Pam Thomas loves encouraging others to bring their own flavor to the recipes called Life and Business. She has over a decade of experience in helping others stand up and out in positive ways personally and professionally.
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"But enough about me, let’s talk about you. What do you think of me?"
- CC Bloom, Beaches
That is one of the all time classic lines from the movie "Beaches" starring Bette Midler. It's a line I can relate to and I'm super glad about that. (Keep reading to find out why.)
But first let me ask you…
Have you ever had someone in your life who redirects the conversation to themselves, no matter what the topic?
Or someone that is so super self-focused that don’t consider others’ feelings or thoughts?
Or someone who is always "one-upping" you?
If you answered, "yes" then you've experienced the "Look At Me" syndrome. (OK, so that's not a real syndrome, as I'm sure you already knew, but it should be.)
And when it comes to this syndrome, it's important to recognize not just the syndrome itself, but the symptoms. Symptoms like…
Growing up with a CC Bloom and having a few in my life now, I've come to realize one thing…
It's not the CC Blooms of the world that are the problem. It's how I allow them to make me feel and how I deal with them that is.
RECENT INFECTION WITH THE "LOOK AT ME" SYNDROME
Just recently I was at a function when I bumped into a CC Bloom. Normally this particular CC Bloom doesn't bother me, but I was tired and low in energy so this time my buttons got pushed in a major way. As a result I became curt with the person and even judge-y
I'm not going to make excuses or even give myself a pass. My reaction sucked. To be curt and judge-y…a) that's not who I am at my core and b) that's not who I want to be. I was WAAAAYYYYY out of integrity with myself. And that's a BIG HUGE "No bueno!"
This is why I'm super glad I can relate to the line from Beaches…because of my own experiences (especially the one I just shared) I've come up with some strategies for inoculating myself. Strategies that I'd love to share with you.
But please remember, if anything I'm about to offer doesn't sound doable to you, don't force it to work. Feel free to tweak or disregard instead.
WAYS TO INOCULATE
Don't take anything personally. If you have ever read the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz you'll be familiar with this strategy. I'm not going to lie, this strategy can be difficult, but it's one of the best strategies ever.
The CC Blooms in our lives aren't doing or saying things because of us. They're doing or saying things because of how they feel about themselves. Maybe they're feeling insecure or not good enough and in need of validation. (Hence the "look at me"!)
If we make their inadequate feelings all about us, then we're just taking on those feelings. Or as Don Miguel says, we're eating their emotional garbage and making it our emotional garbage.
So when we're in a situation where we start to feel the pang of any of the symptoms above it helps to remember…it's not personal.
Keep expectations low…low…low…low. Expecting a CC Bloom to stop the "look at me" behavior, particularly if they're not aware of it, is tantamount to expecting a zebra to change its stripes to spots. (No, I'm not saying they can't change, because they can.)
But here's the thing about expecting others to act in certain ways…we only set ourselves up for disappointment. The bottom line; we don't have control over what other people do. We do, however, have control over what we allow or don't allow, how we respond or react, how we feel, how we act, and our own expectations of ourselves.
When it comes to the CC Blooms in the world, if we lower our expectations by not expecting them to behave any differently…
THE NEXT TIME
At the end of the day, there are always going to be CC Blooms. The next time I encounter one, I'm going to take a deep breath and remember, it's not personal. And then I'm going to think about my own integrity and come from that place instead.
How are you going to deal with CC Blooms in your world? I'd love to hear from you!
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I love the holidays. It's a time of celebration. A time for connection. A time for good food that we don't eat all year round. A time to let go of the old and bring in the new.
But I've noticed something; I've noticed that as we near the holiday season people seem to be a little less considerate. Or maybe a little less present which can lead to not noticing that you're waiting for that parking space, or that they just cut you off in line or traffic.
I know this happens during other times of the year, but it seems to be more prevalent during the holidays. And it makes sense for people to go on auto-pilot as they're thinking about what gifts they can afford, or the end of the year quotas and goals, managing the holiday gatherings, and out of town family members. It can all be a bit overwhelming.
I get it. And while I do get it, it doesn't mean that it doesn't drive me a bit nuts when someone pushes in front of me in line, cuts me off in traffic, or is just plain rude.
This year, however, I'm arming myself with something to keep me sane (and rational)…
Yep, you read that right…when it comes to others I'm going to lower my expectations.
(I promise I've not dipped into the egg nog or gotten hit on the head by the family menorah...so please read on.)
It might help if I explain what I mean...
Many years ago I was having issues with a family member who, I felt, was being inconsiderate of my feelings. Regardless of how many times I tried to share how I felt about their treatment, they didn't get it.
To say that I got my knickers in a twist would be the understatement of all understatements. I was fixated on the inconsideration. I wanted to right the wrong-doing. I wanted that person to see it from my perspective. It was all consuming and emotionally draining.
During a coaching session with my coach I went on and on about how ticked off I was. When I finally stopped ranting she said, "Pam, try lowering your expectations of that person, that way you will never be disappointed."
WHAT!? Are you kidding?!
Actually, my response was…"I say this with love, but f*#k off."
That was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted her to commiserate with me. I wanted her to justify my anger. But instead I got "lower your expectations."
It wasn't until a year or so later that I actually got what she meant.
Not to expect anyone to handle things in ways that I would.
Not to expect anyone to be different.
Not to expect anyone to behave in a certain way.
At the end of the day, the only person I can expect these things from is me, because I have control over what I do. Which means, I can set expectations for myself to be kind, considerate, and present. And when others aren't, I can expect that I will choose my response carefully and considerately.
Rather than expecting, I'm teaching people how to treat me based on what I will or won't allow for myself.
Here's the really cool thing about lowering my expectations of others…when I do, not only am I less disappointed, but I'm open to being surprised. Which, I'm not going to lie, is kinda fun.
So that's how I'm going to keep sane this holiday season. How about you? I'd love to hear your strategies for not losing your cool and enjoying your holiday season.
Oh, but if you need some additional strategies, I've got your back. Be sure to check out these blog posts:
"Bye Felicia"; Three Ways To Get Someone Out Of Your Personal Space
Your Not So Ordinary Holiday Stress-Reducing Tip
Tips for a stress-free, peaceful holiday season
Here's to a sane and wonderful holiday season!! Sending you all much love and sparkly, tinsel-adorned light.
Additional Resource To Avoid the Holiday Humbuggery
December's Rut Warrior Membership topic is dedicated to avoiding the humbuggery that many of us feel.
There is a special podcast with tips for making this holiday season a relaxed and bright one. An Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping script for managing the stress. Not to mention, exercises , journal prompts, and an intuitive reading for extra guidance muscle. And I'm super excited, because included is some fun bonus material for humbug busting.
So if you, or anyone you know wants to be humbug free this holiday season, join us!
(You'll also have access to previous months' content, so be sure to check it out!)
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Have you ever felt the need to change the way you do things?
Have you experienced those growing pains that are so obvious you just can't ignore them?
I'm raising my hand!
After nearly 14 years in business as a coach, I decided it was time for a major overhaul of what I do, how I do what I do, and who I work with. (Rebranding myself and my business.)
Talk about scary and exciting all at the same time. But here's the thing, I was starting to feel like a plant that had outgrown its pot. No more room to expand my roots.
So clearly it was time for a bigger pot. Seems logical, right? Logical, but still scary and time!
As I was getting ready to leave the smaller pot that had served me well, I reflected. I reflected on some of the lessons (or fertilizer, if we stick with the pot metaphor) that helped me to grow not only professionally, but personally.
Quality over quantity. There are all sorts of messages about the importance of having tons of social media followers, newsletter subscribers, etc. It can all get a little overwhelming.
I don't disagree, being connected to your target market is important. BUT you could have thousands of subscribers and followers that just don't engage with you or your brand. (Which I did.) Making those thousands just numbers on your stats or dashboards. (Which they were.)
It all began to remind me of a high school popularity contest.
Been there, done that, have the tiara and t-shirt. Let me tell you, it had me questioning the relevance of my work in the world…and not in a good way!
Did it suck? Was I putting out stuff that people thought was crap?
No, I was just trying too hard to "please" the masses!
The bottom line…
Anything that doesn't make you feel good about what you do, isn't going to support your growth as a person, leader, business owner, or entrepreneur.
At the end of the day, it is true that quality is far better than quantity. Having quality connections with a smaller group of people has supported me in providing more value to my target market so I can be of greater service.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
Stay in my own lane. Want to talk about something that hampers growth and makes you feel like shit as an entrepreneur, business owner or aspiring leader…it's called comparison. When we compare ourselves to someone else what we're really saying is, "I'm not good enough. My work isn't good enough."
Talk about a boldface lie and a major swerve out of your own lane!
In my case, while there are many amazing coaches out in the world that do something similar to what I do, they don't do it in the same way. Wanna know why?
They don't have my heart. They have their own heart.
Staying in my own lane has not only minimized the comparing, but it's also helped me to focus more on my own work and doing it in my own way. And doing that has sparked the production of some pretty cool stuff, stuff that I'm excited about. Who doesn't want to be excited by what they're putting out into the world?
BUT most importantly, staying in my own lane has helped (and continues to help) my business to grow.
The best way to gain exposure is to continue to put work out into the world that you love. Work that is you. Not work that you think others will want. (Are you noticing a theme here?)
As Ryan Holiday shares in his article "Your Work Is The Only Thing That Matters", "An artist’s job is to create masterpieces. Period."(By the way, this is awesome, thought-provoking article! Definitely worth the read!)
That is so true! Whether you're an entrepreneur, aspiring leader, dreamer, writer, coach, or artist…you're job is to work on your masterpiece. Period.
Clients are NOT dollar signs. It is all too easy to get caught up in the bottom line, especially when there are mouths to feed and bills to pay, or your job depends on the sales you make or the number of clients you bring in. It happens to the best of us. Trust me.
There was a time early on in my coaching career when I was desperate for cash. And since desperate is as desperate does, I was putting out a vibe that was just plain gross and repelling.
While knowing my financial landscape has always been important, when it became the focus, the energy shifted from loving what I do to making it about the cash flow. That's no bueno! Talk about a hit to the bottom line.
At the end of the day, my clients are people. People who do not deserve to be looked at as a dollar sign. NEVER EVER!
So now, during the slower months (because business always ebbs and flows), I focus on why I love what I do and how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with some amazing people. Wanna talk about the best fertilizer ever!?!
When you're focusing on what you love and why you're doing it (your vision), you amp up your vibe and positive vibes are magnetic.
Patience is a valuable commodity. Not always the easiest, however. This is something I'm still working on myself. Especially when I'm excited about something that I've just launched.
But here's the deal (and back to the plant analogy) when you plant a seed, you don’t pull the seed out of the ground every day to see if it's sprouting roots. Because you know if you do, you'll prevent it from growing. Instead you water it and fertilize it.
So the key is to be patient. To share your work in a way that’s authentic to you, trusting that the seed you've planted will grow and turn into something totally amazing!
Ready to Outgrow Your Pot?
So there you have it, some of the most powerful fertilizer I've used and will continue to use as I get used to this new pot.
How about you? What helps you to grow your work in the world? What, if anything, is keeping you in a smaller pot?
Take some time to assess and survey the pot you're in, the fertilizer you use, and feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and comments.
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Stinking Thinking = any thought that creates a negative emotion. In addition, the things we say to ourselves that are disparaging and self-deprecating.
I've been infected by Stinking Thinking tons of times. And I'd like to say that once dealt with, it never returns, but that would be a boldface lie. We're human, so negative thoughts happen. (PLEASE DO NOT STOP READING…because there's some good news up ahead.)
While we may never be rid of those negative thoughts completely, there are ways to deal with them so that the impact becomes non-existent.
The bottom line when it comes to stinking thinking…it's not the actual thought that is the problem; it's the impact it has.
Impact like the following…
Changing perception. For example, let's say you have a favorite outfit that you always feel good in. And one morning before you go to put on that favorite outfit you have a bout of Stinking Thinking. You put on the outfit and all the sudden it goes from favorite to the give-away pile.
It messes with energy. For me, this is a big one. I could be all smiles on the outside, but if Stinking Thinking is running on a loop in my head, my energy goes way down. So while people may see me smiling, the vibe they get is quite different. And as we all know, it's the vibe/energy we give off that either attracts or repels.
Weakens personal power. And when our personal power is being messed with, we are susceptible to those feelings of "not good enough", less than, etc.
Here's the good news...we can take back control of our thoughts from Stinking Thinking. We can lessen it's power and it's shelf life. There is an antidote. Actually there are several, but I'd like to offer you one of my little secret antidotes….
Yep, this is one of the antidotes I use when Stinking Thinking is infecting my brain.
The next time you find yourself infected with some Stinking Thinking, ask yourself this question…
"What do I choose to believe?" And if that doesn't grab you and you feel you need something a bit stronger try…
"I choose to think something different." OR
"I choose ______ (love, peace, my personal power, whatever word(s) feel empowering to you in the moment)_____ over this thought."
(Many thanks to Gabby Bernstein for this juicy tidbit, which works every time I use it!)
Give Choice a whirl, and do let me know how it works for you!
AND AS A HEAD'S UP: If you're in need of some more antidotes, I'm sharing quite a few as a part of September Rut Warrior Membership Program's podcast, exercises, and intuitive reading. I hope you'll join us because we'll be busting this rut BIG TIME.
Until next time, much love and light to you all…
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This episode isn't about the bedtime stories or the fairy tales with the happy endings. This episode is all about the stories we tell ourselves that keep us stuck. Tune in as I share some ways to dig out from this storytelling rut.
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Not wanting to trouble anyone.
Feeling like you have to do it all on your own.
Taking on the responsibility of other's wellbeing.
Does any of that sound familiar? Welcome to Wonder Woman Or Superman Syndrome and this week's episode of What The Rut!? Pam offers tips for getting out of this rut and getting your cape unstuck.
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...As Opposed to the Other Way Around
Fear, while we will never be void of it, there are ways to deal with it. Ways that leave you feeling more powerful. Tune into today’s podcast because Pam shares some very simple yet powerful ways to kick fear’s @$$.