Showing posts with label Self-Awareness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self-Awareness. Show all posts

June 23, 2019

Trying To Be A Plumber

It's wonderful when we try to help others.

Isn't that one of the reasons we're here? 

But sometimes we are trying to help and it's really something beyond our capabilities. 

My mother-in-law said something funny about this:
Sometimes you're an electrician, but you're trying to be a plumber. 

Isn't that true, we are really one thing, but we are often trying to be something else that we're really not. 

We can't help someone that needs a plumber, if we're an electrician. 

We have to know who we are and what we can do--as well as what we can't. 

No one can do everything, no matter how smart, strong, or able they think they are.  

Each person has strengths and weaknesses.  

We need an electrician and a plumber. 

And you can't be what you're not. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 17, 2019

You Can't See Yourself

So this donut-shaped art at the Outlets in Clarksburg is metallic and reflective. 

But what is really interesting to me is that when you stand in front of it (like I was literally doing here), you can't see yourself. 

It made me wonder how you can look at yourself and yet not see yourself. 

And I thought of this as being a bigger lesson in life. 

When we are looking at ourself and there is a big donut whole in the mirror of ourselves then we are left blind to what should be reflecting back at us.  

No matter how hard we try to see ourselves and what we are doing right and wrong, it's like a ghost out there--we are blind to it. 

To really see ourselves, our heart and mind have to be receptive to seeing the full picture. 

That means looking at ourselves as we really are, even when there seems to be a piece missing to the puzzle, and we have trouble being honest about what we see. 

To change, learn, grow--to become a better person, we need to look full on and be willing to see what we will see.  

You can't see yourself until you can.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2015

Self-Aware Graffiti Artist

So got to hand it to this graffiti artist. 

He/she is quite introspective. 

They wrote on this pole in D.C. "Writes his problems away!"

Thus, it's not just any old graffiti that often desecrates public or private property, but in this case it is an emotional and psychological catharsis for the artist.  

Sure when you write, you can express yourself and your feelings--you can think things through and work them out in your head. 

Also, you can share of yourself with others and influence them too. 

On the lamp pole, bus stop, or building wall--ah, not the best place to work these things out. 

But on paper or the computer, if you have something important to say, get it off your chest--go for it--and you can feel better too! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 18, 2013

Baby Frog, See You Now

So I took this picture of this baby frog while hiking. 

This was the first one we saw--on the foliage it completely blended in, but on the rocks we could see it clearly.

It was so little and cute--I had to zoom in to get this shot. 


After this, it actually jumped under a log and I got an action photo of its hind legs in mid-jump--going what seemed like super-frog speed. 


Once, I was attuned to the frogs color and motion, I was able to detect many of them in the forest today--all pretty much like this little baby. 

It was interesting to me learning from this, how before we are aware of something--it's as if it doesn't even exist (even with subtle ribbits in the air); and after you are sort of clued in to the surroundings, you almost can't help but see them.

To me, it's like life in general, when you don't see your own issues or life challenges, you can't even begin to work on them because your virtually oblivious to them, but once you see yourself for what you are--warts and all--you can begin to work through your problems, as if you have almost transcendental awareness. 

A little camouflaged frog, like subtle personal issues may be almost imperceptible in the forest of life, but against a contrasting background, you can get amazing clarity--to self-help and self-heal. 

Cute little frog, I can see you now and your not jumping away from me anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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May 10, 2012

Oh Deer!

This is an amazing photo by my daughter, Michelle Blumenthal. 

This deer just tried to jump a fence, but got impaled right through its neck--yikes! 

Truly a life lesson--it is good to reach high for what you want, but not to overreach. 

It really is a fine balance and takes self-awareness, discipline, and some good fortune. 

We have to know how much and how quickly to push ourselves to grow past prior limitations, but also recognize just how far we can make it on the next leap. 

Maybe that's one reason an incremental or phased approach is good.

It enables us to move ever forward, carefully planning and navigating our next steps, while hopefully not getting unnecessarily hung up by the life obstacles we must overcome. 

Good luck everyone!

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March 13, 2011

Essential Leadership Do’s and Don’ts

Below is a list of my top 15 recommended leadership attributes and the do’s and don’t for these.

For example, in managing people—do empower them; don’t micromanage. For supporting people—do back them; don’t undermine them. In terms of availability-do be approachable; don’t be disengaged. And so on…


While the list is not comprehensive, I believe it does give a good starting point for leaders to guide themselves with.

Overall, a good rule of thumb is to be the type of leader to your staff that you want your supervisor to be to you.

Common sense yes, but too often we expect (no, we demand) more from others than we do from ourselves.

This is counter-intuitive, because we need to start by working and improving on ourselves, where we can have the most immediate and true impact.

Now is a perfect time to start to lead by example and in a 360-degree fashion—because leadership is not a one-way street, but affects those above, below, and horizontal to us.

If we are great leaders, we can impact people from the trenches to the boardroom and all the customers and stakeholders concerned. That’s what ultimately makes it so important for us to focus on leadership and continually strive to improve in this.

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November 20, 2010

Selfishness and The Paradox of Emotional Intelligence



I was fortunate to be in a terrific leadership development class this week held in coordination with University of Virginia, and one of the instructors shared this interesting explanation about the four levels of emotional intelligence (EI), which I have put into the attached graphic (note: there are other variants of this).


Essentially there are three levels of EI that have to do with “me”:

1. Self-Awareness: Being cognizant of one’s own emotions, thinking and behaviors

2. Self-Management: Being able to control negative displays of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

3. Self-Direction: Being able to positively choose emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

These three levels are steps and maturity in the development of a person’s emotional intelligence.

Then, for those that are able to “breakthrough” to the next and forth level having to do with “others” (instead of “me”), there is a fourth level called:

4. Empathy: Being able to understand, share, and identify with the emotions and thoughts of others.

The idea here, as another instructor stated, is that we close the [emotional] gap with others through empathy and disclosure.”
However, in order to get to the stage where we can genuinely connect and empathize with others, we must first work on ourselves.

From a leadership perspective, I think this model of emotional intelligence is very valuable, because it provide us the framework for maturing our emotional self-development starting with basic awareness and advancing toward gaining control over ourselves and ultimately being able to have meaningful understanding for others.

It is only with such understanding of and connection with others that we can create the foundation for successful teamwork, innovation, and improved performance.
Where are we failing on EI?
  • Being so busy with “the daily grind” that we don’t have the time, energy, or capacity to do justice to the relationships in our lives.
  • Lack of mastery of the “me”—we lack self-awareness and are not in control of ourselves.
  • Narcissism that leads us to ignore the others around us and therefore leads us to have difficulty relating to them.

All of these, in a sense, represent a huge life paradox. We are taught that to succeed we must work on ourselves, and in turn we have become a self-focused society.


We have learned that success means being perfectly educated, thin, fit, married, earning a huge salary, and so on. But we are so busy thinking about these goals and looking at them as pure achievements to be marked off on a list that we lose sight of the process. And in doing so we actually become less effective at the things we are trying to do.


The process is about becoming emotionally intelligent—about learning the skills of self-control, self-management, self-direction, and ultimately empathy.


In fact, to succeed—and to find meaning in that success—we must give meaningfully to others in time and energy, rather than just taking for ourselves.


Ultimately, it doesn’t have to be a “breakthrough” event to empathize, give, and build healthy and productive relationships. Regardless of how much money or prestige we achieve in life, I believe that achieving the “us” rather than only focusing on the “me” is truly where the biggest payoff is at in life.

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