Category Archives: Life

Embracing Labels

The past few months have been a whirlwind of self discovery for me.  I have been reading books and researching online different personality types and life themes and all kinds of stuff.  Learning about myself has been one of the most productive and beneficial things I have ever done.  Each time I pull out some new nugget of truth about myself, I see the world (my world) a little clearer.

But really, I’m not learning  that much that I didn’t already about myself, I am just learning how to label and explain it.  I’ve always known that I don’t do well in large groups.  Now I know that is because I am an introvert and I know what being an introvert means for me.  I have so much more clarity about my motivations and behaviors.

Being labeled isn’t always easy.  Society gives us labels all the time that aren’t flattering or positive and are often mean. My introversion was often labeled as unsocial or unfriendly.  Sometimes, even bitchy.  And because I couldn’t define or understand why I acted that way, I couldn’t counter anyone’s claims.   Knowing I am an introvert gives me a label to embrace.

The newest label I am embracing with passion is Scanner.  Reading Barbara Sher’s book defining and explaining scanners gave me a whole new perspective on my life.  It sounds cliche, but I really did identify with so much of what she wrote and found myself practically giddy with the excitement that there was a label for my behavior and personality.

As I read more about scanners, I have come across other labels for us like polymath and multipotentialite (one having the characteristic of multipotentiality).  I love it.  I love having these labels to throw around and say:  “I am this!”

“Behold world, I am an introverted scanner, and I love me just the way I am!”

These things make me unique and fun and give me the potential for greatness.  And we all have that potential.  We all have personality traits and characteristics that can be labeled.  For good, and not negatively.

It’s just a matter of figuring out what they are and how to embrace them in your own life.

So, what are your labels?  What are you proud to embrace and shout out to the world?

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Filed under Career, Life

The Hypocricy of Hating Haters

Throw my soap box out the window, I’m no better than any other hater.

It hit me today:  If I hate haters, I am a hater too.  Ouch.

I accept that everyone has a different point of view and preferences are all over the map.  If you don’t like strawberries or tomatoes or yoga or reading, I don’t understand it, but I don’t think you’re stupid for it.  I don’t hate.

If you like your espresso traditional and without flair or fuss or additional flavor, which I do like, I accept that your taste buds are different than mine. More power to you.  Drink your espresso strait up.

But if you like your espresso traditional and you sneer at me and think I’m stupid for not liking it that way, I hate you for that.  Because that isn’t fair, or right or nice.  It’s not loving.  And it’s just not cool.

Therein lies the dilemma.  If your preference is to hate, shouldn’t I just accept that your preference is different than mine and love you anyway.

It’s like a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.  Or something.  And it makes my head hurt.

Still, I press on down the path of not hating.  Even the haters.  I will love the haters.  I will.

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Filed under Conscious Living, Life

A Modern Day Female da Vinci

Okay, so I might be exaggerating a tiny bit.  (Or a lot.) But I am a little like da Vinci.  See, we are both scanners.  Yep.  Scanners.  Defined as “people whose unique type of mind does not zero in on a single interest but rather scans the horizon, eager to explore everything they see”  by Barbara Sher who wrote the book (or books) on the subject.

Refuse to Choose

I Could do Anything I Want if I Only Knew What it Was

I’ve only read the first but it has given me a new perspective on myself. So while I might not quite be a modern day, female da Vinci, I do have lots of crazy random thoughts and projects going on in my head.  (da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer.  See the comparison?)  The problem is, of course, that’s where they stay: my head.  I have no follow through.  Like most scanners.

There is something kind of liberating about putting a label on my randomness.  It makes me feel just a bit better about it.  It could all be hogwash and I could just be someone with no real follow through, but at least I’m not the only one.  There are lots of us scanners out there and it’s nice to have some clarity.

I am following some of the suggestions in the book “Refuse to Choose” including keeping a daybook so I can write down my ideas and projects.  You would think a blog would be the perfect place for that, but these ideas are not ready for public viewing.  They may never be.  It’s good to get them out of my head and onto paper, though, in case someday I do want to follow through.

Blogging does help me clear the clutter out of my head, but I like the words and ideas to be somewhat formed before I unleash them.  (Although, I guess that is debatable reading some of my previous posts.) No telling where this rambling scanner brain will take me next.

But every time I learn something new about myself, I adjust my path ever so slightly to take me where I *really* want to go.  (Note: scanners have no idea what they really want.)  It’s helpful, nonetheless.

Those moments of revelation slowly chip away at my facade, getting me closer and closer to the real me.

And that is all I want, really. To know the real me.  To be real.

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Finding Balance

How do you find the balance between always growing and pursuing more from life and being content?

I struggle with this more than anything else.  I love my life, but I always want more:  to do more, to be more and sometimes to have more.  The having more seems to be the key.  Stretching personally and professionally is usually a good thing, no one wants to stagnate.  But the desire to do so for the wrong reasons is an easy trap to fall into.

Personal and professional growth often comes with income growth, so it can be hard to separate the two.  I sometimes find myself wanting to take on a project that would probably help me grow but is really more about an income opportunity.  I am never sure where to draw the line.  Doing something that I am not all that interested in just for the potential income has not worked out in the past.  It is easy to rationalize because of my desire to run and manage a business.  I don’t have to be in love with the concept for a business if I love managing the business, right?  Not always.

My passion for contributing to the community also takes a backseat to my pursuit of more.  Although I have always wanted to help run a non-profit (it’s on my bucket list) I never seriously consider working for one because of the potential salary cut.  I volunteer and get involved in projects and events but I always want to do more.  Would I be more fulfilled and content if I spent my time bettering our world, even if I had less stuff?  Probably.  But I cannot make the jump.

I am an overachiever.  Nothing I do is good enough for me, money and income aside.  I don’t know that I could ever reach a position or place professionally that I would consider truly successful, because there is always something more or something else that I could be or do.  Even though I can say that out loud and write it down, it is incredibly difficult to wrap my head around.  Where do you go when you know you can never satisfy yourself professionally?

So, I ask you dear readers:  Where is the balance?  Where do we draw the line between bettering ourselves and just pursuing money and stuff?  How good is good enough?  When do we learn to accept our accomplishments?

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More on Networking for Introverts

After my last post on being an introvert I started thinking more and more about how introverts really need to think of networking in a completely different way in order to be successful.  No more forcing ourselves to happy hours and parties to meet people.  Of course, that still has to be done occasionally, but it isn’t all about that anymore.

So I wrote another post called ‘The Introverts Networking Playbook‘.  But this time, I posted it on Yahoo! Associated Content.  Just for fun.  I wanted to try it out and see if 1) they would accept it 2) how much they would pay for it 3) if it would get more views that way.  Answers: yes, $2, and so far, no.  It is an experiment in the works.  Go check it out and let me know what you think.

From ‘The Introverts Networking Playbook’:

Most guides to networking for introverts provide tips and tricks on how to network at typical meet and greet networking events. The problem for most introverts, however, is not that we don’t know how to network,  it’s that we don’t want to network at those events. Networking events are exhausting for introverts. It’s time to rewrite the networking rules and understand that introverts need to do things differently. We should not be expected to conform to extroverts networking standards anymore.  more

 

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Born This Way: Introvert

After years of telling myself and others “I just don’t like people”, I’ve come to realize it isn’t people that I do not like, it is social interaction that is draining and difficult to manage.

But now, I am out and proud.  I am an introvert.

In “Caring for Your Introvert”, Jonathan Rauch explains how introverts are misunderstood and even oppressed.  The article gives advice to extroverts on how to handle the introverts in their life.  Reading this article could drastically change your relationships if you struggle with introvert/extrovert issues.  Also, read the interview with Rauch done a few years later.  The comments about being engaged in conversation are particularly true for me.  “The weather’s not interesting.”

Likeability and networking are more important than ever, particularly where career advancement is concerned and as an introvert I am slowly but surely learning how to navigate that world in my own way.  Instead of giving up and assuming that I would never be good at networking or meeting new people, I am focusing on my strengths and using them to network in different ways.

For example, I love problem solving and event planning, so I have volunteered to help with some up-coming events and initiatives in Tulsa where the committees are made up of people from all across the city.  I used existing friends to make the connections and now I can rely on my planning strengths to get to know others and make a good impression.  If you had put me in a room with the same committee members at an afterhours or networking event, I likely would have never spoken to them.  Or if I had, I probably would have come across aloof, shy or lacking confidence.

There is more research and writing than ever before on introversion and what it means for both introverts and extroverts, including two sections of Psychology Today dedicated to introverts (here and here).  A little research and introspection (an introvert’s favorite thing!) can go a long way and make all the difference in your career development efforts and life in general.

Introverts Unite!

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5 Steps for Picking a Yoga Class

You’ve heard all about the benefits of yoga.  You know it can provide flexibility, strength, stress relief and relaxation.  You are ready to try a class and see what it can do for you, but you are not sure which class to take.  The following steps will help you choose a class that is right for you, giving you the best chance for an enjoyable class.

Know what you want from yoga

Yoga offers a lot of benefits – physical, mental and spiritual.  Make sure you know what you really want, and also what you don’t want.  Are you looking to increase flexibility and strength with little concern for mental improvement?  Do you want an aerobic workout?  Does your mind need a rest more than your body needs a workout?  Does the philosophy of yoga turn you off?  Knowing what you want from your yoga practice is the most important step to ensuring you choose a class that is right for you.

Research local yoga studios

You can find yoga classes at many different places including dedicated studios, gyms and fitness centers, community centers and more.  Start with an internet search for ‘yoga classes [your city]’ to get a feel for your options.  Look through the websites of facilities in your area, keeping in mind step 1 – knowing what you want.  Dedicated studios are more likely to have classes that focus on the philosophy of yoga, including breathing and meditation in classes.  They are also more likely to offer the largest selection of classes.  Gyms and fitness centers often offer more fitness based classes, with a focus on the physical benefits.  Classes at YMCAs, community centers and other facilities are likely to more basic, catering to the general population who may not take regular classes.  Make sure to read the ‘About Us’ or  ‘Our Mission’ page to get an understanding of what the facility wants you to get from them.

Find a class with a description that suits you

After you have narrowed down the facility choices, read through each of the class descriptions.  Many studios offer in depth class descriptions with the style of class, length of class, ability level needed, inclusion of breathing or meditation and more.  Even short descriptions such as “Basic flow class suitable for all levels with a focus on flexibility” are helpful.  Remember what you want to get from class and focus on descriptions that meet those criteria.  Classes that say all levels or any ability level will usually start with basic postures and show modifications to make them more intense or difficult.  These classes are a great way to see how the physical aspect of yoga progresses and allows you to stretch your abilities slowly as you attend more classes.

Make sure it fits your schedule

This is often the step that is considered first when trying to decide on a yoga class.  Schedules are hectic and finding time for you can be difficult.  Being available for class is obviously important, but don’t sacrifice what you really want from your yoga class for the sake of timing.  Especially with the first few classes you attend, choosing schedule over substance could turn you off yoga entirely.  It is important to start with a class that meets your needs.  Allow yourself time to get to class without rushing or stressing.  If you show up flustered, it will impact your class negatively.  The first time you go to a studio or facility arrive 15 minutes early to sign up and get information about the facility.  You’ll want to know if they have any specific policies and where the restrooms and locker rooms (if any) are.  This will also give you a few minutes before class to relax and prepare.

Ask Around

This step can be done at any time during your search for a yoga class, but I suggest saving it for the end, using others experience and opinions as a confirmation of what you have found, or reason to rethink your decision.  Asking others too early can bias your search and cause you to exclude classes that would be great for you, because maybe they were not right for someone else.  When you do talk with others, make sure you understand what they are getting from their yoga practice and ask if the classes they recommend will help you get what you want from the class.

Remember, the key is to know what you want and find a class that can provide those things for you.  Even if you have tried yoga before or you practice one style regularly, these tips can help you discover new classes.

Good luck and Namaste!

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Filed under Life, Yoga