I have a confession to make. I hate blogging.
What?! A writer who doesn’t like to write?!
No, that’s not it, at all. I love to write. I’m just not great at obligatory anything. I’ve tried – I really have – but something about You have to post blogs weekly, and Instagram pics daily, and tweets every few hours, drives me batshit crazy. That’s what actually got me writing poetry. I figured I could write a poem weekly without much trouble, and I’ve been consistently doing that now for over 30 weeks (I’ll post another one on Sunday). But, in general, having to sucks the joy right out of most things for me.
Lately, however, I find myself reflecting on life and some of the observations I’ve made along the way. If it’s okay with you, I’m going to share some of those on random days with no set schedule. Just purely for the joy of it.
So, no big surprise, this installation on observations is about obligation. Are we obligating ourselves to be obligated, or are we beating ourselves up trying to fulfill other people’s expectations? Isn’t that what obligations really are? Other people’s expectations?
– You have to go to that baby shower. They’ll be expecting you.
– You can’t not go to church. What will people say?
– You have to drink at the corporate retreat. You’ll look like an outcast.
And? Your point is?
Look, I get that sometimes things come up, and I get that we want to support the people we love and make them happy, but some of us are knocking ourselves out going to and doing things that we simply would rather not do. Does that take a toll? You betcha. Throw in varying degrees of the disease to please, and our health and general sense of self fade into oblivion.
I think that all of this can be summed up with one word: boundaries. If I feel obligated by some branding guru to blog once or twice a week, I’ll never want to write again. I need to protect that. If I drink at a corporate retreat to fit in, I’ll hate myself afterward. I need to defend that. Even if I get passed over for a promotion because I didn’t pass out, so be it. And in my experience, and in most instances, people adjust.
This world has become a fast-paced, crazy-making machine, and unless we take as many steps as possible to maintain our sanity, we’re done.
You know what? I lied. There’s one obligation that I do like: the obligation to protect my authenticity. And, apart from supporting the people I love on their journeys, which I’ll always do, I plan to keep meeting that obligation at every turn.
Oh, and by the way, you were never obligated to read this.
Photo credit: Nick Morrison
If there was a place I could go to
A place that no one could find,
I’d sail in a boat on an ocean
And stop at the entrance of time
No need for permission to enter
No need for credentials or name,
Just time standing still in one moment,
Just time never asking who came
I’d let my boat float off without me
And stand all alone on the shore,
Never again to grow older
Never again to want more
Where no one I love could go missing
And no one I love could draw near,
Suspended in time in one moment
Free and devoid of all fear
For moments when strung all together
Are those of the most dangerous kind,
They give and they take without warning
Pushing and leaving behind
But one solid moment to stay in
One where the winds never blow,
A place without sorrow or sadness
That’s where my heart wants to go
~ Leana Delle
Sunday, September 1, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number thirty-four of fifty-two
Photo Credit: Toomas Tartes
“Time is absolutely, hands down, the most valuable asset we have. You’re not so much operating in the what if, you’re dealing with right now. That’s why everything is one day at a time. It’s one foot; one breath.”
Aalia Lanius speaks from the heart, and her heart has seen its share of struggles. Abandonment, homelessness, domestic violence, loss, even cancer. But all of these challenges are in her rearview mirror. She’s now focused on the future and practicing genuine gratitude every step of the way. Even on her worst days, she hears a very determined inner voice:
Award-winning novelist “It’s saying, ‘Aalia, you can do more than that,’ and inside I want to. ‘Your pain and suffering has a purpose, and you know that you don’t want someone else to go through some of things you went through.’“
Hers is a noble mission that includes everything from spearheading non-prophets to writing thought-provoking novels, all with a focus on empowering others. In fact, L.A.’s upcoming Empowercon is her brainchild, and I have no doubt that it will be a huge success.
From the moment I started interviewing Aalia, I was swept up in her exuberant energy, her level of authenticity, and her heartfelt motives. She’s the real deal, girlfriends, and she’s here to help shift your focus to the positive.
You can hear Aalia’s inspiring interview on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or by clicking HERE.
In the grandest scheme of things and dreams
You took a little longer,
Standing at a forest wall
Of fears that made it stronger
Safe I felt, while resting there
Protected in contentment,
Wondering every now and then
If love just brought resentment
Thinking that it’s not from hearts
As sonnets often claim,
But twisted by the hands of fools
A few I’ve known by name
Then in you came, with tool and blade
Wrestling through the fortress,
Determined, sure, to prove me wrong
And shift the vision toward us
I watched, I waited, for a sign
To prove you like the others,
But years did pass with ne’er a hint
Of heart’s desires smothered
Now gone the forest, moved the trees
Allowing in the light,
I rest in arms of true intent
And share my soul’s delight
~ Leana Delle
Sunday, August 25, 2019
2019 Sunday Poetry Challenge – Number thirty-three of fifty-two
Photo Credit: Kristina Litvjak
Sally Helgesen knows of what she speaks. As a leadership coach, she’s been working with women at very senior levels for 30 years, while providing endless leadership based workshops and writing books. I think I can speak for all women when I say, we’re super grateful for it all!
Her latest book, How Women Rise, cowritten with leadership guru Marshall Goldsmith, is a culmination of her work, and it’s been a total game-changer for me, both professionally and personally. I couldn’t put it down!
Marshall originally wrote, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, which focuses on behaviors most likely to get in the way for successful people. But his research came from a heavily male coaching base, and women had trouble relating to some of the advice. For example: don’t always say you’re the person who’s right, or learn to apologize.
To Sally’s point, some of us can hardly open a door without apologizing. She suggested to Marshall that they write a book combining his fundamentals with information more directed toward women, and How Women Rise was born.
In the book, and during her interview, Sally talks about specific behaviors that may serve us early in our careers but can get in the way as we advance to more senior levels. There are 12 in total:
– Reluctance to Claim Your Achievements
– Expecting Others to Spontaneously Notice and Reward Your Hard Work
– Overvaluing Expertise
– Building Rather than Leveraging Relationships
– Failing to Enlist Allies from Day One
– Putting Your Job Before Your Career
– The Disease to Please
– The Desire to be Perfect
– Speaking While Emotional
– Letting Your Radar Distract You
In full transparency, the first three on the list are my culprits, but I recognize others as being more prominent during different periods of my life and career.
Sally also points out that a lot of us suffer from what she calls, People will think I am if I . . .
“Women have so much fear around being perceived as out for themselves or too ambitious. We often hold ourselves back, because we’re trying to manage people’s expectations rather than behaving in a way that’s appropriate but does, yes, serve our interests.”
And she’s here to tell you that the world doesn’t fall apart if we conduct ourselves more authentically.
“Sometimes when you behave in unexpected ways, people are a little uncomfortable, but if you give them a chance to get used to it, they do.”
Yes, they most certainly do. I’ve found this to be true just since reading the book!
And what about perfectionism? Aren’t most of us trying to do it all and do it just right?
“When I have seen women at very senior levels not get a promotion that one on paper would have expected them to get, it’s often because of perfectionism. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I have never once heard anybody say, ‘Oh, I work for a perfectionistic boss, and I love it!'”
I thoroughly expected to enjoy my conversation with Sally after reading her book, and I was right. Intelligent, funny, and super knowledgable, we rounded out her interview, discussing how life experiences lead us to that thing that will ultimately bring clarity and fulfillment, even in the face of self-doubts and ineffective behaviors.
“You just have to be patient and trust that there’s something unfolding.”
Now, that’s a takeaway!
You can listen to Sally’s interview on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or by clicking HERE.
Rise up, girlfriends!