October 3 - Leveraging Others’ Strengths

CL_10-3-2015Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) Tip of the Day

October 3 - When you learn how to leverage other people’s innate strengths, they will move heaven and earth to help you achieve your goals. Bring another’s innate genius to light and watch miracles happen.

Weight Weight Just Love Me - Got Goats? - Day 13

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Sometimes you just have to take your goats out for a walk. Give air to your ire and let the fresh air clean out whatever irks you.

Sometimes you just have to take your goats out for a walk. Give air to your ire and let the fresh air clean out whatever irks you.

The other day, someone “got my goat.” I wondered just where did this saying originate and what is the higher value of having “goats” anyhow?   According to the website - The Phrase Finder - “A commonly repeated story which purports to explain the phrase’s origin is that goats were placed with racehorses to keep them calm. When ne’er-do-wells who wanted the horse to race badly removed it, that is, they ‘got someone’s goat’, the horse became unsettled and ran badly. That’s just the sort of tale that gets the folk etymology juices running. Let’s just say that there’s no evidence to support that story.”

It doesn’t really matter what it was that raised my ire - what matters more to me is what was the larger purpose of this experience?  What makes me the judge and jury of how someone else’s chooses to be and how they choose to share that experience of who they are anyhow?  Am I only able to run fast if all my “pet” comforts are close at hand?  And if not, I sulk off into a corner and brood?  This is where I think the term “high maintenance” comes in.

Yet even this dressing down of myself does not seem all that loving.  As well, I have a feeling there is an actual purpose to my goats - and it is not to attempt to control others through my reactions.  Applying the principles I talked about yesterday - I was wondering what I needed to more fully love in myself because of this event that got my goat?  And I decided to take a curious, open, accepting and loving perspective on the overall purpose of having goats.  So here goes….

Goats are very good at cleaning up debris. They can even go into some places with nasty plants and are quite happy cleaning those areas up too.  Click here to see a video of how goats are being used to clean up poison ivy and poison oak in the Congressional Cemetery.  They are able to eat the poisonous plants. Plus nothing makes it through their digestive system to pass on the propagation of the poisonous plants.  Having goats in this sense seems like it serves a very good purpose.

Linking this back to the metaphor - “got my goat” - maybe having these knee jerk reactions to perceived toxins in my own life serves a valuable purpose.  Maybe it serves to help me learn how to steer clear of those things that could cause harm in some way. Could the higher purpose of having “goats” be to develop discernment as some situations and/or people warrant extra caution and consideration?   Loving myself more means loving my “goats” more as well.

October 2 - Body & Mind

CL_10-2-2015Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) Tip of the Day

October 2 - What you eat, how much sleep you get, and how you move your body all impact how your mind works. Treat your body well and your mind will reward you accordingly.

Weight Weight Just Love Me - Grace Consciousness - Day 12

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Yesterday I wrote about how I was going to be extending “grace consciousness” to myself as a pivot point whenever I dropped into self-judgment.  Grace consciousness as I’ve defined it is recognizing how I am in any moment is the divine ideal - just as how everyone else is the divine idea. I’ve had a day to contemplate this and I realize extending grace consciousness to myself is more about being on my own side than it is about settling for some type of “less than” existence.  As as way of connecting with the world around me, sometimes I inadvertently align my view points (and perceptions) with the collective consciousness.  This is what creates both self-judgements and an unsavory righteous sense of virtue. I notice though buying into the collective consciousness is what feeds the hungry ghost of ego that wants and wants and wants, yet is only satisfied with the “what is” when it is completely aligned with our perceptions of how life should be.  (This alignment rarely happens).

As I wrestle with this concept of me being exactly who I am is already my best and highest good, where does that leave the idea of expanding what is possible?  Where is the place in here for my creative aspirations to experience the world in ever expanding ways - to express my joie de vivre however that is going to happen?  I recall on day four of this challenge I discovered finding my own truth happens when I’m feeling expanded rather than constricted. This reminded me I do teach a way to shift my perspective from self judgement to grace consciousness - but from a different reference point.  I’ve enclosed a mind map we use in our course “The Happiness Project” to expand on this idea.

This is a mind map that can explain how to shift from reacting to the collective consciousness to being guided by grace consciousness.

This is a mind map that can explain how to shift from reacting to the collective consciousness to being guided by grace consciousness.

This is a mind map I created based on the work in the book Interpersonal Neurobiology.  It’s about how you react to the “what is” shapes how you connect with others and ultimately the health of your brain. The bottom half of this mind map is how we react when our “synaptic shadows” get triggered and we react from ego rather than love. “Synaptic shadows” are neural pathways that happen when you create the same reaction time after time after time to similar events.  When living “below the line” we reduce our abilities to respond to events and either react with rigidity or become emotionally chaotic based on previous similar experiences.  This is what happens when reacting from a place of self-judgement or self-righteousness in response to the collective consciousness on a particular subject - like feelings about your weight. The level to which you live below the line is in direct proportion to the strength of your perception.  Let’s say you believe all people who look a certain way are lazy (this is called being “rigid’).  This is a perception that limits how you can and will interact with people who look a certain way to you.  It is much of what is happening in our culture (and the collective consciousness) these days - relating to a “fat bias.”   This creates a below the line existence and substantially impacts the ability to connect with others.  It doesn’t really matter what the perception is as any perception is limiting and will hamper a genuine and authentic in the moment connection with another being.

The idea of window of tolerance means how much information can your “system” tolerate?  When you are constrained by your perceptions, especially when aligned with the collective consciousness, how much information you can tolerate is reduced.  This means your window of tolerance is smaller.  To expand your window of tolerance, and therefore expand what is possible, requires moving above the line into a more loving and flexible frame  - one of curiosity, openness, acceptance and love (called COAL in this mind map). Living above the line is a form of grace consciousness and it also meets my aspirations for creatively experiencing the world in ever expanding ways.  Furthermore, it provides guidelines on how to move from a place of living in the ego driven states of self - judgement below the line to one of wonder and more fully loving myself above the line.  This will help shift into grace consciousness so I move through the world with more grace, comfort and ease.

Kate’s comment: your mention of fat bias was interesting. It plays into a specific type of stereotyping, where we take one observable trait and apply our assumptions of non-observable aspects to the person. Those who participate in fat bias see someone carrying more weight on their frame, and think back to a (potentially flawed) reference point of someone else with that same body shape. Just because someone’s BMI is over 25 doesn’t automatically mean that they’re lazy, have heart disease, and eat fast food frequently. This practice is inherently short-sighted on many levels, and the consequences are far-reaching.

That’s one of the reasons I feel that thorough testing can be much more indicative of health status. BMI is a flawed snapshot. Making assumptions is a good way to insult someone.

Weight Weight Just Love Me - Transitions - Day 11

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Traveling south on the Alaska State Ferry from Haines to the lower 48.  Making a transition in where you are is a good time to adopt new habits. I'm taking full advantage of that with my 66 day challenge to love myself more.

Traveling south on the Alaska State Ferry from Haines to the lower 48. Making a transition in where you are is a good time to adopt new habits. I'm taking full advantage of that with my 66 day challenge to love myself more.

I was reading an article yesterday by BJ Fogg (a professor of Persuasive Technology at Stanford University) about how new habits are easier to adopt when making transitions. Today I’m in transition from Haines, Alaska to the lower 48. So it’s a good time to make some conscious choices on the habits I could adopt that would make loving myself more the natural go to state.

In Cheetah Learning’s programs where we accelerate how people learn, one of the tactics we use is to remove obstacles to learning.  So along this same vein, what are some of my obstacles to loving myself more?  Well it’s all in my head - mostly it’s when I slip into what I call a “bad me” or “poor me,” mode of thinking.  My new habit through this transition is to become conscious this is happening and make a pivot to a more uplifting frame - I’m now calling it “grace consciousness.”

I thought of this idea of “grace consciousness” several weeks ago when contemplating the core value from which to frame a new relationship. We had initially discussed having consciousness and growth being our foundational value.  What ensued were plenty of “growth” opportunities neither of us much enjoyed.  So I said, hmmmm - I would prefer to see both of us through a much more gracious view and moved to a grace consciousness core value rather than consciousness and growth. What I realized is it just took me viewing us in that frame and it became so. It’s made our interactions much more graceful and a deepening happiness is taking hold between us. It only takes one person living in grace consciousness to shift a relationship to a new plane.  Think about it - if you’re all accepting and see the other person in their “god realized” state however that is showing up, whatever they are doing is perfection just the way it is. No more perceiving anything as a problem or growth or a challenge.  This is what grace consciousness is for me.

I realized I had experienced this idea of “grace consciousness” from my dietitian Kate who, no matter what I had done with what she suggested, she still held me the good graces of her love and support.  She holds me in unconditional positive regard however I’m showing up (graciousness in my book).  So in my journey south, my new practice is to pivot to grace consciousness for myself whenever the seeds of self-judgement creep into my being.

Kate’s comment: I’m so glad that you’re using this opportunity as a further jumping-off point. You’ve made more progress than you realize, just keep dedicated and consistent with it!

October 1 - Enjoy Your Work

CL_10-1-2015Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) Tip of the Day

October 1 - The capability to “whistle while you work” makes it more fun to pursue your goals. Learn how to make the disdainful enjoyable, the complicated easy, and the boring interesting. You’re going to do the work anyhow - you may as well enjoy yourself.

Weight Weight Just Love Me - Autopoietic Systems - Day 10

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

All systems in nature are "autopoietic" - that is they are self organizing and perpetuate around a core operating principle.  My goal is to make my self organization more conscious and in the direction that brings me into loving myself more - for the betterment of all.

All systems in nature are "autopoietic" - that is they are self organizing and perpetuate around a core operating principle. My goal is to become automatically self organized around loving myself more for the betterment of all.

My dietitian Kate has been extolling the virtues of simplicity with respect to how I nourish myself.  She knows I like to make things all intricate and complicated as well that is fun for me. But then I got to thinking about my experience of autopoietic systems.  Autopoietic is from the term “autopoiesis” - it means a system that creates and maintains itself.  All systems in nature are autopoietic as they create and maintain themselves.  For anything to be self perpetuating it needs to be an autopoietic system.

So as I contemplate how to love myself more, I am considering what type of autopoietic system needs to be in place to make this the more natural state of affairs?  Typically when I create this concept in the business realm, I look at what core value can we self organize around.  For example my main business - Cheetah Learning - we have self organized around the value “your success is my success.”   Every system in the company supports this core value.

Loving myself more - the core value - is well loving myself more.  Does it have to be anymore complicated than that?   Is this a job that is ever done anyhow?   This 66 day challenge is starting to remind me of the time in 2008 when after reading AJ Jacob’s book “A Year of Living Biblically,” I wanted to try something different and committed to being a bodhisattva for a year.  And once into it realized, once I committed to this path, I would always be a bodhisattva (where I achieve enlightenment solely for the benefit of others). I am now realizing, this challenge is part of that path.

Now that I am looking at this effort through the lens of an autopoietic system - lets see what elements of the system are created by self organizing around the core value of “loving myself more.”  I will start sharing what I notice in subsequent posts.

Kate’s comment: Great idea to make a self-perpetuating system of positive thinking - definitely powerful and towards a great mindset.

September 30 - Higher-Order Thinking

CL_9-30-2015Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) Tip of the Day

September 30 - Develop your higher-order thinking capabilities by learning how to classify information into chunks, make a deliberate effort to study all the facts, debate alternatives, and delay taking action.

September 29 - Will Power

CL_9-29-2015Cheetah Certified Project Manager (CCPM) Tip of the Day

September 29 - Will power is a skill. The more self-control you have, the better will be your results.

Weight Weight Just Love Me - Twisted Authenticity - Day 9

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Did learning to teach yoga enable me to love more deeply and thus become a better photographer?  This picture captures the leave shower of autumn in SE Alaska.

Did learning to teach yoga enable me to love more deeply and thus become a better photographer? This picture captures the leave shower of autumn in SE Alaska.

I was reading an article the other day about how yoga helps you become more compassionate towards all other beings because of all the different ways you twist your spine.  Your spine is the central access of your body and this makes sense as all the nerve endings come out from your spinal column and extend out to all other parts of your body.  Getting in better touch with what it feels like to be in your body extends empathy out to every other living thing and how they experience reality in their form.  It’s a very interesting article.  Won’t repeat it all - click here to read more.

My purpose in bringing this up is in assessing my own level of authenticity in fully loving how I currently inhabit this body and how it helps me interact with the world around me.  I like to do my yoga practice every morning - but some mornings I don’t seem to find the time for it.  And those mornings that I do make the time for it - I wonder to myself what is different this morning then yesterday morning when I did not make the time to do my yoga practice?  I feel so much more connected to myself and therefore to everything else I do throughout the day. It seems to me doing my daily morning yoga practice could be as natural for me to do as eating breakfast - which I also skipped yesterday.

Being authentically me, yes I’m going to have different approaches to each day.  And yes somedays I’m going to start out the day doing my yoga practice and some days I won’t.  It does seem more often than not, I do start the day off with my yoga practice.  A friend I now only see several times a year even commented to me the other day I seem so much more at ease and in my body since I became a yoga teacher.  So, while I could be “more disciplined” (can’t we all) - I am doing sufficient yoga for others to see observable changes in how I move through the world and relate to others.

My friend’s feedback was nice as it’s not really something I have given much thought to - but I do see what is mentioned in the first paragraph about finding it easier to connect with others and I do more deeply appreciate the world all around me - could this be because of more conscious awareness of my body due to yoga?  This improved connectedness is starting to show up in some interesting ways - from the difference in what I’m noticing to take pictures of and how it’s improved my photography, to the ease in which I’m moving through what used to be challenging transitions with staff changes in the company.  Twisting every which way with yoga on a routine basis is helping me approach my world with greater authenticity for how my presence is the loving, connected person I know deep inside I really am.