Believe in your distinctive uniqueness!

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We often feel that our paths are based on systems and criteria that others have created for us. These might stem from our schooling, our promotion path in our company, our assessment of wealth …

This is a false paradigm. Our journey is in fact unique, if we wish to make it so, especially as we are in fact unique ourselves, just as we carry in ourselves this identity and that very particular grain that is born with us. You can strive to leverage it into realizing your potential or you can dilute it into ambient conformism. It is certainly difficult for us to understand and implement our uniqueness in a climate that favours pre-established social norms, rules of use consistent with habits, or relational rites that govern our interactions with others …

You are unique and you deserve a unique treatment, at least in the way you consider yourself. It is not a question of increasing your egocentricity or narcissism. It is rather an understanding that you can contribute in a rather distinctive way to your evolution, through what you bring to your surroundings, the imprint you bear on your company, and first and foremost what you become. Between what your DNA makes of you, and what you make of your DNA, you have the keys to understanding the meaning of your life, beyond simply satisfying your needs and desires.

If you embrace your uniqueness, you will have the opportunity to believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you will be able to transform your life away from the routine of conformism towards creativity and agility, which will further reinforce your uniqueness.

The virtuous circle is clearly not simple to set up, but it all begins with changing your paradigm in relation to yourself and not waiting for people to do it first.

 

The Social Mirror as a Double-Edged Sword

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Being a double-edged sword, the social mirror does not provide an image but nuanced reflections which we should handle with care. The social mirror informs and deforms, teaches and cautions, lies and denies!

You wake up feeling good, you dress in that shade of formal/casual that suits you, you arrive with no more than average hassle to the office, and there, you meet a colleague you regularly meet, with whom you exchange the usual pleasantries, never a comment about appearances … except this morning! His opening remark is ‘Are you all right?’, ‘You look tired’, ‘You seemed to be lost in thought’ or ‘Can I help you?’ Although you believe all is well on your side, you receive a reflection of your image you really did not expect. You then begin to wonder how people can expect to read between the lines while ignoring what actually is on these lines. In other words, you feel that the people around are looking very hard for some secondary meaning to your acts and appearance and so forget to focus on and what you really are or what you do intentionally.

That said, the social mirror is not always evil, it can also be constructive. Take for instance our individual personality traits. Often, you act in a given situation in a certain way, but then a colleague, a friend or someone who knows you immediately responds that you always react the same way. This startles you, and you reply that this is the first time you’ve done this, and then, to your surprise, a detailed history of your past reactions unfurls and proves that you do, in fact, ‘react that way’. After all, we find it much easier to identify personality traits of others that our own.
Above all, do not be surprised when being caught out by reflections you see in the social mirror. It is quite normal to not pay attention to what this mirror reflects. This type of observation is constructive because it helps you better understand your personality.

The social mirror reflects our leadership skills only if our posture is transformative. If you continue to contemplate it with docility, you may eventually change yourself, but not transform yourself; you might satisfy those around you, but not thrive! What is certain is that if you let your social mirror control you, you can only be a follower and not a leader.
In many circumstances, the social mirror effect creates ‘followers’ through the comfort of inertia that it can generate.

It is indeed fascinating how individuals can indulge in irrational behaviour contrary to their values just because those around them do it. Many social experiments have proven this, such as those by Solomon Asch, and have confirmed how absurd the behaviour of individuals can be under the social influence of a group in contrast to the rationality they display when taken alone.

Build and challenge your social mirror and you will strengthen your personal and interpersonal leadership. This is certainly the fruit of the two types of victories Steven Covey clearly highlighted in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There are private victories and public victories, the former systematically required for the latter. A private victory is the result of work on oneself to break away from dependence to independence through proactive behaviour, vision and prioritization. Independence is not the ultimate goal because we must make the best of our social relations to create the interdependent environment required for public victories. This is the result of our ability to change our habits towards a win-win mindset, greater synergy and better listening skills!

Rebooting yourself requires more than a break or a holiday

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The daily grind of work and its endless succession of minor but urgent issues create a fertile ground for stress & burnout. Taking a break, whether a long weekend or a proper holiday, is the perfect opportunity to rest. However, holidays are not necessarily enough to reboot.
This is because we often focus only on one specific aspect of our tiredness Continuez à lire

If it’s free, you’re the product!

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The result you achieve can only be directly proportional to what you invest. The old saying, ‘you get what you pay for’ is a good illustration of this fact. This said, in ‘transactional’ social interactions, we’re always on the lookout for a great deal or wary of insider trading. We are, indiscriminately, tempted by transactions blatantl Continuez à lire

Inspiration: Beware Comfort Zones!

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Inspiration is the enthusiasm that enables us to find meaning and undertake our actions or our thoughts creatively. It is the compelling energy which generates unstinting motivation and commitment. Inspiration remains a very mysterious process that we certainly cannot intentionally control. Inspiration can not be commanded, but it can be triggered by certain stimuli, like meditation, relaxation, painting, cognitive therapy and other activities that allow the mind to detach itself from negative thoughts and create positive ones.

It is important to understand that we can often try to trigger inspiration by undergoing a stimulus of sudden change. For example, it may be changing work environment, eating habits, sleeping more or more often, reading an unusual book, or meeting someone we may have avoided in the past. These changes can trigger inspiration to create and adapt.

Inspiration generates satisfaction. This is especially the case when we achieve tangible goals or when we flourish better while generating more inspiration. That said, this virtuous circle of inspiration is never guaranteed as it can often turn into a vicious circle. Indeed, despite the fact we all know it is essential to leave our comfort zone to reach the zone of uncertainty and creativity required to create value, human nature ensures the more comfortable our situation is the less effort we make to leave this comfort zone. This inertia creates self-satisfaction that hinders the ability to extend our limits and blinds all action.

The pitfalls of inaction and complacency apply to progress in the Maslow hierarchy (Physiological needs, Safety needs, belonging and love, esteem, self-actualisation), the understanding of which must be completed by the dynamic of changes. These can be imposed by the environment, but also chosen as stimulus of inspiration, and we can choose to go down a notch in the pyramid to better bounce to other levels instead of being confined by a deterministic sequencing of needs satisfaction !

Managing Difficult People: Avoid jumping to conclusions!

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With active listening, NLP, transactional analysis and even entire books addressing this topic (such as François Lelord’s, published by Eyrolles), there is abundant literature detailing best practices in the management of difficult personalities / people. This said, the complexity of this issue lies in fact in false difficulty rather than in available solutions! Continuez à lire