I Hear You are the most powerful words in the English dictionary. These three little words carry so much meaning. When delivered authentically and with a pure heart, they can transform. They can help a frustrated person feel understood. An ignored person feel cared for. An anxious person feel loved.
Most of us are very good at talking, but not so good at listening. So when two people are talking at each other, it doesn’t make good communication. I Hear You offers validation. When we feel frustrated in life, it’s usually because we feel like our feelings have not been validated. All we really need is for someone to tell us that we are heard and understood. We want to know that what we are feeling is real and true.
But most people don’t really want to listen to understand. We get so caught up in thinking about what we want to say, or trying to fix things, that we don’t try to simply figure out why someone is telling us something.
I Hear You will help us with every kind of relationship. When we are talking to someone and they are telling us something that created frustration or anger for them, we can make sure we heard them correctly before trying to fix it. Saying I Hear You doesn’t mean that we agree with the other person, it means that we have taken the time to stay calm and understand.
It’s as easy as saying "I hear you say _____. If I understood you correctly, you must be feeling _____. Do I have that right?"
Try it today and in the comments below, tell us how I Hear You transformed your life or someone else’s.
She called me one day, crying hysterically. I could barely understand what she was saying, but I knew it was bad, really bad. “Erin, nothing’s going right in my life. It’s all too much. I can’t do it all. I am so over it.” This was my good friend Carol and I had never seen her like this before. Always happy, upbeat, smiling and laughing, I was at a loss for words. She was the one that always cheered me up. What was I going to say?
As I asked her what was going on, she explained how, over the last two years, she’d been so depressed. She wanted to run away. Work was overwhelming, her husband was draining her of all her energy, and she just didn’t see any of it letting up anytime soon. She sounded so sad! She was done. Broken. Over it. She said the only thing she wanted to do was run away. Live off the grid with no cell phone, no WIFI, nothing. Away.
When I asked a little bit more about what was triggering this, I told her that she had to change her focus. I said, “Look at you. You’re beautiful. You’ve got a great personality. You’ve got family that loves you. You’re healthy, and yet, you’re allowing these two circumstances, this one person to steal your joy week after week, month after month.” The fact is that there are some things in life we cannot change. We can’t change people. We can’t make them do what’s right. And if we are constantly trying to get people to act the way we want them to, we are only going to frustrate ourselves.
Then I started laughing…which, given the situation, didn’t go over very well. But I wasn’t laughing at Carol. I was laughing at our entire society. I mean, think about it. Our biggest problems are when we can’t get a good WIFI connection, when we have too many emails to read, and we have too much work to do. But yet, just a few generations ago, people came to this country with nothing. Just a hope and a dream. They took a chance, a leap of faith, leaving their hometowns on the other side of the world to start a new life. And more recently, women in this country were fighting hard for the rights to vote! To be able to work! And here we are, complaining and crying about it.
But the pain is very real. Even if the problems don’t seem that big of a deal, the pain is. So, what do we do about it?
We have to discipline ourselves to be grateful. We have to stay focused on the positive. Our minds naturally want to go toward the negative, it is just how we are wired. So it’s going to take a little bit of effort to shift ourselves to the attitude of gratitude.
The thing we have to remember is that everyone faces difficult situations in life. If we were to ask everyone in the world to put their problems into a big pile, we would gladly take back our problems.
When we are feeling like it is all too much and we feel ourselves spiraling downward, we can snap out of this crazy feeling. When we are overwhelmed and stressed to the max, we should have the attitude that says, 'no matter what's happening, I'm going to choose to be grateful.’
We tell ourselves: I'm not going to focus on what's wrong. I'm going to find something positive in my life. I may be sick, but, I am grateful that I woke up this morning. I may be struggling in my marriage, but I am grateful that I have a great family. I may be drowning in my work, but, I am grateful for having a good job. I may not have gotten the position I wanted, but I am grateful that I was able to see another sunrise, that I could hear the birds singing this morning, that I could smell the flowers.
With Thanksgiving Day approaching, I hope we will remember the people that came here to the US, leaving the only things they’ve ever known behind. In search of a better life. As we think about the hardships and the struggles our own families have had to endure, I ask you – what are you grateful for today? Tell me in the comments below!
When we feel pain, emotionally or physically, it is an indication that something isn’t right. It is our signal to Pay Attention Inward Now. It is our body’s intelligence screaming at us to pause and figure out what’s going on. Unfortunately, most of us don’t listen. Instead, we ignore it. We stuff it away. We suppress it and talk ourselves out of it.
But it’s not really our fault. As a society, we are taught that having bad feelings is wrong. When we are very young and we start crying or having temper tantrums, our parents tell us to be quiet. We get in trouble when we express a feeling, an emotion, or an action that isn’t 100% positive. If we start crying, we may get yelled at. If we say something isn’t fair or we don’t understand why we are experiencing terrible feelings, we get put in the dreaded time out. Any anger or aggression or agitation we show is met with resistance and annoyance from our parents. But it doesn’t stop there.
We are taught very early on to stop the negativity. To ignore the feelings. We hear it not only from parents, but from teachers, coaches, and everyone in between. It’s in the books we read, the TV shows we watch, the movies with the happy ending. We are told over and over again that if we are just happy and positive and perfect, life will be great.
We are taught that there is something wrong with us if we feel like there is something wrong.
As a result, we think we are bad for having bad feelings. We are raised to behave appropriately, to stand in line, smile, and suck it up. We are told to be quiet, be good, and behave. But these feelings are our bodies natural reactions to Pay Attention Inward Now. We are feeling the pain, the discomfort, the unease for a reason.
So what happens?
As an adult, this translates into us doing everything we can think of to feel better when we feel any sort of negative emotion. We stuff the feelings inside. We ignore them. We tell ourselves to think positively. We try our best to shift our mindset. We grab or attack anything we can to make the bad feelings go away. The worst part is that we beat ourselves up irrationally for having these negative thoughts and feelings. We start to resent ourselves because we can’t figure out what is wrong with us. Everyone else seems to have it all together! Why don’t we?
But it is our bodies telling us to Pay Attention Inward Now. Just because we are taught we aren’t supposed to feel that way doesn’t mean we don’t feel a certain way!
Unknowingly, we stuff stuff stuff that negative feeling, pushing it down down down. We do everything to try and feel better. We eat chocolate, we drink wine, we exercise, we overwork, we ignore these feelings that are causing us so much pain. Instead of just Paying Attention Inward Now.
Here’s the thing.
This pain doesn’t go away! It doesn’t just magically disappear. What happens is that it shows up in other ways. In ways that cause much more harm than if we were just brought up to experience our emotions instead of hiding them away. Those negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions get trapped inside our brains and our bodies. All those feelings that we have been working so hard to stuff stuff stuff away will manifest themselves in other ways.
They come back up as sickness. As explosive anger. As disease.
The feelings that we fight so hard to get rid of become a part of us. When we ignore the bad feelings, when we push them down, sickness comes up.
But it’s not obvious.
It shows up in our life in different ways. It can look like overreacting to our friends when they ask us something small. We may not realize it at the time but the verbal outburst is really just the pain manifesting. The sickness is from ignoring ourselves and our feelings, from not respecting our emotions or loving ourselves enough.
We judge ourselves too harshly and then wonder why we get sick. Why we aren’t perfect. Why we aren’t bubbly and happy and outgoing. We are so mean to ourselves! Instead of tucking away the pain, if we were to stop and pause and Pay Attention Inward Now, we could stop ourselves from the long term effects.
So how do we do this?
Here’s what it looks like. Anytime we feel a negative emotion, or feel pain, big or small, instead of running, we can sit with it. Just sit. Hands in your lap and feeling your breath moving in and out.
Any PAIN we feel is just a signal to Pay Attention Inward Now.
When we feel it, we can just experience the sensation. It might feel like a tidal wave coming up and over us. It might feel overwhelming and we may notice ourselves holding our breaths or tensing up because we think we can’t handle it. Then the negative voices start to appear in our minds, the adrenaline rush, the feeling that we have to do something, anything. We feel the need to act.
But the best thing is for us not to act. To just sit. To Pay Attention Inward Now. And notice the sensations, feel them ripple through us- overwhelming at first and then after 20 minutes or so, a little calmer. They will subside.
When we feel the negative emotion and we Pay Attention Inward Now, we can explore it further and try to identify where it is coming from. Then we can figure out how to fix it, how to solve it.
When we feel PAIN and we Pay Attention Inward Now, we will start to act out of love, not fear. And that can make all the PAIN in our bodies melt away.
Try it today!! In the comments below, tell me about a time you have felt PAIN and were able to Pay Attention Inward Now.
“Erin, can I come over right now? I have a big decision to make TODAY and what I am thinking of deciding is a little crazy.”
This was a few weeks ago when a friend of mine had a job offer in her hand. This was something she had been talking about, dreaming about, and wanting for over a year. But it was in an entirely different field than where she had spent the last two decades of her life. And it meant that she would have to take a significant pay cut to go after it. I knew she had given considerable thought on all of her options, but she was having a hard time making the final call. I invited her over and we did a day of Personal Power review to help her get clear on what she really wanted.
I reminded her that many of us underestimate the Personal Power we have inside of us. We are born with an inner strength and resilience that helps us learn and grow, but we often forget about it or take it for granted. It is our Personal Power that guides us into action. It is what allows us to build strong relationships, bounce back from adversity, and chase boldly after our dreams. Our Personal Power comes from our core, our basic instinct and intuition that guides us through this lifetime.
But we often fail to recognize this Personal Power. We ignore our inner voices time and time again, to the point where the whispers are no longer loud enough for us to hear. We set aside our own deepest wishes, thoughts, and desires to satisfy those that are expected of us. We may end up in the wrong career, the wrong relationship, living the wrong lifestyle all because we forgot about our Personal Power.
The good news is that we can get back in touch with it very easily. All we have to do is re- engage with our Personal Power. As I did with my friend Amanda, there are 3 easy things we can all start doing today to recapture our Personal Power.
Your Personal Power is there waiting for you to tap into.
So tell me in the comments below, how are you going to get back in touch with your Personal Power today?
Have you ever been in a situation that you weren’t quite sure about?
Maybe it was starting at a new school or moving to a new town or starting a new job. Walking into a new place where you didn’t anyone. That scary feeling of having to be in a different environment, a new situation. Maybe you felt unsure of yourself. Alone. Uneasy. That feeling of having to put yourself out there and talk to strangers. Or going to a dance or party by yourself. Being self-conscious because you are trying to make new friends. Or that feeling when you like someone but you don’t know if they like you. You aren’t sure where they stand so you are too scared to tell them you love them.
You don’t have that mindset of It Has to Be Done.
Or maybe we are starting a new hobby, a new homework assignment, or a new project at work. We don’t know what we are doing. We have no clue where to begin. We feel unqualified, unprepared, unnerved. We know we have so much to learn and no time to do it. So we feel overwhelmed and insecure. We see a mountain to climb and we only have flip flops. The self doubt starts playing in our heads. We start thinking “maybe I can’t do this, maybe it is too much” And so we shut down. We don’t really try. Sure, we may give it a little bit of effort, but nothing like we could actually do.
We don’t give it our all. We give it our almost.
Here’s the thing. Living life on the sidelines, playing cautious, and not going all the way for it can mean that we miss out on some amazing things. When we aren’t committed to something, we can’t live our lives fully.
We’ve all had times where we didn’t feel sure of something or a situation. So we dip our toes in. We hang back. We don’t want to totally commit. We are cautious. We don’t want to jump all the way in the because we don’t know what could happen. We have a mindset of “okay, I will maybe see if this is something I will like”
Instead of the mindset of trying and seeing, we have to switch our minds to “It Has to Be Done”
When something Has to Be Done, we just do it. We are all in, 100% committed. When something Has to Be Done, nothing can stop us. The self doubt just slips away because we are determined to make it happen.
When something Has to Be Done, we know we will figure out a way even if we don’t see a way.
When we live our lives with this mindset for everything we do, things start to flow. When we decide to go all in, and It Has to Be Done, our life feels more satisfying because we gave it our all. It’s knowing that we didn’t give it everything we had that cause us stress because not living up to our full potential doesn’t feel good. When we know that we could do better than we do, we quiet a part of our souls. And that causes pain.
When we live with the mindset of everything we attempt of it having to be done, life just starts flowing. We feel happy, energized, inspired. When it Has to Be Done it gets done.
So tell me, in the comments below, what is the one thing you will approach with It Has to Be Done in your life today?
Everyone feels fear in life. But the thing is that fear is not real, it doesn’t exist, it’s not a living thing. It is just an illusion. Yet we give it so much power! We spend so much time avoiding this thing called fear.
A thing that isn’t even real!! It’s all a façade. How silly is that!?!
Usually when we feel fearful of something, it is just the thought of the experience, not the actual experience itself. The fear builds up the more we think about the experience or event, and it can get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger…until it shuts us down completely. It gets so big that we will avoid the entire fearful thing altogether.
The funny thing is that it’s not the actual experience or event that we fear. Think about it. How many times have you felt fearful or anxious before you did something… and then once you started, you were just fine?
Maybe it was a public speaking event that you were once frightened of. I have talked to so many people that will do whatever they can to avoid having to get up in front of people and speak. Yet, when they finally do it, guess what? It’s fine! They didn’t pass out, they didn’t have a heart attack. No one laughed at them or threw anything at them. They were fine. It was okay. Not the end of the world.
Maybe the thing you fear is asking the person you have a crush on out on a date. Maybe it’s walking up to bat in the 9th inning, bases loaded. In our lifetime, we will be in so many fearful situations. And guess what? They will all end up being okay. We will be just fine.
It is the anticipation, not the actual experience, that causes the fear.
The good news is that we don’t have to let fear outdo us. We can train ourselves to not run away when we feel the fear, but to feel the fear and take action towards it anyway.
It only takes 20 seconds. Yep, just 20 seconds of courage. It only takes 20 seconds to…
Each of those things only requires 20 seconds of courage. That’s It! 20 little seconds. We can do anything for 20 seconds, amIright?!
There are so many things that we feel fearful of that we end up missing out in life. But the thing is that we would actually be okay. We don’t have to avoid those situations that may make us feel fearful. We can get over our fear in 20 seconds.
When we feel the fear rise up inside, we don’t have to avoid it. We can take a different approach.
We can close our eyes, breathe deeply, get centered. Then when we open our eyes, we can go straight for that fearful thing for 20 seconds. We can run right into it. Only 20 seconds.
Think about the breakthroughs we can have if we just gave it 20 seconds!!
20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…that’s it!
In the comments below, tell me, what is the fearful thing that you are going to spend 20 seconds running towards today?
Throw away the To Do List.
Most of us are in the habit of writing out our to-do lists. We love the feeling of breaking down everything we have to do, listing it, and then crossing it out as we complete it. It feels so good to cross it out!
But this is actually working against us. It isn’t setting us up for success.
Let me illustrate the point with a quick story. A woman by the name of Lisa found that she would shut down after writing out her to-do list. She used all the organizational tools at her disposal: pen and paper, quick notes, an app on her phone, reminders set to pop up at certain times. Everything she could think of. Yet once she listed out everything she had to do, she felt worse, not better. The list overwhelmed her.
She would find that when she listed all that she had to do, there in plain sight glaring right back at her, she would feel panic. It felt daunting to see all that she had to do, and it was too much. She would feel overwhelmed. Her heart would race, her palms would sweat. How was she going to get it all done? There weren’t enough hours in the day!! This was too much for her to handle.
So instead of tackling the to – do list once it was written, the opposite would happen. She would shut down. She would look at the list, feel like it was impossible, and do something, anything else to take her mind off of all she had to do. Lisa had a ton of ways to avoid all that she had to do – she would eat a snack, make coffee, take a nap, call a friend, clean her apartment. She would do everything except the one thing she needed to do. She distracted herself, numbed herself, and did anything else.
But there is a better way. Instead of writing out all that we have to do and getting overwhelmed, we can start scheduling it.
Opening up our calendars and blocking out time to do the things we have to do instead of making a to do list can help us. When we have structured, dedicated time to do certain things, it can lessen the feeling of overwhelm. It can put our mind at ease to know that we have set aside time reserved for that one thing, and that we know when we are going to do it and how we are going to get it done.
Scheduling what we have to do on our calendars gives us a sense of feeling in control. It puts our mind at ease because we know that it is going to get done, and we know when it is going to happen.
So instead of a TO DO LIST, SCHEDULE IT instead.
Tell me, in the comments below, how you are going to schedule your to do list today!??
We are our own worst critics. We beat up on ourselves. We spend time and energy thinking about the things we did wrong. We re-play the mistakes that we made. We get mad at ourselves for not yet achieving all the things that we want to achieve.
Sure, they tell us that we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves, that we shouldn’t take life so seriously. That we should be grateful for what we have. That we shouldn’t tell ourselves things that we wouldn’t tell our best friends. That we should feel good about how far we’ve come. We live in a society that is privileged, that has literally anything we could possibly ever want. We aren’t starving to death, we have roofs over our heads, clothes on our backs.
But it’s not that easy. It’s not like we can just snap our fingers and be suddenly happy.
We know intellectually that we can never be perfect and that we would never expect anyone else to be. But we still get mad at ourselves. We still replay in our minds that time we screwed up, that mistake we made, that chance we didn’t take.
But here’s the deal. We don’t always have to live like this. We can learn to be proud of ourselves exactly as we are.
With that in mind, when we starting feeling the need to criticize ourselves, we can take a beat. A pause. We can stop the negative loop and start to remember all of the reasons why we are a great person. Why we are all worthy of love and respect. When we are feeling down, a boost of pride and self confidence is what we need. The constant self criticism isn’t making anything any easier. It isn’t solving any problems.
For instance, when’s the last time you called a friend ugly, told them they weren’t good enough, or discouraged them from following their dreams? Never. You wouldn't say that to anyone, yet we seem to have no problem saying it to ourselves!
We have to believe in our greatness to inspire us to find solutions to make it all better. We are more powerful than we think we are. We are beautiful beyond measure. We just have to remind ourselves of this.
We can start by writing down a few reasons to be proud of ourselves right now. Remembering these things the next time we are feeling down can help us flip the script. Instead of being negative toward ourselves, we can inspire ourselves. We can give ourselves the momentum to take powerful action toward our goals.
I am Proud of You
I am proud of you. You deserve to be treated with respect by everyone, especially yourself. The world needs your special gift that only you have to offer. The next time you are feeling down in the dumps about yourself, I hope that you will stop. Pause. And take a minute to reflect on all the reasons why we are proud of you.
In the 1960’s, people first started using email and by the 1970’s it took off to the form we are familiar with today. The original goal of email was to make our busy work lives better. Fast forward almost 50 years and the average American office worker now spends more than 10 hours per week on email. 10 hours is a lot of time! But it doesn’t stop there. Not only does checking our email take up time, but when we get distracted by our email, it takes a full 23 minutes to re-focus back on task. Let’s say on a typical day, you stop to check your email 3 times. That’s another 1.2 hours thrown out the window trying to get re-focused. Spending this much time on email can also lead to reduced productivity.
Studies have shown that the average white-collar worker now deals with information overload, a condition caused by having to deal with increasing volumes of email. The irony is that email management isn’t on anyone’s job description. Yet it takes up valuable real estate in both our mental and physical space!
With the explosive growth of technology and mobile devices, we are also receiving email outside of our working days. This new phenomenon triggers increased stress and decreased satisfaction with work.
So what gives? Why are we so addicted to email? Is it just to cover ourselves to prove that we did what we needed to do at work? Is it truly an effective form of communication or just another thing we have to get through in our already jam packed, over-scheduled, not enough time day?
Researchers at Harvard studied the effect of email on the brain. What they found was that even though email was invented to make our lives better, the opposite has happened. It has made it worse. Much worse. More stress, less time with family, and an unwritten expectation to respond within 24 hours. Seriously?
Information in email often gets misunderstood, the wrong people get copied, other terrible things can happen. We know intellectually that when we type things in email, there is the potential that it can get forwarded. Some people say that we shouldn’t put anything in an email that we wouldn’t be proud to see on the cover of the New York Times. So we know this, yet we still slip up and at times may get sucked back into old behavior of typing things that sound passive aggressive or rude or angry.
So why do we keep getting sucked back in? Something is drawing us to the email. It’s like a virus.
How many times has an email set you off during the workday? When we get an email that we may misunderstand or that we think is being passive aggressive, it can trigger stress within us. Tempers flare, curse words get thrown around. Then we may elevate the situation – we lose our patience, march over to the sender of the email, and tell them what we think. Or worse, the email gets forwarded to our bosses. YIKES!
Beyond just the misunderstandings that happen with email, there is also the email etiquette we have to deal with. Things like the dreaded cc: all reply with one word - “thanks.” Don’t even get me started on that one!
That is why I implemented the 3 Email Rule. It provides guardrails to email etiquette.
Here’s how it works. If something cannot be resolved in 3 email strings, pick up the phone. Walk to the office. Do whatever you can. Don’t let the confusion go on or the emotions run any higher than they need to.
So 3 emails back and forth and then it’s time to get off the email string and talk to the people involved.
Email is a tool, it isn’t a crutch. It is unfortunate that some of us have let it have the force and influence it has over us today, but we can take back the hold it has on us!!
Tell me, in the comments below, how you are going to try the 3 Email Rule today!
Most of us live our work lives in a very urgent, very hurried, very overwhelming state. Right when we wake up, we think two toxic thoughts, “I didn’t get enough sleep. I don’t have enough time.” So before we even get out of bed, before we pull the covers off of ourselves, before we put our feet on the floor, we already feel behind. This thinking makes us feel like we are already losing the day.
Then, we rush into work and we are laser focused on what we have to get done, what we need to finish. We are under major deadlines and people are relying on us! This puts us in a very weak mental state. We go into work and are hit in the face with never ending to do lists. We only have a certain number of hours in the day and it is fewer than what we need to get done what we have to get done. And then there is the pressure. OMG, the pressure! It builds and it builds and it builds…there is a huge pressure put on us to finish the work…on time and under budget.
Phew. It is soooo much to deal with! Some of us get so overwhelmed that we don’t know where to start. So, instead, we don’t start at all! We procrastinate, we shut down, we want to close our laptops and crawl back into bed.
We just try to get through the day.
But what if we decided to take a different approach? What if, instead of trying to get through the day, we tried to get FROM the day? What about facing each day thinking of the things that we want to do, that we want to discover, that we want to experience?
What if instead, when we wake up in the morning, we say to ourselves, " I got enough sleep, and I have enough time.” This puts us in a state of having enough. Enough clothes. Enough food. Enough creative ideas to find a solution. Going into life with the mindset of getting from the day will leave us energized, excited, and eager. It swings the power toward us. We get to decide what to focus on. We get to decide what we want from the day.
The mental shift is subtle, but it is effective. When we think about what to get from the day, we focus on the things we want to enjoy from the day. From OUR day.
In the comments below, tell me…what are the things you are going to get from your day…today?