Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Taking responsibility and noticing the traps you create.....

I am currently at the start of one of the 'biggest' leadership training programmes of my life. I have specialised in this work for nearly 10 years now and each step I take is bigger and deeper than I ever imagined. In a way I wonder if I am losing touch with the 'real' world, you know the world where all that matters is status, power, material belongings and who is 'right' all the time.
The world where what we are 'doing' is more important than who we 'being'.

We are so attached to 'doing', it's like success is measured on ones ability to do loads of stuff. If you've seen Brene Browns latest TEDTALKS video you'll know that the biggest cause of 'shame' in the western world today for Women is when they are not able to get everything done, around the house and at work and still look great, be slim and not even break out in a sweat whilst juggling all of that stuff. For Men it is all about not showing weakness, and us Women are the biggest cause of Men not wanting to show weakness, because we want them to be strong for us, for the kids, in order to make the family feel safe. It's all about doing and looking great all of the time.

Well, I'd like to offer another perspective on the world. What if we spent more time focusing on who we are being, rather than what we are doing. What if we put our energy into be open and available, to being in relationship with our family and friends, getting to know colleagues or neighbours or even better, those we don't call friends and neighbours, those who piss us off, or make us angry because they are reflecting a part of ourselves right back at us that we are not willing to own. What if we really took responsibility for the lives that we are creating every day and stopped blaming other people for what has happened, and stop trying to change everyone else!

I was recently introduced to learning around 'traps', the thinking is that we all fall into them and ideally we should notice we have done so, try to get out and then take time to reflect on how it happened so that we can change our behaviour in order not to fall into the same trap again. Simple, right? The other thing to add is that if we don't take time to reflect and learn and adapt our behaviour then we shouldn't be surprised if we keep falling into the same traps over and over again... Have a think about it in your own life... where do you keep falling into the same patterns and blaming others for the circumstances you find yourself trapped in? If there is a lesson we need to learn, I'm pretty sure that those circumstances will keep happening until we have learned how to avoid them.

So, here's the deal. Stop blaming others, either change the circumstances or change your attitude towards them, otherwise you are keeping yourself stuck and miserable and I can't imagine for one moment that that is much fun!

I can think of a situation in my life, which is a trap - at this stage I have decorated it, I have curtains, carpets and even wall hangings! For 10 years I keep walking right back into the same trap, these days I do it consciously and I don't blame anyone else for creating it. Can you believe that I keep expecting things to work out differently and guess what, they never do. This is last time, is the last time (I do say that all the time, just a word of warning) that I am falling into the trap.

What about you, what traps do you keep falling into?
Are they getting bigger and bigger?
What are you meant to learn?
What will have you stop and take stock and change your behaviour?
And yes, of course these are exactly the questions I am holding for myself.