The alleyway was dark with only a few street lamps to light our way. In the distance, you could hear the strands of “Silent Night,” but where we were at, I didn’t feel so calm nor bright.
While the Victorian “streets” were bustling with eager vendors, with “in character” strollers, and with all sorts of people speaking with fake English accents, I still felt uneasy. It was supposed to be fun – a slice of life – a journey back to a more innocent time, and yet…
There was something “not quite right” about the good natured “cheer.” I could feel it, you know. Something sinister. Do you know what I mean? You feel that there is something more just underneath the surface, but you can’t put your finger on it?
I think “darkness” can put our senses on “red alert” and we can misinterpret benign circumstances as threats – like strolling through the Dickens Fair and thinking that someone could jump out at us from a darkened corner!! Especially after talking with the local haberdasher about a knife with a circular blade that was deadly!
(Did you know that you can’t heal from a knife wound made by a circular blade?! The incongruity of a smiling clerk selling “gentleman’s” clothing while also offering the latest in deadly blades only served to make me even more uncomfortable!)
All of this pseudo Christmas cheer combined with knives and other sordid creatures of the night got me thinking about the light and the not so light parts of ourselves. Which side do we pay attention to and how would we recognize it as being light or dark, good or bad, right or wrong for us?
Which led me to me think about how we would recognize the inflection point of a decision. How would we know what our values are and what is good and right for us? What choice is truly ours and what choice is our following other people’s rules, paradigms and ways of being? Because in the end, what we do is on us.
An easy way to begin is by identifying who you are not. What are the things that you don’t like? Who are the people you don’t feel good hanging out with? And when you start recognizing who you are not, you start to identify who you are. The one you would fight for, the person you want to be.
How does you do that? By not giving your precious time, your attention, and your energy to the people, places and things that don’t serve you.
The unexamined life is not worth living –Socrates
Remember Soc from PHIL101 class? He famously uttered these words at his trial for corrupting youth. What was so dangerous about Socrates that the Greeks put him to death? Freedom to think independently is the ultimate threat to those who want to control others.
When you take time to really examine your choices, the struggle of ” who you will choose to be” is at the core of every decision you make. Even when you tell yourself the lie that your choices don’t matter, they do. All of us, in the end, are defined by what we choose to do or not to do.
Our actions are the ultimate judge and jury of the person we want to bring forth into the world –Christine Jeffrey
Below are some tips to guide you back to making a conscious and deliberate decision about the person you want to bring forth into the world. These tips will help you take back ownership of yourself, your time, and your life. Make them habits and watch your self respect grow.
5 (1) Ways to Have Your Back
- Practice – Have (1) “hard” conversation everyday. You know the one, in which, you may disappoint someone, hurt their feelings, or share something that makes you feel vulnerable? Yes, do (1) a day.
- Each morning – Write (1) sentence about what matters most to you and why. Then, make it a priority by scheduling it on your calendar and following through.
- Thank yourself – Each day, appreciate yourself for doing the work by acknowledging (1) thing you said or did that was in alignment with your vision or your values.
- Tell the truth – Say (1) honest thing to yourself. Step over nothing everyday. Call yourself out. If you aren’t proud of what you said or did, recognize it and recommit to the person you want to be. In order to have an extraordinary life, you have to have extraordinary honesty.
- Measure your progress – Each night, take 15 minutes to do (1) check-in to see what you’ve learned, what you’ve practiced, and how much you’ve grown. This helps you to solidfy what happened during the day and to remind you of your successes.
Make It a Habit
When you and I take those 5 (1) ways and make them habits, we feel stronger, braver, more confident and proud of who we are and how we are showing up in the world. Habits like the ones above, fundamentally, change the quality of our lives for the better. I want that for us! And the next time, I go strolling at a Dickens Fair, I’ll make sure to remember that I get what I focus on!
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Thanks for reading, and until next time,
Remember, there is so much more to you than the sum of your experiences and your circumstances!
Coach “I’ve Got Your Back”