Mastery of Oneself

“The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery – not over nature – but of ourselves.” –Rachel Carson, environmentalist

What is mastery over ourselves? What would that look like?

Ultimately our intent, thoughts, words, actions and responses are the only things that we can control and master. These all involve choice and our own freewill. It’s the awareness that every moment involves a choice—whether it be on the automatic, unconscious level or with awareness and mastery.

99966851_8
Photo credit: Getty Images

The awareness of those choices in the moments that make up our lives involves a discipline of mind. Sound like a lot of work? It is—at first. But that discipline of mind becomes easier and easier, and it is SO worth it! How is it worth it? A simple example is when you make a conscious choice to change a thought. Maybe it’s a thought that really doesn’t serve any purpose other than making you feel down or defeated. By changing that one thought that has been floating around in your mind all day to one that is more uplifting, you can change the course of your day. You can also change the world around you by changing that one thought. Have you ever been around someone who stays negative about almost everything or doesn’t want to see a hopeful solution? It has an effect on those who are around them. The same is true for those who are hopeful, empowered and are taking action that is consistent with hope and empowerment. The hopeful draw people to them in a good way like a magnet.

Another example of that mastery is when you look at and consider the effects a choice you make will have on others before you make it. Does insisting that it be your way make you blind to the needs of others? I can think of an instance or two in my life where I, out of fear, had inadvertently done this. If you think about it, perhaps you can remember an example of this in your own life–an instance where you were coming from a place of fear–fear of change or fear that another way would not bring the desired results. How many times have we seen the effects of choices made by others when consideration was not made first about the impact those choices would have?  Perhaps you directly felt those effects, perhaps not, but the effects were apparent.

Seeking mastery over others is not leadership; it is an abuse of power.

Seeking mastery of oneself is living a conscious life and is genuine leadership.

Masters are everywhere, in all walks of life. A master can be the person who sees her/his life as a service. It’s a janitor I know who always has a cheerful greeting and is truly joyful in doing what some people would consider a menial task. It’s the person in the parking garage booth, who recently when I asked “how are you?” answered with, “I’m blessed! I have a job where all day long I can greet people and wish them a good evening. What could be better than that?” I’m humbled by that kind of mastery.

Mastery is not perfection. Masters make mistakes, and they do encounter difficulties. Mastery can be working in a process of knowing there’s always more to know. Mastery can be about getting back up again after a fall or mistake, claiming it, apologizing for it (if it affected others), learning from it, dusting oneself off, and moving forward again.

© Copyright 2014 Mary Claire O’Neal, All rights reserved.

Mary Claire O’Neal is the author of the award-winning book, Becoming What You Want to See in the World, and is a communication consultant and coach.

www.maryclaireoneal.com

Facebook

Twitter

Advertisements

The Value of Trust and Three Ways to Build It

Image
Nurture trust with others.

Today I’ve been thinking about how important trust is. It is something that is vital to nurture in all good relationships, including professional ones. Trust is not automatically given by most people; it must be earned. Being consistent in building that trust with others goes a long way in creating strong, enduring relationships of all kinds.

What are ways to build trust?

Always following through on what you agree to or say you will do is one of the most important. And if it looks like you cannot honor an agreement, renegotiate as soon as possible with the person it concerns. Neglecting to do these things is one of the biggest reasons why trust is lost.

Another way to build trust is to consistently think the best of those in your relationships, whether they be friends, co-workers/colleagues, partners/spouses, or family members. People value relationships where they can feel that kind of security in knowing that they will be given the benefit of the doubt, and that the positive will be the first conclusion.

Apologies, sincere and soon, are also very important in keeping trust with others. We all make mistakes, but communicating a heart-felt apology (when the mistake effects another) as soon as possible will help in damage control of trust.

Nurture trust with others. It’s a precious thing. Once it’s damaged, sometimes it cannot be healed. If it can be renewed, it takes time to rebuild, just as it took time to create trust in the first place.

© Copyright 2013, Mary Claire O’Neal

Photo credit: Getty Images

Create Balance During the Holidays

 

Experience balance during the holidays

Living in balance can be a challenge in our day-to-day lives, but during the holidays, balance is needed in order to truly experience the spirit of the season all the way through the New Year.

What helps in consistently creating balance? The answer is pretty simple but the living of it requires focus and attention.  Here is the “how”—drum roll, please:  Being in the present moment.  But what does that mean, really?

Being in the present moment doesn’t mean that you don’t plan or don’t look at the effects potential actions might bring. In fact, being in the present moment requires both of those things. It also means that you look at what is right in front of you and take it step by step to make your way to your goals.  When a stressful or urgent situation comes up, look at what is right there in sight—what opportunities are there for you to see in that moment. Being in that present moment will allow you to take action that recreates balance baby step by baby step.

For instance, say, you have a big “to do” list, and you are waiting in a long line during your holiday shopping. Instead of taking yourself out of the moment and worrying about all that you have to get done (getting more and more stressed and frustrated), take yourself back in the moment and remind yourself that balance is right there, now. You may find that you are can then enjoy a couple of children in line laughing and being playful (reminding you of the joy of the holidays). Or you might find that the elderly woman in front of you needs assistance and you are able to help her. You might notice that something you have been looking for is in a display right next to you in the checkout line (and you can check one more item off your “to do” list instead of driving across town.)  Funny, sometimes, how being in the moment can work out, and it does bring more balance to our perceptions and experiences when we see that each moment has those opportunities.

Sometimes being in the moment may bring you to the realization that you are dreading yet another year of hectic shopping, wrapping, traffic, and long lines. Maybe you decide instead to negotiate with family and friends to simplify and just do gift cards. Or even negotiate giving to each person’s favorite charity for the holidays instead of giving stuff. You may come up with the idea to negotiate drawing names so that everyone just buys one gift, and everyone receives one gift.

This is the time of year to be at our best–a time to LIVE the spirit of the holiday season in love, goodwill, peace and joy. Be fully here, balanced and able to see the wonderful opportunities in this moment.

Positive Change in a Year of Renewal

 

I look to the beginning of the year as an opportunity to start fresh, renew, with changes that I want to bring into my life. But first, I have to be clear on what it is that I want or what areas of my life I want to renew. Many years ago, I used to think that change was a negative concept, that it meant chaos or even loss of something. Over the years, I have found, though, that change can be about creating more joy, balance or fulfillment–increasing the good. This kind of change also is more likely to create something more enduring.

The other thing about change is that I used to approach it with what I didn’t want more of in my life. Change meant “ditch this, move on.”  Or another, “I’m not happy with the way my clothes are fitting. I need to lose some weight.”  I used to be a human yo-yo. I completely overlooked change as the agent of  “I really love this. What can I do to create more of this in my life? What is it that does work for me?” This shift in perspective was significant. For instance, if I want to have more energy and feel good physically, the change for me would be working out more regularly and eating foods that make me feel more vital — fresh, whole foods instead of processed, refined ones and drinking more water. A nice side effect of making this kind of change, in addition to more energy and and health, is my clothes end up fitting better.

The focus is on increasing or adding something that is good for me, not on, here’s the word — loss.

Once you figure out what you want to manifest in your life, what next? The answer shouldn’t surprise — goals. Setting a goal is like creating a road map to get where you want to go. Without them, things can fall apart pretty easily. The tricky thing with goals is they have to be realistic. You can be your own saboteur in the success of a goal if it is not realistic for you. For instance, a sabotage that I used to do was giving myself a timeline that was just not workable in the attainment of the goal. I would get enthusiastic and think that I could accomplish it in much less time than was possible for me. Then  when I didn’t make the goal within that time frame, I would think that I failed and sometimes even give up on it. I would occasionally even top it with the cherry of being hard on myself for failing. Small steps work.  They really, really do.

Okay, you’ve set a realistic goal. The next step is adding something new into your life — prioritization:

1) Write down a list of ideas of things you can do to attain that goal.

2) Break each item on the list down into pieces — manageable steps.

3) Figure out what small step(s) you can take tomorrow or this week toward your goal, the next week, the week after and so on.

4) Prioritize it into your schedule, giving it as much importance on your list as your other priorities.

If you find that you are shoving it to the side on a regular basis, it is not being given priority on your list. If you miss a day or even a few days, dust yourself off and pick it up again. Even laughter and fun are important priorities in a balanced, fulfilling life!

Mary Claire O’Neal is a communication consultant, coach and author of the award winning book, Becoming What You Want to see in the World.  For more information: www.maryclaireoneal.com