Emotions are Ever-Changing Just Like the Clouds Moving Across the Wyoming Sky

Posted by Diane on Feb 6, 2010

“There will always be difficult people! Regardless of how many books you read, seminars you attend, or tools you invent. There will be some whom you have to let go and accept that you did the best you could with what you knew at the time. And that’s OK.

 “But, what you can and should do is, take these challenging people and disturbing situations and see them as your best teachers for learning rich and valuable lessons. Instead of focusing your awareness on their negative behavior, direct your attention back to yourself. When you are willing to confront your own struggles, you are opening yourself up for a marvelous opportunity to acquire great sales tools and personal gifts – the lessons learned from your difficult experiences.

 “Silently thank your difficult customers and most challenging encounters, for these golden, learning opportunities will gift you with the chance to raise your level of personal and professional excellence.”

 I have selected the introduction and closing for this article, and the following, heartwarming little story from my book, Just Treat Me like I Matter: The Heart of Sales.  All these excerpt come from my chapter on, “Dealing with Difficult People:” 

 “Before closing this chapter, I would like to share a ‘fluffy’ experience that has lightened life’s load for me. I hope it can add a touch of lightness for yours.

 “Remember how in my Introduction I told you about my midlife crisis in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming? Besides much healing, I also gained many wonderful tools for living life during my summer there. One of my favorite activities to do was to take walks and horseback rides out to the lush green pastures and soft rolling hills, all splashed with shimmering aspen trees. Then I liked to find a nice plush spot to lie down in the green grass and wild flowers and listen to the rustling aspen leaves and watch the cloud formations move across the sky.

 “If you have ever been to Wyoming, you know what I am talking about when it comes to enjoying the constantly changing weather patterns and exciting drama in the sky. Witnessing these rapidly evolving cloud patterns is an enthralling experience – one you can never forget.

 “As I lay in the grass and wildflowers, sometimes I would even wonder whether I was still planted here on this earth, or had I already moved on to the next world. Often I would say to myself, ‘I believe I have gotten myself as close to heaven as I am going to ever find on this earth.’

 “For it was not at all uncommon to see brilliant rainbows illuminated across the sky, feel the rain falling from the dark clouds, and then experience bright sunshine breaking through the clouds to warm and light up this grandiose scenery. And there was still more: In the majestic backdrop, there were the snow-covered peaks of the Grand Tetons, smothered with rapidly changing, brilliant colored, billowing clouds. It was such a rich and delicious experience of nature, and all free – just there for the taking.

 “One day while viewing God’s Theater, a brilliant epiphany popped into my head: The clouds in the sky are exactly like emotions – they are each constantly changing and never remain the same. Along with so many other things I learned that summer, I have never forgotten learning this simple lesson from the clouds in the vibrant Wyoming sky.

 “Hardly does a day go by that I do not go back to that rich simile and apply it to a situation at hand. I find it to be a great tool for helping me deal with people who exhibit bad behavior and emotions. And I constantly use it when I find myself in a bad emotional space with myself. I just imagine myself lying in the grass and wildflowers again, watching the rapidly changing, dramatic sky. And all of a sudden, I don’t feel nearly as attached to my bad emotions. I see and feel the dark, threatening clouds rapidly moving on, only to be replaced by soft, light, fluffy ones.

 “Researchers indicate that most of us have anywhere from 12,000–65,000 thoughts pass through our mind each day. Like the ever-changing theater in the sky, our minds are working vigorously. And for many of us, our thoughts can be filled with skepticism, negativity, anxiety, or fear. Allowing yourself to become attached to these bad feelings and troubling emotions will certainly drag you down.

 “In order for you to cope in your personal and professional life, you must learn to see these pessimistic thoughts as fleeting and elusive. You must learn to let go of them. You must train yourself to release their negative impact from your mind, just as rapidly as the clouds change and reshape their formations in the sky.

 “If you feel burdened with this troubling issue, I suggest you delve into a book published by the Foundation for Inner Peace, A Course in Miracles. This text and workbook are filled with comprehensive lessons for establishing inner peace. This work is all about forgiveness for your self and others, as well as letting go of attachments that cause emotional pain. If you tend to let life encumber you, this might be a great way to take some weight off your shoulders and lighten your load.

 “Just remember, when you have an angry customer, whatever you do, do not fall into their wrath. Bullies are really cowards in disguise; they get a power charge from acting like drama queens. They lack the tools and/or skills for personal empowerment, so they resort to their primitive instincts and roar. If you dare involve yourself and spew wrath back, all you are really doing is using them as an opportunity to vent your own frustrations and angers. Always keep in mind that it is not what happens to you, it is what you choose to do with what happens to you. It is not what people say to you, it is what you allow yourself to hear. Maintain your dignity and self-respect; don’t join them in their drama-queen court.”

 Yes, I really hope you enjoyed the precious lesson I learned from Wyoming’s magnificent sky.  I can’t tell you how many times I pull this charming memory out of my pocket to counteract the unsettling emotions I am experiencing at the moment.  And, hopefully, you now have a delightful new tool to diffuse your emotions when you are ready to blow, or you allow the anger of someone else to get underneath your own skin.  I just hope this simple trick works for you, too.  I would love to hear back from you if you find this analogy valuable, or you have one of your own that you would like to share with all of us.


Sixty-plus, and Loving It! by Diane Marie Pinkard

Posted by Diane on Feb 6, 2010

Recently, I have been reading and listening to some troubling comments by baby boomers that are very fearful or dissatisfied with their current professional lot-in-life!   Here is a brief consensus of some of the remarks I am hearing and reading:

  • I can’t find a job!
  • I can’t keep up with the changes and transitions, the world is moving too fast.
  • Am I even good enough anymore?
  • I’m having to accept positions and/or salaries that are beneath my dignity, experience, and means.
  • When I am seeking employment I see the expressions on the faces of young hiring managers.
  • Silently, I hear hiring staff members saying, “You are older than we are looking for.”
  • Companies seem to have a very specific idea of what they’re looking for in a new hire and they are unwilling to accept any deviation from that vision.  Obviously I don’t fit the bill.
  • Young hiring managers ask me, how easy will it be for me to follow their leadership?
  • I am afraid that, if I teach and mentor these young Gen Ys with what I know, once they get it, I will be booted out the door.
  • I fear that my company is feeling like they are paying me more than they want to pay me because of my seniority.    I just wonder when I am going to receive my “walking papers?”
  • I feel awkward and like a “fish out of water.”  I just don’t feel like I fit in.

Well my response to you struggling Boomers: 

YOU ARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE!

And I believe that you have never been better!

I am now 63 years old and I feel like my gifts and offerings for my personal and professional life have never been greater.  And I can accomplish my daily tasks with grace, finesse, and self-confidence, all rewarding me with great success.   I feel like I have aged like a fine wine!   

For me, I am proud of my age and I am wisely fulfilled with my vast experience.  It is my many accomplishments and challenges that make me what I am today.   Sometimes I feel like the rough-edged, ragged stone that has spent many years  tumbling in the rock tumbler – and now I have come out to be the beautifully polished gem that God intended for me to be become.   Yes, I have learned that you definitely have to do the personal work – to get polished!

Speaking of polish, two pearls of memory come up from my rich past.   My Mother loves to tell me what her father used to say to her when she was a little girl: “Little Girlie, I wished I could teach you all the lessons of life that I have learned, but, unfortunately, you are going to have to learn them all for yourself.”

And second, when I was growing up, it always seemed that my mother could see so much that I could not see.   And that would irritate me because I wanted to think I knew enough to make my own decisions, not have to listen to her.  So one day, in an agitated state, I asked her, “What do you have Mother?  Do you have a crystal ball, or something?”

She confidently answered, “You just wait and see.  What you think you know now, you will be able to look back in ten years and see how more you know then, than now.”  Now I have lived long enough to know the wisdom in her words. 

So, after reflecting on these wise words from my Mom and Grandpa, I decided to start listing some of the benefits of being 60+.  The assignment I gave myself is one I give to my clients.  I ask my students to list all the good things going on in their life, then a list of all the bad.  And most often, when people really dig in, they find many more items on the positive side of their list, than on the negative side.   And that is exactly what happened to me!

I started writing and I could not write fast enough.  I was up over 35 entries and the pen was still flying across the page, knowing I still had more items to add.     A negative thought did not even enter my head.   After glancing at my list I thought to myself, I will look terribly conceited if I publish this whole list.  Why don’t I just pick 10 and let my readers have fun by adding many more.  And believe me it was really hard to cut this list to 10!  Here goes:

  • I draw from a deep well of rich experience and knowledge for living my life each and every day
  • I do not take things personally anymore, it is very difficult to ruffle my feathers
  • I have suburb work ethics
  • I am authentic – I truly walk my talk
  • I am very comfortable in my own skin
  • I can laugh at myself
  • I have excellent interrelationship abilities that can bridge many genres
  • I can love myself as much for my flaws and imperfections, as my many wonderful qualities
  • I can remain balanced, centered, and grounded in times of stress and trouble
  • I have a collection of life tools and skills to make life work with ease – my toolbox is full!

 

Yes experience does bring rich offerings to the table!   But the excited young candidates also bring wonderful attributes and qualities for achieving high performance.    So, if I was doing the hiring, I would be careful not to ever pass up a fine aging wine.  But, I would also want to be very careful that I was not tangling with an old, aging oak tree that that did not have some bend like a young, wispy willow tree.  

The key at ALL ages is:  Be open to learning new things, be open to growth and change, and cultivate and believe in the rich offerings of you!!

I would love to hear from the 60+ crowd, and hear about the rich “makings” of YOU!