Conscious Communication: The Key to Personal Power

January 11, 2009

If you want to increase your personal power, and sense of control, the first step is awareness: You cannot change that which you are unaware of.

A study of high-pressure work environments by Essi, a San Francisco research firm, shows one factor that predicts which employees would become ill and which stayed healthy: people’s perception of their personal power or lack of it.  Personal power is defined as how much control you feel you have over your life, your ability to function and express yourself.

Your world is a mirror of your state of consciousness (your level of awareness)  at any given moment, in any given area of your life.  For example, a  person may be very conscious and competent at making money but have many relationship problems. Or a person may have wonderful relationships and have a great financial portfolio,  yet may suffer from health problems such as obesity, or high blood pressure.

When you increase your level of awareness in any given area, that area of your life starts to dramatically improve.

Some indicators that you have areas needing attention include but are not limited to the following:

  • Clutter
  • Old grudges
  • Procrastination
  • Relationship drama

If your surroundings are full of clutter, see if there is a connection to having a cluttered mind. If you have a hard time letting go of the past, perhaps you have piles of things that no longer serve you but you can’t seem to purge them but you keep putting off making the decisions that would free your energy.  You may see the same signs in your relationships. If you have people in your life you just can’t forgive, or you keep replaying old wounds over and over, this is an indicator of an area needing some attention.

All of these issues are important however the biggest reflection of your level of consciousness shows up in your relationships.

Unconsciousness manifests itself in hundreds of ways, such as small petty arguments, discounting others, interrupting, giving unwanted advice, backstabbing, cheating, lying, dishonesty, rudeness, and a host of behaviors and outcomes that could comprise an entire book.  Awareness in your or your lack thereof will affect everything in your life. The areas where you are unaware are the areas where you will experience dissatisfaction and an unwanted outcome. For example, being unaware of your intentions will have an outcome on a relationship.

The key to gaining power is through conscious communication.  One way to increase your consciousness is to become aware of your intentions. One of my favorite authors, Gary Zukav says if you don’t know your intention before an interaction, you will know your intention after the interaction. (I’m paraphrasing….but bear with me.)

Suppose you decide to host an elegant dinner party for your prospective clients and you have Salmon shipped in from Alaska.

As you anticipate the party and prepare for it, you have visions of everyone complimenting your food selection and appreciating your skills of entertaining.  (If you bother to think about your intentions for the party you might say that your intention is to entertain and get to know your prospective clients.) However, you may be unaware that your primary intention is to get praise and approval, with the hopes of gaining additional business.

You will be disappointed if one of your guests does not care for Salmon or refuses to eat it.  You will be equally disappointed when you find that your prospect is best friends with your competitor.  You will focus on your failure to prepare adequately, or you will resent your guest.

However if your intention is to make everyone feel welcome, and have a good time, the outcome of a guest not wanting to eat Salmon, or the thought of a lost prospect will be completely different.  You would instead find something else for the guest to eat, you would enjoy the present company and you would not feel discounted or disappointed.

Even if you stay in denial about your surroundings, or your relationships, every cell in your body is aware of what is going on internally.  You may smile when you are frustrated, but your body still feels the tension, and it manifests as a “pain in the neck.”  If you are unaware what’s creating your anxiety, you may use food as a sedative, or you may have a drink as a way of coping, and this coping pattern eventually has an effect on your physical body.

Because you hate conflict, you may avoid confronting a family member or co-worker as you justify your position,  “I’m just making sure I don’t cause any waves,” yet at the same time you indulge in hidden resentment or anger believing that thoughts don’t really matter.  Eventually these thoughts manifest in the body as depression, ulcer or even a heart attack.

The American Journal of Cardiology, examined the effects of different emotions on the health of the heart and nervous system and found that unmanaged emotions like anger and frustration were found to generate erratic, out-of-balance heart rhythms and nervous system de-synchronization, and potentially increase the risk of heart disease.  Alternately, sincere feelings of appreciation for a co-worker, a family member, or a job, creates smooth, healthy cardiovascular rhythms and a much healthier nervous system.

As you can see, thoughts do matter.  Awareness is the first step on the path to living a more competent and conscious life.

Becoming aware of your intentions, thoughts and emotions helps you to gain control.  If you think you have control of your life, you will not only be healthier, you will also be a better employee or boss, a better friend, a better spouse, and a happier person.

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What to Do When You Are Out of the Flow

December 9, 2008

I often talk about “reading the signs” and what I mean by that is not “woo woo” but about increased levels of awareness. With increased levels of awareness or (consciousness) you can make simple shifts to bring you more into that good feeling flow.

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of themes emerging from those who feel out of sync…out of the flow…a bit hopeless or depressed.

I even found myself feeling that way recently and was surprised at an old pattern resurfacing. I thought I had mastered the “inner game.”

After all, in the end it’s all about alignment; your inner game and feeling of connectedness.

I’ve “read the signs” for myself about WHY I get out of the flow and thought these five signs might be of help to you too.
1. I’m  not telling myself the complete truth
2. I’m not meeting my basic needs
3. I have traded “virtual” reality for “physical reality.”
4. My attitude has slipped into negativity
5. My habits are becoming my master instead of my servant

Telling the truth

It’s so easy to put a smiley face on an empty gas tank.  I think most of us are afraid to tell ourselves the truth when we feel lousy, but staying in denial only prolongs it.  When you feel bad, just admit it and go right to non-resistance. Then  you open the “portal” for change.

Meeting basic needs

When I skip sleep, exercise or good nutrition, it’s just a matter of time before I start feeling a little disconnected.  The biggest victim story that I hear over and over is “I don’t have time.”  I used to “lie” to myself about that too.  Now I know what Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) says is true: It’s about sharpening the saw. To skip out on “sawing logs” will have you sawing logs with a rusty dull saw.

Virtual reality versus physical reality

I love the Internet and the connections and friends I make on Face Book, Ning, and WordPress but when I forget to get out there in public and mix and mingle, or even call a friend on the phone I get completely out of touch with life.  When I’m feeling depressed I always cheer up to go to a networking meeting or social event.

Attitude

What you think about expands. Attitude is everything but trust me, you simply can’t keep your attitude in check when you are exhausted and your body is full of fat and sugar.  When the little gremlins start taking over the conversation in your head, go backwards and see if you have made the errors already talked about in the previous steps:  You aren’t being honest about  your situation, you are  not meeting your basic needs and you are addicted to your computer and sacrificing your physical, real-life relationships.

Habits: Master or Servant

I can just visualize it…your five year old comes and says “let’s Play” and you say, “be quiet, I’m trying to build relationships…”  Why do we forget that technology should be our servant instead of our master?

I’m as guilty as the next person. There’s always one more thing to learn. There’s Twitter, Squidoo, Animoto, Mind Movies, Face Book, Ning and the list continues to grow. Let’s face it we will never keep up with all of it.  Learning is fun but when it becomes a compulsion it’s a problem.

In the end it’s all about the inner game and we teach what we need to learn.  Living the “Stop  Your Drama” methodology keeps me honest and in alignment.


Drama Signs: How to Spot the Red Flags

October 29, 2008

If only I had a sign I would know what to do. If you’ve ever said this while battling a state of confusion, let me tell you that the signs are all around you. Be thankful for the discomfort because if you notice it, it’s speaking to you.

Otherwise you are like the frog who gets boiled to death because the discomfort crept up on you at such a slow pace you failed to notice.Here are four ways drama shows up in various areas of life.

1. Relationships
2. Workplace
3. Health
4. Clutter

Relationship drama

The reason so many people are surprised when they get divorced is because they didn’t read the signs. They slowly started taking each other for granted, failing to be polite, take each other into consideration until the small trespasses become incivility such as eye rolling, voice raising and down right rudeness all the way to separate lives. The same is true in the workplace.

Workplace

It starts out as gossip, then complaining, to backstabbing to full blown negativity resulting in turnover and absenteeism. When you gripe about your boss, spend time at the water cooler talking about how unfair the new vacation policy is, you only add to the drama. Find a way to change it or accept it, anything else is just drama.

Health

First you skip a day at the gym. Then you have the second helping. Then it’s Ok to occasionally eat a handful of chips while watching the nightly news. Eventually exercise is the exception rather than the rule and second helpings have turned into thirds. Your pantry is full of fattening snacks for your evening television habit. Fast forward three years and you are 20 lbs overweight with high cholesterol. Set up a system of checks and balances so that your habits remain  your servant instead of your master.

Clutter

You feel overwhelmed so you leave the dishes in the sink. You’ll get the mail opened next week. You’ll get to that stack of magazines, or maybe you just need to cancel the subscription. Procrastination leads to clutter and clutter leads to feelings of overwhelm. It’s a vicious drama-producing cycle.

So…look for the signs all around you. You can look for evidence of success or evidence of drama.
The choice is yours. Get my free audio Reclaim Your Power to Create.


5 Reasons You Don’t Have Enough Time

May 20, 2008

The biggest victim story today is “I don’t have time.” Now before you get angry with me, know that I’m in the same boat. I’m just accustomed to having what I call “Truth Telling Days” and when I go through this process, I come up with huge insights. I have come up with five main reasons we all experience the “No Time” drama.


1. We don’t know how to choose
There are too many choices and these choices tempt us to skip lunch, stay up late, work over time and avoid rejuvenation.

2. Lack of boundaries
Although most of us crave freedom, too much freedom creates stress. Think about how stressed your kids get when there are no boundaries. If you allowed your children to choose what to eat and when to go to bed, they would be in serious trouble. Most of us do not have the basic discipline skills to set boundaries for ourselves,

3. Self Betrayal
One of the 7 sins of self betrayal is failing to meet your basic needs. Rest and relaxation is a basic human health need. Every 90 minutes the body needs to rejuvenate. When we feel rushed or overworked the natural tendency is to skip lunch or work late. The adrenalin becomes addictive and damaging to our nervous systems, thus the increased stress.

4. Technology Overload
Technology was supposed to help us save time and make life easier. The reality is, the standards have increased to match the convenience. On top of that, it takes time (learning curve) to master technology. In the days before electricity when it got dark, people went to bed. Then light came and gave us new choices. Then came radio, television, answering machines, faxes, cell phones, pagers, e-mail and the list goes on.

5. Convenience
It’s easier to complain about “no time” than it is to create discipline. It’s risky and therefore not convenient to take charge of your time. Others will approve of you when you say you are “too busy” because they also “too busy.” If you simply learn to say “no” you may lose approval and people won’t understand. When you are busy you feel important and when you have free time you feel edgy if not just downright worthless. If you don’t believe me, look at what happens to busy people who retire without finding another purpose.

The new challenge is for all of us to learn how to choose consciously, set good boundaries, discipline ourselves to take good care of our bodies, and to use technology instead of letting technology use us.

Try this experiment: the next time someone starts talking about how busy they are choose a different response just to see what happens. Say, “Really? I have all the time in the world.” Maybe you’ll start a new trend.

PS…Speaking of truth telling, visit my radio show where Ruth King reveals the
UGLY TRUTH About Business.