Musing Moments 137: To My Sister

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Dearest Sister,

Firstly, congratulations on graduating. I received your card in the mail early last week. Your pictures turned out marvelous and I am deeply proud and happy for you. You survived! That alone deserves the highest of high fives.

I know we have never been extremely close and much of what I say in the rest of this letter should have been said much sooner and much more frequently.

I want you to know that I have always thought of you as my sister, regardless of the distance between us or how we’ve never really talked. I have always told people who ask about my siblings, “Yes. I have two brothers and two sisters and I love them very much.”

I was ecstatic when dad told me you were in marching band because it was such a positive experience for me. I hope it has been the same for you. I hope you made lasting friendships and had memorable experiences and grew as a person. I hope it gave you self-confidence and pride and a sense of accomplishment to be part of something larger than yourself; something larger and more meaningful than the day to day grind of homework and assignments and endless lectures. I hope it filled your soul to the brim to turn printed black ink on paper into something which touched people in ways only music can.

I wish I could tell you that life gets easier. I wish I could tell you that even if things seem confusing that one day you’ll wake up and it will all make sense. And I achingly wish I could tell you that nothing bad will ever happen. But I can’t. I can’t lie to you like that and though there may be a touch of sadness in it, I want to give you the honestly that I wish someone had given to me when I was your age; when I had graduated.

Bad things are still going to happen to you and you’re still going to make mistakes. Hearing that, reading that, might sort of suck. I know I have never once woken up in the morning thinking, “Yeah! Let’s make today a super shitty day! Let’s have a horrific experience! Let’s go out and make bad choices!” I have never once WANTED a bad day or bad experience, and yet, somehow, they still happened.

But you know what? That’s ok. Because even though bad things will happen, good things are still going to happen, too.  You’re going to stumble and fall down but you’re also going to get up and jump and skip and climb and soar. You’re going to do amazing and fantastic things, both in your career and your personal life. You’re going to do things that you’ve never even dreamed or thought of.

You’re going to have countless experiences and stories and adventures. Some will make you cry. Some will make you rage. Some will fill you with doubt. Some will fill you with so much joy it will be uncontainable. You are going to live and that, to me, is what life is about. It’s not about never falling or failing. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about getting back up. It’s about never giving in. It’s about getting over that mountain of “can’t” or “never will” looming before you because on the other side is something wondrous and astounding.

The only thing I can tell you for sure, without a doubt, is that life is going to be drastically different than the road map you set for yourself. And that, too, is ok. When life takes its unexpected turns, especially the ones you feel are bad or wrong, it is my hope that you remember this letter and my next words.

You ARE strong. You WILL figure it out. Even if you don’t know how in that exact specific moment, you, my sister, will survive. Just like you survived high school. Just like you have survived every worst day you’ve had up to this point in your life. You will survive, and you know why?

Because you are amazing. Because you are strong. Because you are smart. And above all else, because you are my sister. If you ever find yourself unsure of what to do, or lost, or confused, or hopeless, because those times will come, please know that I AM here. I will listen. I will never judge, and though I can’t promise I will have answers or solutions, I can promise to give you my unbiased and honest perspective.

Life is a journey. Embrace it. All of it. The good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the scrapped up knees and breathtaking sights.

I love you. I am proud of you. And you will always be my sister, regardless of where life takes you. : )

With warmest regards, utmost respect, and the most heartfelt of congratulations,

Your sister, Jennifer

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Musing Moments 136: Mother’s Day Reflection

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I’ve been sick lately. This is the first time in about three weeks where I’ve had an extended amount of time off work to try to recover. The weather is finally turning warmer. The sun is out…

It’s been… nice… I’ve been able to sit on the front porch and stare out at green fields and blue skies and not feel this overwhelming crush to accomplish things. I don’t have demands on my time other than to rest and get better.

As I was sitting this morning / early afternoon, these words came to me. I don’t know why. I’m not really one for poetry, but that apparently doesn’t seem to matter to the Universe.

So here is my Mother’s Day Reflection, preserved in text for later years when maybe I’ll need to reread them.


It’s a few days past, I hope that’s ok.
Better late than never, the words you would say.


Sickness has come, slowly it goes.
Coughing out my lungs, maybe a part of my soul.


In these few days of silence, I’ve heard in my head,
All of the words I wish I had said.


So, yes slightly late and long overdue,
but here are my words this Mother’s Day to you.


Bright daylight sun and dark nighttime moon,
all universal truths are different without you.


Through green summer grass and white winter snow,
regardless of the time, my love for you grows.


Your presence is felt and yet physically missed.
It’s the strength you gave me that gets me through this.


This absence and longing; the horrific alone.
I know that you’re with me, even if you no longer answer the phone.


The promises I made after your last dying breath…
I’ve done my best to keep even in my deepest depths.


Food and showers, it’s a struggle to go on,
It’s been more than hard, mom, now that you’re gone.


Small steps towards accomplishment bringing pain so severe…
What’s the point in any of it when you’re no longer here?


Those words still cut at me while I cry myself to sleep,
but I made those promises and my promises I will keep.


So please know from here to where you are,
that Death can go fuck itself because it doesn’t matter how far.


The love which was given, the lessons you taught,
The person I am is a gift that can never be bought.


Through all of these words, I know one thing is true,
Forever and always a daughter I will be to you.


I love you mom. Happy Mother’s day.

Musing Moment 135: LFTIO – Time vs Energy

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 12
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



How can you move from Time Management to Energy Leadership more often?
I don’t think Time Management is necessarily a bad thing. At least not in the way the book makes it sound. As a dialysis technician, managing time effectively is extremely important. It’s also important to understand that some things are outside of my control and to adapt to those changes. I cannot stop time from moving forward, but I can adjust my focus so tasks are still completed in a way to compensate or mitigate those delays which I cannot prevent or alter.

In that regard, I don’t think it’s so much being clock-focused as clock-aware.

In the same vein, I don’t think being organized is a bad thing either, and it bothers an extremely large part of my brain for “organized” to be listed on the Time Management side of the equation with it’s opposite being “original”. I think being organized is extremely beneficial to any situation or project. The “original” aspect comes into play in regards to changing or altering the game plan as situations and new information presents itself. Being organized makes adaptability easier, at least for me. If I know how something “should” go down or where things are at or what people “should” be doing, then I can adjust as needed, which allows the process to become original or unique for the given circumstance.

Looking at the chart listed for this reflection section, I feel I lead with energy a fair amount of the time. I am effective just as much as I am efficient. I give energy to my teammates and patients by remaining positive and focusing on the “good” in a situation, versus dwelling on everything that went or is going “wrong”. I am contribution focused by being aware of what everyone is doing to progress to our goals at the time and I am purpose driven by keeping in mind my greater goal.

As far as how I can lead this way more often, during times of stress I can be aware of how my focus trends towards the legitimate time management areas. I begin to think about how someone is underperforming as highlighted by one of my previous posts where I ranted about how it took one of my teammates 30 minutes to initiate one treatment. That’s focusing on performance, a time management area, rather than contribution. At least she initiated a treatment. She could have done nothing.

I feel like awareness is the key for me. I need to be aware of my own mental state and stress levels. I need to be aware of when I am trending towards my own coping behaviors. If I focus on how we’re behind or how someone isn’t doing something within the time frame of what I feel it should take I multiply my own stress which adds to the negativity of the situation. I should take the few seconds it requires to refocus and adjust my own thoughts to mitigate my stress levels which would help the team as a whole continue to be effective and purpose driven.

What will you need to do more of, less of, or differently to practice Energy Leadership more often?
I guess I already answered that in my previous response. One of the downsides to being an INFJ and writing through my feelings I guess…

I will need to practice awareness of myself more consciously during stressful times. I will need to ask myself, “Are my thoughts and behaviors helping or hindering this situation,” and adjust accordingly. Taking the few seconds or minutes it may take to refocus myself could help everyone in the long run.

Lack of Resilience vs Resilience Mastery
I feel that for the most part, I tend to operate with the qualities of resilience mastery. I am able to focus deeply with internally driven motivation. I lean towards optimism, I have fulfilling, intimate relationships. I am able to be creative and innovative. There is genuine vitality and enthusiasm in most things I do. When I work I am able to reach levels of optimal productivity and I tend to feel “on top of” situations.

When I am tired from lack of sleep, working too much with not enough down time, or when several projects seem to be stagnating, I begin to sway towards a lack of resilience. I can be unfocused because I don’t know where it would be best to begin something. I can be externally driven by deadlines or outside pressures. I can harbor negativity within myself which bleeds into all areas of my life and causes strain on my relationships. I can become apathetic and have a lack of inspiration along with legitimate depression and fatigue. I perform less efficiently which affects productivity and the feeling of being overwhelmed can become a pervasive thought in my mind.

It would be beneficial to become more conscious of the warning signs my body and mind display in regards to my resilience, aka. balance. It would be easier to prevent a tip in my balance rather than trying to recover from it later.

MUSING MOMENTS 134: LFTIO – Dealing With Change

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Side note: I find it amusing that in the time line of my posting, this is the post which happens right after writing about the unexpected change of keeping the kids for a week longer than expected.

DSS Leadership – Assignment 11
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



Think about the times you faced major crises or challenges. What qualities or potentialities arose?
I feel like a broken record constantly going back to the situation of mom’s death. It has been one of the most recent events in my life and by far the most self-changing.

I think back to the beginning, the phone call and how I immediately began problem solving. How would I get out there? What did I NEED to pack? Who needed to know I would be leaving for an unknown period of time? Who didn’t know about the situation within our family/friend circle and how was I going to contact them so they knew? I wrote things down so I wouldn’t forget later. I continued to try to write as a way to manage my emotions. I didn’t give myself shit for not having answers. I didn’t berate myself for not going to the gym. I praised myself for showering and cooking breakfast and actually eating it. I reminded myself that I HAD to leave the hospital during the day, when I changed shifts with my brother’s because I needed sleep. I needed to keep taking care of myself so I could be there rather than getting sick myself.

Even in the events that followed her death, I ensured I had the papers to fly with the urn in my backpack. I made sure people knew about the service. I made sure to attend the service and be there as the representative of our family.

When I got back to Orlando I dealt with the break up with Zane. I found a new place to live. I removed my belongings from the apartment. I made sure Scarlet had a safe place so she wouldn’t be alone any longer than she already had been.

In relation to my career, I worked the last months to see my class through its transition. In regards to beginning this new career, I researched the different schools I could obtain my CNA from. I studied. I passed my tests. I applied for jobs. I kept pushing through the endless stream of “no”. I cried and acknowledged that it sucked but it wouldn’t get better if I didn’t keep trying.

I bitched about how tired I was and how it felt unfair and how I wanted to give up and yet I kept taking steps to try to change things because I didn’t know how not to and eventually things DID change.

I saught help in the form of counsling because I knew I did not have the skills to handle all of the change going on in my life without help; without guidance and support and resources both emotional and spirital.

I guess the quality that I think of is strength. I think back to the conversation I had with my mom on the couch in what had been my childhood home in South Carolina. The conversation where Law and Order reruns played in the back ground while she told me one day she wouldn’t be here and that she knew it would be hard for me. She knew it would suck but that she had raised me to be strong and to get through it. She had believed in me. She had faith that I could do it and I couldn’t let her be wrong. I had to prove to her that I could in fact be strong and get through it so I did.

Whenever I faltered I reached out. I called people I normally wouldn’t have and told them that I was struggling, that it sucked to live without her. I had text message coversations while the other person watched the same show as me on Netflix so I could feel less alone while I stayed in an extended stay, sneaking Scarlet in with me because animals weren’t allowed.

I rebuilt everything; every aspect of my life. I relentlessly worked on understanding my grief and my emotions and insecurities. I found purpose in life again. I lived until I began living again. I didn’t give up even though there were so many times I wished I had had it within me to do so and from where I’m sitting, today, nearly three years later, I’m glad I didn’t even though I still have hard days sometimes.


What qualities would you like to develop further during those times of crisis?
I would like to develop a kinder inner voice. I would like to be as considerate of my own emotions and complexities of life as I am with others. I feel I have come a long way in this regard and would like to continue to develop it.

I deserve the same unbiased, calm, level-headed reflection and perspective as I give others. I feel a lot of that comes after; after the emotions have their time, after I acknowledge and accept that yes, I do have these emotions and it’s ok, but what am I going to DO? What actions are avalible to me? Stepping back, what would logically be the best move for me to make, not the most emotionally fulled one. Not the knee-jerk insticually driven on.


What were the key things you learned during those times?
The key thing I learned from mom’s death is to value the time I have and to trust myself. I learned that I will make mistakes and that’s ok. I learned that I CAN learn and that I can do better for myself. I learned to be my own cheerleader. I learned to be my own protector. I learned to value my self. I learned to take risks and to try new things and that doing my best is all I can do. I learned that as long as you make it to the end of the day then that is success enough. The greatest success is survival. If you survive that means you have a tomorrow to try again.


When presented with a new experience, what is your first reaction?
I feel like this is pretty open-ended and I honestly don’t know how to answer. I suppose I freeze for a bit. I have to analyze. What are the pros of this situation? What are the cons? Do I gain anything? Do I lose anything? Is there a balance or am I the only one put out? Does it positively affect someone? Is there kindness involved? Is the experience in line with my values and priorities?

I need to figure out what the experience is to me and so I suppose there’s hesitation because I need more information before being ok with it. That also brings into question was the new experience something of my own doing or in the case of going to the pumpkin patch with the kids, an event wholly unexpected and created without my voice being involved? I remember the initial situation being “not ok” in my mind because it took away time from myself without my consent, but the trip itself was pleasant and I’m glad I went. I could have handled the initial change better than what I did because the change itself, with hindsight, was a good thing.

How do you react when you have invested significant work and effort into something and it doesn’t work out? What do you fear most?
Most of my projects with work have been successful. I remember how my first project when I was in finals had the issue with the facial deformation, causing me to receive a 70 as my grade rather than the 100 it would have been. I remember how I spent nearly two weeks contemplating dropping out because I was obviously a failure. Here I was about to graduate and I was making a barely passing grade. How was I going to get a job with barely passing work to show for myself.

With relationships, there’s usually a sense of “I have nothing left to give”. I try and try to make it work and it doesn’t. There can be frustration and anger. Injustice. Fury. Betrayal.

Closure in the form of the “INFJ door slam”. That moment where something snaps within myself. I’m done. Not just done, but DONE. There is no recovery. There is no talking or working it out. It’s over. It’s dead because I am killing it, here and now, without remorse. It deserves to die. Quickly. Cleanly. No suffering. It doesn’t deserve to suffer. It doesn’t deserve my time to suffer and when it is over I burning everything within my inner landscape to the ground and I stand within the flames letting them consume me so I can emerge clean from a situation I know I let myself stay in for much too long.

What I feared the most was my mom dying. I no longer fear that. It happened and yet, here I am, still alive. Still breathing. I fear losing Ox. I fear losing my brothers. I fear losing the people I care about, but I know it’s going to happen and so that fear, that anxiety, while it makes my chest tight and causes me to irrationally cry sometimes, is not something that I feel paralyzes me as often as it used to.

I don’t know what I fear most. I still fear disapproval. I still worry about hurting people’s feelings. But I don’t worry about finding a job. I don’t worry about finding a place to live. I don’t worry about money or making ends meet. And even with the disapproval of others, there’s a quiet calm within myself where I know I honestly don’t care. If they don’t approve, fuck them. I’ve lived through so much, fought through so much, survived so much. I’m not here to meet their approval. I’m here to live my life the way I feel I should be living it.

So I don’t know what I fear. Maybe I fear not living up to the expectations of mom now. Not making her proud. Doing something that would dishonor her memory or make her hang her head in shame.


The next time you face a potential loss, how will you address it?
I suppose the same as I have in the past. Analyzing my situation and figuring out where to go from wherever it is that I’m at. Potential loss is too broad of a term to really be able to say how I will react. There will be emotion involved, but after the emotion there will be reflection, and then action.

Reflect on how well you manage the following:

Focus on Opportunities vs. Problems
I think I do well with this one. I may focus on the problem for a bit, but generally, I’m able to shift my focus from one of dwelling to one of action. What can I do to change the situation? What options are there? Out of those options which is the best one for the moment with the information I have? What other obstacles could potentially arise? Should other people be involved or informed? Are there trusted mentors who could give me a clearer perspective or other avenues to pursue? I myself, being in involved or in the middle of the situation, may not be able to see the whole of the picture as someone uninvolved might be.

Focus on Long Term vs. Short Term
I feel I am, for the most part, balanced here. I am fairly good at identifying sort term goals as well as long term ones. What short term actions fit into my bigger overarching project? What can I do in the now to progress to where I want to be? What in the short term benefits the longer term?

Focus on Purpose vs. Circumstance
I feel I struggle here. I do tend to get caught up on circumstance. This situation, this issue is wreaking havoc on my life. This moment of struggle and challenge and despair and grief is the only moment in all of existence. I can lose sight of what I’m working towards or trying to achieve. Emotions become overwhelming and I falter. I lose sight. I cannot see past the enormity of what is before me, this mountain in the time of my life that has no end. It will go on for forever and I don’t know how I will move past it.

I forget the purpose of what I am trying to do. The why behind my struggle. My reason becomes the struggle, not the goal at the end, the summit I wish to reach. The view which the thought of had captivated me so strongly. The rain and mud and rocks and scraped knees and bloodied hands are all I can focus on and see. My eyes are down rather than ahead.

Eventually, I come out of this state. Either I remind myself to look up, to focus on where I’m going, or something, someone sparks the perspective shift for me. If you look down while you’re crossing the thin line of wire of a tight rope you will only fill yourself with doubt and fear and worry. You won’t see where you’re going, your destination, your light at the end of the tunnel, the view of the summit you so convictedly wanted to climb in the beginning. We all get caught in “the long middle”. I don’t think it’s weakness or a fault to need help and support and reminders that there is, in fact, a bigger picture, a bigger purpose. I think it’s human. I think it’s something we all go through in varying degrees. The bigger the project the easier it is to get caught up in the “things”, the circumstance.

There is a driving factor behind everything. Sometimes we just need a reminder to look up and remember what that factor, that purpose is.

Focus on Adaptability vs. Control
I think I’m getting better about this. I think I do a fair job at flowing and blending with others. I can take control when I need to, I can also delegate and divert when needed. I am not concerned about having the main role or the credit or the control. I’m more concerned about achieving what we are striving for. If that means stepping back or doing what I’m told, ok. Things are going to change. New information will come into play. The battle plan that was created with such care will become obsolete and a new one will need to be constructed.

Mom’s death taught me that very little is actually within our control. It is better to alter your course to match life because life will not, cannot alter its course for you.

Focus on Service vs. Self
When I become overwhelmed I struggle in this area. The more burnt out, the more hurt, the more tired and battle weary I am, the more concerned about me I become. What do I get out of it? How does it affect me? Why should I care?

I feel that much of my life is service oriented. I should be mindful and more aware of when the “self” thoughts begin to creep in. Why are they there? Could I be handling things better or in a more constructive way? Am I truly living by my values or am I regressing back to coping rather than character?

Focus on Listening vs. Expertise
I am not sure what is meant here. I suppose it might mean listening as in being open to learning or other perspectives rather than falling back on what is known or understood to begin with. Preconceived notions or patterns from the past which may cloud our judgment of the present situation.

I feel I do a decent job at listening. There are still times where I find myself listening to respond rather than listening to understand, however. Such a case can be illustrated by a conversation with my younger brother where he was expressing his frustration over his living situation. I realized halfway through his explanation that I was waiting for him to finish talking so I could launch straight into what I wanted to say. That’s not listening. That’s not hearing or understanding. That’s not being open.

Being aware that this is still a habit within myself allows me the opportunity to catch myself, call myself out on it, and to do something to correct it. It is a behavior I do not agree with. It is not how I want to behave.

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to learning from first-time situations?
Firstly, most likely allowing myself to have them. Secondly, being open enough to see the positive in them if they happen to be a negative situation. Accepting that I am still human and will make mistakes. Accepting negative emotions and allowing them to have their time so I can move past them is another challenge. I try so hard to pass that initial stage, the emotion stage. I glaze over it and rush past only for the emotions to come back later.

Emotions: Um, hi. I know we had a little bit of time together a few days ago, but I just wanted to let you know that it really wasn’t enough time and now we’re going to stick around for longer and be even more annoying and unruly to deal with and take even more time and energy from you. You really should have dealt with us in full in the beginning rather than brushing us off or pushing us down or to the side or into a box you knew we wouldn’t fit in.

I feel like if I could have a conversation with them, the emotions, that that’s how it would play out. Emotions are natural. You can’t hide from them. You can’t deny them their time and space. If something makes me feel bad, or wrong, or like a failure, I need to own that emotion. I need to embrace it, accepted as real, and then ask it why it’s there.

Me: Hello, my friend. It has been a while since I felt your presence. Anger, wrath, fury, despair, depression, apathy, insecurity, abandonment. Please sit and tell me what brings you back to me?

Maybe if I said that to my emotions rather than, “Not now, guys. I’m far to busy at the moment and tomorrow doesn’t look good either,” more constructive progress would be made in that beginning stage and prevent unnecessary hardship for myself later.

MUSING MOMENTS 133: LFTIO – Building Relationships

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 10
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



Take some time to reflect on the following questions to help develop and build relationships:

Under what conditions do you shut down communication?
I tend to shut down with confronted with negativity. I like getting feedback, but if it’s not constructive I tend to become defensive or closed off. “You did a shitty job,” doesn’t tell me how to do something better. It just leaves me feeling bad. I do my best. I’m sorry if my best wasn’t good enough, but if you’re not going to tell me how to become better, just how I didn’t meet your expectations then fuck you. I didn’t see you doing anything other than standing on the sidelines. Maybe if you helped next time or you gave me an idea of what to do differently I would care about your opinion.

I also shut down when I feel a lack of empathy. If you’re going to act like my emotions, my perspective, and my situations don’t matter then I’m not going to care about your opinion or what you have to say. It’s a two-way street. If you’re not going to care, then neither am I.

Lack of honesty, or authenticity as this book calls it, is probably the number one trigger for me torching bridges without a second thought. If I can’t trust you to be real with me, if I have even the smallest hint of “snake in the grass” in regards to your character then I can guarantee you, while I may hear your words and log your comments away, they’re always going to remain at the bottom of my “care” list.

What beliefs are causing you to shut down under those conditions?
There’s usually the belief that there are ulterior motives to their comments or actions, which tend to be proven true given time.

There’s my belief that criticism is different from critique. Negative comments without avenues for change or recognizing any of the positive or “right” things in a situation leaves people feeling demotivated and that the effort they did put in didn’t matter.

How can you be more open in future situations?
I don’t think I have a problem being open. I feel I could be better about expressing my feelings during the situation. “I know you’re trying to help me be better, but right now I’m only receiving negative feedback and that doesn’t feel very good. How could I have handled this better or what things, if any, did I do right?”

In regards to the ulterior motives, I could try to find time to be self-reflective and to identify why I feel the way I do. Once I understand where my emotions are stemming from I could return to the person for a more in-depth conversation. “I know we were talking about this before, but I was left feeling a bit uncomfortable after we talked and this is why…”

Do you need to strengthen your “I” or your “We” to build even more authentic relationships?
I need to strengthen my “I” without a doubt. There have been several times where I have not spoken up purely because “I’m not a nurse”. I could have helped situations go smoother. I could have helped my teams avoid problems. If I had been more direct on how to handle change over, if I had stepped up and made leadership decisions, regardless of what my title is or was, I could have helped everyone involved.

My voice matters. I shouldn’t be afraid to voice strategies or suggestions. I have experience and perspective which are of value only if I allow myself to share them with others. Speaking up isn’t disrespectful or overstepping boundaries and that’s something I know I need to work on. It might be scary to have everyone looking at you and listening to what you say, but overcoming that moment of fear can lead to the whole team growing or to the clinic running smoother and more efficiently.

How can you more effectively build your relationship bridges?
I can continue to build strong, lasting relationships by not being afraid to speak up; to share my stories and experiences and at times being direct especially as I move into a preceptor role.

How can you bring your team trust and team effectiveness to a new level?
By continuing to be honest and conducting myself with integrity. If I am a person my teammates can trust, then as stressful and trying situations arise they will not distrust or resent my judgments and input.

Musing Moments 132: LFTIO – Core Values

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DSS Leadership – Assignment 9
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”



Remind yourself what is important by reflecting on key life experiences and lessons learned. Consider the questions and statements below to help you consider what you stand for as a leader. Reflect on them and on your earlier StoryLine exercise. Capture your responses by writing them down.

What has your life taught you about what is precious and valuable?
Life has taught me that honesty and unconditional acceptance are the hardest things to find.

I value honest answers to my questions. I value people putting my well-being above “not rocking the boat”. Honesty can be hard. It can be uncomfortable and awkward and scary and painful. I value people who are willing to work through my emotions as well as their own to have a genuine relationship with me.

Acceptance is also hard to come by. Fair-weather friends are easy. They’re there for the good times; the easy times. Finding people who are willing to stand beside you while you scream in anguish or rage at injustice; people who are willing to accept you, all of you, strengths and weaknesses, broken pieces and shattered dreams… those are the people I value in my life. Those are the relationships I feel are real and deep and meaningful.

These people accept me as human and they don’t try to change that. They accept I am not perfect. They accept I will have hard days and stand with me through them, sometimes holding me up, sometimes sitting beside me on the path of life while I cry and try to figure out why I should keep going. These people are non-judgemental and while they beam when they see personal development and growth within me, they never press for me to be anyone but who I am. I’m not too shy or too outgoing. I’m not too intense or too serious or too silly. To them, I’m me and that’s enough. I value that; the feeling that I don’t have to do or be anything or anyone other than what and who I am.


What have the traumas and losses in your life taught you about what is most important?
The most significant trauma I have faced is the death of my mother. Her death taught me that “things” don’t matter. It wasn’t the gifts she bought me that I cherished most after she died. It was the memories we shared together. It was the vacation to California and going to Lego-Land where the tour guide made lame jokes about how, “he shouldn’t have lego.” Memories of going to Red Lobster and making the lobster dance around on my plate until its claw randomly fell off and we both cracked up laughing so hard that we couldn’t breathe. Memories of going to Moe’s for lunch and how it took me a year and a half to go back there and even then I still cried silent tears into my nachos because I was eating alone instead of with her. The things I treasured most were the moments she took out of her life to spend with me; to make me feel valued and loved and cared for.

The only things people truly have control over are their actions and their time. Cars can be taken away. Books can be taken away. Computers and phones and clothes and jewelry. Things can be taken away. Memories can’t. Memories and lessons and conversations… those last through the years and I will always cherish the time my mom took out of her life to give me the memories I have.


What have the privileges of your life taught you about what is of value?
Having lived in apartments where roommates did not clean up after themselves or pay rent or care for me as a person… I value people taking time out of their day to make my life easier. Coming home to an empty sink. The mail being check. Money being offered for known expenses before the due date. Random acts of kindness like, “I know you like this drink so I picked you up one while I was at the store.” Little things, little actions that say, “I thought about you. I cared about you. You mattered to me.”

Kindness is of value. Effort is of value. Consideration and responsibility are of value. Most of the things I value are intangible things. Their qualities of character. I value people treating others the way they want to be treated. I value people being honorable and having a sense of right and wrong. I value people valuing others more than themselves.

What is worth risking your life for?
The people who love and are loyal to me. It is worth risking my life for those who have stood beside me through the hardest times in my life. It’s worth risking my life to uphold my honor and dignity. It’s worth risking my life to live the way my mom would have wanted me to. It’s worth risking my life to speak out against injustice and wrongness. Being obedient is doing what you’re told regardless of what is right. Being moral is doing what is right regardless of what you’re told. I was raised to be moral and honorable. I would sooner take the world down with me in a blazing, flaming pile of righteous ashes than dishonor my name and thereby the name of my mother.

______ gives me the greatest meaning in life or work.
Helping others overcome their inner Evil Voice gives me the greatest feeling of fulfillment. The voice of self-doubt, and fear, and inadequacy. We all struggle. It is amazingly gratifying to help someone through their moments of darkness and to see them standing stronger for having gone through their experience; to know they have a more solid understanding of themselves and that I helped them get there.

In summary, my Core Values, the principles I stand for are:
Honesty, Acceptance, Integrity, Honor, Responsibility

Musing Moments 131: LFTIO – Core Talents

Standard
DSS Leadership – Assignment 8
Book – “Leadership from the Inside Out”





Think back over your career and your life. Recall those times when you felt most energized giving your gifts to others. You might have been engaged in something more personal or seemingly inconsequential, such as coaching a golf partner or walking with a friend. Or you might have been involved in something bigger, more visible or dramatic, such as envisioning a new product or an innovating strategy. Think about those times when you were at your best, when you and others were most energized and engaged. Capture some of those experiences by writing them down. Ask yourself and respond to the following questions and statements:

What gifts can people count on me for?

I feel people can count on me to listen. I feel they can count on me to help them solve problems through different, unexpected, or unique ways. I feel they can count on me to be gentle with their emotions while still telling them hard truths. They can count on me for a clear perspective. They can count on me to be honest. They can count on me to be “on their side” even if my answer is that they weren’t right in a given situation. It’s not about placing blame, it’s about encouraging ownership for behaviors and choices and to admit and accept the fact that we are all human and make mistakes. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. It provides an opportunity for growth and personal development only if we open ourselves up by accepting our flaws and striving to be better than we were.

I can be counted on to be loyal and committed and to see something through to the end. I can be counted on to learn and to bring that knowledge back to my inner circle, enriching lives through sharing my experiences.

I can be counted on to go as deep as the other person is. No corner of life is too dark, too dusty, too scary. If you are willing to share I am willing to reciprocate. If you share your deepest fear with me, I will share mine. I will show you, that I, too, am human and that together we’ll figure it out. I can be counted on to stand beside you and to not leave you alone in your hour of need.

When I am making a difference/creating value, my talents that “show up” are:

Communication and empathy. Creativity. Strategic thinking. Organization. Time-management. Efficiency. Patients. Kindness. Compassion. Humor and light-heartedness. Energy and positive thinking.

Other people consistently tell me I make a difference by:

Being proactive. Taking initiative. Going above and beyond. Being understanding and patient. Being empathetic. Thinking outside the box. I don’t know why this section makes me want to cry. Maybe it’s because it makes me think of mom and how she said she was proud of me.

When I am working with others, and we are most energized and engaged, I am contributing:

Myself. My full self. My energy and drive and passion. My resolve and dedication. My will to make something succeed no matter what obstacles we face. Each set back, each “no” the Universe throws at us, is just another “next opportunity”. It’s a way to make something better. We don’t cherish the things that come easy. We value the things that were hard, that were a struggle to achieve, that we had to fight to get. It makes the success that much sweeter because it was earned, not given.

I contribute my motivation and positivity by looking at a stressful situation as a moment in time that will be overcome. I provide a perspective of not only seeing where we are and where we want to go, but also of how far we’ve come and already accomplished. We’re doing good and yes things are hard right now but we’ll figure it out. We’ll be ok, and it’s not a bad thing to take a step back sometimes to decompress and regroup. It’s ok to take time for self-care. It’s ok to acknowledge effort and contribution. I look after the people around me and make sure they feel cared for and valued and when they begin to self-doubt or burnout I figure out what is affecting them and how to alleviate or mitigate that factor.

I am passionate about contributing:

Knowledge, passion, and insight. Creativity and uniqueness. Life and color and warmth. Meaningfulness and a reason for existence even through the dark and hard times where it feels like it would be easier to give up.

In summary, my Core Talents, the gifts that make a difference, are:

I don’t know how to answer this. I don’t know what is core… I’ve written several things. The meaningfulness part I feel in the center of my heart chakra. It’s why I changed my career to the medical field; to help people who may feel lost and alone and to show them that they aren’t. I’m there with them and we’ll get through the darkness one day at a time. That even in the dark there are lights if you are open to looking for them. They may be dim but they’re there, I promise.

In a way, I suppose empathy is core as well. Identifying with and feeling alongside others. I can only help them during those dark moments because I feel those moments with them. I share my own moments so they understand that I do know what it’s like to feel hopeless, directionless, and as if it’s all just a losing battle that doesn’t matter anyway so why fight it? Why get out of bed? Why keep going day after day after day when there’s no good left in the world and everything sucks?

I know those feelings. I have been there and the only reason I got through them was because others were there for me. Because I went through those battles, those questions, I want to be there for others on their journey. I want to give that back to the Universe because I was fortunate enough to receive the gift of that type of support.

And maybe determination. Winners never quit and quitters never win. That’s my mentality. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to mess up. It’s ok to ask for help and for something to be hard or overwhelming. It’s ok to be scared and to not have the answers or a direction to go in. It’s ok to get stuck in a rut and to spin your wheels for a time.

It’s not ok to give up. That’s something I think mom taught me. You NEVER give up. You never sit and accept defeat because if you do then nothing will ever change. If you are willing to fight then I will fight with you. If you sit down I will tell you that I am seeing, what I am feeling, and I will ask if that’s what you want your story to be. Is this how you want your book to end or do you want to get up and try again? Not every day is going to be perfect. Your best is going to change. Do you want to stay down in the mud and dirt where you fell or sat down? Is this where you’re truly ok with being?

If it is I accept your choice and I will leave you alone. I will no longer fight for a cause you no longer feel. But, if you do, in fact, feel that candle flame of fire in you to live, to survive, then I am here. I will always be here, and I will do what I can. Resources, information, emotional support, a second pair of hands on a project. We’ll get this done, together.

So maybe collaboration and support? I’m not sure if collaboration is right. Maybe teamwork? I still don’t feel as clear on this section as I think I’m supposed to. I had thought it would be rather definitive and I feel like it’s still hazy and slightly intangible. Maybe time and the additional reflection sections will provide clarity.



After completing the Core Value reflection section and being filled with a sense of energized conviction, I knew I had missed something with the Core Talent section. I didn’t feel anything towards this section and I felt I should have. If I was really listing my core talents, shouldn’t I have felt them resonating with something inside myself? Shouldn’t they have spoken to me? Time-management, communication, collaborating… None of that “felt” right.

That led to a Google search for the definition of talent. That led to finding a post titled Talents versus Skills – Do you know the difference, by Marc Miller. From this post, I realized what my issue was. I was listing skills, not my inherent natural talents. I was listing things I had learned through the course of my life; not the things which I naturally brought to the table.

So… This is my revised Core Talents. I make a difference by actively listening to people and being a person they can truly talk to; their problems, their fears, their insecurities… I reflect on the information they confide in me and help provide a clearer perspective of their situations. From this perspective, I can help people find a stronger sense of self-awareness and purpose by guiding them towards personal growth and development.

My core talents are:

Active Listening
Empathy
Understanding
Fostering Self-Awareness and Personal Development