Helping others to find their own way and stop being echoes of ego-driven leaders

Leading the way to me means guiding the way with inner growth in the forefront; and when I think of a true leader, I think of someone who supports and guides others to find their own way and believe in themselves.  Too often I see the title leader ascribed to individuals that aren’t promoting individuals to do things their own way.  The reason for this is quite clear, a good number of people want to feel secure about the steps they take in their life, career, relationships, etc.

We’re raised to trust experts and those who are wiser than us due to their greater number of years in living life, their experience; and up until a certain age we definitely need that guidance.  We also need a foundation that we can work from before we venture off into our own thing; but too often people simply replicate what others have taught them without looking within for their own way.

With this type of dynamic, it is only normal to see leaders who state the way versus show the way while making sure it’s clear that each way should adapt to what the person feels is in tune with them.  Being told the way and following that specific “way” doesn’t push for inner growth or exploration.  Not everybody is looking to pursue that path, but when we look back at the great leaders we find one thing in common (with all of them): their natural tendency to support others through guidance that includes making individuals aware of their own great value, and the great value in their own thoughts and own ways.

I know I’ve touched on the topic in another blog post, but it’s because this topic is quite important.  Without people becoming aware of the fact that they should rely on themselves when making decisions, they will continue to make decisions that don’t necessarily resonate with them and they won’t even be aware of it (or at least not consciously) because they’re not questioning anything from the inside.  They’re echoing what they see on the outside as the “right” choice, the successful way.

An ego-driven leader will work wonders in making his/her impact, but he/she will not make an inner growth impact on anyone; yet it’s not his/her job to think about that.  Each of us lives our own dreams, our own life; it’s only normal.  Also, the path of least resistance is the one many people will choose over the opposite; and those leaders become leaders because of those people who are avoiding the challenging path.  People who are scared of making the wrong decisions, of not knowing the “right” answers, of not succeeding because of their own choices; these individuals will choose a thousand times over, someone who will tell them what to do, hence ego driven leaders are born.

Knowing the way without testing it and possibly making a mistake is a lot less stressful than having to venture out on your own.  I get it, I’m sure you get it, I think everyone gets it; but let’s help each other to know that it’s ok to make mistakes and it’s ok to look inside for your answers and your own unique way.  Actually, let’s make it know that this process is quite important for inner growth and for reaching our fullest potential.  When doing things from our own heart or when trying to tune in to our heart, we learn a lot of amazing things about ourselves and we begin to notice the things that really fit with us versus the ones that don’t.

Each of us on this planet is special and has something to share, the only way we can tune in to that is to look inside.  These ego-driven leaders do their part in helping people feel motivated, confident and obtain successes along the way that strengthen them and essentially, will hopefully prepare them to then take the next step: to look inside themselves and start leading in their own unique way.  But without someone around them that points out inner growth, inner action, inner exploration, these individuals may never venture off on that route and will continue to lead a life that is really only half of who they truly are and can be.  Is it a big deal or the end of the world?  No, but if we can make that difference, be a leader who promotes inner growth, makes it important to do things your own way, not “my” way; maybe one day we’ll have made a very big difference in the life of some of these individuals.

What are your thoughts on ego-driven leaders and people choosing the path of least resistance?

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Dealing with family friction and finding the hidden lessons that lead to harmony

After writing the blog post on dealing with unpleasant ego driven people, it came to mind how much harder this is when the situation involves a loved one.  It’s easier to remove yourself (your subjective opinions and reactions) and take an objective look at the person you’re dealing with when the individual isn’t someone who’s a part of your day to day life and who you’re not really concerned with as to how their life is going.

It’s not that you don’t care about other people’s happiness or their lives, but when they are not someone you are in close contact with day in and day out, and don’t share your life with them on an ongoing basis, you’re less close to the person physically and spiritually.

It’s a lot more challenging to deal with a loved one who is ego driven, for example, and to deal with the dynamic of family discussions and differences in a way that involves absence of judgement and the pursuit of internal exploration for inner growth.  Everybody wants the best for the other, everybody shares their opinion in the hopes of guiding their loved ones on the “right” path, everybody wants some privacy, but everybody also wants support from each other.

Family dynamics (by family I mean friends that are family too and not that they have to be blood related) are complex because of the strong emotional component that family involves.  Although there are different levels of closeness and what can be considered invasiveness between family members depending on the culture that you grew up in, it’s safe to say that each family member (you included) wants the best for the other and wants to feel understood (not judged).  There’s also the component of expectations associated to family and roles or wanting to meet expectations (make happy) our loved ones.

So, with all of these things and more, when it comes to dealing with a loved one who may have an attitude or behavior that hurts your feelings or that clashes with you, it is twice as hard to remove yourself from the situation and explore your own judgements, expectations, and to release the fair or unfair, right or wrong, feeling and thought that’s going on when in that situation.

For as challenging as this may be, acknowledging the added component to this type of relationship and bond, as well as your own views and expectations when it comes to family/loved ones (such as you wanting to feel loved, understood, accepted and wanting the best for your loved ones according to your idea of what’s best, etc.) you make a huge step forward in being able to pursue inner growth and diffuse the tension within an unpleasant situation involving a loved one.  This type of awareness gives you a pinch of objectivity that you can keep in mind when you’re dealing with an unpleasant family situation or when you are angry at a loved one for something they said or did.  In having some objectivity, you can slowly open yourself up to seeing the hidden lesson about yourself through that interaction and you can also try to transform the interaction and relationship in one that no longer holds friction or unpleasant feelings (or at the very least, you can reduce those feelings to a minimum).

The tendency to focus on the unpleasant situations when I write about inner growth and challenges is because the situations that are exciting, happy and peaceful don’t make us question much because we welcome those situations with open arms.  In a moment of peace everything and everyone is resonating with us, we’re all on the same page so to speak.  Being on the same page doesn’t bring about internal exploration because there is balance and harmony in that moment we’re living, in that interaction we’re having.  It is the unpleasant feelings that make us uncomfortable and that can push us to pursue questioning what we’re holding on to and what we’re judging, and what we can work on, if we choose to do so and if we’re on a path of self-discovery to pursue inner growth and have the desire to transform these unpleasant situations into ones of balance and harmony.

Not everyone agrees that this type of inner growth and transformation can happen.  And as I always like to say, that’s ok.  It’s not right or wrong, it’s about what you feel is in tune with who you are and what you believe; but in order to reach a place of clarity with yourself you need to step outside of yourself to recognize who you really are from the heart.  So much of what we think and how we react has been what we’ve been taught or what we’ve seen growing up; that’s how it is, but we can go way beyond that if we are inclined to do so.

I believe each one of us has the potential to reach a state of peace from within no matter what’s outside of us, but in order to do so we must believe it and be open to letting go of our “old” ways while living with people that hold on to those “old” ways.  Family relationships are the ones that affect us the most, that we are strongly tied to emotionally and physically, and so they play a major role in our life.  As long as we look at ourselves though and find solutions that work for us, not only do you pursue inner growth, but you automatically transform the dynamic to one that doesn’t bring you down.

I’m curious to know what you think when it comes to family relationships and dealing with unpleasant situations or contrasting family members (the ones that seem to be able and push all the right buttons)?  What have you found works for you in pursuing these relationships with less friction and more harmony?

Dealing with unpleasant ego driven people and finding the hidden lessons

“Every interaction with another person can be an opportunity to grow and share love” ~ FNM

I start this blog post with this statement because I’ve found it to be true with every interaction I’ve had; from the most pleasant of interactions to the least pleasant ones.  Focusing on this truth or better stated, making this my natural reaction to interactions, particularly unpleasant ones, was a process.

My process all started from the fact that I believed, and still believe, from the depths of my being that every human holds love in their heart and that they’re simply trying to be happy in life.  I don’t believe anyone is evil per se or that anyone’s out to get anyone else, and even if on the surface it may look this way, there’s a lot more behind the actions and behaviors of these individuals, of any individual for that matter.

Being able to deal with individuals, such as unpleasant ego driven ones, in a way that adds to your inner growth and doesn’t disrupt your own balance and internal harmony is up to you.  It depends on your perspective and on how you choose to handle the situation.

It depends on your readiness to let go of your own judgements, your own definitions of right and wrong, of your own ego.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this means you should let someone walk all over you or make excuses for their behavior.  I’m saying you can accept what you’re seeing at face value, empathize by remembering the struggles of life, and focus on how this interaction can help you dive into yourself.

The process is twofold because it allows you to remain flexible and calm when dealing with an individual that is pushing your buttons and by not getting enraged and defensive this leaves you open to seeing what’s really going on and to exploring different solutions that can help this interaction.  It also puts you in a position where you redirect questions to yourself on why this interaction is bothering you, which can lead you to exploring the judgements you might have regarding a specific topic or behavior.

None of this thinking is meant to say that there’s something wrong with your ways; it’s meant to help you keep an open mind in a situation that would otherwise simply be an issue and an unpleasant one at that.  When faced with a problem if we stop at the problem, nothing else takes place besides the problem.  What can we do with a problem if we stop there?  And ultimately, stopping at a problem brings nothing else.  Also, since life presents you with an array of experiences and different types of individuals, isn’t it better that you’re able to live them from a place of openness that allows you to really see what’s going on and to see more of you?

If you’re shaking your head no because you think people who are ego driven or who are behaving in the “wrong” way need to know, that’s your choice and I encourage you to go for it.  Go tell them that they need to change their ways and that their behavior is totally uncalled for; but don’t expect them to smile and nod yes to your statements.

Each one of us is pretty convinced of our ways, even if on an unconscious level or even if we’re always looking for advice and confirmation from others.  Deep down, there is a foundation we’re coming from, it’s deep seated within us, which is why exploring ourselves through situations and interactions brings discovery and inner growth.

This firm belief each of us has is a good thing because we should all lead a life that is true to us; but when you go to another person and basically tell them that they need to run their life and think the way you do, even if not using those exact words, you can’t expect them to agree.

The beauty of the process I shared with you above is the part of you being able to stand in front of someone who is obviously in need of lots of love and lend an ear or at the very least lend an ear that can help you explore what you’re thinking and feeling as they’re talking to you.  You can also become an observer who is able to tap in to different ways of turning an unpleasant interaction into a pleasant one.

If you’ve read this far, it’s safe to say that you’re not a person who is stuck on the idea of right or wrong, but rather a person who sees the vastness that makes up human behavior and life.  And let me tell you, the journey to inner growth, the journey to seeing all the complexities of this life experience are beautiful.

The more you’re able to look at things that happen to you and interact with people, even unpleasant ego driven ones, in a loving and nonjudgmental way, in a way that looks for those hidden lessons; the more you’ll uncover the amazing potential each human has and the world at large has (us included).  It’s an exhilarating feeling and an amazing discovery process.  Basically, it’s a life worth living with lots of “ah ha” moments! 🙂

How about you?  What process has helped you deal with unpleasant ego driven people?  What have been some of your biggest takeaways been from being in such situations?

Transforming challenges into opportunities

Any situation always has the potential of being an opportunity to further inner growth.  However, that’s easy to say when it comes to pleasant situations and people we encounter along the way.  It becomes another story when you’re faced with challenges like people that tick you off or situations that cause us pain or worry.

Some people get angry at the statement that behind any situation there lies a solution or that it’s only temporary.  Others wholeheartedly believe it and apply it, even it’s not easy all the time and definitely not easy at the beginning with those situations and people that upset you.

Feeling frustrated or angry at something that happened or someone that is disrespecting you is pretty much the first reaction, but if you allow yourself to step outside of the situation and you ask yourself, “Why am I upset, what is bothering me, what can I do about it?” you will find the hidden opportunity to inner growth, and to transforming that situation by transforming your reaction.

I read an article a while ago, on psychology.com or one of those psychology websites and it talked about rewiring yourself, your reaction.  I also saw a video long ago on how the brain works and human reactions and the firing of synopsis that create that pattern after repeating that same reaction consistently (something along those lines).  The video also went on to explain that if you start changing your reaction, you can change those firing synopsis.  All of this and more has been written and looked at when it comes to the way humans react.  It all says the same thing, if we choose to do so, we can change our reactions, which in turn change the same situations we face into “different” situations.  In the end the situation hasn’t changed, what’s changed is how you perceive it.

If you’re determined to find harmony within, the process starts with you.  And for as much as a person can treat you unjustly or something that happens can be catastrophic, if you choose to try and let go of being right or wrong or of judging something as a catastrophe; you will in turn stop living those types of situations with anger or sadness or frustration in your heart.

To me these feelings aren’t bad, they are actually the indicators that spark questioning and further research that aims to improve our inner wellbeing and the external circumstances around us.  Since life is an experience, don’t you want to make the best out of it?  And if you know there’s a solution to doing that, which is letting go of old patterns of behavior that are bringing you down, why not take the journey?

I know the feeling of venting about someone or something that is bothering you, someone that is really behaving like a jerk or something that happens that makes you ill or that threatens your lifestyle.  These are all things that are scary and bothersome, but by asking questions like, “Why am I bothered?”  “Why am I scared?” we get a lot of answers and they help us realize that what’s going on isn’t the end of the world.

I know not everyone resonates with this or is thinking, “Seriously, another positivity talk.”  All I ask in turn to this is, “Doesn’t everybody want to live a good and happy life?”

I am pretty sure the answer is yes, and the beauty is that every one of us can; and in the process we also get to know ourselves, our identity and who we want to become more and more each time an opportunity (a challenge) presents itself.  This is an exhilarating feeling and I wish it upon each human being on the planet because there’s nothing better than knowing who you are, growing thanks to your life experiences and sharing love with humanity in the process.

Nobody is saying it’s easy, but I guarantee if that’s how you approach things it will get easier and easier thanks to the inner growth and transformation you’re making within, thanks to the rewiring of your reactions so to speak.

Step outside of yourself and stop to find the opportunity in the challenge you’re faced with, and you’ll find yourself moving towards a happier and much, much less scary place.

What ways have helped you to transform challenges into opportunities?

Moving beyond positive and negative judgements

Moving beyond positive and negative judgements

Along this journey called life there are some that have a positive outlook, while others a negative one.  Even though I use these words, I do not believe they embody the true essence of what a positive or negative outlook entail.  Actually, I don’t believe they embody much, except for an initial thought that can bring about further exploration into that outlook.

For now, our world has a pretty dualistic view of things, this view stops at the surface of things and situations; it does not pursue the depth of each situation for each unique individual.  Humans, society, the world have had to find ways to group people, things and places so that we can function as a whole.  It’s hard to get anything to work without a system, without definitions, and decisions.  However, the reality is that each human being is more than just the words ascribed to them from the vocabulary established so far and from our dualistic system (good/bad, positive/negative).  Behind anything that happens there is much more than a positive outcome or a negative outcome, then good or bad.

Although there are many who still find comfort in dualism and do not venture off to talking about life in a way that tries to see the full depth of the situation or person; I also find that there are many who do see that there’s so much more that meets the eye when it comes to people and life.  Just look at how many are turning to meditation, the rise of leaders who are spiritual in nature (Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, Gregg Braden); by spiritual I don’t mean religious, but I mean those who are talking about humans and that deeper level that was pretty much hidden from us until now (hidden from the media and from our human eyes).

It is not positive or negative, it is not good or bad, it is more about encountering something you didn’t expect, it is more about feeling weighed down and like you have no escape from a situation, it is more like feeling there isn’t a place for you, it is more like trying to figure out how to feel secure and at ease when there are so many unknown factors ahead.  It is more about uncovering your purpose, meaning, and achieving things you hold in your heart.

I’ve never believed in good and bad, just different, more pleasant or less pleasant, choices of love or choices of fear.  Obviously, this type of thought doesn’t resonate with everyone and that’s ok because it’s not about bad or good, or positive or negative, but it’s about how you can overcome your frustrations, fears, weighed down feeling and get out of a rut if that’s where you’re at.

The reality is that those who believe they are chained down to and by the events and circumstances that happen to them aren’t reading this blog, they’re not even exploring such notions or if they are, they’re finding it very hard to believe that we, humans, have a choice and aren’t chained down to anything, but what we choose to have us chained down.

Those individuals with a negative outlook aren’t negative per se; they are simply weighed down by events that come their way.  They feel there is no escape and they’re stopping at what they see as their proof of that.

And they will say to someone who tries to tell them to believe that everything will work out, “I’m being realistic, stop dreaming.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that time and time again.  There is no changing someone’s outlook on life and their experiences, to someone who is in that negative mindset you can only offer unconditional love and support; as long as they don’t start imposing their challenges on you and stop you from pursuing your own inner growth and happiness.

 It is not right for anyone to impose their way or view on someone else or think they need to convince the other of their view because that’s what will bring them happiness.  Each individual has a journey and if they choose a negative outlook that is their choice, it is not up to anyone to judge it right or wrong.  And if you really want to help, then love and support are the only thing that will provide some comfort to those individuals.

For those who are struggling to believe in life and trust that everything will be alright and that these moments of discomfort are opportunities for inner growth, harmony and happiness; I say to you, it’s a process.  Up till now, we’ve been wired (so to speak) to see things as good or bad, to judge and categorize humans, identity, and things into sets of right and wrong.  To reach your balance, to lift that weight, you must start releasing these old ways of seeing things and the only way you’re going to do this is by applying your new found thought process to situations of discomfort, to situations and people you judge, to anything that comes your way and that you cringe at.  These are your opportunities to explore yourself, pursue inner growth as you do this, and rewire your brain to stop seeing only two sides of the coin, but instead to see the depth behind the surface of each situation of each individual.

It is known that each of us on earth is simply trying to pursue happiness, to understand our purpose, to reach the highest potential we can that makes us feel we are expressing everything we feel we are everyday of our life and in everything we do, and to live a good life.  When you start looking at the world from the depth that it is made up of, instead of stopping at the surface, then you will have begun an amazing journey that will also help those around you to catch a glimpse (at the very least) of the beauty that life entails.  There are no real chains, just our own chains.

What do you think about positive and negative outlooks?  About the dualistic view the world applies to things, events, people?

What’s your identity and why is it important

When it comes to inner growth, identity plays a major role.  It’s fundamental because if you don’t have a clear idea of your identity how can you really pursue inner growth?  Identity helps you to identify the growth you’ve made or the growth you’d like to achieve, or even the growth you don’t want to make.

Inner growth and identity are something very personal.  As such, there is no one right way or one correct definition.  Even though our societal structure has sets of defined identities, we even talk about identity with specific characteristics and meanings, each individual can apply more than one aspect of specific identities, as well as feel that they are not any of the identities defined.

The choice to agree or disagree with the notion that identity is or isn’t something defined by others is yours.  Based on your thought process and belief you will choose what is true or not true.  And no matter what data can back up an argument in favor of fixed identities, there will always be someone or something else that will say otherwise.  More importantly, until your findings don’t sit well with you, your search for identity will continue on.

Inner growth involves being aware of who you are, the external factors at play in your day to day life, and being objective about yourself without confusing external factors as a part of you, as well as being able to extract yourself from a situation and not take something personally or for it not to imply something more than a mere situation that happened and is now gone, done with.  The same goes for identity.

People want to pin point who they are and usually they start from the framework that has been provided to them by those around them.  Take as an example those online quizzes and tests people are so eager to take so they can give a title to their identity.  And let’s also keep in mind the results following the test; a good percentage of that description may fit, but there’s always that something that gets added or taken away from the identity they got.

For both inner growth and identity, it is important for you to be able remove yourself from the framework, as if you are looking down upon it from afar.  To be able and look at those societal opinions and definitions as something that exist, but that don’t necessarily have to be a part of you.  This is not to say other’s definitions are not to be taken into account; but it is to say that your opinion matters just as much if not more when it comes to your identity.  The only way you are going to avoid confusion as to who you are is by deciding who’s going to make that decision.

Is your identity going to be based on your definition, your opinion, your heart; or is it going to be based on somebody else’s?

As long as your choice feels right, then it is right for you.  You know your identity already; if you feel you don’t, it’s probably because you’re trying to make it fit in a framework that isn’t unique to you.  It doesn’t have to be this way; avoid confusion and find your identity by being aware of you and the framework.  You are separate, yet coexist together (because without the framework, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation).

You know who you are if you listen closely to your heart, the rest will come and transform through time, as all things do.

What do you think about identity? What challenges did you face or are you facing in knowing who you are?

An inspirational talk on tech and meaningful relationships, but there’s more

There’s an unmeasurable beauty behind the era our world is in and heading towards.  It’s one where boundaries no longer exist, distances aren’t as noticeable as they used to be, and people from different countries with different and similar interests can connect more and more; more than they ever could before.  The world of technological and digital advancements is not as cold and impersonal as some make it out to be.

An amazing TEDx Talk on meaningful relationships in the era of technology by Daniel Newman inspired me to write about this topic.  In Daniel’s talk he touches on points regarding balance in the use of tech and human to human relationships, particularly relationships with loved ones within this new era of digital relationships and social sharing.  You have to watch the talk to get the full message, there’s a lot more to it and it’s truly inspirational.  Here’s the link.

As I watched and listened to what Daniel was saying, I thought to myself two things: 1) Daniel’s gift in being able to help the world realize the human component behind tech, tech which is seen as so abstract or sometimes an escape from our physical lives and world; and 2) the amazing power of technology in bringing the world together, like really together.

Beneath the surface of those initial thoughts is: 1) the fact that each of you, each of us, has a unique gift.  A gift that enables the world and people around us to see something that they wouldn’t otherwise see or to understand something in a different light than they would’ve been able to, had you not been able to relate to them and share that message or thing the way you did and do.  And 2) Technology is not a divider, it’s not driving people away from each other, but rather it’s enabling more people to connect more and more, and yes, even in in-depth ways.  There are meaningful relationships that come from this digital connectedness, actually more people feel less alone because they’re able to find people like them or that can understand them.  Technology is enabling the illusion of separateness to disappear, the illusion of competition as the driving force of humans, when in reality we are collaborative and loving.

This is a short bit on two topics that require a blog of their own (which will come, just not today); but that were worth mentioning alongside the TEDx Talk by Daniel, which inspired it all.  If you’re not following him online yet, you should, he’s an inspirational leader who leads with heart, who knows tech, who helps business owners succeed and so much more.  Check him out on Twitter or here’s one of his sites.

I’ll be back writing on: Identifying your unique gifts, the challenge with this, and some tips; and what technology really means for the world, the love behind digital 🙂

In the meantime, would love to hear your thoughts on these topics! Happy Saturday 🙂