Posts

We All Have a Story

We all have a story.

In preparation for a book my husband and I are working on, “How to Stay Married,” I have been perusing old journals.  I have a lot of them! I started keeping a journal many years ago when a woman I respected encouraged me to keep a chronicle of life lessons. Her reasoning was that someday, I would write.  I so appreciate her nudging. She told me that when I was ready to write about my journey, my journals would give me accurate recall. To pass along truth is important to me, so I am deeply glad that I took her advice and now have written accounts of experiences and lessons that have brought me into my ThirdThird.

Last week, I spend some time in the 1980’s. The 80’s were full years for me.  Our last 2 children, one miscarriage, a diagnosis of cervical cancer while I was pregnant with #5, our only daughter. After her birth and subsequent surgery, I spiraled into a puzzling physical weakening that was eventually (after 2.5 years of doctors and testing) diagnosed as myasthenia gravis. In spite of those difficulties, those years had some deeply positive results for me.

Those years brought me to several of my life mantras.  

Refusing to be “controlled by others’ insecurities” came from these days.  Other women close to me did not believe that I might actually be sick. I grew weary of hearing others’ complaints and the ensuing competition for who had it harder with their life as wife and mother.  I determined not to talk about my difficulties and went on with my life. I learned to face my own insecurities and to seek health for myself.

Deciding “I would not be insecure” also grew from this time.  I knew my body and my history and I had to be determined to get to the bottom of my weakness…even if my friends doubted me and doctors tended to scratch their heads and suggest another test or specialty. I learned to trust myself and my own experience.

I learned and grew through weakness.  I remember, especially, learning to be thankful for my own experience of being weak because it helped me understand people who are not strong. Weak people had always annoyed me, rather than elicit sympathy. Until I experienced weakness myself. I learned to prioritize my responsibilities and to take “one step at a time” towards learning to live with the reality of the day.

Good things came, but it was a hard time.

Reading through those journals last week took me back to some very difficult and sad times as well as reminding me of all the good and positive.

In the 1980’s, I found myself not in conformity to the organization we were deeply involved with and that led to much angst on my part. I was (am) strong willed and opinionated and a challenger. While I was committed to the stated goals of the group, I often was at odds with leadership because I didn’t naturally or easily conform. I brought my own self and my own experience and my own opinions. But, I was misunderstood, not respected. My stories were not honored.

Interestingly, a few years ago, I stumbled onto a website for people who had similar experiences to mine in that same organization.  It was mesmerizing. While I had been able to remove myself and find self-respect and health long before finding that website, it was a powerful experience to read that others had very, very similar situations to mine.  I lurked…not joining in by posting. I was past needing to express my own painful remembrances. Yet, even with that being true, it was hugely validating to see that others knew my pain, honored my story, even if they didn’t know me.

I felt that my story had been honored.

Fortunately, my marriage survived those years and those people.  Thankfully, I learned during those days to listen without becoming defensive, to look for the truth in spite of the messenger, and to forgive.

Unfortunately, I spent several strategic years in fear and dread. I lost joy and had physical repercussions. Our children were affected by the difficulty that their parents faced.

I have moved on.  

Thankfully, with grit and determination over a long period of time, I rarely consider those days now.  But recent remembering has made me acutely aware of the fact that there are people who have discounted my feelings and perspective then and now.  There are relationships that I think I would enjoy having now, if those people could honor my story.

I would be interested in knowing some of their story now.  I would honor them. Even if they were vastly different from my own. Reading my journal accounts of those interactions long ago, with time distancing my sight, I can honor the stories and understand some of today’s reality.

In the organization where my hurtful story exists, others have a different story. Some have left. Some have remained.  Others have eased away through job relocations or other life changes. Some legitimately do not see harmful practices. Others choose to ignore them.  Still others call them out and suffer the consequences. I believe that there are some who honestly do not see how their actions might be hurtful.

The one thing I would wish for is if we could all learn to honor each other’s story. Not in that organization, but on a daily, personal basis.

Wonderful stories of healing and acceptance.

    Difficult stories of pain and struggle.

         Happy stories of reconciliations and forgiveness.

        Moving stories of abuse and distrust.

         Redeeming stories of self-acceptance and solid understanding.

I heard Brene Brown say in an interview that she believes in the goodness of people…but that it is hard work to stay out of fear and to stay good.

Hearing and honoring another’s story is a way to do the good, hard work that will make us better. To face our own fears and to look for the good.

Let’s honor each other’s story.

 

 

 

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Love to Read

Your Best Third Third

I love to read. And I love to encourage others to read.  

Here is a short excerpt from my book, Which Old Woman Will You Be? from the chapter on Be A Reader.  

Today, my top five novels are:  Jane Eyre, Christy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Kite Runners.  

From these, I discovered that …..

I actually can be a romantic.

    I want my home to be a refuge and place of comfort.

         I can enjoy fantasy, even though I am more naturally a realist.

              There are unbelievable obstacles women can overcome.

                   Cultures are deep and full and very multi-dimensional.

I said five, so I won’t go on to mention Three Cups of Tea, The Lacuna, The Hobbit and George McDonald novels……or Grishom and Patricia Cornwell (Scarpetta) and Maeve Binchy or The President’s Lady and Mr. Audubon’s Lucy.

I have nonfiction favorites, too.  Like any of John Maxwell’s books on leadership, One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni, When Fish Fly by Joseph Michelli and John Yokoyama.   The Purpose Driven Life would be #1 on the non-fiction list if I had to choose.

BIG life-changing books for me have been The Dip by Seth Godin. That book actually was a catalyst for major adjustments for my husband and me. Including (but not limited to) changing jobs and relocating 11 hours away.  

Younger Next Year (and Younger Next Year for Women) by Chris Crowley and Harry S Lodge, M.D. has prompted significant daily alterations for me and my husband. Moving from casual to intentional daily exercise and getting serious about our diet so that we can stay fit and active into our 80’s and beyond came from this book.

These books helped us imagine our lives differently.

One of the few regrets I have is that I have not kept a list of all the books I have read.  

Be discriminate with your time. Read books that teach good lessons that are well-written.  

                 Not to escape, but to explore.  

Reading will keep your mind sharp.  It will give you something to talk with others about.  It can get you thinking about larger issues. It can make you smile and weep and empathize and wonder.

Some studies even show that reading reduces stress and can slow our heartbeat. Take a “reading vacation.” You don’t have to go anywhere or spend anything. Just block out some time to “go somewhere” by reading a book.

So…a short excerpt from Which Old Woman Will You Be?  To encourage you to read!!!

What books are on your summer reading list? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Emily Marie on Unsplash

Change the Way You Think

Saying daily affirmations, out loud, is a very effective way to live on purpose.  Having true, positive statements you say about and to yourself is rewarding, energizing, focusing, and, actually, can change the way you think.

If you google “affirmations” you can find lists of suggested affirmations to tell yourself to make yourself feel better, think more positively, have greater success.   

“My heart is overflowing with joy.”

“All is well right now.”

“I nourish my body with healthy food.”

No doubt, those affirmations can be helpful.  

 

But I have a better way.

Rather than googling for words from someone else to say to yourself daily, instead, take a moment and consider your limiting beliefs.  The most effective affirmations will replace those limiting beliefs with affirming statements.  

I have been doing this for the past ten years and it is a life-changing exercise that just keeps on giving.  Replacing my limiting beliefs has been a practical way to keep growing, keep learning.

+

Identifying your limiting beliefs is the first and necessary step.  

For me, as I walked the halls as CEO of the young company I was charged with making profitable, I was challenged by a coach to recognize my limiting beliefs.  I found that I had a number of them! One very limiting belief was, “I really don’t know what I am doing and I hope no one finds out!”

Truth was, I was leading a group of people into a new way of doing things with great help from the franchise, receiving information and training that was beyond adequate. I was absorbing new information easily and readily and we were off to a great start.   By telling myself that I was clueless, even in a fleeting moment, I robbed myself and the investors of this company, of some of the energy and confidence required to succeed.

+

Replace the limiting beliefs with true and possible affirmations.

I replaced the above limiting belief with this affirmation, “I am a confident, successful business woman who knows where I am going and who is meeting the people and developing the skills to become outrageously successful.”  Gradually, as I repeated this, I became confident that everything I needed was available and that I was the best person to be at the helm for that time.

+

Repeat them, out loud, at least once a day.

I partnered up with a younger man from a different state to do daily affirmations.  One of us would call the other and dive in. “Good morning, Andy! I am a confident, successful business woman who knows where she is going and who is meeting the people and developing the skills to become outrageously successful.”  And so on, for my 5-6 statements. Andy would say, “You rock, Debbie!” Then Andy would say his 5-6 statements, addressing his limiting beliefs. I would say something encouraging to him, we would hang up and go into our day. 2 minutes, average, was our investment.

+

You will see positive results.

In those 10 years, Andy stepped out into some risky (yet rewarding) ventures that have brought him a sense of significance. He has increased his productivity and grown his business and improved his relationships. He is making more money and living with purpose. Also, he has lost a significant amount of weight and has made fitness a regular part of his life.  

Me? My affirmations gave me the courage to build that new company with a good foundation, then move to another that needed a turn-around. I have been willing to risk some investments after telling myself that “I am wise with money and have multiple sources of income.” I once recognized an opportunity when I was told they were “creating a role” for me since one of my affirmations said that exact thing…. that I “attracted ethical, successful people who recognized my strengths and created opportunities for me.”

I don’t believe that thinking about them made any of these things happen. I simply see that by changing my thinking from limiting beliefs to possible realities, I was able to see and hear and respond to possibilities when they came along.  

+

Keep your affirmations current.

Affirmations need to be current and personal to effective, so adapting them is key.  

I recently revisited my limiting beliefs, since I am doing new things.  And, I wrote new affirmations. One of them that I say daily is, “I am fulfilled and happy, living on purpose and making my ThirdThird my BEST Third”.  Feel free to borrow it!

It really is possible to change the way you think.  Just recognize those limiting beliefs and replace them with truthful affirmations that are possible.  

Say them, out loud, daily, at least once, and begin to notice the positive changes in your life.  

What are your limiting beliefs?  Can you replace them with positive, possible affirmations?  Do you have examples of changing your thinking? Please go to YourBestThirdThird Facebook and share your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Energy Drain

Understanding where your energy comes from and
where it goes is key to living life well.

Do you know what drains you? It is a first step in managing your own energy.

The DiSC is a personal assessment tool we can use to understand the way we are wired. We are each a combination of D and I and S and C. Understanding these basic 4 types of behavior styles is the first, really great step in understanding your own personal wiring.

ENERGY DRAINS

For D’s and C’s, too much time with people contact is a drain. D’s are fast paced and can manage people and time well, as long as it is attached to getting something done.  Just to “hang out” or be entirely social can be a drain. C’s generally are drained by any type of prolonged people contact. Meetings, parties, shopping, chatting…..all deplete a C.

I’s and S’s are drained by having to focus too much on the task. Sitting and staring at a computer, in an office while everyone else is at lunch, working on a project alone can be a sap on energy for those that are people-oriented.

We can’t always avoid the energy drains,
so we have to know how to replenish our energy.

 

For I’s and S’s, energy comes from interaction with others. I’s like a party. They like groups and action and noise and fun. They get energy from being in a crowd and interacting. S’s like connecting, one-on-one and with some depth. They value serious conversation and true friendship.

For D’s and C’s, energy comes from a task. D’s like to start things and to solve problems. They like competitive games that move fast and then end. C’s like research and detailed plans. They like computer games that require concentration and knowledge and that can be played alone.

With some simple tracking and awareness, you can identify your draining times and activities. Once you’ve identified what is zapping your energy, you can limit your exposure to those sources and, more importantly, be intentional and schedule time for replenishing activities that give you life.

 

 

 

 

 

The Platinum Rule

It has been said that understanding DiSC is learning to practice the Platinum Rule.  If the Golden Rule is to “treat others as you would be treated,” the Platinum Rule is “treat others as THEY would like to be treated.”  Ahhh.  Slight (yet, big) difference.

Early in our marriage, I threw my husband (High C and High D–not so much energized by people) a surprise party with a lot of people attending.  He thought we were going to our friends’ for a 4 person dinner.  When we walked in and there were 20 or so people there, his first thought was, “How will we get rid of all these people so we can eat?”  We had to tell him that everyone was there to celebrate his birthday and he still had a hard time loosening up and believing the fact that some people actually might enjoy this sort of thing.

I have never done that again.

The-Platinum-Rule-fortune-cookie

We do tend to think that others will enjoy what we enjoy.  So, when we are thinking of doing something nice for someone else, our initial thoughts will be to do for them what we would enjoy.  If I would enjoy a party, won’t everyone else?  If I only enjoy one or two people at a time, doesn’t everyone?  If my way of dealing with stress is to clam up and put my nose to the grindstone, isn’t that what others want me to encourage them to do? If I am most effective when processing while I talk, won’t others be happy to listen to my musings?

Assuming that the high “S” project manager wants to be interviewed on camera because her high “I/D” boss would love it, does not make it accurate.  Assuming that a high “I” will love researching the best route because their high “C” partner wishes they had the time, may not tap into strengths.  Giving an I, who is in charge of the annual picnic, a strict budget to follow on their own may not have the best outcome.  Expecting a “D/C”, task-oriented birthday man to think 3 hours of conversation and games is a good way to spend an evening just might not result in the most appreciative attitude.

Learning my own DiSC pattern and how that affects my choices of behavior is crucial to my success.

Learning the preferred behavior and motivation of the people I live and work with is the key to successful relationships.

Without conscious attention to differences, it is easy to assume others are just like me.  But, sameness would be boring, if we are honest.  The variety in our relationships is what gives success and breadth and growth and enjoyment… IF we recognize and value the differences. When we recognize and value the differences we can treat others as they would like to be treated.

 

Learn more about the DiSC Personal Profile System and Understanding Your Wiring HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Alick Boych Friiends Of Mine via photopin (license)

Your Story

your story

 

What is the story you are telling?

I am at an age where I have told my story a number of times, in a number of places, to a  number of people.  My story has become more and more consistent as I have worked hard to define what is important to me and what I believe deeply. “Worked hard at” means faced fears, listened to criticism, changed behaviors, stood my ground, moved, cried, laughed, stayed, left.  I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.  And that has taken work.

I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.

The most important people in my story are my husband and my kids… though none are “kids” any longer.  And I don’t think of any of them as “kids” at all now, but as adults to be admired and valued and respected, each in their own right.  Their lives, intertwined with mine, are the fabric I wear now.  It surprises me, because “family cohesiveness” has never been a stated goal for me. The theme of my story is responsibility and choices–and personal discovery so that my choices are intentional and so that I am responsibly being the very best human being possible.  My modus operandi?  Grace and truth, always finding the balance.

What story are you telling?

We are all telling a story. To tell it with purpose and with as little regret as possible is a worthy goal.  That isn’t easy… but it is worth the effort… continually.

 

 

Perfection is Highly Overrated

Perfection

Perfection is Highly Overrated

Full disclosure… My natural inclination is not toward perfection.  I prefer to make things work, rather than fix them.  I had a VW bug that needed a new starter (1970’s) and rather than spend the money to get it fixed, I always parked on a hill (easy in Austin, TX) so I could push it and pop the clutch to get it started (that worked well until I moved to Lubbock, TX, where there are no hills).

I get my face and hair to the point that I am satisfied and then I don’t look in a mirror for the rest of the day.  I have written a weekly newspaper column and this blog and others, but could not bear the tedium of trying to write good poetry.  I have no problem creatively substituting chicken for shrimp or cauliflower for potatoes or flour for cornstarch rather than making another trip to the store. I don’t regularly check the air in my tires or the balance in my checkbook or get birthday cards mailed on time.

Perfection is Overrated

I do have an appreciation for doing things well and right and correctly, though.  In truth, I am a rules follower (if I have deemed the rules worthy of being followed).  Grammar, driving, attendance, polite behavior, reading a book from the front to the back, putting your dirty dishes in the dishwasher, doing that you say you will do…all of those examples and others like them should definitely be done following the rules.

There are times when doing things close to perfect is important.  Trying your hand at carpentry?  You should definitely measure twice, cut once.  Knitting an afghan?  It makes a difference if you check the dye lot on every skein of yarn.  Going on an overseas trip?  Checking the expiration date of your passport is prudent.  Heading for a baseball game at Wrigley Field?  Checking the weather can prevent being way too cold on a blustery day in August.

I am all for doing things well…
striving for perfection, however, is an entirely different thing.

The pursuit of perfection on an everyday basis wastes time, prevents communication, halts progress, frustrates goals, annoys others, gives false impressions, and generally keeps progress from happening.  Finding the reality of “perfect enough” saves a lot of misspent energy and time.

 

 

 

 

Take a Break and Relax

take a break and relax

I wanted to do something fun and slightly edgy to celebrate turning 65. I decided to take a break and relax. I weighed lots of options and tossed around a lot of ideas and finally settled on going to Cuba.

Always interested in the history of this little island and remembering the turmoil of the late 50’s with Fidel and Che’s revolution, recalling the Cuban missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs, I decided I wanted to visit Cuba before Starbucks is there.

relax-1It took some planning.  I had to arrange to cover a significant amount of real estate business, details at home needed planning, travel matching with Dave’s schedule took some discussion.  We finally got it all together and off I went to meet Dave in Merida, Mexico where he was hosting a small group of travelers.  We met up, spent a day with his group, then flew to Havana for three days. And flew home.

Merida was beautiful. Cuba was interesting. The food was phenomenal. The weather ideal.

The trip was short. The travel days were long. There was a lot of walking and waiting. It was exactly what I wanted.

 

I was completely satisfied.

And, surprisingly,  it was relaxing.

As I reflect on the relaxing part, I realize that there was an element to the trip that was not relaxing, at all.  It started with a 15 hour travel day, followed by cars, planes, taxis, late nights, and more long days.

The relaxing part was that I made the decision to completely unplug for the time we were in Cuba.  Using my phone would be possible, but expensive.  We read that internet is sketchy at best. So, I just turned everything off; I took a break.

No phone. No email. No texting. No facebook.
No communication….for 52 hours. Nothing.

That is not a very long time… but it was lovely.  And relaxing.

Relax

 

I have a job that requires communication. I have family I want to stay connected to. I’m curious and love to research and write and read and have information ready when I need it (or want it).  I’m involved in our community.  I love having a smart phone and a laptop and a tablet.

Those 52 hours make me think about how stressful and energy-sapping being plugged in constantly is.  I am going to be better at intentionally giving myself regular quiet time with no connections for better energy and real relaxation.

 

 

What is one thing you can do to create space in the rhythm of your life to unplug and recharge? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Straight and Sturdy and Strong

sturdy and strong

My husband and I happened to be in a house recently that was next door to one we lived in long ago.  It brought back a lot of memories and we smiled a lot while remembering our lives and our family at that place, that stage of our journey.

We remembered a lot of work there, too.

We are always remodeling, upgrading, adding to homes, it seems.  Once, I counted 17 different addresses we’ve had in our 43+ years of marriage and in each, we left our mark of added rooms, new roofs, refinished floors, etc., etc.

At this particular past address, Dave noticed the fence he had built 30 years ago. He designed it and erected it by hand with his carpenter/friend. Six feet tall, made of wood, handsome lattice at the top, it is still straight and sturdy and strong.

No warping.

No sagging.

No leaning.

I think back to my life there in that home and realize that home is where I started building my strong life, digging a deep foundation for where I am now…making my BEST ThirdThird.

We were living there when I learned about wiring and started studying and sharing the life-changing information that comes from understanding self and others in terms of DiSC behavior styles.

It was there that I decided I would no longer be insecure.

There I learned there were certain volunteer efforts that I should say no to because I wasn’t all that good at them and others could do them better.

In that home, I learned to be grateful and to appreciate the moment.

Now, I stand straight and sturdy and strong….just like the fence Dave built.

Weathered a bit.

Needing a fresh coat of paint occasionally.

Showing age if you look closely.

But, standing straight and sturdy and strong.

With gratefulness and purpose.

 

 

 
photo credit: Nanagyei Droplets – HFF via photopin (license)

A Gift for Yourself

A Gift For Yourself

Looking for a gift for yourself?  Invest in knowing yourself better so that you can be intentional with your life choices.

DiSC is one of the most life-changing pieces of information I have ever encountered.  Understanding my wiring allowed me to shake off the insecurities and self-doubt that plagued me for years.  Regularly, I  return to DiSC to help me understand others so I can make wise decisions about my own behavior.

lightstock_159598_medium_user_2948083

We are extending our offer for Understanding Your Wiring just for you!

 

If you need to be reminded of WHY this would benefit you….here are five good reasons to invest in yourself! Read full post here.

 

1.) You can know your unique wiring.
You are wired uniquely and understanding your wiring (with DiSC) is a major key to success in relationships, whether personal or professional.

 

2.) You can be comfortable in your own skin. 
Understanding yourself can make you comfortable in your own skin, which makes you less likely to compare yourself to others.

 

3.) You can acknowledge and celebrate your strengths.
Knowing your wiring allows you to recognize areas of strength that you can celebrate.

 

4.) You can find new energy for your dreams.
Your strengths celebrated can help you realize new and powerful potential for meeting the dreams and goals you have.

 

5.) You can find power and purpose.
Embracing your wiring is the key to learning to live your life on purpose.

 

And….for an introduction to the insights, there is a free quiz at YourBESTThirdThird.com….right on the home page!

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Maria Eklind Waiting on a christmas gift via photopin (license)