Courage Part 2: What Will Others Think? Approval Addiction and People Pleasing

Worrying about what others think of us will affect our ability to be an effective leader, to be courageous, step out of of our comfort zone, and pursue our goals. People pleasing and approval addiction get in the way of: important work, sticking to your values and principles and making an impact.

When I was growing up, my mother would always say, “what will people think?” It would drive me bananas, I would say, “who cares what they think?”

Some of us spend a lot of time caring about what other people think of us, and what we are doing; many of these people are either casual acquaintances or strangers. Worrying about what others think affects our ability to be courageous, to step out of our comfort zone, pursue those things that make us better, and become the leaders we want to be.

Should business leaders care what people think?

Well… maybe

Great leaders are guided by their core values and personal philosophy. These values act as an internal compass to guide their actions.

Leaders will listen to opinions, but they use experience and judgment to determine whether there is a fit with their direction, and the advice or opinion they are given.

The customers who are the hardest to please, will provide the most helpful feedback to help leaders see their blind spots and dangers ahead.

Leaders take the advice of mentors or coaches to help them achieve their goals.

Leaders who have similar values to you and have had success in achieving what you are trying to achieve, add value to your course of action. They can help guide you when you face challenges and can provide advice to overcome the problem.

What about the rest of us who aren’t business leaders?

The answer is no different, know your core values and personal philosophy and apply them in the same way as business leaders do.

The topic of people pleasing, approval addiction and what others think about us comes up a lot. This is most noticeable in the social media sphere where we are addicted to likes. But why?

We get a dopamine rush when we get likes on social media. With more and more likes, more dopamine is released, there is more rush and so it goes. Dopamine makes us seek pleasure.

Do others really care what we are doing?

NO!

They care about what they are doing and wonder if you like them!

When does opinion matter?

It depends on whose opinion you are seeking, how important that person is in your life and what you want them to care about. In general, the opinion of strangers should not matter very much. You may want to consider the following hierarchy of opinions that should matter

  • immediate family: spouses, children, and parents
  • bosses and close friends (should matter a lot, although not as much as family)
  • colleagues and neighbors (should matter somewhat less)
  • acquaintances (should not matter very much)
  • people you encounter in the street or casually at a party (should not matter at all)

Opinion matters if your reputation is at risk of damage, for example if you have been falsely accused of a crime because it can affect you and your family directly. But if is superficial like your hair or clothes, then shake off and move on, it doesn’t matter what they think, and you shouldn’t care.

It’s a fact that some people won’t like you no matter what you say or do. Don’t waste your time on them and find those that appreciate you for who you are.

The truth is, what other people think about us is none of our business. Their opinions have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with themselves, their past, their judgments, their expectations, their likes, and their dislikes.

Takeaways

I wish I could honestly say that I don’t care what people think, but I do more than I want to. I don’t know why. The truth is, we all care about what others think at different times. The trick is to know when it matters and when it doesn’t. Here are some tips that I am following that may help if this is you:

Think about what your core values are and what your personal philosophy is. Use them to guide you about whether someone’s opinion matters.

Be aware of your shortcomings. These can be blind spots that can prevent you from growing. Leaders need to know all of their biases and weaknesses. It’s important information to have, and it’s not always easy to get this feedback from others. It is equally hard for others to offer genuine feedback.

I’ve heard from leaders that they have had to grow thick skin. In other words, they have had to harden themselves to some opinions. Leaders must make tough decisions that will not make some people happy. As a result, leaders will stick to their principles and know that it doesn’t matter if they are liked or not, because it could hurt their progress in achieving their goals.

Sometimes opinions change. When new information presents itself, it may cause someone to change their opinion of you. What someone likes now, may be different in three months.

Have a trusted group of advisors – they are your coaches. They don’t always tell you what you want to hear, but they tell you what you need to hear.  They will help course correct, to make sure you are headed in the right direction. These coaches can help you in your professional or personal life. Think about the challenges you’ve recently handled and the ones you’ll soon face. How did you do? What went right? What can you improve and how would you do it differently?

And for that difficult opinion – take a pause. Before you act irrationally, sit with the thought, idea, frustration or opinion for about 24 hours and see how you feel then. Chances are that the thought or opinion won’t be as burning an issue as it was 24 hours previously. When you have a clear head and are not thinking emotionally, you can decide whether it needs action and what kind of action. You can decide to let it go; or you can re – frame your thought. I have found that by asking questions, and actively listening, I can learn something new or understand better – if I remain calm and curious.

Hardening oneself from the opinions of others takes work.

If they are in the bleacher seats and not in the arena, their opinion doesn’t matter.”

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Character – Courage

Leaders have courage. They face their fear by meeting it head on, by putting aside their emotions, and taking one step at a time to conquer fear. Otherwise it will derail them from their goals and vision. There are steps to overcome the fear and keep going. The more experience you get being courageous, the more fearless and courageous you become.

Integrity and courage are critical to leadership.

Courage has three features: a noble goal, personal risk, and choice.

I’m not talking about running into a burning building courage. I’m talking about Brené Brown’s:

”ordinary courage; the courage to be vulnerable and disappointed. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.”

When you accept the invitation to be a real leader, whether at work, at home, or in your community, you are accepting the condition of feeling uncomfortable. I would suggest that sometimes it is way more than uncomfortable – it is outright fear. Whatever you need courage for, you will have to walk through your fear to get to the other side.  

Courage means that you:

Face your fear and just keep going afraid. Fear is a powerful emotion that can paralyze, derail and take over your life.

Persist. Keep going, find a way to overcome your obstacles.

Think differently.

Have a difficult conversation that you have been avoiding.

Take a calculated risk that considers trade-offs.

The Courage Plan

This article focuses on those acts of courage that require you to come face to face with your giant or fear, and it offers a road map on how to do it.

I suggest that taking courageous action needs a courage plan. Before acting, there are steps that will help embolden you. This plan helps prepare your mindset to take courageous action and for success. 

A study on power found that those who prepared their minds for success were more likely to have success. The study focused on a pre-performance ritual, like writing about a time when you felt powerful. Study participants who performed this ritual were more successful in obtaining a job than those that didn’t have a similar ritual. 

Athletes, performers and others in leadership positions have rituals to help them focus their minds on success, settle their nerves, and improve their performance.

Courage is not only needed for leadership in a work environment. It is needed for any situation that requires courage no matter how big or small that giant or fear is in your life. 

Step One: Identify the problem.

The first step in the courage plan is the realization that something is not right in your world and you want to change it but, are afraid. It doesn’t have to be a big thing like running into a burning building, it can be leaving a paid job to stay home, going back to school after working for a while, getting married, having a baby, moving away from home, or changing hairdressers.  Everyone has a different level of tolerance for change and fear. However, the motivator is dissatisfaction with something in your world, and requires courageous action of some sort to make a change.

Step 2: Gather information and analyze the situation.

As the dissatisfaction grows, so does the idea that there needs to be a change. But what needs to change? This is the analysis step – figuring it out.  This process can be long and involved, or short and sweet; depending on what you decide needs to change.

The other reason I say that it is a planning process, is that it saves you from being impulsive, and prepares you mentally to accept the challenge and move forward.

Step 3: Next steps.

This is the how of change. Throughout this whole process of planning, you are becoming more comfortable with the idea of change while mentally preparing yourself for action.  As you are becoming more comfortable with the idea, you begin to think about what you need to do to achieve your goal. You begin to plan your next steps:

For work – It may be a big initiative, a change in direction, or mandate, new branding, etc. It will involve all your staff to help make that change. As a leader, you will need to talk to staff and prepare a plan to help manage the process and expectations.  When will you let them know? Are you ready for the questions they may have? How will you calm their fears? How will you calm your own fears? How will get them on board with the change? Who will be your champions?

Or, the change may be a difficult conversation, that will require courage; what do you need to discuss, what will you say?

For your personal life – Do you need to move?  What do you need to do? What arrangements do you need to make?

Step 4:  Decidewill you act or not?

As a part of your decision making you may also have to:

Prepare a backup plan.

Be mentally prepared to live with any decision you make.

Practice what you need to say or do to get the courage you need.

Take a deep breath, walk straight towards your fear and take action on your best plan.

At this point you need to decide; will you act or not? If you see this as the only option, it is because the status quo no longer suits you. All the planning you did has prepared you for action.

Or…. Maybe you are not ready yet, and need more time and mental preparation

Or…Maybe you’ve decided you don’t want the change after all

Or…Maybe the time isn’t right 

These are all courageous decisions.  

Ordinary courage needs you to be brave to act against the giants and fears in your life. The giants and fears may be people, places or things. Giants and fears say and do things to hurt, humiliate or scare. They leave you trembling, anxious and fearful because they are scary. As you take back your power with acts of courage, and face new giants and fears, they become less and less scary.

Each small act of courage builds upon the previous, until you become more comfortable with courageous acts. You are building your courage muscles.

Where real life meets theory

Here’s the thing… I learned about courage one step at a time. My journey started with a small act that was low risk, but it was still a giant that I had to face. Then I had more acts of courage that kept building upon the previous ones. With each step, act, and victory came more confidence. With each success I was able to face bigger giants and take on bigger acts of courage. 

Step 1:  Identify the problem:

One of my earlier acts of bravery was undergoing laser eye surgery. I longed for perfect vision without glasses or contacts. I wasn’t sure I could have it because my vision was so poor. It took me about two and a half years to make the decision to have surgery. I needed that much time to mentally prepare myself.

Step 2: Gather information and analyze the situation:

I had warring thoughts in my head: you want to be able to see without glasses or contacts, but what if something goes wrong.

To make an informed decision, I spent this time researching. How safe is the surgery? What are the risks? What do those who have gone through the surgery say?

I talked to people who had this surgery, and listened to their experiences, and outcomes, I asked how they prepared for it. I investigated the reputation and success rate of the clinics offering the surgery. I mentally prepared myself.

Step 3: Next steps.

I went for an assessment. Was I even a candidate?  Yes, Yea! I decided after weighing the pros and cons that I would go ahead with the surgery.

Step 4:  Decidewill you act or not?

Once I made the decision to have the surgery, I quickly booked the appointment, sooner than later, so I wouldn’t lose my nerve. I will never forget how I felt two weeks before my surgery; I started to feel physically ill, weak, panicked and terrified. I think that my friends were ready to run when they saw me, because I was asking them yet something else about laser surgery; how they overcame their fear, what it was like, etc., etc. etc.  I thought about cancelling the surgery, but I was torn!  I so wanted to see without glasses or contacts, and I was truly terrified.

On the day of the surgery, I felt like I was walking to my death. I tried to numb myself emotionally so that I could manage. The surgery turned out well and I love that I have vision without glasses/contacts.  I think that this was one of the toughest experiences I went through, and it made me braver to conquer my fears.

Takeaway

While I didn’t feel a sense of power before the surgery, once it was over, I felt like I had taken back my power. It was like a switch was flipped. I became less afraid of giants in my life. I took that experience, because it was so profound, and have used it every single time as an example of success and power when I need to take another act of courage.

As I said before, the more experience you get being courageous, the more you grow and can take on bigger and bigger acts or courage.

Character – Integrity

Integrity is the consistency of character that people want and need in a leader. It gives followers confidence in the leader, it helps people understand and predict future actions, and it builds trust. How leaders deal with integrity on little things will indicate how they will deal with integrity on larger things.

What is integrity?

Integrity means following your moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances. It means that your are true to yourself and would do nothing that would disgrace or discredit you. It is your moral compass.

Why is integrity important?

Common sense dictates that integrity should be a valuable leadership trait, and in fact many articles state that integrity is the most important trait.

Why does leadership integrity matter to followers?

If a leader walks the talk, it results in greater confidence in the leader. This consistency of character helps people understand and predict future actions. Those who don’t stand by their words, find themselves losing followers because they can’t trust the leader.

If followers don’t feel that a leader has integrity about a plan of action, they will ask others to confirm what they heard, and then decide what they will do based on the newer more reliable information

Trusted leaders are likely to have more engaged followers who are willing to go the extra mile for them.

Leaders with integrity err on the side of fairness, especially when other people are unfair. A true leader is fair even when they are not treated fairly.

High profile integrity disasters

Although cheating the system can result in short term success, it is built on lies and will not stand the test of time. It becomes a teaching tool in the form of a case study and lessons learned and, may result in more rules or regulations. Here are two examples.

Exxon-Valdez disaster

Exxon and seven other oil companies persuaded the town of Valdez to accept a tanker terminal by claiming that a major spill was highly unlikely.

When Exxon’s oil tanker spilled over 240,000 barrels of oil there was no immediate cleanup. The equipment promised for the cleanup was not available. When it became available, it cost $2 billion to cleanup and $1.8 billion for habitat restorations and personal damages.

In addition to the huge costs associated with this disaster, Exxon has also been accused of improperly dealing with human rights issue, influencing American foreign politics, and its stance against climate change. This company has faced scandals and dipping profits and has an unsavory reputation and has become a case study on integrity.

Operation varsity blues.

This is the university scandal in the United States, where wealthy parents were charged in a conspiracy to get their children into elite universities. There was cheating on admission tests and bribery of coaches to help students get into these universities. Some of these parents served and or are serving jail time and paid hefty fines.

We see the effects of integrity all too clearly in today’s world. Aside from the two examples above, with COVID taking its toll across the world, integrity is on full display

The pendulum effect

Trust is enforced in the market place through retaliation and reputation. Customers will eventually stop doing business with you, and your followers will stop listening to you, when you are unethical. They will seek out others who will deal fairly and honestly with them.

Has integrity become old fashioned and irrelevant?

Maybe…

For a while…

For whatever reason…  

But the pendulum always shifts to restore balance…

It turns out that there is something called the pendulum law or effect which is, ” the movement in one direction that causes an equal movement in a different direction.” The theory or effect states that trends in culture politics, fashion, values, tend to swing back and forth between opposite extremes. It is based on Newton’s Third Law of Social Motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

A sharp swing in one direction or another is due to some imbalance in the system or world, and the pendulum is trying to find the right balance to correct it.

So, a swing back in the other direction may be a move to the good old days. The nostalgia pendulum resurfaces about every 30 years because it takes about thirty-years for critical mass to build up. The masses are saying, we have had enough, we want a change, and we want the good old days back. Private vs public interests are realigned.

Is integrity old fashioned and not in step with today’s self interest and individualism? I would say no. In fact, google trends still shows that integrity and leadership continue to be important topics worldwide.

Takeaways

In my last blog on character, I spoke about how to work on traits to build a better you. No one can be your moral compass, that is your job. You will have to decide whether you can live with what do, and the person you become. If you are willing to compromise your integrity on little things, it becomes easier to compromise on the bigger things.

One small thing that I work on constantly is my word. If I say I will do something, I do it. This is important to me because it means that others can count on me to do and follow through on my promises. Of course, there may be times that unforeseen circumstances happen and make it impossible, but they are rare. Your word (promise) is indicative of so many other things about you like reliability, responsibility and credibility.

When others don’t keep their word, it results in more work for me, disappointment and distrust. How can I rely on that person in the future?

This doesn’t just apply to a work situation, but to personal lives as well. What about someone who needs you to help them move, but you are tired and don’t feel like it. They are stuck, scrambling to make sure that they can move out so someone can move in. Your tiredness has a ripple effect and has created a burden on your friend. What does that say about you?

Your word matters more than you think!

If you can’t or don’t want to do something, say no. It will avoid all the above. No, protects you and it protects the other person, and it preserves your integrity.

Unlike fingerprints that you are born with and can’t change,

Character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing.

Jim Rohn

Leadership and Character

It is simple acts and decisions repeated over time, that build and define your character. It is your personal values and beliefs that show up in your leadership. Character is the foundation for leadership, it is the moral compass for how leaders lead and live life. Poor character is one of the reasons for leadership failure.

Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become actions.

Watch your actions, they become habits.

Watch you habits, they become character.

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Frank Outlaw

Character the Foundation for Leadership

I love studying leadership and management. I devour books, scholarly articles, and business articles to soak up information on good leadership and management. I’m not sure why it fascinates me, but it does.

Originally, this passion set me on a search to find the perfect manager and the perfect leader. In fact, I went on to get my master’s degree because of that search and passion. I used to equate leadership with management, but they are not the same. You can be a leader without being a manager and a manager without being a leader.

I can honestly say that good leaders and good managers are hard to find. For the longest time I didn’t think they could co – exist. Now I do. I found that the qualities that make for a good manager are embodied in good character.

I also used to think that leadership only happened in a work environment, but I know better now. You can be a leader at work or outside of a work environment.

Character sets the foundation for leadership and is key to personal and professional success. Your character says everything about who you are as a a person and a leader – because we function from the inside out.

Your character has been developing since you were born. Your parents, family, teachers, friends, life decisions and media have helped to shape your character.

A person with good character is described as someone who has integrity, honesty, courage, loyalty, dependability, responsibility, truthfulness, conscientiousness and more. Someone described as having a bad character has the exact opposite traits.

The traits that make up the core of your personality are your personal value and belief systems – they are your character. So, whatever is inside of you, will eventually come out. It is who you are when you are alone and no one else can see your actions. It is simple acts and decisions repeated over time that build and define your character. A person acts according to their values. Here’s something to think about: what do you do with garbage when you are walking down a street? Do you throw garbage on the ground and keep walking, or do you throw it in a trash can? Or what about a grocery cart? Do you take it back to where the other carts are stored, or do you leave it where it is and it becomes someone else’s problem?

Character Matters

Character is so important in life, that many professions and trades will check out a person’s character before allowing them into their chosen field. Regulatory bodies will allow someone into a profession or trade if they are satisfied that the person will practice with decency, honesty, integrity, and in accordance with the law. If the person doesn’t have those qualities, they may never get into to their chosen field or they may lose their right to practice in that field. That is how important character is.

There are many examples where poor character has been found out and the consequences of that can be quite severe, for example, people may lose their job, their credibility and be publicly humiliated as a result. Universities have software to check on plagiarism. If you are caught plagiarizing, you can be expelled from university. I know of people who have lost a job because they lied on their resume. Some people call this karma, I call it the principle of sowing and reaping; if you sow dishonesty, be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.

Lack of good character is the biggest reason for leadership failure. Why?

Without integrity, it is hard to gain trust and be a leader

Without courage, it is hard to achieve your vision

Without emotional control, you lose credibility

Strong Leaders with Good Character

The world is crying out for strong leaders with good character. When I think of strong leaders, I think of someone who is calm and steady, who has integrity, empathy, and whom people want to follow. They don’t always have the loudest voice. They listen and ask questions. Even when those around them may be emotional, they remain calm. They know who they are. Their character is the foundation for their leadership, and it serves as the moral compass for how they lead and live life. They are the ones that inspire me to become better; they raise the bar on behaviour and performance.

I read an article that talked about Ben Franklin (yes, the same one who invented the lightning rod and electricity). This article talked about how Ben Franklin focused on one of 13 qualities he associated with character. Each week he would pick one and focus on it for that week to strengthen it. They were things like: humility, calm (serenity), honesty (sincerity), listening (silence). Although he didn’t always live completely by his values, he tried, and in the trying, he felt that it made him a better person, more successful and happier in life.

So What?

A while back, I was feeling out of sorts. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I just didn’t feel right. I realized I was feeling the effects of cumulative bad behavior. I’d been through one rough patch after another, and I had started to take on some behaviours that I wasn’t proud of. Being around some really terrible managers exposed me to some nasty behaviours that I found myself imitating. Experts say that hurting people hurt others. It’s true. I was hurting and lashing out, I’d justify my behaviour by saying, “well they deserved it, or I don’t care what they think, etc., etc.”

The truth was that I cared. At the very core of my soul I wasn’t that person, and I was tired of myself.

So, like Ben Franklin, I decided to work on one character trait at a time. But, I did it differently from Ben, I did it for much longer than a week. I have been doing it for more than a year. My project was being kind. I am still working on it, and it is becoming more of a habit now. Like Ben, I’m not perfect and have to work at it because it takes time and patience. For me, kindness is the single most important character trait. It is a simple gift you can give yourself and others. A simple act of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s day.

I heard a speaker talk about homeless people. The speaker had many interactions with the homeless and said that the one thing that struck her, was that they felt invisible. No one wanted to acknowledge their presence. People would walk by and not make eye contact, they wouldn’t say hello, or smile. They told her that they just want to be acknowledged.

Kindness is a way of life. It lifts others up and it lifts you up. You may never know the difference an act of kindness will make, it can change a day, a week, or a life.

I resolved to do an act of kindness weekly, then twice a week. Now I try to do something kind every day. Yes, it takes time, effort and patience, but I remind myself, I can change my own little world one act at a time, and maybe make someone else’s day better.

Did it change me? Yes!

Do I like myself more? Yes!

Is the quality of my life better? Yes!

Are my relationships with people better? Yes!

What happened? I changed my inside thinking and my actions followed.

I have now moved on to my new character – building exercise – listening more actively.

Takeaways

Do you like who you are?

Are you feeling out of sorts?

Is your outer person aligned with your inner person?

Take a page out of history and try what Ben Franklin did, train yourself to be a better person – the person you will be happy with.

The small actions you take, and the motivations behind them, will define what kind of a person and leader you are.

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude;

Be kind, but not weak;

Be bold, but not a bully,

Be thoughtful, but not lazy,

Be humble but not timid;

Be proud, but not arrogant; and

Have humour, but without folly.

Jim Rohn

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Control Your Emotions – Calm Leadership

Emotional intelligence is a much sought after commodity in the world. Those who can process their emotional information effectively, remain calm and in control – they project leadership, confidence and empathy.

Life is tough and having the strength and resilience necessary to cope is critical. Most people know to eat right, sleep enough to rest your mind and body-these are the basics. To have the right frame of mind for the day, more is needed to advance your goals and develop a leadership mindset.

EQ vs IQ

EQ or Emotional Quotient/Intelligence, tells the world how well you are able to control you.

IQ or Intelligence Quotient tells the world how smart you are.

“EQ is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).”

EQ is a more valued commodity than IQ. Employers are looking for those individuals who are calm and in control; they project leadership, confidence and empathy. They have a high EQ and are better able to navigate social and work environments – because of their ability to process emotional information effectively. Those who possess a high EQ, do better in their jobs, have better mental health, and better friendships.

How do you process your environment?

Do you hear yourself talking to you? What are you saying? How are you interpreting the environment around you?

We are the center of our own universe and we interpret our environment by the stories we tell ourselves. One of my favourite stories about interpreting your environment comes from Steven Covey in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” He was on a train early one Sunday morning when a father and his noisy children entered the subway train and disturbed the peace and quiet of the train. The father sat down and closed his eyes and seemed not to notice his noisy, rambunctious children who were out of control. Steven Covey turned to the father after a while and asked if the father could control his children. The father opened his eyes and realized what was happening and told Steven Covey that he and the children had come from the hospital where his wife has just died, and neither he nor the children were sure of how to deal with the situation.

This story really opened my eyes about how I interpret situations. When I started to read the story I became angry-why don’t people pay attention to their children I thought. As I read further about the tragedy, I changed my thoughts to poor man and kids, and I felt so much compassion for them.

What just happened? That story helped me become more aware of the stories I was making up about situations. I am learning to stop and ask myself if maybe there is something else going on in that person’s life. I find that when I am around those who are calm, I am calm. When I am around those who are emotional I find myself becoming emotional.

Less Drama More Control

That story taught me how important it is to hold back emotions and try to understand the situation better. I am getting better at asking more questions to understand a situation and listening to what is being said, before making a judgment or reacting. I will say things like:help me understand and tell more.

EQ is a skill that can be learned like any other. So what are the keys to improving your EQ? Not just for work, but for home, family and friends.

You can control your emotions. Think about a time you when you were upset or angry or fighting with someone, and along came a friend, your boss or someone you wanted to impress – chances are you would immediately change your emotions and reactions to try to impress that person.

Lack of emotional control can derail us from our purpose or goal,and it creates credibility issues – if you want to be taken seriously by others, don’t always react emotionally!

Takeaways

Not reacting in the moment is the hardest thing to do. That control is what separates leaders from non-leaders. So don’t react, take a moment or two to:

Breathe – take several deep breathes in through the nose (4-5). Breathe in to the count of four; hold your breath to the count of four; then let out your breath slowly through your mouth to the count of four and hold to the count of four before taking the next breath. Do this until you feel calmer.

Walk away – Say that you need to take some time and walk away.

Go for a walk or run or do something physical to get rid of the emotion.

Write down how you feel.

Get quiet and get calm. You can’t think rationally if you are angry, and you may be more likely to say something you will regret.

Listen to your inner voice to what it tells you to do: bite your tongue, don’t say that, be quiet, just listen, be calm.

Setting your Intention: Decide your Reaction on Purpose

Are you intentional about deciding how you will approach situations or people? Deciding ahead on purpose helps to prepare yourself to deal with uncomfortable, disrespectful or bullying situations.

I know that I am not alone in this. People may say things to you that set your teeth on edge, and you are left feeling frustrated, because what they said has either made you want to blurt out something that you would regret later, or bite your tongue until it bleeds.

You give the person the benefit of the doubt; they are having a bad day, it wasn’t intentional, they didn’t realize what they were doing, let it go. You decide to let it go.

Then it happens again. They say the same or something similar to you, and you have the same reaction. You can decide in advance how you will respond to this comment, because chances are it may happen again.

It may not be a comment, but the way the person treats you. If they treated you in a disrespectful manner once before, it could happen again. You are caught off guard and don’t know how to respond, so, you don’t say or do anything.  When it happens again, you still don’t know what to do. It’s time to decide your reaction on purpose.

This is where deciding your reaction on purpose is important. What will you do or say when it happens again?

I had a situation at work where a co – worker started to yell at me. The first time it happened, I was shaken and angry at myself for allowing it to happen and not having a response.

I eventually let it go and forgot about it.

Then it happened again, and I still wasn’t ready for it. Some people know just what to do or say to defuse the situation. My default is to want to strike back, but I don’t. I have learned, that it may cause more grief and trouble than I need if I keep fanning the fire.

After the second time, I decided on purpose what I would say or do if it happened again. I planned out what I would say, and how I would say it. It was important for me to remain calm, firm, and unemotional.

Yup, it happened a third time, and I was ready. I had already decided on my reaction. My response was: “Please stop yelling at me. If you don’t, I will leave. You can talk to me once you have calmed down.” I picked up my materials and left.

My reaction and response was unexpected; the person yelling was caught off guard, and didn’t know how to react – the pattern was broken. The person came around later to speak with me and we were able to sort things out.

I’ve found that deciding on purpose helps me prepare myself to deal with uncomfortable, disrespectful, or bullying situations.

Everyone has a bad day once in a while. This isn’t that situation. I am talking about a situation where the person just treats you badly over and over again.

“I think, therefore I am” René Descartes

The mind is a powerful tool. It shapes your beliefs and actions. We believe what we have programmed into our minds. The good news is we can change what we believe and change our actions.

 How we live our life is based on what we think of ourselves.

I came acorss this poem that I think really expresses it well by Walter D. Wintle.

If you think you are beaten, you are

If you think you dare not, you don’t,

If you like to win, but you think you can’t,  it is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost

For out of the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will,  it’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go To the stronger or faster man,

But soon or late the man who wins, is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”


Henry Ford said it best when he said “whether you think you can or you can’t you’re right.”

The mind is a powerful tool. What you put into your mind is what it will believe and therefore it is what you believe.

The good news is that you can change your message to yourself, change your belief and change your action.

Question is – Do you want to change? Change involves a lot of effort and consistent action.

Thought leaders talk about changing your beliefs. It is a process.

Listen to the messages you are telling yourself. “I can’t do this, this is hard, I’m not smart enough…..”

Refute the message you are telling . “Tell yourself that the message isn’t true.”

Reprogram your messaging. Give your mind a new message. ” I can do this, I got this, I can figure this out”

Keep at it until it is true. Dr. Shannon Irvine has said that it takes about 67 days to reprogram your messaging to a new belief system.

Set your Intention

When you set your intention you are being deliberate about your actions. You decide what you are going to do for the day, the week, the month, or year. Successful leaders set professional, personal and relational intentions to laser focus their mindset for success.

What do I mean by this?

I mean be deliberate about how you plan to improve and live your life.

My good friend Google Search, provided me with a description of intention: Setting an intention is activating a part of your receptivity. If you were to go out in the day, and not have set any intention or created any type of prayer or manifestation of how you want the day to go, then you’re getting on a bike with no direction.

Successful people like to set intentions-personal, professional and relational. The intentions they set, help them to maintain a mindset that is laser focused and put them in the frame of mind to succeed, because they deliberately feed their minds with edifying thoughts.

What does setting an intention look like:

Today I will tell someone that I am grateful for them being in my life

Today I will show kindness to someone

I will complete this task

I will eat healthy today to strengthen and fuel my body. I will crave healthy snacks.

What is the difference between a goal and an intention?

Once again Google came to my rescue: Goals are a destination or specific achievement. Intentions are lived each day, independent of achieving the goal or destination. Goals are external achievements. Intentions are about your relationship with yourself and others.

Goals are future oriented.

Intentions are for the present.

Why is setting an intention valuable?

Working together intentions and goals can get you where you want to go.

It simultaneously works from the inside out and outside in. When you set your intention and carry it out, you are changing your mindset. When you change your mindset you can change the direction of your life.  You become what you think and focus on. Your actions follow your thoughts.

Lets say you want to be kinder. You set your intention for the day to be kinder. You say thank you, please, that was a nice gesture, that was helpful information, you give money to someone who is homeless, etc. Your action followed your intention. You keep up this intention and practice until it becomes second mature.

What happened? You changed your inside thinking, your actions made you a kinder person. You changed your mindset first, and became what you intended.

Feel free to share how you are intentional about your day, your week, your life?