with our whole hearts, and if we want to engage with the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way – especially shame, fear, and vulnerability.

    Page 20
    Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attached judgment to giving help.

    I’m only on page 36. I have been absorbing the concepts she writes about and beginning to understand myself in a way I have never known. Thank you for your blog. It is right on with what I needed to hear today.

    I have been looking for something that speaks to me. Your blog today hit on many of the things I have been reading about – asking for help, loving, belonging, accepting me, courage, compassion, and connection.

      • Maureen Monte

      • 10 years ago

      Hi Amy Beth! Love that you’ve come out to play with us! Isn’t this an interesting journey! And I’m so happy you brought Dr. Brene Brown into the conversation – she is amazing – she holds up a wonderful mirror and help us better understand ourselves, with courage and kindness. Glad you’re on the path with us – we are here to walk side by side with you. I need to get that book! Was it recommended to you? Wondering how you came across it. Thanks again. Maureen

    • Hazel

    • 10 years ago

    I actively tried to FOCUS last week, not all the time, but for things where it would get a job done and over with. It was good, but hard. I didn’t manage to FOCUS every day.
    I had fun (enjoying my job is a huge benefit), other people being enthusiastic about something I have put a lot of effort into was a lift for me. Helping other people out also is good – but not very focused :-(
    I found some creative energy and worked through a whole heap of suggestions for titles of presentations with a colleague, that was quite FOCUSed.
    This week I will think on ADAPTABILITY my #1 strength. “Instinctively, you allow your life to unfold naturally”

      • Maureen Monte

      • 10 years ago

      Aha! So you used your Focus – and it was good but hard. That’s okay. Your willingness to look at it is what matters – it it seemed that it helped you accomplish some things that you might not have gotten done otherwise! I like it! Maybe it is a tool you dig for when you need it, use it, and put it away (probably exhausted from the process, but if it’s effective, its worth it!)
      Ah! you are adaptable – and it’s part of what makes you such a great team player! I look forward to learning more about it!

  1. This past week I noticed the negative voices, the ones that get me off course, that keep me from finding meaning, that interfere with connectedness — I noticed my fear. I was afraid of time (not enough), I was afraid of too much activity (craving stillness), I was afraid of failing (big responsibilities). All this invited me to get clear about what I want to create in m life. The positive moments in the week were characterized by connectedness with people and gave me hope that I was on the right path even when it felt hard.

    I found a quote in the little notebook I’m using for Project Butterfly that I thought fitting to where I am: “The mind determines what’s possible. The heart surpasses it.” Pilar Coolista …reminds me to keep listening to my heart when it’s singing out loud, even if it doesn’t seem to be in tune. :)

    This week I want to focus on CONNECTEDNESS – it’s one of the 4 strengths that showed up in my top 5 both times I’ve taken the Strengthsfinder (7/2010 and 3/2013). My sense is that it will support my really leaning into the possibilities of the future. “Hold tightly to your core values” is the phrase in my guide that spoke most to me today. Really taking that in has already empowered me to claim my day.

    We’re flying, no?

    P.S. To Amy Beth, Brene Brown is awesome, isn’t she? She’s provided such a gift to so many by putting her ideas and research out there. I devoured Daring Greatly. So fantastic you are in a place of powerful self-discovery.

      • Maureen Monte

      • 10 years ago

      Hi Vicki! I love your honesty about the facts and feelings you are facing in your new role. I love that your Connectedness gave you some PEACE – your word, yes? – even in rough waters. Your quote is marvelous!! You come up with the best ones, probably because you’re on the lookout for them – it’s a wonderful gift to share with us.

      Claiming the day – I love the visual it creates in me – how can I claim the day, every day? Oh boy. My ideation strength likes that one! :-)

      And isn’t it great to have Amy Beth bring us Brene Brown? We love her… I don’t think I knew that you read Daring Greatly… hmm…. if you have time, share a thought (or quote or two) from your experience. Thanks again for always coming out to play. By engaging, you teach us so much!