Evaluating Your Gratitude: Are You Thankful for the Right Things?

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Last night I went out for a drink with a former colleague who is now a great friend. We get together every couple of months and dive into the meaty topics of life – family, work, internal blocks. On this day she was different. I noticed it from across the street as she walked to the restaurant. Her posture was rigid and her steps were choppy and lacking intent. As she approached I could see it all over her face. The stress from the last few weeks had taken their toll and she was done.

We got our drinks and appetizers and I started updating her on the latest installment of Lauren 2.0. She was engaged in the conversation, but not all there. Something was clearly on her mind.

“So what’s going on with you?” I asked.

She paused and knew she couldn’t dodge the question with me.

“I think I’ve been grateful for the wrong things.” She said.

She was grateful for her health and to have a job and her daughter and granddaughter’s health. All of the base needs she was thankful for.

“Anything else,” I asked.

“Well none of that is perfect, so I’ll just focus on what is guaranteed and needed.”

This was like a shot in the gut. If it isn’t perfect, is it worth being grateful for it?

I wondered how many other people out there in the world were having their gratitude stunted by The Perfection Gremlin.

Gratitude is like an engine of motivation. When we express gratitude and truly mean it, we receive and observe more things to be thankful for. When we express judgment and cynicism, guess what we see? Everything that is wrong or needs to be fixed.

I gave her a challenge since her initial request was to shift out of this funk – set your timer for 10 minutes when you get home and write down 25 things that would be fun or take care of you and over the next 30 days go out and do them.

As I suspected, she was giving out far too much output and not filling up her self-care tank. Her concerns were focused on making everyone else okay as she continued to be knocked down the priority list. By creating a list all about her needs, the gratitude and self-case lens comes into the forefront.

This behavior starts as a discipline or a ritual. It can be as easy as saying no to someone who is violating a boundary or as high impact as moving on from a job or changing locations. By putting you first, you can actually improve the overall vibe of your environment. When you’re happier, those who support and love you will be happy too.

Side Note: Another Gratitude Challenge for You - Every day write something different that you're grateful for.

My New Appreciation for Introversion

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Last week I participated in a four-day certification training for the MBTI Type I and II (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). I have been a skeptic and critic of personality assessments for the assumption that we all fit into predetermined boxes or labels.

If you’ve online dated in the last couple of years, you’ve seen four letters at the bottom of profiles. In DC, people wear them proudly. I thought it was pretentious and limiting. How can someone only be four letters?

After digging in more and doing my own research, I quickly realized that most people were using the assessment incorrectly. As you probably have experienced, your preference change based on a situation and your personality may react as a result. Our behaviors are fluid, but to the core we are consistent. Rather than saying all people are like (fill in the blank), MBTI and many others give us insight to behavior preference, but in no way says all people with ENTJ will be a certain way.

So back to the original point of this blog – introversion and why I appreciate it. When you’re in a room with 30 other people, many of which are in the training or leadership development professional, you’re going to get a lot of external energy. Conversations quickly become run away trains of excitement and if you aren’t at that level, it can be extremely draining.

I had my assumption about introverts – they’re quiet and don’t want to be disturbed or forced into social activities.

This may be true for some but not all. What I learned is that the introverted preference professionals in my class had no trouble speaking up, but only did so when they had something concise to say. Unlike my word vomiting self who needs to talk out concepts, introverts process internally and look for the right time to speak up if needed.

I ended up having thoughtful and introspective conversations with the introverts compared to the hyper-descriptive extroverts who resembled energizer bunnies when networking. I appreciate one-on-one conversations that matter and feel myself pulled and challenged when having to be “on” for too long. My acquaintances may know me as the life of the party, but my good friends know that I do best in quiet settings with a glass of wine and a juicy topic to dive into.

The moral of the story. Don’t make the same assumption mistake I did. Give quieter people a chance to think and process and give them the space to express. We all have our own way of communicating and have a longing to be acknowledged and validated.

 

If you're interested in learning more about Myers-Briggs or having your personality type assessed, feel free to check out more information here: www.laurenlemunyan.com/assessments

6 Pick-Me-Ups When You’re Feeling in the Dumps About Your Business

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I ended a call with a client who was ready to hang up her entrepreneurial cape. Deals weren’t clicking and money was running out. “I don’t think I have it in me,” she said holding back the tears. “Maybe I’m not cut out for this.”

This happens all the time in business and in personal relationships. We have ideas about what we think will happen to make everything come together only to have a fraction come true or not at all. We try to force our outcomes and become unbalanced with expectations and future build up. As a result, our anxiety grows, we lose sleep and slowly our power begins to seep out.  In a couple of days or weeks, we feel the full impact. Our immune systems are shot, our prospects have dried up and we feel dejected.

If I could have the alarm system wired to alert you before this happens, I would. So, what do you do when you feel like all hope is lost and you want to get your mojo back?

1)      Call Someone You Trust – In this case my client scheduled an emergency laser focus session with me. Put all of it on the table and just let it sit there without trying to figure it out. Remove the stress from your body and take a look at what it really is. What is the worst-case scenario? What is the best-case scenario?

2)      Take a Shower and Get Dressed – Water is a cleanser for not just your skin, but also your soul. Give yourself that little bit of self-care and prepare yourself for your next big move.

3)      Put on Your Theme Music – Whether it’s “Spice Up Your Life” or “Shake Your Bon Bon,” get those jams pumping through your veins. You can’t be stuck in the couch cushions with Ricky Martin serenading you.

4)      Write Down 25 Things That Will Generate Money – Put the timer on your phone, grab a notepad and pen and get to writing. Nothing is too whacky or simple. Get your brain in a solution-centric pattern.

5)      Start Executing – If you need help or contacts, reach out. Start with the easiest or most impactful, but create a set list for your awesomeness.

6)      Track Your Wins – I give my clients an Awesome Shit List journal to track their successes. Whenever you start to feel the self-doubt come on, check back with your list and remind yourself how far you’ve come.

Know that people love and support you. Life will face you with challenges, but know that these are challenges you are capable of mastering and learning from. You are resilient beyond what you believe. Just know that we believe in you.

(If these feelings persist and feel like they are beyond behavioral intervention, please seek professional assistance.)