Category: Blog

The Sometimes Insidious Nature of Unmet Needs

I just read an article about how a woman (after her children were grown) was questioning her choice to leave full-time work and be a Stay-at-Home-Mom.

What I found interesting, was, not the social and cultural questions surrounding the topic specifically, but how it starkly illustrated something that shows up in many ways.

Part of what the author mentioned above was “involved” in was trying to reconcile her choice with cultural expectations and norms and what she experienced and why she decided to be with her children full-time.

What I found so interesting was what was creating that dynamic in the first place.

At least part of her angst was because she was giving credence to what others thought and what she felt was expected of her.

The origin of this “caring” is, I believe, is our need to be welcomed, accepted and included in groups.

The need to feel included and safe is borne of our Survival Instinct, which at its base insists that we must keep ourselves safe from harm and death – and it matters not that most modern-day iterations of this instinct have nothing to do with true physical threats and are mostly existential crises.

These existential “crises” are just unmet needs.

We try to meet our need for belonging and inclusion (i.e. safety from the mortal harm our forebears experienced and evolved strong mechanisms for overcoming) through unhealthy means.

Instead, (accurately) identifying our needs and meeting them in a self-honest and healthy way is a much better alternative.

As long as people allow for inaccurate narratives and thus pursue impossible or unhealthy solutions, there will be more angst and suffering and flailing.

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To make this long story a bit less long, what we need to do is: 1) understand that everything we need is inside us and 2) act from a place of fullness and serve – to serve not because we’re needy and it’s a quid pro quo transaction, but a gift that affirms our completeness and reminds us of our true capacity.

What We Care About (and what we get)

If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it. – William James

I had a powerful conversation with my coach recently and one of the things we talked about was “cares.”

Another word would be priorities.

What I’m talking about is the difference between what we say we want (fantasies, desires, dreams, goals) and what we actually create (priorities, cares, results, outcomes).

Until we get real with the difference between what we say we want and what we’re actually doing, we are going to be stuck.

I don’t know if the following is a “thing,” but it’s useful: talk is cheap, action is priceless.

And remember: our thoughts are ‘talk’ just as much as our actual ‘verbal’ speech.

So, what are you thinking/saying, and what are you doing?

Your results tell the story.

Find Out What’s Happening

Whenever something isn’t ideal it’s an opportunity to learn, and grow.

When you’re willing to inquire, to dive deep, you will solve long-standing problems, heal old wounds and spark growth.

But you have to be willing to pause and ask: “What’s really going on here?”

For example, when someone is late, why are they late? Maybe they need to be somewhere else? Maybe they lack clarity on what’s expected or appropriate? Maybe the culture/relationship doesn’t support timeliness? Maybe they want attention?

At the end of the day, every problem or issue is an opportunity for learning and growth.

And it won’t go away until it’s learned.

The Truth Will Set You Free – Part 13 of 20

I recently read a post on Johnny B. Truant’s blog that really hit home. So much so that I wanted to do two things: share it with my readers and 2) think on and write about each piece of his post. The post is “20 Truths About Life No One Wants To Believe” and the next one I am going to tackle is:

13. Nobody cares about your complaints. I was once part of a group that really, really pissed me off. I made sure I let them know why I was leaving, and how unwelcome I felt. I didn’t think that they’d change and/or beg me to stay, but I thought they’d at least express concern or regret, or at least register some emotion. They didn’t. Same when my wife stormed out of a job under shitty conditions. Same with a bank that had hideous service. And so on. They don’t care, so make your feelings known… but then don’t expect a reaction, and certainly don’t expect change or for them to make it right.

There’s really not much for me to add here, but I’ll try anyway.

Assuming that both parties have some sort of stake in the matter, complaints introduce cognitive dissonance into the mind of the complainee.

Meaning: if you are complaining to me about something, then I have reconcile your view of it with my view.

I have my view of “things” and you have this “other,” negative view. So, I have to either, partially or fully, reject my understanding of things to create space for your view.

Sometimes this can work, depending on the complainee’s values. If the person hearing the complaint cares more about fixing problems (assuming the complaint is valid), than preserving their “world-view,” then the complaint might have some “traction.”

This, in a pure, form is rare. Most people, given they want to, for example, keep their jobs, will listen to a complaint and respond to the extent they are required. Some – a rare and precious few – will see the complaint as valuable feedback, and use it to improve “things.” Generally such a dynamic only exists in business, and it’s rare there.

Most people will see your complaint as a threat to their tribe and its “philosophy.” And they will have little interest in carefully considering your words and even less in possibly making changes.

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Better to either wash your hands of something, or ask if you can offer feed-forward.

Ask permission to give your impressions.

If the person is open to it (and they might be, initially), be careful in how you language your feed-forward (it’s no longer a “complaint”) and state your desire to help address an issue – and make things better. If you can create the space for honest discussion, maybe something can be accomplished.

But, if it’s just you being emotional and giving a parting shot, save your breath and skip it – no one cares.

Don’t Know Your Purpose (no biggie)

Everyone (in self-help and related fields), it seems, talks about “loving-what-you-do.” And how they have the formula/process/program/book to help you do it.

It’s bad advice and a disservice to promise such.

Putting aside my theory about how purpose is not outside us and nothing we need discover or create (it’s within and covered by by “crap”) (which I’ll write about soon . . . ), it creates a situation in which, until we discover/create our purpose/passion, we are not doing our “best” work.

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Instead, do honorable stuff.

Do worthy stuff.

Do things that you know matter and that you can be proud of.

And don’t tell me you dont know what that is.

You do.

If nothing else, you what that isn’t, and you can do the opposite, or something else.

Talk yourself into knowing what’s worthy, and honorable, by telling yourself you know what that is –your heart will fill in the blanks for you.