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Lauren Bacon

The unconscious quality of judgment. And Mötley Crüe.

The overnight clerk at the grocery store apologized as she rang in the milk and cat food. Sorry to keep you waiting, she said. I was just over in floral wrapping the flowers. No problem, I answered. Are you often all over the store on the overnight shift?

Yeah…I just keep really busy to pass the time. If I sit, time drags on and I seriously just can’t wait to get out of here. I noticed her name.

I’LL BET. You must fall dead asleep the second you get home.

No way, she laughed. I have too many shows to watch on my PVR.

(I’m not proud of this. Not for a second. But it was in that moment that I felt the first unconscious stirring of judgment of the day. It tends to show up when I hear people rushing through life to get to their TV sets. How dare I? I know, I know.)

Oh yeah? What’s going to be waiting for you?

She scanned her memory for the schedule as she scanned my kale. Should be Dancing with the Stars and America’s Got Talent. I hope, she grinned.

Genuinely curious and thinking of my friends who are big dancers, I said: Sounds like you’re pretty keen on dancing. Do you ever get out and get your own boogie on?

She laughed again. Honey? I’m just not a ‘getting out’ gal any more. I used to go out and play darts almost every night. We’d even go to tournaments out of town twice a month. But now? I’m 52 and prefer to stay home.

Really? I asked as stirring judgment #2 had me feeling a pang of sympathy that she’d already started to “give up”.

Buuuuuuut. No.

Oh yeah. I love heavy metal and there’s no dancing to that, so I just crank it at home and rock out. I also have a dart board in my living room and if I have a six-pack and my man and some friends? It’s all I need. When I DO go out, it’s to a concert. Going to Mötley Crüe this weekend. And we just got tickets for Judas Priest in November.

(Her eyes were gleaming as she said that last part. It was...awesome.)

I am seriously in love how clear you are about what you want in your life, I said.

Sweetie, I was in an abusive relationship for 19 years. Never again am I wasting time on anything that doesn’t feel good or right for me.

Boom.

I paid up, she wished me a fantastic day and we parted ways. I sat in the car, realized how schooled I’d just been. Wondering why I felt so low after I went in feeling so high.

Because here was my morning up until that 5:50 am conversation.

Woke up. Said a welcoming prayer to the day before my feet hit the floor.

Went downstairs to feed the cats (saw we were out of food), drank hot water + lemon as I made a pot of coffee (saw we were out of milk), hit the meditation mat in front of my crystals-adorned altar, then kissed my husband and headed out to the store, feeling all high vibe + holy.

Walked the aisles feeling immense gratitude for my life, for the day ahead (settling back at my desk after some fantastic time away), house renovations nearing completion, husband feeling in flow, happy daughter heading to day two of horseback riding camp, incredible new clients and invitations showing up and generally, feeling the fullness of it all.

So it was with that beaming joy that I met her. And in less than one minute, I tripped over the rug of my unconscious judgment. Replacing the feeling of joy with the feeling of shit.

Judgment and comparison is like that.

Whether we compare up. Or whether we compare down.

So, I sat in the car, recognizing it for what it was. Giving thanks for my Mötley Crüe-loving Teacher this morning.

Reminding me to continue to do my work in transforming my own judgment habits.

Reminding me to deepen into the content that Lauren Bacon and I have so lovingly, patiently and attentively created with Beyond Compare. (More to come...stay tuned.)

Reminding me to bring consciousness to the unconscious.

Reminding me just how far I still have yet to travel.

High vibe and holyReminding me that high vibe + holy requires consciousness off the mat. (Tweet this)

Reminding me all that I forget.

Saturday night, I’m gonna raise a metal salute to her. In the meantime, I intend to bring full attention to where I go unconscious and judge.

Whether it’s someone else’s shoes, decisions, choices, car, taste, content, perspective, ideas. I’ll be noticing it all.

 

I may not love what I find out, but it will move me closer to my centre. And that’s where high vibe and holy ACTUALLY sync up. And where real change can happen.

Join me?

Beyond Compare: It's ready for you.

If you allow it to, Beyond Compare will help you to see where comparison: may be stopping you from creating what you want; may be preventing you from activating your calling; may be making you feel (and play) small for fear of projections; may be keeping you from expressing yourself fully; and, may be allowing you to disown your power (and hand it over to others).

Feedback needn’t be a slippery slope. It’s a gift.

I’ve been telling this story a lot lately…that’s usually a good cue for me to share it here with the intention that it serve you well. When I was first starting out as an Account Exec at a marketing/advertising agency, I had a client who became a pain in the ass. Or rather, the RELATIONSHIP became a pain in the ass.

The road to said asshood was long and wind-y, but we both contributed to the ultimate destination.

Big part of it was that my then boss wasn’t a huge fan of boundaries. And I knew precious little about exerting them. Which, as we know is the death knell of any good relationship.

This was a "sexy" client (read: big fish), so our orders were essentially to hand them the sun, the moon and the sky, nomaddawhat.

It started with the creation of a rebrand (and logo). Normally, you would start here with a couple of black and white options and build from there. Not so with this client. They wanted to start much, much further along. Colours, sizing, variations…all buttoned down right out of the gate. We tried to deliver. No matter how many times we were sent back to the drawing board, we were told by our boss to keep going until the client was 1000% satisfied. No small feat, as they made all decisions by committee.

I recall us creating an iteration that was exactly, precisely TO THE what they had asked for. It didn't look right, or even kind of close, or even decent, but we presented it anyway because we had learned the hard way by that time (round #34?) to show them EXACTLY what they wanted...nomaddawhat.

But by then, they were seriously pissed that we were still so off in our design approach. How could we present something that looked so awful? (Great question.)

No matter how loudly we protested that it was EXACTLY what they had asked for, the response we got back was infuriating:

"Your job is to engineer the solution to the challenge".

Asshat comment. AND completely right. It WAS our job. We got it right on logo #53.

Yep. #53.

When we finally started to do what we should have done in the first place: own our expertise and stand in it. The very reason we were hired in the first place.

Two things I learned then:

1) Relationships require boundaries that honour both parties. Shame on us for not having delineated ours and requested theirs.

2) My job as the service provider IS to make the client happy (within those respectful boundaries). 

3) Good feedback is a gift. One that we weren’t offered…nor did we really deserve it. We all behaved badly.

The subject of feedback, one I’ve been interested in for some time, came up in my Beyond Compare partner Lauren’s conversation with author, web designer and truly fabulous guy Paul Jarvis.

It was in the context of a discussion about evaluation. You see, one piece of our agenda with Beyond Compare is to help transform disdain (that quality of looking derisively down on someone) into the conscious critique of evaluation. (And transforming hero-worship into celebration...more on that another time).  

BeyondCompare-TheComparisonMatrix
BeyondCompare-TheComparisonMatrix

Disdain’s easy to understand…it’s the “I can only see your flaws and limitations and deny my own”. Rich and fertile ground for discovery, as you can imagine.

Evaluation’s trickier and the place where we tend to fumble. It’s the “I see your limitations and recognize that I have some too” place. It’s the place of feedback and the choice to engage critically with someone’s work without making them wrong. Assessment, debate and difficult conversations live here. For the benefit of both parties. Like I say, tricky.

So I totally appreciate the clarity and simplicity that Paul uses when he talks about working with his own clients as the creative. He does what my team ought to have lo those many years ago LONG before logo #1 was even imagined…he shares a one-pager with his clients to make sure the exchange of feedback is fruitful, nourishing and USEFUL for both parties. Efficient too.

His top 2 biggies for offering feedback if you’re the client?

#1 - Refer back to goals when asking for changes; and,

#2 - Don't be prescriptive - describe what isn't working and allow me to problem solve how to fix it.

Super clear. The client is the client and the creative is the creative and the work gets co-created in a place of mutual respect. (He shares much more about this in his upcoming course for creatives.)

Let’s face it. Feedback feels like it’s a slippery slope because we all come at giving and receiving it from a strong and defended (and defending) ego.

But it needn’t be.

When we can focus on the goals, see the inherent possibility of the gift of feedback and come at it from a place of compassion and mutual respect, we are really that much closer to bringing our very best EVERYTHING forward.

Which is what it’s about, non?

++++++

The same old song: Our jobs as creators and fans.

If you’re a creator (and you are), your responsibility rests in finding your own edges. In staying open to the gifts that you will receive from the unimaginable source. In giving yourself wings - big flappy wing of expansion, and plenty of room. Taking off requires that. If you’re a fan (and you are), your responsibility rests in celebrating what you have appreciates about the artists’ work and to allow them their own space to evolve. It’s true, they may evolve beyond us and fly off to new places we don’t care to visit. It’s a risk we all must take together. It’s called progress.

How you feel about the role you want may be keeping you from the role you want.

My life’s work is about helping people step into their starring role. (Perhaps you’ve noticed.) The first challenge (and it’s no small feat) is naming what that role IS. Writer? Entrepreneur? Leader? Expert?

For those who are clear about the role they want to step into, I see two places where they may stop short and not move towards stepping in.

1)    They want to step into their starring roles BUT they doubt that they have the ability or the RIGHT to do so.

Which sounds like:

I’m not a “Writer”. Writers are…smart. Accomplished. ACTUAL Artists. Me? I’ve just got decent ideas and can kinda string ‘em together. I’m not an “Expert”. I know what I know, but it’s not very much. “Experts” have 10,000 hours under their belt and legitimacy and credentials and degrees. Me, not so much.   Impostor Complex 101 stuff right here.

You want to be known as a Writer? Do you write? Then, Love…you are a Writer. Keep doing it. You have the right to write. Proceed.

You want to be known as an Authority? An Expert? Yes, that’s available to you too. Check out my TEDx talk that guides you through a process. Or this program. You’re way, WAY closer than you think.

2)    They want to step into their starring role, but the very thing they want to claim is supercharged and spring loaded with their own judgment.

Which sounds like:

I can’t want to be an “Expert”. Experts are…stuffy and stodgy. That’s not me. Sure I’d love to BE an Authority, but I would never call myself an “Authority”. Anyone who calls themselves that is a fake and a phony. It’s a fabricated construct. “Star”? Pfft. That’s fluffy and silly and selfish and pointless and pure ego-driven BS. Only an overinflated gasbag would call themselves a “Thought Leader”.

And, I suspect that there is a part of you that reads those words, feels their familiarity and still wants…THAT. If so, then lean in nice and close.

Here’s what I want you to know.

1)    You are allowed to want what you want. In fact, it’s your job. Without apology, shame or embarrassment. 2)    You are safe here. I won’t tell anyone that you want to be a Star. An Expert. An Authority. I promise (Until you’re ready for me to, and then I shall sing it from the mountaintops.) 3)    Your discomfort with that title is the very thing that is holding you back from allowing yourself to step into it.

But because it’s just you and me, will you whisper the title that you want. Authority? Expert? Star? Muse? Thought Leader?

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Can you now try to say it a little louder?

Mm hmm.

Now, can you proclaim in a statement, from the depths of your belly?

I WANT TO BE A _______!!!

There. Infinitely better.

But even as you sit there, a little breathless for what you’ve just named, the familiar voices are creeping in.

It’s selfish. That’s stupid. It’s for someone else. Not yet.

Yes. Yours is clearly a complicated relationship with that label.

So let’s have a look at what’s sitting under this tension you’re feeling. The tender yearning to be known as an Expert and the discomfort you feel with what it represents.

Typically, we experience this tension because our relationship with authority has been informed by witnessing the behaviour or impact we’ve felt by someone else in that role.

Let’s try this out, super quick.

Think about someone in your sphere (or beyond) who embodies (pick the label that lands with you): Expert, Authority, Star. How do you feel about them, in general? Notice what you admire about them (that’s a mirror, by the way). AND notice when you disconnect from them. Notice what feelings come up that cause you to disconnect (disappointment, anger, frustration). Notice what you would “do differently” if you were them.

Do you see the correlation between how you feel about that person and how that may be well be holding you back from claiming that title for yourself? From stepping into your starring role?

Right-o.