walking by honest

Willing, Open-Minded & Honest

For over a decade, I have been working with people to change their lives for the better. I uncovered that awareness, acceptance, alternatives, and action were the keys to changing our lives. A few years back I wrote From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It which outlined how I used these four concepts to change my life and the lives of those I serve. What I have come to recognize is that there is a foundation needed before these concepts can be utilized.

Awareness is critical. If we are not aware of how our thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions are creating our problems, we do not have the power or ability to change these things therefore solving our problems. Before we can become aware however, we first need to be willing. If we do not want to change our lives, solve our problems, see our truth, if we do not have the courage and desire to make a change, we can never get to awareness.

Once we grow our awareness, the next step is to learn acceptance. If we are aware of our bad thoughts or habits, but excuse them, play them down, ignore them, or blame others for what we do, we are not able to act differently. To be able to accept the truth of the situation, we need to have brutal honesty. Not the truth we want to see or the version of truth that serves us, but the whole truth. When we can come from a place of truth and vulnerable honesty, we then have a platform to accept the reality of our lives.

To make changes in our lives, we need to see new alternative ways to think and act, and then take action and actually do them. We can not do any of this without being open-minded. If we are not open to new ideas and trying them out, what would change?

walking by honesty
Photo by Andrew Butler on Unsplash

Before someone can change their life using the tenants of Type Me (awareness, acceptance, alternatives, action) they first need to be willing, open-minded, and honest. What I have learned over the years is that without at least one of these, the door is not open to help someone. Without all three, that person can not create the life they want.

Early in my career I took on two clients who were not there by their choice. A loving and/or frustrated family member reached out to me for help. At the time I didn’t know better. Now it is so clear. I no longer take on clients who do not come to me for help. If someone else forces them to come, they are not willing. They do not have the primary desire for change and therefore there is nothing I or anyone can do to help them. No change happens without willingness.

Sometimes I work with a client who is willing, but only willing on their terms. They want things in their lives to change but are resistant to new ways of being. They want to continue to think and do what they have been doing for years and they expect things to change; which is the definition of insanity. Sometimes they are afraid of new ways to do things; this can be overcome if they have the willingness. Other times they desire others to change and be the ones to embrace the new ways of being; for obvious reasons this tactic does not work very well.

If a client is willing to change and open to try new ways of being and acting, but they are not being honest with me or themselves, we again have a major obstacle. If the client is only willing to share part of the truth or their version of the truth, we never work on the real issues. To make changes in our lives we need to be fully vulnerable and share the whole truth – good and bad – about ourselves and our situation.

I still strongly believe that the Type-Me tools presented in From Type A to Type Me are the keys to making amazing changes for the better in our lives. And I also know from experience that without willingness, open-mindedness, and honesty, these tools can not be embraced and utilized.

jet ski wake

Slow Down to Speed Up

This past year I have been hanging with a woman who reminds me so much of who I was ten or so years ago. Sometimes it drives me crazy. Sometimes it makes me sad. Much of the time it makes me joyous that I am no longer there myself.

As I used to do constantly, my friend recently had a situation where she made a bad choice because she was in a hurry. She wanted something to be finished and finished right now. She didn’t want the pain, anxiety, and discomfort to last. In her hurry to get things resolved, a mistake was made – and the mistake followed her. Instead of having the resolution she wanted, the ending she was longing for, now she had a new situation to deal with. When we make hurried decisions to get things done, we often open a Pandora’s box of other issues.

I remember that pain. I remember blindly flying through issue after issue, making quick decisions which lead to more problems. Instead of receiving the peace I wanted, I ended up making a parade of other issues, conflicts, and unhappy results. I heard it being described like the wake after a jet ski. If we are driving quickly and making sharp turns this way and that, we leave a horrible wake in our path. Do you know this feeling? Do you ever feel behind the eight-ball, allowing panic to come in, then reacting quickly and without thinking? What are the results?

Photo by Brandon Nelson on Unsplash

I can’t say I am a pro now, but I am so much better than I had been. I try to keep the water behind my jet ski as flat and calm as possible. I may not be moving as quickly as I used to, yet I find that I am getting more done and more done efficiently and effectively than I did when I was moving at light speed. Two tools have helped me slow down: The Pause Button and Afternoon Meditation.

The Pause Button

One action which can cause a large wake behind us is jumping on a problem as soon as it pops up. It is like the carnival game Whack-a-Mole, as soon as the problem rears its head, we are ready with our hammer to smash it. Problem is, smashing a problem does not usually make the problem go away and more often makes more problems. Taking a mental and physical pause before we act allows us to think clearly and make the right next choice not just a knee-jerk reaction.

Afternoon Meditation

When I can, I end my work day with meditation. I’d like to be doing 30-minutes, but right now doing the 11-minute Live Soundbath by Johnny Scifo on Insight Timer is enough to help me turn off the accumulated excitement and anxiety of the work day, clear my mind, which allows me to approach the rest of the day with more ease.

When you feel rushed and pressured to act and make things happen, slow down. Use the pause button to give your brain some breathing space. Meditate or pray for guidance before you act. Then see how slowing down can help you speed up to the best resolution without causing more issues in your wake.