At the beginning of 2014 I asked a few friends for comments based on a blog I read early in the year. The gist of the blog posting was in order to grow, be better and be more awesome we need to ask for feedback from those who we trust and respect the most. I asked each person for 3 things they wanted more of from me and 3 things they wanted less of. The desire was to get real feedback, i.e. what I need to hear. I got some excellent feedback from a few people between January and February and since I’m about 6 months past that point, I figured it was a time to reflect and see how I was doing.
To be honest, I have NOT put enough attention on these items over the past 6 months. I had set a 6 month reminder to review them and so this blog post is to kickstart my butt to ensure that I’m being better for the remainder of 2014 and head in to 2015 on the right foot.
Below are the top 3 (in each category) based on the feedback I received.
- Being comfortable with me.
- Enjoy what I do have (friends, family, profession, place I live, etc.).
- Chase what fuels my fire/passion.
- Expectations on others.
- Worrying about what others think of me.
- Lecturing others based on what I think versus what they think.
1. Being more comfortable with me
This is probably the hardest thing I deal with on a hourly/daily basis. I’m my harshest critic and I know it. Being able to smile when looking in the mirror is hard. Being satisfied with my financial status, athletic capabilities, profession etc. is always a hard thing for me to be.
Growing up I was always seeking recognition from my parents and to be honest I still seek it today, however, awareness of that fact allows me to also be comfortable with who I am. It also allows me to be okay with having “flaws”, whether it’s acne on my face, the inability to stick with the lead group on a Friday night ride or the limited funds available to by the latest gadget. These “incapabilities” in my eyes simply are becoming my capabilities. Just because I can’t do something doesn’t mean I’m less of a person, rather it means that if I want to do something I need to extend my capabilities. The best thing about knowing this is that I have proven to myself time and time again that I truly can achieve anything I want through hard word and dedication.
2. Enjoy more of what I do have
I’ve heard this before and will probably continue to hear it. I am blessed to have a caring and understanding wife and healthy and active daughter. I truly am lucky to have the friends that I do. I’m also very lucky to have the support from my family. In addition, to the relationships in my life I’m really lucky to be able to work for myself, create my own hours and have the flexibility to work anywhere in the world. Because I can work anywhere in the world, I’m really gracious to say I live in one of the best places in the world. Living in a place like Squamish where I can walk to any amenity I need and be 5 minutes away from the world’s best mountain biking and trail running trails and have OPTIONAL snow is unbelievable!
Sometimes I forget how lucky I am and smiling about what I do have instead of focusing on what I don’t have most definitely makes me a MUCH happier person.
3. Chase my passions more often
All too often people get caught in the rat race. They live paycheque to paycheque and too often are focused on stuff and things in order to make them happier. I’ve done this too, but over the years I have gotten much better. One thing I was told to do more of, was to chase what interests me and to chase what fuels my fire and to not waste time on pursuits that “pay the bills”.
Interestingly, even though I haven’t made a conscious effort in this area over the past 6 months, I’ve been really doing this a lot lately. I’ve been chasing passions related to created great relationships, related to adventures and related to creating a better world. FEAT Canada has officially become an NPO and you can expect to hear more about the Million Smiles Nation and Run Squamish soon.
1. Have less expectations on others
As a kid I always felt a huge amount of expectations on myself. As an adult this has only grown. I’m sure it wasn’t all self imposed in the beginning, but as I got older it just became the “norm”. The result is that I’ve continued to place high expectations on myself, but worse is that I also have been putting extremely high expectations on others. Typically the closer you are to me, the higher the expectations I have on you. This isn’t exactly a good trait to have. Just ask Tanya. Even more important, now that I’m a Dad, it’s imperative that I’m aware of the expectations I’m putting on others.
It has been important for me to be aware of the fact that everyone is their own self and they have their own limitations and capabilities. I can challenge them sometimes, if they ask for it, but more importantly I need to understand their challenges and instead of placing expectations on others, rather embrace them for who they are and enjoy them for who they are. Basically I just need to enjoy people for who they are.
2. Worry less about what others think
Too often we are worried about what others think about us and I am no different. In reality I take things like this to heart way too often and it has the capability to stress me out, cause anxiety and many sleepless nights. As my one friend said, you need to have confidence that you’re a good person and no longer seek approval from others. Recently another friend told me something that resonated really well with me after receiving two job offers on consecutive days. He said, “This is just the world telling you that you’re awesome. Embrace this, be grateful, and realize that you are doing things right.” Almost instantly, from the anxiety coma I was in, I did a 180 and felt super proud and really good about myself. The key to success here is basically to say, “Who cares what others think?” and instead ask myself, “Are my values aligned with me? and am I doing the best I can and making the most of myself alongside those values?”. If the answer is yes to both questions, than I truly can be confident that I’m going in the right direction and again, “Enjoy more of what I do have!”.
3. Lecture others less
In case you didn’t know I’m a bit of a know-it-all. I’ve written blog posts that aren’t exactly nice to others. They’re still posted, however, because, hopefully they can serve me a reminder of the path I’m taking and the growth I’m experiencing. I’ve blogged way less in 2014, mainly because I didn’t know the reason for my blog. Initially I thought it was for others, but I’ve changed my tune on that and realized that it’s for me. My blog is a tool for me to grow and be the best person I can be. My blog can demonstrate my learnings and my path. By making it public it puts my path out there so that those who read my blog (all five of you) can help me stay on the path I want to be on.
In addition, I need to be a better listener. It’s interesting that my business consulting work requires that I be an excellent listener and I’m really good at this. However, sometimes (again with the people closest to me) my listening skills take a back burner and it seems like I have to “prove” myself to be right, or I lecture others on the way I THINK things should be done, or I take things defensively. My feedback said to lecture others less, but I think in reality I need to listen better more. In addition, I think if I “Worry less about what others think”, then I won’t really care about the way they do things and have the need to get justification from them by telling them about the way I THINK they should do things, because really why should they care about what I think?
What to expect in the coming months from me
- I will make more of an effort to like me more for who I am.
- I will smile more and enjoy life more, just like my Test of Metal race this year.
- I will practice gratitude more often
- I will create things I’m passionate about
- I will foster the good relationships in my life and cut the dead weight
- I will be aware of others capabilities and not impose my expectations on them
- I will enjoy others for who they are
- I will embrace my “awesome-ness”
- I will focus on how I can be better and forget about what others can do to be better
- I will listen better
So to those who actually read this, feel free to keep me accountable. Most importantly though, I have to keep myself accountable over the next months and years.