People create these pictures of their personality and then live in them like they are made of cement. On the surface, it seems harmless. In business, many times, it begins with personality assessments and it’s a starting point for fine tuning strengths and minimizing weaknesses. However, what I’ve noticed about myself and others I’ve coached is that over the years, these personalities create boundaries and those boundaries create restrictions on human potential. Then, innocently, we go on living for years in the make believe shells of who we think we are and we forget we are the ones who created this shell to begin with.
Here is a personal example:
I’m going to be 35 in a few days and I’ve spent the majority of my 35 years knowing a few things for certain about myself.
Like layers of concrete that could never wear- these were things I knew to be true to my personality.
I’ve always been connected to this idea that I’m an introvert and if you know anything about introverts, you know they gain energy by being alone and expend energy when in groups. Knowing this, I’ve lived in this pattern:
Being around and engaged with people all day = extreme exhaustion, many times followed by headaches and fatigue.
Back in March, I was attending a leadership conference and something profound happened in my world. I noticed that I came home each night with the same amount of energy as I left the house with that morning. Surrounded by all of those people, for hours at a time, I still had energy! What?!?!? I was in such a state of shock, I had no other choice but to reflect.
What was different about this week? I was completely engaged with all of my peers, ALL DAY LONG, and still completely energized when I got home?
It was that day I realized, the girl I thought I was, wasn’t real.
Prior to the understanding that my thoughts create my experience of my reality, I would spend an extraordinary amount of time inside my head when around my peers. I would say, up until recently, I would do this unknowingly. I would think about things like: how quiet I was, if I should speak up, if I should share my ideas, if my ideas are good ideas…you get the point. However, this particular week, I was able to be in the room, present in each moment and it turns out it wasn’t exhausting at all. In fact, it left me energized. I wasn’t any louder. I certainly wasn’t the most outgoing in the room. But I was me – my authentic self and I was in my element. Except I was in the element I have always labeled “way out of my comfort zone”. When I looked back, I realized the only thing that separated me from being my usual, introverted self, was my lack of thinking. Instead of thinking, I was in the moment and the moment was good! Ideas were flowing and my peers even commented on how when I spoke, what I had to say was important.
That may not feel like a big deal for some people, but for me it was huge. It was like a handicap I always thought was a part of my being, suddenly lifted. It literally felt like the screen came up right in front of me and I could see the cameras, actors and set. At some point in my life, I created a shy person, labeled her an introvert, and began building walls of impossibility around her.
My insight from that week was this: Being quiet to hear my inner guide is of quality- being quiet out of fear or angst is exhausting. I’m not an introvert- I just have introverted thoughts sometimes.
So this happened in March- I had it! I was onto the game of life and my full human potential was at my fingertips. Nothing was going to hold me back!
Fast forward to last Friday night. As I was leaving my house to go on my evening jog, I realized I had begun an exercise regimen, in the evening, and was enjoying it! Wait a minute???? Remember the 2nd thing on my list of things I know to be true about myself? I spent the last year, not exercising because I didn’t have time in the morning anymore.
“I hate exercising at night” I thought to myself as I smiled on my way out the door…it happened again, another piece of concrete dissolved as quickly as it formed. After all, it was never real to begin with.
How much of your human potential is limited by things you know to be “true” about your personality?
Please leave a comment and let me know!
Have you ever felt worn thin from doing a lot for others? Have you ever tried thinking of how to help someone with a problem when it seems they aren’t thinking for themselves? How about when it seems like that person is always looking to you for the solution?
Many times, we become really busy being the solution for others- always offering advice or extending ourselves, when they truly have other options. As a result, we are innocently delaying them from finding the best solution for themselves. Read how our Community Program Coordinator, Helen, discovered just that.
“These last four years, I have been on a mission to be there for everyone else but forgetting to be there for myself. Then one day I found myself having a headache, which is something I rarely have, and it hit me!
Suddenly, I had an insight: it is time for a well-deserved rest in order to be a healthier version of myself. For the past few months, I have been on this “Sabbatical from doing good” as I like to call it. Does that mean I have stopped doing all things good? No! I’ve simply realized that it’s okay to say no sometimes and I don’t have to be the solution to everyone else’s problems. Since I had this insight, I have had more energy, I have not had any headaches and my body is well rested. I continue to do good deeds but always keeping my wellbeing intact. Since I’ve stopped answering my phone with every ring, I’ve found that by the time I do return calls, the caller has usually found their own solution.”
Helen brushed on a key point “I don’t have to be the solution to everyone else’s problems.”
You see, sometimes when we figure out a problem for others, we may actually be hindering them, instead of helping them. We all have natural wisdom inside. If you are busy being everyone’s solution, then you aren’t allowing their natural wisdom to kick in and be their own solution.
We aren’t suggesting people shouldn’t help other people. After all, that’s the foundation of The Cypress Initiative. We are simply suggesting your “help” may, in fact, be a contribution rather than a solution. Sometimes, no matter how logical or obvious it seems to you, your solution won’t succeed because it wasn’t meant for your creation. The person you are trying to help has this natural spark that will come forward when their personal thinking is given space. It’s a human thing- we all have it. By stepping back and allowing their natural wisdom to create the solution that was meant for their problem, you are providing the greatest gift you can give.
Let us know what you think of this by leaving a comment. Share with us if this helps you in any way!
Wishing you all love and lots of amazement,
The Cypress Initiative
If you are new to our community, you may have asked yourself: What exactly does The Cypress Initiative do? Or you may have read that our mission is to cultivate human potential, but wondered why we say we do it one thought at a time.
When uncovering human potential, one of the first things we teach people is that our thoughts make up our reality and that there is always a new, fresh, thought waiting to give us a whole new experience of life or an entirely new realization of our potential.
Here’s a quick example of how I describe this to our student’s in our S.P.A.R.K. Teen Mentoring Program.
Imagine your head is like a highway. Your just chugging right along, when you come up to an exit sign. Now picture that exit sign as a thought in your head. We all have different types of thoughts constantly, all day long. Just like we can’t control which exit signs are on the highway, we can’t control which thoughts pop up in our head.
Here is what a typical 5 minutes in my mind look like…..
Seem familiar? This is what we all go through, different thoughts that pop up all day long. If we imagine our head as a vast highway and each exit as a different thought, we can see how many choices we have each day. We can choose what exit we want to take or we can choose to stay on the highway, allowing the exits to pass by.
Say I come up to the exit “I feel fat” and begin to think about the number on the scale or the way my jeans fit this morning. When I begin thinking about the “I feel fat” exit, I know I’m headed right off the highway toward a journey to insecurity. That’s because right off that exit there are a variety of “roads” that I can go down; Upset Lane, Mad Drive, Self-conscious Avenue, etc. Sound like a fun trip to go on? Not so much. Yet, innocently, I’ve found myself on this path more than once.
However, say I come up to the “I feel fat” exit and instead of getting off just because it was there, I let it pass by. Letting the exit pass by provides me the opportunity to wait for an exit I want to take, like “my kids are the best”. Getting off at “my kids are the best” allows me to travel down roads that are fun and exciting. So my reality becomes just that, fun and exciting, giving me an entirely new experience.
Most of us have gotten off on a wrong exit when traveling. Maybe some people more than others, (ummmm me!). But what eventually happens? We just re-route and get back on the highway. So yes, you may start out your morning getting off on the wrong exit, but isn’t it refreshing to know that you can always reroute, get back on the highway and go to another exit? The beauty of the highway is there are always new exits popping up to discover.
When you come to truly understand you can’t control the exits (only have positive thoughts) but you don’t have to get off at each one, it tends to makes life more enjoyable and not so serious all the time.
Hope that helps you! Comment and let me know what you think about this, I’d love to know! Have questions about it? I’d love to answer them.
Wondering who is behind all that is amazing with The Cypress Initiative? Well wonder no more! Here is a little about our staff.
Brooke is The Cypress Initiative’s Executive Director. As the Executive Director, Brooke oversees daily operations and acts as lead Business Trainer and Personal Coach. Since coming to The Initiative, she has trained with Chip and Jan Chipman, Judith Sedgeman, Dr. Dicken Bettinger, Dr. Aaron Turner, Sara Murre, and is currently enrolled in Michael Neill’s Supercoach Academy. Brooke earned her B.A. in Interpersonal Communications and her M.B.A. in Marketing. Continue reading Meet our Staff
The words of Robert Burns come to mind when I reflect on the past year at The Initiative.
When I took the position of Executive Director in February of 2014, I had serious high hopes, with simultaneous, intense reservations -all wrapped up in a well devised plan of action. But what I came to learn through the first year is the need for a plan is only a need created within myself and that plan had little relevance to what would actually occur. The only true practice I had to maintain, to carry this organization forward, was to keep taking the next step. So that’s what I learned to do, listen quietly and take the next step. I couldn’t have planned a story so beautiful and I am certain it’s only the beginning. Continue reading Welcome to The Cypress Initiative Family