Almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. – Steve Jobs
Death helps us live.
The business of life is…
Much of my work involves reminding people to See the People.
There is a lot of pressure in the workplace and strain on relationships at home and work. The chaos and lack of life harmony is taking its toll.
The energy crisis is human not oil. Look around, do you have enough energy to support yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually?
No surprise here: lack of energy causes us to be more susceptible to fear. It takes energy to engage others; it is so easy to lose sight of the person with all the demands and pace of life.
When a problem grows between two people, they stop seeing each other and often stop wanting to see each other; forget finding solutions. Just think – politics, custody battles, domestic violence, office battles, “them”/“us”.
To deal with what matters most – the people – requires a reality check: we will all die. As Steve Jobs said,
Almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
What a reality check: to embrace our mortality.
Perhaps you re-call Habit 2 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Begin with the end in mind. Habit 2 is an invitation to ask the question: How do I want my life to be remembered?
Yes, the business of life is people. In fact, the business of business is people - something eternal trumps the temporal: people.
How do you want to be remembered?
There is a third response
How we show up with each other – especially when we feel threatened – is a key leadership issue. As you know, fear kicks us into survival mode:
- Stand and Fight – “That’s right, bring it on, I’m ready for this one; make my day.”
- Tuck and Run – “Who needs this? I don’t want or need this; I’m out a here.”
Does it have to be either or? Is there not another option? I believe there is and that is to show up super-naturally …
3. Stay and Engage – “I will see you and listen to the Story; let’s enter explore what’s going on here, together.”
Is that possible?
Beyond Fear … Freedom!
To stay and engage requires more than survival reactions … we have a choice.
Remember, fear is that “unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger”. (Encarta Dictionary)
How do we stay and engage?
Step 1: Live Aware
Pay attention, notice your behavior; how are you show up … especially when feeling threatened? When anticipating a threat? Identify your default setting; do prefer to stand and fight or tuck and run?
Step 2: Create Space
When we create space we can access the third option: stay and engage. We have room to see the person and engage dialog for solutions.
Are you getting adequate rest and exercise? How is your diet? When do you relax, read, meditate or pray; listen to the story? Do you have energy to stay and engage?
How will you manage your emotions so you can see the person?
To create space we have to control the P.A.C.E. – four easy steps to help you stay and engage.
P – Pause and Breath
It’s amazing how a deep, cleansing breath serves us, when we feel threatened.
A – Ask Questions
- Why am I feeling threatened?
- What’s really going on here?
- Do I want to control or have influence?
- What’s the story?
C – Challenge Beliefs
What am I accepting as true…is it? How do I know?
E – Edit the Story
- If I see the other person
- Acknowledge their story, and
- Admit that there is more to the story
- How might I imagine a different story, than the one I’m telling myself right now?
Remember, freedom is “a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restrictions”. (Encarta Dictionary)
We the freedom to move from either/or … we can choose to stay and engage when the hard-wired natural bent is to either stand & fight or tuck & run.
Number our days aright…
This ancient Hebrew verse sounds appropriate as we seek to live well with others in freedom…
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
What do you hear? Please comment below.
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Photo by accent on eclectric on flickr
*Steve Jobs (American Businessman); 1955-2011, Source: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html