Thinking ahead not only allows us to avoid hurting people,
it empowers us to do great things for them, too.
Hey there Legacy Lovers,
I hope you all are doing amazingly well. I won’t even apologize for the delay in my posts.
Admittedly, this has become a pattern. One that I am getting better at changing, as you will note if you’ve been with me for any real duration. Those lapses of hiatus are dwindling with time.
Who knows, I might even make it to daily posting. Yeah okay, I won’t get ahead of myself.
But seriously, I am so glad to be able to take the time off. Stepping away for a bit always helps me to come back with a renewed sense of clarity and commitment.
In fact, clarity and commitment, among some other things are what my post is all about today.
Amidst surgeries, funerals, relocating and completing (my best ever) career transition, I made sure to check in with family and friends. Many of whom expressed concern about me.
“You’re doing too much,” was the standard sentiment. “You need to sit still.” “Why did you let all this pile up?” “This is a bit much – even for you.”
I listened, smiled, nodded and even gave the occasional point and nod when needed, and then kept it moving.
You know why?
None of those people had any idea what was really going on with me. Not one of them was a participatory supporter – an insider privy to the nuances of my though process and action-taking stratagems. Each of these individuals stood on the outside looking in and assumed that somehow this was all my choosing.
Now, before I go too far, some of you know that I am an avid propopent of active, diliberate intention. It means that while I believe “like attracts like”, I also believe that “you reap what you sow.” Though I have often heard of people who attracted millions to them after thinking about it, there is usually the oft overlooked part about their action. They followed a hunch. They went to a specific location. They robbed a bank.
Okay…that last one…but you see my point.
I believe that action, even minimal action, must accompany an intention because the potential itself is only a potential source of energy. It cannot become mobile until it is propelled by action.
I say all that to say, I know I co-created my experience. I made poor choices, took poor action and disregarded important clues. I did not get here alone.
BUT – I rarely complained about the co-creation experience or my main co-creator. Because I never assigned blame, those around me simply presumed that I, and I alone, hadn’t done enough; planned enough; considered enough.
But those on the inside -thank God – knew better. They said things like, “This too shall pass.” “I see the growth.” “You’re headed to new levels of success so you had to learn this now to prepare you to keep what’s on the way.” “People enduring far less are suffering so much more, pay attention to what you’re doing and share it.”
That last one got me. (Of course it did, sounds just like legacy speak). I sat with it a moment. I knew that there was something to it, so I started paying attention. Over the course of almost two weeks, I studied the situations I found myself and assessed how I handled them.
As far as I could tell, I wasn’t doing anything special. I was being clear and consistent, taking culpability, staying committed and considering my outcomes. Oh, wait!
Do you “c” it?
Indeed, I love alliteration as much as the next girl, but this was so serendipitous.
I then decided to assess the situations of those in crisis who were experiencing overwhelm, depression and nearly having a meltdown. I looked on without judgment. In nearly every situation, one or all of these elements were missing.
Why are these things so important?
I’ve talked your head off about this, and it’s cousin, consistency, but it’s so instrumental it bears repeating. Before you can actively, deliberately begin to create the kind of life you want for yourself and your loved ones, you must first be clear about your goals and expectations. It is impossible to know how to get to the finish line (or when to change course) if you aren’t even sure where you’re headed. It doesn’t mean mapping out each step down to the smallest minutiae, but is does mean having a map in-hand (a big picture overview) during your journey…because honestly, getting there is part of the fun.
Here we go again, but that’s a good thing. It means I’m being consistent. If clarity is the blueprint upon which you will base your life, then consistency is frame that keeps the walls up.
Consistency is the capacity to be reliable and dependable; remaining authentically you so that people know who you are and what to expect. When you tell people who you are and they don’t believe you, that is on them – but when people believe what you have allowed them to because you are not being genuinely and authentically consistent, that is something you have to work through.
What I’m talking about is not being boring and predictable, but being steadfast and accountable. If someone needs you, even for moral support, do they know you will be there? Can you be counted on in a pinch when everything isn’t going right? There is such a thing as being consistently inconsistent, but does that really serve your goal of having your best life?
When in doubt, let this old adage guide you, “What you see is what you get.” So give us someone great!
This is a new one for many people, yet so integral to the success of co-creation. Subsequently, it’s absence from so many people’s existence is likely why many co-creative relationships fall apart (or don’t exist). But I digress.
The fact is, none of us lives in a bubble. And even if you you did, and had enough supplies to stay tucked away until the end of the zombie apocalypse, there will be someone somewhere on social media picTweeting all about it. This is why it’s so important to understand who were to others, what we mean to them, and how our relationships affect those around us. Like how Tweeting outside the bubble with your location service still enabled has now hipped the zombies to our hiding spot. (They recognize landmarks!)
Seriously, so rarely do we offer sincere apologies for our actions anymore. It has become such a soft spot for me that I have never taught my son to say, “I’m sorry.” First of all, “I’m sorry,” is not actually an admission of guilt it’s a testament to character. When someone is sorry it means that they acknowledge their poor character, when someone apologizes it means they acknowledge their poor choices.
Literally, an apology is the study (ology) away (apo) from something. Apology also derives from the Greek word apologos which means “story”. In short, an apology is the study of another’s story to help us move away from acts that cause them harm in some way.
Being culpable does not mean saying sorry, because sorry implies “oops, this is the way I am.” Being culpable means truly taking the time to examine who we are and how we are with people, especially those closes to us, and apologizing. Culpability means responsibility; it means a willingness to own your mistakes, learn from them and grow.
Many of us confuse commitment and consistency. We think that if we are consistent than it is because we are committed. But this is not the case. They may not be mutually exclusive, but they are also not one in the same.
Whereas consistency manifests itself as action, commitment is the preceding intent. Sometimes we know when we have committed to something. At other times, we invest before we know what hit us. Unfortunately, many of us have a hard time committing to things these days. We have moved away from a microwave society that wants everything now, to a social network that wants it right now.
The key to commitment is delayed gratification. It doesn’t mean you can’t have any joy, profit, fun and other benefits right now, but it means that the major highlights will come over time. It means that there will be some things you’ll have to wait for (but unless you understand this process you won’t know it’s worth the wait).
Lack of commitment is why so many marriages fail. Men put in all this work to win a woman over, marry her and then stop doing everything he did to get her attention and win her affections. Even worse, then things get hard and rather than remember his initial investment, he opts to leave for something easier – starting the process over again. (I know it works both ways, but I’m oversimplifying here). But what about the promises made, the time already put in? How much better could it be if you two fought alongside each other instead of against each other? Commitment will have you slaying dragons and drinking their blood like ale Hose of Cards style, when you see the bigger picture – even if it is down the road.
This is, perhaps, the best definition I’ve ever seen for commitment: “Doing what you say you would do when you no longer feel how you felt when you said you would do it.” True commitment is often accompanied by consistency, but as you can see, it’s so much more.
Much like its predecessor commitment, this one looks like something else, but isn’t. Often confused with culpability, consideration goes two steps further. Whereas culpability encourages us to think about our relationships with people and find ways to assume responsibility for our roles in their lives and any hurt we may have caused – intentional or otherwise, consideration charges us to think ahead.
When we think ahead, we not only have a chance to avoid hurting the people closest to us, but we are also presented with the opportunity to do great things for them. Beyond that, foresight gives us the chance to do great things for others, too.
Like its counterpart, apology, consideration is the study of something. If we look at its Latin origin word, considerare, it means the study of stars. You may recall from school, that early Latin cartographers drafted maps using the stars’ constellations. Those maps were the one of the earliest forms of GPS.
I bring this up because unlike an apology, consideration – like its predecessor – not only helps in the plotting of a course, but in assessing how well you’ve managed to adhere to it. Consideration also charges us with seeing possibility and prospects, the hope for greatness – much like the stars those ancient astronomers studies and charted. Considering others’ feelings, goals, aspirations, values, time – it all influences you to act carefully, thoughtfully, lovingly. When you consider another, you not only survey the foundation and ensure its good, but you fortify it for years to come.
Perhaps you’re going through something right now. Maybe you’re looking for a way, or just to keep your head above water. You could be just trying to muster enough energy to get out of the bed in the morning. If that sounds like you, then I urge you to take a moment each day to focus on one of these areas. How are you implementing it into your life and how is it working for you? If you aren’t already, how could you? What could get better as a result?
The Family Factor: Find your way, then light it for others. Someone has to be first. Why not you? Practice what you preach and what you learn, teach. And you can tweet that to the bank (just not in front of the bubble-dome-safehouse, please).
With love, light & legacy,
Akima Aiken Brown