The Becoming a Better Me Project

Having recently completed an MBA and leaving my job it is time to start considering what I want to do with my life.  I am faced with some pretty serious choices about where I want to go now.  I did a personal business model canvas, updated my resume, did some tests, I finished a novel and sent it off to an editor (More on that in other blog posts), I did some travel, and oh I started this blog which I am calling Our Orchard for reasons you have read about last week.  But really looking at everything in my model canvas I am faced with a severe lack.  Everything I write is about my professional life.  I have always considered myself a well-rounded individual, but honestly, trying to do this I feel like I have no direction forward.  I have thought of other jobs in my field, a brand-new field, maybe teaching, entrepreneur work, back to school, etc.  Everything sounds fun and exciting, but nothing pulls at me, and life just keeps plugging forward.  I just do not know what to do and where to go. As I look at myself more I realize that my own identity is just kinda as it comes.  I have been pretty lackadaisical about creating myself.  I mean, I have traveled, and studied, I meditate, and think about who I am as a Self.  But let’s face it, who I am is mainly just a conglomeration of what I have done.  How can I become the writer I want to be or really anything I want to be if I do not know who I am and what I want to be?

Being the person who just takes life as it is, is not who I want to be, I want to be dynamic and whole as a person that is finding joy and happiness in their good works.  I want to be mindful, I try to be mindful.   I want to be a person that I can be proud of, a person that one day my grandkids will be proud of.  I read all the time about people who found their purpose, but really I will never find my purpose if I am constantly going with the flow, and do not really know who I am, let alone who I want to become.  Who do I want to become?  What a crazy question.  A question I really should have asked in my teens or twenties.

So before I take on creating my future, I decided I first need to take on creating myself.  For those who know me, they know I love lists, but hate restrictions.  I fear that in moving forward with this project I will need to embrace both.  What I am creating is the person I want to be, my own brand image if you will.  I will start with a simple process of making a list of all the things I want me to be, then break down each item in ways that I can better understand and explain if asked.  I need to follow a process in this creation, preferably in some free flow form, I am better at that then editing.  Note to self after I am done look for editing.

I know I want to be accessible to people, and not very judgey.  I am uncomfortable around judgmental people, and really I am not very good at it, so that is out.  Accessibility is important to me because I want people to be comfortable around me, I want them to be able to talk to me.  I want to remove as much negativity from my life as possible.  I know that, I am always drained in dealing with negative people, so I do not want to be one of them.  I want to enjoy my life, I want to do things for just me.  I want to take time to enjoy the life I have, and my family and friends.  It feels like I put too much of myself into work and studies without really taking time for me and those I care for.  I need to take time to just be selfish, but I also need to accept that other people want to do the same.  I also have a bad habit of dismissing other ideas or values (not by judging them so much as just not valuing them.  I need to fix that.  I want to recognize that people are whole beings filled with an amazing and wonderful depth, I have a problem with dealing with people as one dimensional beings.  I want to incorporate the person my grandmother would have wanted me to be, so cut back on advice and I also very much need to ensure I give thanks, always give thanks.

Looking at who I want to be is easy, it flows off my fingers and onto the screen.  I write a simple and easy to follow brainstorm right here I can dissect into a manageable list.  Because really I cannot just reference back to a paragraph every time I want to ensure I am complying.  So now I need to start breaking up the list, make this digestible.

Ok not judgey.  I want to accept people for who they are, because they are amazing creatures with lives filling them up and ideas and cool things that make them, well them.  How awesome to just relax and take people for who they are.  To do that I will need to accept them in their entirety.  People are multifaceted, and to accept them for only the parts I like just is not enough.  I want to go all in on this accepting people.  I also need to accept them for what they care about (this also helps with not dismissing ideas out of hand).  If they care about something I need to care about it, or at least give it value (as much value as I give them right?).  People though, they are probably like me, wanting to become someone new, taking shape of their lives and dreams, creating their own goals.  So I should accept them for who they want to be as well, maybe even help them if I can, and if they ask for it.  OK so I have some list items for not being judgey.

Accessible, how do I become accessible?  First I want to be someone people are not afraid to say no to.  I have gotten no’s in my life that turned out great for me.  Add to this I want folks to feel free to critique me in things I might need improvement on.  I want them to be comfortable being honest with me, and no’s and critiques are people at their most honest, and what they are most intimidated to do.  Ok, I really get uncomfortable with apologizes and recognition towards me.  I should make sure to help myself here, I can become someone that nobody is forced to do either for, but in the hopes of being accessible I should become more gracious in accepting them.

I want to be a positive happy person, and I feel drained dealing with negativity.  So from this point on I need to start removing negativity from my life.  From my own personality and reactions to the people I let close to me.  I need to balance this with the acceptance of people, but I can always accept them from a distance.  No one says that just because I accept someone means I have to be their best-est friend.  I need to do more than just remove negativity from my life though, I need to take chances, reach out and really find those moments where joy can be found.  I want positive experiences I can enjoy to their fullest, for that I will need to be active in the world.  And you know what I need to be a little selfish.  Not like crazy over the top it all belongs to me selfish, but I need to understand that it is ok to enjoy me, to take pride in me.  Of course in the interest of not judging I should also accept this trait in others.  Really in the balance of others and self, we often go heavy one direction, and I need to realize that it is ok to go with my wants sometimes.

Lastly I really want to be someone my grandmother would be proud of.  She was a huge part of me becoming me, and I know that she cared about not giving advice and staying quiet when necessary.  I even went a year just not giving advice, so I should embrace that as a full time gig.  I often answer questions people ask way past the point they were asking about.  So really I need to just cut that all out.  I need to pay attention to what they are asking, what they want.  I need to be mindful of the world around me.

Lastly gratitude is always important to me.  I love to give thanks.  So that is in there, and I will end with it, to highlight to myself how important it is to me.  So, my list is pretty simple, breaking it down through my stream of conscious, the rough draft of basic ideas looks like this:

  1. Accept people for who they are.
  2. Accept people for who they want to be.
  3. Be a person that people are not afraid to say no to or critique.
  4. Be a person nobody has to say sorry to or recognize. Be gracious when they do.
  5. Stop giving advice and answering questions that were not asked.
  6. Negativity has no place in your life.
  7. Take every chance to go out and find joy and pleasure where you can.
  8. People are selfish, including you, and that is ok.
  9. Just because you do not care about it, does not make it unimportant to others.
  10. Experience people as an entirety
  11. Give Thanks

 

But what does it all mean?  I really need to start filling in some blanks here.  I am super long winded (had not noticed?  Maybe if we talked in person).  So I will need to really flesh out what I mean by each item.  This way I can formulate and maybe even articulate what I really mean by each grouping.  First I can take a quick look at the list, and just jot down some quick ideas for each item.  I can then break it all into different groups and work from my outline into a full-fledged thought for each item.  I am still in the brain storming stage of who I want to become in my mind, but at some point, I want to move from an outline, and find a full-fledged code of behavior.  That will take real work on each piece.  For my outline, I do not need fully formed thoughts, but they need formed enough that I can really understand them, and when I blog about it people can understand them enough to comment on them and make suggestions on improvements/additions/subtractions/clarifications.  Because the next step will be to send them out and get some ideas.

So my outline, let’s get started on this:

  1. Accept people for who they are.
    1. You do not need to like them, or even allow them in your life, but the energy it takes to judge them is not worth the result.  Your own peace of mind requires you to be the wind, and their choices will just pass through you.
    2. They deserve the respect and space to be themselves.  You want to be yourself, let them be them.  They make their choices.  You have no right to force them to conform to your desires or values.
    3. If they making choices you cannot stomach this means you should remove them from your life and move on.  They do not need to be changed, they need to be set free.  This will free not only them but it will free yourself.  Stop carrying them as a burden while also burdening them with what you wish they were.  It is unfair to everyone.
    4. This step will require you to be perceptive.  You must remove what you want to see from your mind, and allow the truth to settle into you.  Pay attention to people, do not put them in boxes or labels.  Watch and learn, be aware of both their actions and your self-delusions.  (see #10)
    5. Be open to the truth, revaluate often, their words should be heard, but their actions heard louder.
    6. You need to be mindful and present in each interaction for this to happen.
    7. This applies to yourself as well as others, accept yourself.
  2. Accept people for who they want to be.
    1. It is not your place to force them into what you want them to be, your opinion only counts for your life.
    2. You should assist them, when they ask (and when you can), in becoming the person they wish to become.
    3. If they do not ask, you can offer, but do not force, do not advise, do not suggest.  They must shape themselves as must you.  Try not to ask, unless you really feel you must, you over value your opinion already, do not over value it more (See #5).
    4. Be present in listening to what they want, and what they want to be.  They have an entire world within them that you do not know.  Hear their internal dialogue to see where they are trying to go (see #10).
    5. What are they learning?  What are they planning, what are they doing to shape their future selves?  What does this say about what they want?  They are making steps to be something, listen.
    6. Read between the lines, but do not over think it.
    7. This applies to yourself as well as others, move forward unafraid to become who you wish to become.
  3. Be a person that people are not afraid to say no to or critique.
    1. You might not like the no, but you would rather have the no then compulsory compliance.
    2. Saying no is their right.  Accept that they are separate beings with their own desires and wants and dislikes.  That is them, as you seek to accept them you must accept their rejection as well (see #1).
    3. Remember that those who have stopped critiquing you consider you a lost cause, and those critiquing you are either trying aggrandize themselves or help you.   Assume it is the latter and say thank you, appreciate what they are trying to do to help you (see #11).  If it is their own self-aggrandizement you have no need to get upset about other people trying to feel good about themselves (see #1).
    4. You do not need to follow their advice, but you should at least listen.
    5. This applies to yourself as well as others, do not be afraid to say no, be careful in critiquing though, do not become a Negative Nancy.
  4. Be a person nobody has to say sorry to or recognize.  Be gracious when they do.
    1. You often feel hurt when people do not recognize or apologize.  It is not their place to pander to you, stop expecting it.
    2. When you receive recognition or apologies you are often uncomfortable and standoffish, be more gracious.  They are trying to make you feel good, reward that, do not disregard their effort.  Be thankful someone cares enough to try and make you feel better (#11)
    3. Apologies are often more about them than about you.  Give them the gift of accepting it.  It cost you nothing and gives them something.  You are accepting their need to be accepted and not ostracized for their past.
    4. Accepting an apology does not mean you are required to allow them back into your life.  Be choosy about who you allow into your life, those that are untrustworthy or have hurt you in the past do not always deserve to be let back in (See #1).
    5. Accepting an apology, not holding on to hate/anger/hurt is not the same as forgetting their past actions.  It is freeing yourself from the negative, and accepting they are who they are and you are who you are.  You must move forward, free them and yourself from your need to control them.
    6. This applies to yourself as well as others, be gracious, apologize for wrong doings and recognize people.  Remember that the best apology is fixing the problem.
  5. Stop answering questions that were not asked.
    1. Advice is too often given unsolicited, your opinion is no more important than anyone else’s, and the person living that life has the most important opinion on their own life.
    2. You buying into their choices is really a waste of everyone’s time and completely disrespectful to them.  You both have lives and choices, make yours and accept theirs.  If the choose things you disagree with, oh well, maybe instead focus on why you care so much.
    3. Questions asked often imply other questions, but they are not the questions asked, focus.
    4. Stop feeling the need to explain to people, the explanations are too often for you, recognize that.  Just because you want to connect it to that summer you spent in Mexico does not mean anyone else wants to hear about it.
    5. Your own self-aggrandizement is not important, it is a flaw, and it is a weakness.  You are not weak.  Do not give in to the need to carry on about nothing, you do not care, embrace that, stop assuming you should.  Stop showing off what you think is your wisdom.  Nobody cares, the wisdom they want is the answer to the question they asked.
    6. Drama follows advice.  Stop giving it.  Drama follows unnecessary words, stop using them.  Gramma Jo got along just fine not giving advice, so learn from her awesomeness.
    7. Recognize this in yourself, ask questions that you actually want answered.  Do not beat around the bush.  Do not ask things you do not want answered.  Listen to your words.
    8. Make sure that the answers given are actually to questions you asked, and not just pretty flowers that do not help you.
  6. Negativity has no place in your life.
    1. Let go of your fear, it blinds you to opportunity.  Fear is not designed to keep you safe, but see how much you want the next step.  Fear too often stalls you, the thought of failure hinders your success.  Embrace that which you fear and push through, enjoy the feeling of risk and reward, learn from the pain of failure, and enjoy even that.  Fear can indicate a need to consider, but do not over analysis and become paralyzed.
    2. Uncontrolled Anger is counterproductive in making real change.  Stop with inefficiency and blind reaction.  If you want it changed that bad you need to stop and think.  You need to consider the options and the method of removing that which angers you to ensure it is done correctly.
    3. Depression and self-doubt are a chain holding you down.  You are powerful, you are you.  You are not your weakness.  You can enjoy life, and even embrace the parts that hurt.  They are a part of living, and you love to live.  You live large, do not be afraid to be sad, but do not let it overwhelm you.  You are the wind, it will all pass through you.
    4. Your energy is important to you.  Allowing others to poison it is self-damaging.  Learn to share positive energy without taking in their negative energy.  Remember you can let them go (see #1).  They do not need to change, but you do not need their energy in your flow.  Think of it as your neighbor’s yard.  They have flowers, you have tomatoes.  You have no desire to change their flowers, but nor do you need to plant them.  Your garden is your garden, theirs is theirs.  Stop letting in the seeds you have no use for.  Weed your own often, but they can decide their own.
    5. Ok this one needs work to get right, maybe I will get good feedback, or will have an epiphany when I start writing its section.
  7. Take every chance to go out and find joy and pleasure where you can
    1. Life is too short to do anything else.  There is so much joy and moments to enjoy in our daily lives.  Start reveling in all of them, recognizing all of them, and being thankful for it all (see # 11).
    2. “nobody ever promised you a tomorrow”
    3. Society has some arbitrary rules about what you can enjoy.  Screw that.  Enjoy it all.  As long as you are not hurting anyone who cares (obviously within the law and your own moral/ethical code).  Comics are nerdy, so what, embrace your love of them, and be a nerd.
    4. Be you, be free. Be yourself, take joy in yourself, and the things that make you happy.  You spent the first steps letting others find their happiness, make sure you find your own.  Then revel in it.  Embrace it, embrace yourself.  Drink in the nectar of life and drain it dry.
    5. You are only here for a short time so remove all that self-restraint that has no purpose.  You are your own purpose.
  8. People are selfish, including you, and that is ok.
    1. Accept that others are going to be selfish (see #1), they are not out to get you or against you.  They have an entire inner world or life that you have no idea of (See #10).  Expect it and plan for it.
    2. Because they want it they will work for it, even if you do not want it.  Do not expect them to change their wants, or to restrict themselves just because you do not like it (see #9).  They are going to find a way.  Stop worrying about it.  Plan for it, expect it, and use it in dealing with them.
    3. It is ok for you to be selfish, you deserve to have the things you want if you are willing to work for them.  Betterment of the self is a huge driver, shape yourself with it.  Become what you want, get what you want, be who you want.  Do not hide your light to make others feel better about how dark theirs is.  Shine it up and share it with the world.  You worry too much about others and what they think.
  9. Just because you do not care about it, does not make it unimportant to others.
    1. You validating the worth and value of a thing should not determine your reaction.  The worth of the person who finds it valuable is the worth and value you should place on it.
    2. Others have the right to enjoy what they are passionate about, they want to share it with you because they actually enjoy you.
    3. Enjoy them in return, enjoy their pleasure, even if you cannot enjoy the thing.  If they like a certain style, let them.  There is no need to disparage it.  They like clean floors work to help keep them clean.  Just because you think it is dumb to take off your shoes, does not mean you ignore their wants in this regard, you value them, so take care of what they want taken care of.  How hard is it really to remove your shoes?
    4. Do not always expect the same in return.  Someday maybe, but others will not share your care, that is ok, you are showing yours, they can worry about their own care (this thought kinda connected to #1).
  10. Experience people as an entirety
    1. No one is simply the part you know, they are complex individuals with huge internal lives and life experiences you were never part of.
    2. Multifaceted individuals that exist as members of multiple groupings.
    3. You will never know all of them.
    4. Still try, be open to seeing each part, even those they hide most.
    5. Do not judge if it does not affect you, they hide it often for fear of being judged (See #1).
    6. They change like you do for each grouping and pairing.  Accept that, feel the flow of who they are.  Truly they are that flow, there is no core thing that makes them, them. They are they flow, embrace it all.
    7. This is kinda the corner stone of a lot of this I am seeing.  It leads back into the rest, give this thought before reaching this point in the section write-up.
  11. Give Thanks
    1. Take a moment every morning to give thanks for all that you have and all that you are able to still accomplish.
    2. Giving thanks is a reminder to joy
    3. It is a reminder of all the above.
    4. It is a positive reinforcement of your values and happiness.

Ok now send this out as a blog post and wait for feedback, and with that feedback build the next section, which will require some reworks and deeper thoughts.  It can become an ongoing arc of posts that I can come back to as I work more on the ideas.

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