Keeping it up: The Stream of Otheresteem

Since publishing the OTHERESTEEM book in 2009, I have been blessed to watch the concept take on a life of it’s own. I love it how ideas can do that! So now, some of my colleagues deliver otheresteem keynotes and people react to them by starting their very own practices of acceptance, appreciation, positive expectations and gratitude. It’s an ongoing adventure.

The Stream of Otheresteem is alive in more ways than one!

You, too, will discover valuing others systematically as a constructive practice that enriches your life each time you come back to it. You are invited to the party! It’s EASY  to participate. Take a day, any day, of the week (I’m kinda partial to that Otheresteem Wednesday) and remind yourself to PRACTICE valuing others more. You do not have to be perfect at it, but take it as honing your own skills to feel others and enjoy them. It will make a world of a difference!

For inspiration today, I’ll tell you a little story:

This month, one of my close friends and collaborators became a Mom for the first time. Her beautiful baby boy came to her through adoption and was much-awaited for years! As a welcome for Carlitos, we had a get-together at the new home of one of our mutual friends. Through the gathering so much LOVE poured out all over the place. You could FEEL it. The gathering included people who had never met, others who hadn’t seen each other for years. And every single one of them was open to the other. This tiny baby, born in unknown circumstance, who could have had any kind of a life, begins this one surrounded with otheresteem. Not only that, but creating a powerful environment for reunion, re-acquaintance, connection. A happy couple, filled with love. A tiny boy, receiving and amplifying that. A group of diverse, wonderful, true friends that find each other in the midst of this all-encompassing feeling. Otheresteem came easily that day. It inspired us all. It is contagious.

Happy Wednesday, readers. I celebrate you! Whoever you are, wherever you are. May otheresteem practices enrich your life. You know you want them to!

 

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Someone is driving you crazy? Look through.

Do you have an ongoing relationship in your life that just drives you up the wall?

It’s funny how we relate in a challenging and energy-sucking way with so many people. I know you have experienced this. After all, who hasn’t? I am talking about that person you feel you can’t cut out of your life, yet you suffer immensely in their presence. Every single time. It’s a test to your patience just to hang around this individual.  The worst you that you can be is just fighting to come out. You tell yourself she won’t get to you, but a few minutes into the conversation every cell in your body is vibrating, and not in a good way!

Well, let me just say: this is probably a GREAT opportunity for you to practice otheresteem. Nothing much to be lost and you can’t possibly feel much worse, so why not, I say.

So, I want to share with you a little game I play. It’s called looking through. Simple concept, actually. As I have a conversation with this person (and feel the exasperation coming on), I focus on looking through what he is saying, and into the good part of who that person is, what she is experiencing or aiming for, at the core. (Hint: it’s the POSITIVE part of them I am looking for and, yes, it’s hidden somewhere.)

Yesterday I was listening to an acquaintance go on and on bragging about how well he handled people being aggressive with him. He boasted that people tended to do that and went on to enlist his long list and ongoing collection of quarrels with people, known to me or not. Ugh! Not my favorite take on life. I found myself thinking: this is so stupid? Who in the world brags about fighting with others, antagonizing, being punched in the face and such? And then, I decided to play the look through.

As I continued to listen I looked intently. My head tilts a bit to the side when I do that. I realized he was saying how competent he was and how he usually came on top. He’s a survivor. He has turned this difficulty in relating into his way of life. It’s a hard life. And he feels strong for it. I breathed. I said, “You take pride in being strong. Surviving and winning.” He stopped the rambling description he was into. Sighed a bit and said “I’ve become quite good at that. The surviving mode.” and, finally, he laughed and went on to more amicable subject. What a rush! I understood him a bit more.

Wanna play? Try it out and tell me where it takes you.

….

P.S. Today is #Otheresteem Wednesday on Twitter, so if you are there, hop right in to the STREAM OF OTHERESTEEM!

 

 

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The Joy of Not Having to Be Right

 

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It’s so liberating and empowering! When I feel myself struggling to explain my view and wanting so bad to be right, I remember I still need to practice acceptance. So I switch to understanding mode.

I consider that, as Billy Joel would say: “I may be right.”, but then again, “I may be Crazy.”

Take Twitter for example. Many of you know I am a Twitter (and other Social Media, for that matter) enthusiast. I wasn’t always that way, though. Once I was more of the Mr. Becky opinion, thinking Twitter was a definite waste of precious time. I had tried it briefly and hated it, deciding I had much better things to do with my already scarce time available. But then one day, as I was reading about the millions of people on Twitter and listening to some people on LinkedIN that I had learned to respect, talk of it’s wonders, it dawned on me:

Was I right about this and millions of people, wrong (or just plain stupid)?

I realized that was a pretty smug and righteous position to take.  There was clearly something about the phenomenon that I still didn’t understand. Why were people drawn to it? Was it really important what someone was doing now, or having for breakfast? What was the allure? Just a mind-numbing experience or a breathrough game-changer?

A little fueled by my interest in being included and a little by the curiosity the previous questions brought up for me, I decided to give it one more go with a different perspective. One of the practices I was including in my upcoming book, Otheresteem was acceptance and this seemed like a good chance to walk my talk. In this case, it meant moving to understanding why others enjoy this. Seeking to understand. Supposing that not ALL of the millions were stupid, and some may even be smarter than I! :D

So I put myself on a Twitter “diet” just as I had previously done on LinkedIN (though, being so very “professional” and “down to business” I admit I loved the ANSWERS section and GROUPs there almost immediately)

The diet consisted of daily doses of 15 minutes every day on Twitter, to experience it. Whether I enjoyed it or not. Thus began my journey every morning. I tweeted interesting links. Followed as many people as I could keep up with (I figured at the time, 10 was about it) and hated most of it. Then, I started asking about all the stuff I didn’t understand (What’s a RT?, Why #FF?, What’s interesting about repeating what someone else says?, Why did you thank me?, What made you want to follow me? and many others that came up each day) So with my newfound knowledge, I created a stricter diet:

  • 5 minutes of looking at the full timeline with more and more interesting people in it (following anyone who’s tweets looked like something I wanted to be reading)
  • 5 minutes of connecting, conversing, addressing others
  • 5 minutes of sharing my message, ideas, information of value.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Now I am a Twitter enthusiast. I currently follow 4114 people and am followed by 5407 if you count both my Twitter accounts (@monedays to tweet in English and @monediaz in Spanish). I love every minute I spend there, though it’s not always 15 a day and I finally understand what I am doing on Twitter and why so many people rave about it.

If you know me at all, you know that I am not always in agreement with the crowd and I am kind of weird that way. So, I may have decided it wasn’t for me once I understood why others enjoy it, like so many other tastes I just don’t share with the mainstream. But, boy, am I glad I tried this one out! I was definitely not right about it. And I now have actual friends to add to my life (contrary to popular belief I already had a rich social life before Social Media ;) ), business ventures, idea sharing, an upcoming book written with wonderful women and many, many more things to be thankful for.

And one of them is the sheer joy of not having to be right!

If you are on Twitter, remember this and every Wednesday to tweet about valuing others more. You can join the Stream of Otheresteem by using the hashtag #OtherEsteem. Raise awareness. Create Momentum. Build your otheresteem “muscle”!

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The Grateful Living

Gratitude is such an all-encompassing experience!

I know when I allow myself to fully acknowledge my own, it has a calming and focusing effect. Moreso when it is about the relationships I have with others. As one of the otheresteem practices, it is truly powerful. It can be done on your own and allowed to seep through your interaction with that person you are working on valuing more.

So, take a minute to center yourself. Breathe. Be. And now, direct your attention and energies to feeling grateful for having that person in your life. Like a meditation, if you find yourself focusing on the difficult aspects of your relationship, don’t fight it. Just move right back to gratitude. It helps for me to write a list on a piece of paper of all the things I am grateful for about this particular person and me interacting. You can do the same, or otherwise record the general feeling associated with this excercise. Draw, sculpt, sing. Art might be the only way to grasp the feeling. The point is, turn it into some token reminder. When I write the list, I make sure I carry it with me that day to revisit a few times more as the hours progress.

There is nothing you need to do at this point. Just be grateful for the relationship you hold together and see how this affects you and your view of the situation. Do you notice anything? Have you acted in consequence, by being kinder, perhaps or more understanding? Was the experience hard to hold on to, or pervasive as time went on?  The point is: be mindful of the effects.

Remember that, as the others, this form of gratitude is a practice. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t find it easy or effective at first. Keep at it and it will become effortless and natural in time.

If you are on Twitter, remember this and every Wednesday to tweet about valuing others more. You can join the Stream of Otheresteem by using the hashtag #OtherEsteem. Raise awareness. Create Momentum. Build your otheresteem “muscle”!

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Could we start again, please?

This morning that wonderful song rings in my ears. Could we? I am thinking #OtherEsteem Wednesdays on Twitter. ;) Sure! Why not?  So here’s my Wednesday post and I invite you to join me to tweet about valuing others more today! See the past post on the subject or check in on how it’s going at the Stream of Otheresteem!

Dealing with anger is such a difficult thing! Especially when that anger is directed straight at you. So painful is it, that we immediately want to discredit the person in our minds and distance ourselves emotionally from them, making sure that we do not believe what they say about us. Practicing otheresteem becomes so counter-intuitive then! This morning a good friend wrote me a Facebook message asking for help. She said a subordinate at her office went on an anger spree yesterday, telling her a bunch of things and that she was the worst boss in the world, ever! (Trust me, I have seen worse in my day.) Staying on acceptance, appreciation, moving towards understanding becomes such a challenge in case like this. So – deep breath first – I usually go to the 1% rule my mentor Will Schutz taught me:

What is the 1% where I believe this person to be right?

If I can find that, I will know what is getting me defensive. I can move past that, work on it if I want. I can allow myself to listen past the anger. To understand how this person got to this state and how I am involved both in the road there and in the way out. Deep breath again, and I am ready to accept that this person in angry. I can appreciate her being brave enough to tell me, even in the worst of ways. I can be thankful for the nuggets of understanding about myself in relation to her. I can see possibility beyond my defensiveness. I can be grateful for the opportunity this presents.

Can otheresteem be disarming in this case? Yes. I have seen it happen. Can it help me gain further understanding of myself and the other? That, too.

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Just How Much Inspiration?

I am sitting here asking myself that. Just how much inspiration can I get from sharing this idea with others? It seems to be limitless! I am inspired by people making the four practices their own and finding ways of engaging others in what they are doing. I am inspired by Susan Mazza who has my book on her night table and opens it up serendipitously every day to explore a different aspect to apply. I am inspired by the responses to the tip of the day and to #OtherEsteem Wednesday on Twitter. I am inspired by Mary Jo Asmus‘ blog post today and by Becky Robinson‘s heart!  By the sweet, loving presence of Randall Krause.  By Mark Hundley and his appreciation jars! By my friend, Socorro Muñoz and the women of the Junior League Mexico. By Lolly Daskal who first called it a movement. By Mike Henry Sr. and all the fellow instigators at LeadChange Group and by Jack King of Northfork Center for Servant Leadership who are bringing otheresteem into the lives of so many present and emerging leaders. By so many of my Twitter tribe, LinkedIN contacts, Facebook friends!  By my fellow Human Element practitioners. By each and every one of my clients and associates that so openly share their experiences with me. By my loving friends and family.

I could go on and on. The great thing is, I am also allowing myself to be inspired by people that I had not been able to understand before. By the very people whom I found difficult to appreciate in the past. Now that I am making a conscious effort to appreciate the good them I can see beyond what I used to criticize, into inspiring ways of thinking, of coping with hard choices, into creative solutions for their lives and mine.

Maybe its just that I am feeling so GOOD about yesterday’s airing of my interview with Roy Saunders and S. Max Brown of Real Recognition Radio! (You can catch it HERE). I am inspired to go on. To keep exploring ways to value others more and means to get other on board practicing the very same thing.

If we can touch each other this way, there is hope for the future. There is so much to look forward to. Can you feel it? Value others more and you will surely be inspired, too!

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Value What Others can Do For You.

This morning I had started off writing a bit about how accepting help from others is a way of valuing what they can contribute to our lives. Then, I popped into Twitter to spin off the #OtherEsteem Wednesday tweets and asked my friends there:

I don’t think I can say it any better than the great Mary Jo Asmus and Becky Robinson did. Both are women I have come to appreciate over the past months as the bright, warm and smart leadership experts they are. Their help in thinking things out for me has been invaluable. So here are their tweets as food for thought:

I know for me it has been a challenge to do what Mary Jo said here. I still have to remind myself and bite my tongue before saying “It’s nothing.” or “It’s not really like that…”  It helps me to remember that when I downplay praise, I am not valuing the other person’s perception and willingness to share the positive with me. As for help, I often found myself being too self reliant and wearing myself thin. Yet, when someone offered to help, I said no. Even to things I would gladly do for them.  So now, I simply say thank you and “I accept”.  Great advice, Mary Jo and Becky!

Anything else you readers might want to help me with in expressing this idea?

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No Time for Otheresteem?

As some of you will know, this is the title of one of the book chapters, but it struck me as imporant to address again because of a comment I got from one of my contacts this week. She said that she could not have friends at work because it was just too much work. I had been talking about how we spend so much time at the workplace that it is truly a tragedy if we do not have significant relationships there. She even went as far as to tell me that a person had approached her and stated that she was interested in building a friendship with her, beyond the work-related interaction they already have. All she was asking for was time together. Exactly, my contact said, what she did not have to give.

Otheresteem efforts should be a part of the flow of your day, not an extra assignment. If you are living in a way that does not allow you to build meaningful relationships in your everyday environment, I believe you need to question the way you are living. Does this satisfy you? How can you build otheresteem every day? Does it really take time away from other activities to express appreciation, to be thankful for what you do together, to stay mindful of your reactions to others?  Is it so time-consuming to accept others or expect the best from them? It seems to me that if you cannot find time for that, you are in a terrible hurry, with nowhere to go.  What do you think?

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Wednesday is #OtherEsteem Day on Twitter

A few weeks ago, at the suggestion of Lolly Daskal, I began to invite people to tweet with the hashtag #OtherEsteem on Wednesdays.  The idea is to use the opportunity to value others more.  The reaction has been wonderful and I love to follow what happens in real time. People tell each other there how much they appreciate who they are, what they stand for, how they tweet.  Now, I am also interested in inviting people to seize the day for offline OtherEsteem efforts and then tweet about how it went.  For instance, trying another concept from the book,

How can we expect the best from people that have maybe let us down before?

Expectation is all about creating the space for others to do better than they have in the past. In a conscious effort, react to shortcomings exactly as you would react if you were dealing with somebody you EXPECT to do good.  For example, if you have a hard time dealing with a person who loses their temper on a daily basis, you might just roll your eyes if they do.  But what if one of your friends lost their temper?  Someone who is usually calm and serene?  You would probably ask if they are alright, if it was something you said, if they understood your intention.  Move yourself to react in a way that creates possibilities for others to step out of the roles they have been playing and watch what happens!

And if you are of Twitter, come join the fun!  Tweet #OtherEsteem on Wednesday, then take a peek HERE!

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