Season 2 – epiBLOG 8:
AUGUST THEME – “BACK TO SCHOOL”
Actually, these lessons aren’t “deadly” at all. If you apply them they will enrich your life!
I’ve been together with my partner/fiancé for 7 years ago today. Yes, happy anniversary to us! We’ve had some great times and some challenging times along the way, but in the end we love each other and have learned a lot over the years. Today’s blog is about the 7 lessons that I’ve learned in the 7 years of our relationship that can be applicable to ANYONE’S LIFE — relationships or otherwise.
We are all exposed to something new on a regular basis – some of these things are little, like a fun fact about when the president of the United States first married his wife. Some are big and life changing, like finding out that you’ve buried your hurt feelings from when you were a child and that somehow that pain has a connection with your fear of failure or fear of success as an adult. Whether we actually learn from our new exposures and experiences, is up to us. Applying that knowledge where and when applicable is also up to us.
Lesson #1 – I learned to keep an open mind even after receiving disappointing news. Earlier this year I was being seriously considered for a huge writing position. It was disappointing news when I discovered that I didn’t get it. Having put in the blood, sweat, and tears into my career for over 18 years, writing several scripts, teaching screenwriting, having been a produced and working writer, having won awards, and having seen my own students go on to be successful were all experiences that didn’t line up with the reality of the hiring decision for this job. I temporarily felt a loss of direction in my life. I know I love writing. I believe I’m a great screenwriter, so the experience was confusing, but was also the BEST thing that could have happened to me in the end.
My fiancé signed me up for Jack Canfield’s One Day to Greatness workshop a few weeks later, which I attended back in early June of this year. When she told me that she already bought the ticket, I wasn’t in a good place emotionally, but I was so touched with the gesture that she put a smile on my face and I felt that I had nothing to lose. I went, and I received a different perspective on my goals and a practical means to achieve them. I then read Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles and attended a week long seminar last week, fully immersing myself in figuring out which ingredients to use to create the level of success in my own life. Over the past few months, my film production company Balanced Entertainment Films, started to move forward. We got approved for Fiscal Sponsorship and I’ve networked my way into meeting some spectacular individuals. An open mind opened doors for me.
Lesson #2 – I learned to get rid of any limiting beliefs that I’ve subconsciously, or unconsciously, been holding onto. What I learned about myself is that I hate asking for help, even if I intellectually understand that asking can benefit me. I recently realized that asking for help makes me feel inadequate, which I’m not a fan of. I also anticipate receiving grief from anyone who can come to my aid, so I attempt to figure out things on my own to avoid having someone throw their good deed back in my face. The problem with this is that I obviously don’t know everything and I could actually pull on the knowledge, expertise, and experience of others to help move my career forward more efficiently. This is a huge lesson for me – one that I’m very proud to have learned.
Lesson #3 – This is one that I have to continuously work on – learning to not be defensive when criticized by others. Criticism about my work as a filmmaker, I can take. Filmmaking is subjective and everyone has an opinion. However, when I receive personal attacks because of who I am, what I believe, and how I feel, that’s when I get annoyed, frustrated, and yes, you’ve guessed it, defensive. What I’m learning is that I have to KNOW who I am as a person and allow my actions to speak for themselves. I should never have to defend who I am or what I believe to family or friends. They are entitled to their opinion about me, and I know the truth about who I am. That’s all that matters.
Lesson #4 – I’ve learned to listen with love. What does this mean? To listen with open ears and an open heart no matter what the subject matter is at hand. All anyone ever wants is to be heard. Pretending to listen to someone makes you phony. Be sincere, and honestly seek to understand the other person’s perspective. This is how you relate to others and how you develop a genuine connection with others. This is what I do.
Lesson #5 – Not only should you strive to be a great listener, but also a great communicator. This is something that I definitely learned to do. The tone that you use with your spouse or your child can have a huge impact on how they will react to the content of your words. For example, if I think my fiancé is angry with me, instead of getting angry back at her and burying my feelings or approaching her with an antagonistic attitude, I simply ask if I did anything to her to make her angry with a sincere and calm tone in my voice. The majority of the time, she has something else on her mind or if she is angry with me, we’ll just have a conversation in a productive way. Neither of us has to raise our voices, nor feel the desire to do so. We definitely aren’t perfect where this is concerned, but we do communicate effectively for the most part.
Lesson #6 – I learned to constantly show gratitude and appreciation for all things that people do for me – big or small. I grew up understanding that I should thank people when they do something for me. This definitely isn’t brand new information. However, always having a gracious and appreciative attitude towards others not only makes me feel great, but acknowledges the efforts made by others, so I make them feel great too.
Lesson #7 – I learn to ASK for what I want. This somewhat ties in with my lesson that I learned in Lesson# 2 above regarding asking for help. Some of us never reach our goals because we never take the time to ask for what it is that we are seeking. For example, if you’re approaching investors for your business or project, that’s asking. Or asking facility owners for the use of their venue to showcase your art. Again, that’s asking. The “asking” is what makes you proactive in furthering what it is that you want to accomplish. I’ve had to learn to let assumptions go, and I learned that it’s almost impossible to get what I want if I don’t open my mouth to say what that something is.
Today’s LESSONS are: (1) to keep an open mind, (2) to eliminate limiting beliefs, (3) to not be defensive, (4) to listen with love, (5) to be a great communicator, (6) to be gracious and appreciative, and (7) to ask for what you want.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Choose ONE of the above lessons each week to apply to your life. Continue to add the new lesson to each week until you’re applying all 7 lessons in your life all of the time. For example, you will apply Lesson #1 in week #1 and in week #2, you will apply both Lesson #s 1 and 2. In week #3, you will apply Lesson #s 1, 2, and 3, and so on.
RECOMMENDED READING: The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be