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Stop Shining So Bright

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Know-it-all, cocky, arrogant, always trying to be number one and the center of attention…

If you’ve ever been told that you display one or all of these behaviors, depending where you are on the confidence and maturity scale, those words can hurt and do some serious damage to your confidence. When you are told that you are a “know-it-all” and 99.9% of the time you really do know the answer and the answers solves challenges for others and it is done with good intentions…it might be difficult for you to comprehend how and why it is viewed negatively. It’s a triple-edged sword. If you share information, you are a know-it-all. If you keep the information to yourself, then you aren’t a team player. If you play dumb, then you are doing an injustice to the natural skills and abilities that you were blessed with. So what do you do? The desire to help everyone unfortunately can be viewed as an attempt to steal the shine from others and there will come a day when you will be told to stop shining because it’s offending others and making them uncomfortable. If you are waiting for me to tell you to turn off your light so that other people can be comfortable, keep waiting. That’s not going to happen. Not. Ever. Your light is yours and yours alone. Don’t you dare turn it off.

I want you to think of your “shine” as the various lights you find on a car. Depending on the time of day or weather, you have to use different lights while you are on the road towards your destination. Your daytime lights for the everyday, routine stuff, the stuff that you can do without much thought. Your headlights are for when you need to provide unorthodox suggestions to resolve a problem. Throw on the high beams when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and have been asked to lead a major project. Your fog lights are when you need to weather the storm of adversity, ignore the naysayers, listen to the little birdie and achieve a goal that you might think is impossible. Use the interior lights when you need to take a moment to step away and focus on yourself. Change the type of light you use, sweetheart, but never..ever..turn it off.

With love,

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A Proportional Response…And Other Lessons Learned from TV


This weekend while cleaning my bedroom, I watched the West Wing television series on DVD. West Wing is still one of my favorite television shows. I remember looking forward to “West Wing Wednesday” every week, eager to watch the witty banter by the staff in the White House. President Jed Bartlett is one of my favorite fictional presidents not just because he was brilliant. He was  also kind, had a wicked sense of humor and he loved his wife. One of my favorite episodes from Season 1 is titled “A Proportional Response”. Now for those of you who have never watched West Wing, here’s a brief synopsis: After being offered “a proportional response” to the Syrian military’s downing of a U.S. military plane on a medical mission (and carrying his newly named personal physician), the president asks “What is the virtue of a proportional response – why is it good?”and then demands an option that will have greater impact. His Chief of Staff gradually talks him down, but the President is snarky with everyone, including his wife. The president ultimately agrees to the initial option, but is not happy about it. The president wanted to bring down the “thunder of God” on the Syrians. He wanted the response to be such a devastating blow, that no other country would even think about harming another American citizen. Are you asking yourself, What the heck does this have to do with ‘working my package’? Of course you are. Stay with me. This episode made me think about how people respond whenever we feel we are being disrespected. We tend to overreact in fear that someone else will try to disrespect in the same way. I thought about my “disproportional” responses and I wondered if my anger and need to set the record straight was best way to handle conflict. To be perfectly honest, because hindsight is always 20/20, there some things I should have left alone. I should have ended many conversations sooner than I did because it was clear neither side of the disagreement would be heard but egos can eliminate common sense and courtesy.

Are your responses to conflict proportional? Seeing a situation and a person for who they are, not who you want it or them to be can keep you from overreacting and giving too much time and energy towards people and situations who quite frankly just  don’t deserve it. In the midst of conflict do you think, “If I let this person get away with it, then everyone will think they can do the same thing?” Do you talk about how you are going “set some things straight?” Do you go for the jugular to make a point or do you want a mutual understanding? Do you want crucifixion or correction? Now ask yourself, is it even worth it? Victory is not always in the public defeat of your opponent, but in the calmness of your mind and the ability to just walk away…

With love,

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