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The Problem with Rose Coloured Glasses. . .

30 Jun

Maybe you are familiar with the well-known concept of rose-coloured glasses? As a girl, these were my favourite lenses through which to see the world. I was happily naive. And sometimes this served me well. Other times . . . not so much. One summer out at the cottage, a tornado came twisting near the house. Instead of running into the house’s centre for safety, I ran toward the window just in time to watch a tree get pulled into the air and slammed down metres from where I stood. Crazy! And that’s not the only story I have to share.

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So, today we are continuing the conversation around how we interpret experiences, and tying back into how our minds will often delete, distort or generalize experiences in our attempt to understand them. I’m about to share with you a story of countering adversity, and in doing so, share how removing a distortion equipped me with the ability to face a very dangerous situation head-on.

What is distortion?

Distortion: We misrepresent our reality through distorting our experience of pure sensory information. Being intimidated by certain people, frightened of a harmless situation, procrastinating, or misinterpreting what someone says, are examples of how people distort reality to their detriment. On the other hand, the process of planning, imagining or visualising something also uses distortion as a way of constructing goals and compelling futures.

What is countering adversity?

countering adversity means growing from setbacks and moving forward with knowledge from that experience. At times, having experienced adversity can even help us understand a situation or opportunity from a new perspective. It’s an element we’ve touched upon before in our conversation around Spiritual Intelligence.

The story

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Back in 1994 I went on a family trip down to Jamaica, and brought along my boyfriend. It was a great trip, and I can remember quite vividly being in the market with my mother, and meeting a lady named Nelly. Nelly took one look at me, and quickly told my mom that I had such a big heart. She also warned that with a bright light like mine, I’d also attract darkness.

It was the first time I really stopped to consider attracting darkness. As Nelly shared this so empathically, I found myself taking off those rose coloured glasses for a moment. At this same market, my boyfriend was walking around – except he didn’t seem to be acting normally. He was flirting with women and not behaving like his normal loving self.

But my glasses quickly dropped back over my eyes as we left that market, and they stayed there until a bit later when he and I decided to row a boat out onto the waters of Port Antonio. Suddenly, he became enraged – his anger was erupting from him, and the angrier he became the more the boat rocked. We were out in the water without life jackets, in this boat that was bobbing back and forth dangerously. This might sound strange, but in that moment when I felt threatened, I didn’t become scared but instead called to him to cast away that darkness – demons get out of there!

And he calmed down immediately. Whether it was shock from my proclamation, or maybe it was a bad energy moving onward, either way it worked.

I hadn’t wanted to believe what I was seeing in my normally caring boyfriend, but nevertheless did see the bizarre behaviour – and somehow managed to scare it away.

When we counter adversity, there are often context and content reframes. You can look at a problem and ask yourself, “what else is going on here?” By changing your perception, you can change your interpretation of the experience.

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Both with the flying tree and that rocking boat, I see myself now as having been protected. I was protected by some kind of intervention that kept that tree away from the window, and I was protected through awareness when Nelly opened my eyes. For me, it feels like I was protected by God, and so it has given me a sort of confidence and sense of protection.

Even with my boyfriend of that time, terrifying as it was to see him change so drastically, something helped me find that inner power to say “no”, cut through the distorted reality, and create a different one to tackle that moment of harm.

Isn’t it interesting how these big life moments can lead to reframes and new perspectives in our spirituality? Do you have any moments in life that made you rethink a ‘why’ or take off the rose coloured glasses for the better? We’d love to hear and share your stories.

Stay tuned for more to come in our miniseries about interpreting experiences and the multiple intelligences.

Till next week,

Cam

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.

Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!

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The High School Test: Self-Regard, then and now

27 May

Here’s a question we can all relate to: Have you ever known people who you really admired, wanted to be friends with and wondered how it was possible they did so well? One of my good friends back in high school was such a talented young woman, and I often found myself wanting to equal her abilities. I was a good student (back when intelligence was determined solely on IQ), but always just a little shy of measuring up to my friend’s grades.

Thirty some years later, not long after our 50th birthdays, I met up with that same friend. And you know what she said to me? She reminded me of how I was part of so many organizations, and was so involved all the time. She admired traits in me that today I consider personal strengths, and back then had no clue existed!

Cam and AngelaAs we flipped through old pictures, it just made me laugh to realize: Camille of 13, 14, 15 was really cute! And you know what, she had high EQ too.

If only I’d been able to realize it back then. But for me as a teenage girl – I was never pretty enough, never popular enough. . . but today, over thirty years later, I feel beautiful, I love my career, and life feels good. Okay, there are good and bad days, of course – but I can look in the mirror and love myself in a way that is light years beyond Cam of grade nine.

Do you feel the same way? Are you surprised at how cute you were in high school? Or how your talents and unrealized assets are now at the core of your current successes?

So what changed? It’s called self-regard, and it’s a huge aspect of self-perception.

What is self-regard? 

Self-Regard can be defined as the ability to respect and accept yourself as basically good. Those with good self-regard are able to recognize and appreciate their strengths and to accept their flaws without shame. It is important to be able to recognize strengths in order to know how to use them. While accurate and reasonable self-criticism often leads to self-improvement, excessive self-criticism, or shame, paralyzes. People who react to their short-comings with shame tend to avoid noticing or thinking about them in a constructive manner.

High Self-Regard will also support you in your efforts to examine your own thoughts critically. You can tolerate recognizing your own errors without falling apart. This skill allows you to make rapid, mid-course corrections.

Self-Regard, like Emotional Self-Awareness, is a building block skill of EQ. Reasonable Self-Regard allows us to tolerate the self-criticism inherent in any self-development process.”

Here’s a bit of honesty. I’ve been working on my self-regard for quite some time. If you’ve been reading along, then you know my history of being a single mother and navigating a new city. There have been wonderful NLP exercises that have really helped me strengthen that self of confidence within myself. I’m going to give you one of my favourite exercises that I often use with clients. (Having worked with high-level leaders, I can tell you this much: everyone, at every level, questions their self-worth and capabilities. Strengthen self-regard is a great way for us, particularly women, to improve our self-perception.)

cararesourcesSo here’s an exercise from our NLP tool box, to couple the Emotional Intelligence concept of self-regard, is an exercise called Dock of the Bay, which was created by Richard Bandler (and I’ve tweeked it only a smidge). Relax, read along, and repeat as much as necessary. This exercise calls upon referencing someone you really admire – because chances are, if you admire those traits within another person, you’ve got aspects of those characteristics within yourself too.

“It begins with the visualization of a beautiful day, in the bay, with a long dock.  You are sitting in a comfortable Adirondack chair. The air is filled with smells of your BBQ in a distance, and your favorite drink is next to you. You notice that across the bay from you, you can  see  a person that looks and sounds just like you in every way. That person is not you, but someone who is exactly like you sitting across the bay. He or she quietly sits there, enjoying the day.

As you observe this, you notice that someone is approaching you from the left. And as you turn your head, you see a person that you either know personally or not, but one that you admire, for whatever reason, come before you. And just as they stop in front of you, they disappear, leaving behind only their shoes. You step into those shoes and absorb the positive qualities of that person, the qualities that you desire, into yourself. This can take a minute or more, but feel that quality in you, make it your own. When done, a second person approaches from the left and they too, disappear right before your eyes, leaving their shoes behind. Stepping into the second pair of shoes, again, take the time to absorb the qualities you admire, fully integrating them with your own. A third person approaches from the left and they too, disappear leaving the shoes behind. And again, step into those shoes and take in all the qualities you love, making them your own.

Now give yourself a moment to breathe in all those qualities and attributes that you absorbed, feel them within and own them. They are now yours, gifts from the three individuals that you admire. When you feel those strengths fully alive in you, lift your eyes to see the person at the end of the dock, the person that looks like you and sounds like you and call them, motioning for them to come closer. And as that person that looks and sounds like you comes closer, wrap your arms around them in an embrace, and hold them close, all the while integrating them with you, and all those great qualities that you now have from others shoes. Thank the three individuals and acknowledge that you have fully integrated the abundant gift.”

 

This is an exercise you can do at anytime, anywhere – just take a moment and visualize. Give it a try and see how you feel. I’d love to hear your experiences.

Till next week,

Cam

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