Better Words

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The Ancient Greeks had eight words for different types of love. Eros – romantic; philia – affectionate; agape – selfless; storge – familiar; ludus – playful; mania – obsessive; pragma – enduring; philautia – love of self. When I first learned about a more nuanced common language to describe such a big and complex emotion, my first thought was: Our current vocabulary is so lacking for so many things.

I have five different types of olive oil on my kitchen counter – lemon, rosemary, sun dried tomato, regular and black pepper. I don’t have bacon any longer because I’m trying to follow a more vegan lifestyle. Five types of olive oil and a limited, third grade level vocabulary to discuss one of the most important emotions a human can feel? Ludicrous.

The post is part of a mindful series on control – not controlling others, but controlling how you chose to show up. This week seemed a bit out of control – I had zero intentional free time; was rushing from meeting to meeting in my ‘day job’ and then after putting in pretty long hours to keep my two ‘side jobs’ moving ahead, I had to deal with the homework drudgery of having a freshman in high school. And that isn’t even discussing my volunteer work or Agile Best Self work. To keep it all straight, my definition of “job” meets these criteria: a) tax implications (either w2s or w9s are involved); b) deadlines are not always in my control; c) professionalism is required. Summary: I was busy. I’m not complaining, I’m just trying to make the context clear.

In the midst of the 14-16 hour a day of deadlines and stress earlier this week, I had a pre-COVID flashback. This ridiculous schedule (working 8 am – 8 pm or later six days a week) was my pre-COVID world. I certainly don’t want to go back to that! But habits are habits, and I fell back into the overscheduling habit last week.

Back to the title of the post: “Better Words.” I think we need better words to describe intentionally learning the skills we need – such as gratitude, optimism and self control for a start. There needs to be a verb, not a sentence. Instead of “I’m intentionally slowing down and analyzing my inner voices so that I can show up in a way that allows myself and others to be their best self”, I want a simple word. Brian and I have some short hand phrases we use, he likes to use “How can you make the room better?”, which is a great question, but it isn’t a nice quick verb. I think having a better words would help me define what my best self is, and enable others to be their best selves.

Agile Best Self Principle #1: Our highest priority is to be our best self and enable others to be their best selves.

Another reason for better words is that some of the best learning opportunities are “in the moment”, particularly moments where I am not showing up the way I would like to. I’d like to be able to make self corrections the moment I start to veer off path. When I need to focus on the critical task of being intentional or being mindful, I don’t want to stop and have to explain what I’m doing, I want to keep the flow of intentionality and analysis going. Or, if I’m writing about a situation in retrospect, I’d like to have the words to adequately describe the situation to my audience.

I hope I have made my point clear. If not, let’s chat and talk about the better words I can learn from you.

Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Clearing Skies

I really like this photo as I sit here after work on a Friday. Another week in the books, with everything that went along with it, and I am feeling good. The optimistic side of me has returned, and I am looking forward to the weekend and getting back to it next week at work.

First, I want to thank those that lended me their energy when I really needed it. What was really cool was the folks that responded to my request came from my own workplace. That was noticed and doubly appreciated — you provided me a much-needed hit of energy and optimism. It also provided an insight — which takes me back to our topic of control. Let’s start with this quote:

I am focusing in on the third sentence — attracting positivity into your life. It works kind of like a sponge, you can absorb positivity by having the right people in your life, working on the quality of the inner dialogue we have with ourselves, and, I think, through living in the present moment. Some days, like I had to the other day, we need to lean on others, temporarily, to get past the dark clouds.

In the last post, the insight I gained was I was missing an important member of my own team — my dad. Thinking about it further, I started to think about my team further — who is on my team right now? How has the period of isolation through the pandemic change my team’s roster? I am defining team as the people around you that you count on for support of you, or helps you grow — mind, body and spirit. A year ago, the list of team members on roster was very clear, but right now? Hmmm. Now I am sure that there are more openings on the roster.

This is a different concept than the trusted circle we refer to in Agile Best Self Principle 4. The inner circle, here, is defined as the short list of people who’s opinion of you actually matters to you. These people may be on your support team, but not necessarily. The like-hearted community we describe in Agile Best Self Principle 11 is an even larger group than that — a superset of your support team perhaps.

So, my homework coming out of this week is to think through who is on my support team. There are some on my team I need to reconnect with and some new roster spots to fill. By intentionally connecting, I hope to build even more positivity into my life — another way of exercising control.

Who’s on your team? Have you connected lately?

Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

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