You Matter Most #25 #cong23 #reality


For some people there is a very thin line (if any) between perception and reality. Because of this we tend to exert a lot of focus and energy on all the externals around us (what others think/say, judgements and opinions of me, etc.).

A much better use of this focus and energy should be to look internally at yourself – to determine what works well for me, what am I most happy with, what could I consider changing, what might success look like for me, and most importantly am I happy and contented with myself. Note that happy and contented with oneself doesn’t mean that there’s no room for improvement. It does mean that the power over what others think or say becomes significantly reduced or even removed.

So be true to yourself and your reality.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Be contented and kind to yourself
  2. Beware of judging others – unless you can walk in their shoes
  3. Control what you can control – you determine how you show up
  4. Life is short – have no regrets

About John Murphy:

John works with clients at or approaching a crossroads in their life to determine the best answers to “What’s next for me?” to have a fulfilling and successful life – finding the preferred re-balance of business, family and self in the next chapter(s) of your life.

Contacting John Murphy:

You can connect with John on LinkedIn or send him an email.

By John Murphy

“You Matter most”

When I was in my late teens I was “volunteered” to go with my Dad on a pilgrimage with the Ferns Dioceses to Lourdes as a Brancardier/helper to assisted pilgrims. At the time I thought I had problems, be it worrying about exams, coping with peer pressure, often trying to be something I wasn’t, trying to impress others, etc. Being there among the assisted pilgrims I got a real “reality check” in a very short period of time – here were people who were facing very different and challenging futures, in some cases for those with terminal illnesses their future was extremely limited indeed. The amazing thing I noticed was seeing how bravely and unselfishly most of them accepted and just got on with living for today while they still had the opportunity.

My Dad had warned me not to be inquisitive about what others were facing, but be present to assist them in anyway way I could, or just to chat with them about stuff in general. The big no, no, was never to judge or assume the challenges that someone else is living – just because someone could walk, looked or behaved “normally” does not mean that he or she was in perfect health or mindset. The only way to understand someone else’s reality is to walk in their shoes for a sufficient period of time to then appreciate their internal turmoil or demons.

So let’s now look at our internal reality and what that means for me. As an executive coach I regularly work with leaders whose perception comes to the fore more frequently than reality. Some might say that perception and reality are the same, but I beg to differ. For example high-achieving leaders and mangers that have been promoted to newer and bigger roles often face the challenge of “imposter syndrome” where there is self-doubt of intellect, skills or on accomplishments. It’s like that little voice in your head that keeps saying that people are watching you, you’re not good enough for this new role, or that they expect more from you than you can deliver. The person often has no data or facts to confirm these perceptions but their focus is only on looking outwards and not inwards at themselves.

Once a person can accept themselves for what they are and be content with their lot, then all of a sudden what others might think of them becomes significantly less impactful. Bear in mind that if you’re not happy with yourself then why should you expect others to think any differently of you.

A mantra I find useful that relates to Emotional Intelligence is as follows:

“The way you show up …..
….. determines the way people feel,
and the way people feel …..
….. determines the extent to which they can engage,
and that impacts pretty much EVERYTHING …..
…..about the outcome of the relationship.

So instead of focusing on things that are totally outside of your control (what other’s think, say or do) put your energy and focus into what’s within your control – don’t point the finger of judgement on others but judge what you say and do, and don’t spend time worrying what others are or are not doing but hold yourself accountable to what you’ve committed to and look to meet or exceed what’s expected of you. At a minimum seek clarity of messages, ask questions and don’t ever leave space for assumptions. People are not mind readers and “assumption is the mother of all mistakes”.

And as a final reflection on reality, I am going to defer to “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying” – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing is a 2011 book by Bronnie Ware inspired by her time as a palliative carer.

According to Bronnie Ware, the five most common regrets shared by people nearing death were:
1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

These are examples of facing reality by people who were no longer in a position to do something about it. Please don’t let yourself make the same mistakes, while you still have the opportunity to alter and positively impact your reality.

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