I was having lunch with a colleague and the conversation meandered toward the Landmark Forum, a derivative of Werner Erhard’s est (Erhard Seminars Training). I mentioned that I had taken the course over 15 years ago and that it had made a memorable impact on me. The curious type, he asked, “So what were your top three lessons?” I thought about it for a minute and responded:
1. Recognize Your Racket. We all carry around baggage or defined modes of behavior that were created in our childhood. Many of these automatic responses don’t serve us very well. And you can tell when you’re in your racket when you are making yourself or someone else wrong. You believe you are “right” about anything, or you give up your power. As an adult, we have choices. We can either continue to believe that childish perspective or be the adult and let go of the baggage.
The first step is to recognize when you are trapped in childlike thinking. Then proactively manage that perspective. Give up being right.
2. Live in the Present. I discovered that I was always thinking about the future. What are we going to do next? Tomorrow? Next week? In the meantime, I was missing out on being present in the moment. I had to stop and learn to smell the roses.
When talking with a friend, colleague or family member, I need to still the urge to future-think. It’s about being present and focused on the person, people and activities – and to truly enjoy, appreciate, and savor life.
3. Make Commitments Not Obligations. I like to think I am an honorable person. When I say I’ll do something, I do it to the best of my ability and on time. I’m the dependable sort. However, when I made a promise, it became an obligation rather than a commitment. Sounds similar, but vastly different from my perspective. A commitment is something you want to honor. An obligation is something you have to do. Want vs. have to. It’s the subtle difference between wanting to go to work and having to go to work.
While I am still prone to treating commitments as obligations, thinking of the future when I should be in the present, and letting my younger child get the last word, I am much more self-aware of these tendencies. They have made me into a better person, facilitator and team player.
We all have life lessons that we glean from various sources in our lives. What are some of your lessons learned?
Kristin Arnold is a professional meeting facilitator and international speaker who is passionate about teamwork. The Extraordinary Team’s approach to building high performance teams combines consulting, coaching, training and process facilitation within the context of working real issues. You can read more of her work in one of her books Team Basics, Email Basics, Team Energizers, or Boring to Bravo.
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