I don’t care what you think, but I care what you think

I was driving my kids to school and going through the usual “pre-flight” checklist (lunch money, karate clothes, teeth brushed, trumpet, etc), I discovered and opportunity for personal growth and a great blog topic. I always, always, yes, 3 always, forget what days Rocco Jr. has band, soccer, karate, and minimum days. I had an inclination that it was a band day (although as I write this on a Monday, I couldn’t tell you if today is band). He, in his 9 year old, coming of age wisdom, feared being laughed for carrying his trumpet to school if the teacher was out. He wasn’t sure if the teacher, Mr Boyer, was going to be on campus. There was a 99% chance, Mr Boyer would be at work. But the 1% had Rocco Jr. concerned. Rocco Jr. feared that he would be the only band student carrying his instrument to class and being ridiculed. As his wise old father, I told him not to care what other people think. My 8 year old Angelina questioned my insitence on her clothes matching, or at least coming close to matching, if we don’t care about what other people think.
How do you find the balance between being self concious and simply not caring and being out of tune? This is a challenge. The objective is to be successful, authentic, and a good person. Simple enough? Many people find success in one or two of these areas, but finding people checking all 3 boxes (and deserving so) is not always easy. Here is a list of 4 must haves in order to consider yourself for the trifecta of personal growth achievement.
1. Self awareness: Daniel Goleman‘s landmark Emotional Intelligence turned the world upside down on the idea that how you know is at least if not more important than what you know when it comes to finding success. Finding self awareness may not be all that easy. There are thousands of Self-Help books, counselors, and You-Tube videos addressing this. Perhaps the bigget step has already been taken if you are asking how to become more self aware.
2. Intentions: What are your motives behind why you care what others think? Caring about impressing a potenital client, or a job interview is healthy. This is a means to an end. It says “care about my work” not “care about me”. If you are hoping to gain acceptance for a acceptance as an end, the “care about me”, in the wrong situations, this can spell trouble. There’s a time and a place for each. Knowing how to tell the difference is key.
3. Surround yourself with couragous and trustworthy coaches: As with many aspects in personal growth, the people you are around will lead you down a certain path. Which path depends upon the people you allow into your inner cirlce. Friends and family who challenge you in reasonable and realistic ways do you well. If they are well balanced, a quick check in every once in a while about your style and approach is appropriate. ” Does this present as professional?” or ” Am I comming on too strong”, are great examples of easy check in questions. The questions isn’t so much the issue as is asking the right person. Approaching someone with no social norms to advize you is not a good idea.
4. Prepare and be Confident: You are more likely to find balance when you are prepared and confident. This means that you have to put in the effort. If you are concerned about what your kids are wearing; learn. What are your objectives with what they wear? Trend? Modesty? Cultural? Whatever it is, make sure to do your homework. Put a “product” out there and be proud to know you put effort in.As you begin to grow, you’ll find you are confident in certain areas where you are not in others. This is o.k. . Learn from the positives and grow. The key here is that you are ahead of the curve by the mere fact that you are trying to get better.

Work on these a little at a time. Check in with yourself and those around you.

Share with me an area where you care too much? How about when you may not care enough (but still don’t want to change).

Rocco De Leo

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Guard your Heart

Français : Logo de Connecting Emotional Intell...

Français : Logo de Connecting Emotional Intelligence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the heart is the forked highway to heaven and hell. Proverbs 4: 23 says “with the closest custody, guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life”.  As human beings with dynamic and sometimes unpredictable emotions, we are drawn into many damaging “relationships”.  These relationships are sometimes with people, sometimes with things, and more often than not, they are ideas.  Guarding your heart means avoiding unnatural attachment to these things.  Attachment defined here is any feeling or sense of being drawn toward something that does not serve your purpose.  Some things may vary depending on your purpose in life.

The first thing you need to do is have a purpose.  This is the premise of Rick Warren‘s best  selling book: The Purpose Driven Life.  At least start with a goal. You can look at my post on goals for a quick guide on developing and writing down your goals.  Without a purpose, it’s hard to line up your behavior.

The second thing is to be hyper aware of your emotions.  Daniel Goleman’s land mark book on Emotional Intelligence discusses the importance of self awareness.  I am suggested that we must not only be aware of how we are affectING the world around us, but how we are affectED but the world around us.  You act different around different people.  You have social norms with one group of friends than others.  Why is it that you may drink and/or act contrary to who you really are (or who you want or think you are).  This is because your are affected by those around you.  Be aware of the people you are around.  Guarding your heart by avoiding these environments or  to the danger will provide value and offer you a level of integrity to your purpose you haven’t had in the past.  Since complete avoidance is usually not the case for those of us in the real world, a state a hyper-vigilance is important.  You can achieve this by knowing what your purpose and goals are and checking in on them regularly.

The third thing is to seek others who have the same purpose.  If you emulate those around you in a negative way, then you are bound to do the same for those in a positive way.  Find people  who have achieved or are seeking to achieve similar success in personal development.  Guard your heart of course from idealizing people and ideas.  Take your time and understand that this is a slow process. The difference between the new you and the old you is that you are aware and are working toward being better rather than simply wandering in the wilderness.

The fourth thing is to know your weaknesses.  This is similar to number two, but drills down to specific weaknesses and not necessarily just behaviors.  Do you have a lustful heart toward people other than your spouse?  Do you drink too much alcohol or take drugs?  Are you suffering from depression and seeking validation through your actions?  Do you wander off topic and find it hard to focus? Know your weaknesses and avoid occasions that can exploit those weakness.

Finally, know your strengths.  Books such as the Toms Rath’s Strengthsfinder teach you how to find your strengths.  The fact you are looking in the mirror and seeking your strengths puts you light years ahead of your peers.  Know what makes your great and focus much more on those things.

What are you guarding your heart from?

Rocco