Like it or not, conflict surrounds our lives in varying degree. Whether it be in the workplace, at home with family and friends or within our love lives, conflict rears its ugly head more often than we would like. There are a number of different ways to approach conflict and conflict resolution, however first and foremost you must identify what the ideal result would be for you. Will the end justify the means? Is it worth it to dive into conflict resolution with this individual and who will benefit from the result? You? Him/Her? Both of you? In my life, if I don’t benefit then there’s no resolution needed.
Long ago I learned if you don’t take care of yourself no one else will. It’s okay to be selfish in life. It’s okay to think that your life is more important than someone else’s. That can sound harsh at first but breakdown that thought for a moment. If you aren’t happy but you are doing whatever it takes to make someone else happy – what are you gaining? Is it better to endure more pain upon yourself in order to ease the pain of another?
Sometimes the best route to take is to simply remove an individual from your life completely. That might mean a new job or complete career change if the conflict resides in the workplace. It might mean a new roommate or living situation and it also might mean a break up within a romance. There is life without conflict, believe me. It’s there you just need to convince yourself that you deserve it. Walk away and move on. The future is infinite and so is your happiness. No one individual deserves the right to play a negative role in your life. No one has the right to hurt you or stave off your future happiness. Life is too short to waste time on wasteful people. There are too many amazing people in world who might be your next best friend, boss, great roommate or life partner. Get up and go find them. Our minds and souls work in amazing ways in that when we find these people, you instantly know it. You experience emotions that either you haven’t felt in a long time or possibly have never felt. Those people are worth it. Those people are the ones that are worth the search and worth the time. If conflicts arise with those people, that’s when conflict resolution is worth it because it will more often than not benefit both of you.
Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror
Clear minds and full hearts – that’s all we really need to be happy. It’s amazing how difficult that can be sometimes or how quickly we can lose sight of it. Some days feel as though the world is out to get you and that the day couldn’t get any worse. The optimist dubs that as “just one of those days” but why should we settle for that? Why should we accept that we’re just bound to have less than desirable days or even worse, down right terrible days?
I don’t like that philosophy and I don’t subscribe to it. I truly believe that we can control our own happiness or at least put ourselves on the right track to being happy. It’s as simple as believing that today is going to be a good day. Attitude is everything. You can’t change the past but you can take steps today to make tomorrow great. Don’t worry about the things that you cannot change and be thankful for what you have right now.
I’m guilty of over analyzing everything and worrying about the worst case scenario in every situation. I’ve worked very hard on myself over the last year to focus on making today the best day possible. I love my friends and family; even when I don’t show it I feel it from within and that’s the most important part. I clear my mind almost every day by taking a hike, run, bike ride or walk outside. For me nature is my sanctuary. It provides me with a solace that no person nor drug could ever provide. I get lost in the sweet smells of fresh air and views from ridge tops. Out on the trail I feel comfortable, safe and free. Whatever is stressing me is simply released and I’m blanketed with the assurance that everything is going to be okay.
I try to carry a full heart every day. I love my friends; close ones and distant. I call or text many of them on a daily basis. I love to interact and make sure that all of my friends know that I’m interested in what their doing and that I hope to see them soon. I try to avoid anger at all costs. It’s a useless emotion that provides nothing in return but regret and stress. For me a full heart means being around the people I care about and doing the things that I love whether that be feasting at a fabulous dinner or exploring the corners of wilderness.
Don’t forget to take time to clear your mind. If you’re heart isn’t full, find a way to fill it. There’s nothing more important in life than ensuring your happiness. Go out and get happy.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
2013 is here. It’s a new year and a time to start fresh. It’s amazing to think back on the last year and all the new people you met. Those people that you shared a special moment with, a laugh, a cry or just a great day or night. It’s even more interesting to consider how many of these people will be in your life going forward. Sure, you’ve probably Facebook friended them, followed them on Twitter and Instagram but how many of these new people will you call friends? How many phone numbers will you keep, and more importantly how many will you actually use?
Open your social calendar and use those numbers. Say “Yes” in 2013 and be around your friends, old and new. Don’t underestimate how great that one moment was when you met this new person. Maybe it was having a drink at the bar, a friends BBQ, a hike, whatever it was – if you laughed, if you smiled with this new person don’t underestimate it. That might be a new life long buddy or a significant other. Our preconceived notions about what we really want in life from our friends and significant others is usually wrong. The best part of friendships and relationships is when you say “I would not have thought we’d be hanging out” or “I didn’t see this coming.” There’s a whole new year ahead of you; don’t waste it and don’t believe you know what’s coming. Be open to everything and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be one helluva year.
“Just because it’s not what you were expecting, doesn’t mean it’s not everything you’ve been waiting for.
Generally, insecurity carries a negative connotation. I’m a true believer in being self-confident. If anything I think you’re better off toeing the line between confidence and arrogance than you are never believing in yourself. With that said, I think there is a healthy balance and some self-doubt can be positive. Insecurity can be productive and helpful. Insecurity helps us to understand our vulnerabilities whether they be personal or professional. A lot of times we are not aware of our insecurities at first but they are eventually unveiled through certain life experiences.
In my experience, insecurity is rooted in self-doubt and wavering confidence of self-worth (for whatever the situation may be). In the workplace that may be your ability to advance with your company, get promoted and be recognized for your abilities. For some people it’s easier to go through the motions and do just enough to get by when it comes to their career. Others are more confident and willing to take risks in order to advance. Insecurity can be the foundation for those that are risk averse and more likely to perform adequately instead of extraordinarily in the workplace
Personal relationships can reveal a much different type of insecurity. The risks in the workplace have very different dynamics and consequences than those in personal relationships. Most are concerned with rejection and or abandonment when it comes to their personal life. No one likes to hear “No” and no one likes a break-up. They are never easy and they are never without lingering consequences. More often than not, the product of rejection or abandonment is increased insecurity. If you’ve been burned once, you’re more likely to think twice before you jump into that next relationship. The irony of all of that is that most people have been rejected and most have been involved in a break-up yet insecurity still reigns. Everyone wants to find love and no one wants to lose it; that part is simple enough. The difficult part is understanding that it is okay to be insecure just don’t let it hold you back. Second guess yourself. Look before you leap. All of that is natural but don’t overlook your own greatness. You’re not better than anyone else, but you are phenomenal and you deserve phenomenal. Life is not a competition it’s a journey. We each have our separate roads and my left turn might be different from your left turn, but don’t doubt yourself because your road looks different. There’s a difference between going through life and growing through life. Insecurity allows us to grow. Identify your insecurities and try to understand them. What are you afraid of and why are you so averse to those risks? Is it commitment in a personal relationship? Are you fearing rejection or abandonment? Identify it, understand it and overcome it. Be secure with your own insecurities. It’s okay to learn from your past and if you’re insecure because of certain life experiences that’s okay too. However, in order to grow and in order to be a better You those insecurities need to be quelled at some point.
It’s intimidating, it’s frightening and sometimes it’s embarrassing, but insecurity is a part of life. We all have them but not everyone allows them to control their lives. Break it down and take a risk. Whatever your insecurities are just identify them. Understand the risks but in the end take those risks. You’ll be better off for it.
“Each one of us requires the spur of insecurity to force us to do our best.”
We’ve all been told “don’t judge a book by its cover” – yet it’s seemingly easier said than done. It’s human nature to place judgement or at least assess someone when you meet them. Years ago I was terribly guilty of judging others. I’d constantly keep to my own cohort of friends and rarely ever branch out. I figured that I had what I wanted/needed from my circle of friends, why would I look beyond that? Well, then Life did what Life does best; a few tragedies and curveballs later and I had a new perspective on the world.
I began reaching out to people I had previously either judged or for lack of a better word, simply ignored. Whether it was coffee, lunch, happy hours or hikes – I just started spending time with everyone and anyone that was interested. I started hearing new stories, meeting new people and garnering great new relationships. Those people who I once thought that I would never have anything in common with – I learned I had a hell of a lot in common. It was a revelation of sorts. Part of me was disappointed to think I could have potentially wasted years being narrow-minded and judgmental while the rest of me was just happy and excited to move forward living with a new outlook. It was more than just hand shakes and business cards, I was genuinely spending time with new people of all walks of life both professionally and personally.
I’d circle back with friends from time to time and say, “I went on a hike with so-and-so” or “So I had drinks with this person last night” – and more often than not the response would be, “really?” In the end, the conversation always ended positively as I would explain how much I had in common with these new people and I never even knew it. I learned to not judge. I learned to be optimistic. I learned that people have amazing stories to share and you won’t ever get to hear them unless you reach out. Spend time with new people. All ages. New friends. Old Friends. Rekindle relationships. Don’t be afraid to say, “Have we met? You look familiar”. Relationships can be ignited in the funniest of ways but only if you’re open-minded. So next time someone asks if you want to grab a cup of coffee, or a beer or hit the trail for a hike – do it. Saying Yes is a lot more fun than saying No. You never know what you might learn or the type of people you may meet. We all have our own stories; go out and share your story with someone new.
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
Dream it. Work at it. Achieve it.
Most of us dream all the time. We set lofty goals that we never really expect to meet and at some point we give up. It’s a lot easier to say, “that was a pipe dream” than it is to actually put the work in to achieve. The work never gets easier and usually it gets harder and harder each day. Every day because a new test – will you quit or will you push through? I have a few long-term dreams like having a family and being a dad, but most of my dreams revolved around the outdoors. I’m so determined to achieve them that I almost consider it more of a bucket list. I’ve done quite a few: sea kayak to a calving glacier, seen a breaching hump back whale in the wild, watched a family of orcas porpoising in the wild, dog mushed with an Iditarod team on a glacier, flown around the Alaskan Range and landed on at the base of Denali, hiked to an ice field, ridden a 100 miles on a bike and as of December 1st, 2012 I’ve now run a marathon in Death Valley.
It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. The time, the preparation and the constant doubt was almost overwhelming. Not only did I want to complete a marathon but I chose to do it in Death Valley, not the easiest of routes. The race was tremendous. The landscape was surreal and every step was rewarding (even if painful at the same time). By mile 15 I had felt more like I was surviving than thriving during the race. I fueled up at the 15.4 mile aid station, grabbed some salt tablets, potassium and electrolytes and then took off. Within the next 200 yards I got a surge of energy and never looked back. I was shaving miles and minutes with ease. This was the most indescribable feeling. I had gone from pain and doubt to confidence and euphoria within minutes. I wish I had the words to explain the feeling crossing the finish line but I don’t. It was a quick high-five and hug to my best friend who had finished 10 minutes earlier. I had been running for almost 5 hours and now I had to stop. My body didn’t exactly know how to react and I stood back in awe as I watch the thrones of runners cross the finish line. High fives for all. We had all been through a brutal and amazing challenge. It was a long journey. I proud. I’m prepared. I’m ready to take on the next dream.
If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough
I’ve never really understood when people say, “you can only trust him so much” or “how much can you really trust him?”. To me, you either trust someone or you don’t. Trust is a pillar of every relationship; friends, family, girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife. It’s the truest foundation that exists. If you can’t trust someone, their presence in your life in inconsequential (as harsh as that may seem). But think about it for a moment; if you can’t trust them would you go to them for advice? Would share your deepest thoughts, concerns, tragedies and triumphs? Would you ask for a helping hand? I’m guessing the answer is no to all of those questions.
The reason we have “the best friends in the world” or the “greatest family anyone could ask for” is because we trust them. We know when the chips are down and we are on the verge of tapping out that they are there for us. They are willing to be that bridge over troubled waters. When you truly trust someone in a relationship, you can be absolutely vulnerable. You can let them in on your deepest secrets (even ones that you only toggled with in your own head). At that point, it doesn’t feel like you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable because you trust that person. You’ve moved beyond vulnerability to comfort. You can be yourself but more importantly you can be whomever you want because you trust that person.
Be trustworthy. Look for trustworthy people. Life isn’t easy and we all need help at some point along the road, but we won’t ask for it if we can’t trust. You’ll never get to see a relationship truly blossom if you can’t trust your partner or friend and he/she can’t trust you. When you are truly trusting in a person, you feel a blanket of comfort that allows you to open yourself up like you never imagined you could. It takes time to earn trust and seconds to lose it, so go out and earn it. Earn it and keep it because it’s the foundation of every great friendship and relationship that you will ever have.
We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy