My weekly motivation

Here’s your motivation 😉

Well, things are changing some more at work.  It looks like everyone who is here now, will not necessarily be there in a few more weeks. So, that’s interesting. And a little scary. I’m told that I am “safe”, whatever that means.

All that more motivation to get myself in gear and become as self-sufficient as possible. I’ve got a great idea for a new business, which ties together the parts I enjoyed most about what I’ve done in the past, as well as my future interests. And to top it all off, there’s a need and a market for what I have to offer.

So, that’s good. I just need to keep focused on it.

God knows, I’m motivated NOW…

But to tell the truth, that’s just the cold, hard facts of life. Companies don’t know how to run their business. They have completely wrong ideas about what constitutes success, and a whole lot of people in the world are content with just being comfortable… relieving the pain that they cause to themselves… and feeling important. They don’t really focus on results. They don’t really focus on profitability. They are more concerned about how the look to other people, and that’s all that matters to them.

And so they have to downsize. Because they don’t have high-performance lives. They don’t have high-performance workforces. They believe that everyone is on their own, when it comes to motivating themselves, and they don’t do much to help. Their darwinism comes around to bite them in the ass… and they sigh and wring their hands about “unavoidable circumstances”.

Please. That is very sad.

So, that being said, it’s time for me to go study and work on my business ideas. I have several, which I have researched and believe have a good chance of being useful to others. It’s really about being useful to others and communicating the value to them. It’s all about everyone else and what they need — and how to provide it to them.

And that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’ve always done in my 9-to-5jobs, and it’s served me well.It’s what keeps me safe, when others arebeing shown the door, and why not translate that to the outside world?

My main hurdle in doing all this, is distraction and losing focus. So, I have to keep my eyes on the prize and get there, one step at a time. Keep my priorities tightly trained on my intentions, and measure my progress at every step, so I know I’m going in the right direction.

This applies all across the board, quite frankly. And whether I am doing this in my own life and businesses,or I’m doing it “on the job” for someone else, the benefits and results are the same — good and solvent and always learning.

Onward.

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Putting it all to good use

So, things have been very tense at work. The people who are running my group are actually running it into the ground, with their scorched earth approach to achieving their goals. They really don’t care whom they hurt, in the process of getting where they’re going, and it shows.

They’ve hurt a bunch of people, thus far, and the ripples are being felt all across the company, which spans several continents on the other sides of several oceans.

It’s a little difficult to watch – first, because I genuinely care about people and how this all affects them. I feel for the people who are in charge, who feel that they “have to do what they have to do” and are putting profit margins ahead of everything else.

I feel for the middle management people who report to them who also seem to think that they are helpless in the face of institutional structures, and that they’re lucky to get anything done at all.

And of course, I feel for the folks at my level, who are being given a sh*t-ton of work to do, without a whole lot of support or resources, let alone direction and leadership.

It’s ironic – at every step, people seem to feel helpless in the face of overwhelming odds, and at the mercy of circumstances beyond their control. And yet, each and every one of us has the power of choice. We each have the option to do what we feel is the right thing, and to stick by it. The only problem is, there tend to be consequences for making unpopular decisions, and the decisions which challenge the dominant paradigm of helplessness and victimization… and take responsibility for outcomes (which may not always turn out the way we hope they will)… well, those kinds of decisions can make your boss(es) pretty nervous. And if they’re not on board and not on the same wavelength and they’re not willing to take the same risks as you, it can end up turning into a bit of a sh*tstorm.

Which is where I’m at right now.

Right now, I’m in charge of designing and rolling out a program which is not terribly popular in every corner of the company. It’s for the best, and it introduces changes that should have been made years ago, but a lot of people are very wedded to old, unworkable ideas about how things should be done.

Nobody likes change… and yet here I am, in the midst of it, instigating it and moving it forward.

Which means that people complain. About me. About my program. About the change. And my bosses, who are intensely concerned with how they are perceived and how popular they are, are getting fidgety. There’s a real lack of character that’s coming out — and ironically, the people who are the most concerned with how people see them are the ones who have the worst reputation and can’t seem to get anything done.

So, that’s all very well and good. And it’s very instructive. But I can’t let it throw me off, as it has been. I’ve gotten too caught up in worrying about my bosses’ worries, running interference for them and helping them justify their position, which is untenable, because they’re driven by other people’s perceptions and their own selfish gains, rather than substance and character.

Which is not how I want to live my life. I do want to do my part in the team, and I do want to do work that is meaningful and has impact. But I certainly do not want to do it the way I see it done. And the people who are giving me orders and telling me how to behave, should really check themselves. It’s just a little bit disgraceful.

So, it’s all very instructive, and I get a front-row seat to how I do NOT want my next job to be. Substance, not just form, is important. Form matters, but only if there is substance to back it up. And I’ve been on this earth long enough to realize that jobs and promotions and raises and popularity contests come and go, but I will still have to live with myself through it all, no matter what the circumstances of my present situation. I am still dealing with the personal fallout from poor choices I made in the past, and I am still dealing daily with the residual troubles that all those traumatic brain injuries brought into my life over the years.

So, I know just how important and precious it is, to have a moral compass, to know who you are, and to make decisions in the now that will support you in the future — rather than trading in my dignity and self-respect for an expedient favor from someone else that may quickly go forgotten… except in my mind, and the shadow of it on my soul.

It sounds heavy… and it is. This one life is all any of us has, and it is over all too soon. So many things can go wrong, just by chance, so the choices we consciously make are all the more important. I’m using this god-awful experience at work as a learning experience and a proving ground, for me to get in the habit of standing up for what I believe and holding to my own vision for what can and will happen in my world.

People may not like what I am doing and saying. They may not much care for the changes I’m bringing to their lives.

But if I stick to my guns and stay true to myself, in the end, I have a feeling they’re going to respect me.

And even more importantly, so will I.

The day is waiting. Onward.

Whatever I want it to be…

The last day of a long week. After another long week before that…. and another long week before that…. Come to think of it, February was a long month. The shortest month of the year was the longest, experience-wise. And packed full of new details. And as stressful as it was exciting. A real roller-coaster ride, if I say so.

I’m sure things will settle down as we move forward and people find their place. At least we have our job responsibilities clearly (well, sort of) outlined and described in our HR “goals and objectives” system. And it’s pretty good, when I step back and take the view of someone who is just passing through, rather than chained to this galley bench till the end of the sea voyage.

A lot of folks at work are incredibly stressed out over everything. There are adjustments going on with everyone, and tempers run hot at times. People are tired and long-term stressed, and we all know what happens when that happens. Unfortunate things are said and done, and then everyone gets all worked up over this, that, and the other thing. Over nothing, really… And then the fur flies, and people dig in, trying to justify why they did or said that stupid thing, 15 minutes ago… and a whole elaborate conceptual framework gets built up around people trying to defend a position they know is not right to begin with, just because they feel they need to defend it or they will lose face, lose ground, and not have the same standing with others that they want to have.

Some call it “ego”. I call it a heavy-duty bias towards the sympathetic nervous system — you know, that fight-flight-freeze response that is all but out of our control… but we can manage and modulate with the right approach(es). Some people spiral out of control in a downward slide, when things change or go wrong, while others find ways to work through them and come out on the other side in one piece. In my former life before my TBI in 2004, I was the kind of person who could deal. I could handle things that came down the pike that threw other people for a loop, and I prided myself in that ability. After I fell in 2004, that all went out the window, and I lost myself in the increasingly stressful details of my everyday life. I felt terrible about myself, I felt like I was useless, couldn’t handle anything, and that I was good for nothing to anybody anymore. It took such a toll on my self-esteem and ability to interact with others… and I built up this whole new self-perception that just wasn’t accurate. I believed that the way I acted under circumstances in a given moment, was an indicator of who I was all the time — and that messed with my head like nothing else.

Now I know that my perceptions just were not true. I can be however I want to be, and I can interpret situations however I want to. I am not chained to any one version of reality, and in fact so much of what we call “Reality” is just a conditioned response that makes us feel a certain way. Our body chemistry — like a radio — gets tuned to a certain frequency, and even if we don’t like the music at first, we get used to it. And then when we’re in that “frequency,” if it feels right, then we think that what we’re thinking and feeling and observing is true. Our systems are built to acclimate to “normal” circumstances and then reinforce us when we are in that “normal” zone.

But the thing is, all that “normalcy” is nothing more than habit. We just get used to things being a certain way, and when they’re not that way anymore, we freak out – to a greater or lesser degree. Our freak-outs can range from general discomfort… to cranky-bitchiness… to outright meltdowns. And you know what? It’s not the external circumstances that are to blame. It’s our own internal reactions to them.  We are just so accustomed to our own internal reactions and our own “scema” of “reality” that we take them for granted, and they never get questioned until something changes that doesn’t synch up with our assumptions. And 9 times out of 10, rather than blaming our assumptions, we blame the thing that changed — something outside ourselves — for the problem. It couldn’t possibly be us… right?

Now don’t get me wrong. I do think that a lot of external circumstances are genuinely stress producing and can make us miserable, no matter how well-prepared or well-tuned we are. It’s just how we’re built. And obviously something like an earthquake or flood or tornado or organizational “redesign” at work will throw you for a loop. But we often make things harder for ourselves than need be, with our reactions and our determination to interpret things in the old way — which stopped being valid, the minute things changed.

The point is, we always have a choice about how we’re going to interpret the world around us. We’re not locked into any one “real” way of thinking or doing or being. There is no such thing. And the things we believe are true, are more true to our biochemistry than they are to our actual circumstances. Especially in America, we tend to believe the more true and real and authentic something feels, the more true it must BE. And yet our feelings stem from habits we’ve become biochemically attached to, along with the reactions that we have that reinforce our biochemical experiences. They’re real. They’re visceral. And they can really save our asses in a pinch when we don’t have time to think through things. But as a way of living life… going by gut feeling and sensation alone can get you into real trouble.

Anyway, today is a new day, and I am taking special care to watch out for what I’m thinking and saying and feeling and doing about things. In the past years of my recovery from TBI, a lot has changed in my mind about my life and what it’s all about — a lot has changed about who I am and what I am all about. The bottom line is, I get to choose today, how I will feel and how I will interpret things around me. It’s a dramatic time with work changing so drastically, and it’s a hard time for so many people around me (including myself).

For today, this day isn’t just about stress and anxiety and change. It’s about opportunity and potential and growth. There are elements of both sides in all this, and there’s a lot that’s out of my control. I have been having headaches. I am generally exhausted. I have a pretty short fuse, these days. And my light and noise sensitivity is pretty amped up, these days.

But there’s also a lot of good in my life, and spring is on they way. It’s my choice how I feel about things, and it’s my choice what I focus on.

Onward.