LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Recommended Reading

http://www2.elc.polyu.edu.hk/CILL/writing.htm

I recently picked up a new book by Danielle LaPorte entitled, The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful & Practical Guide to Creating Success On Your Own Terms. Now normally I am somewhat hesitant to read anything that claims I can be successful. I realize it seems a little incongruent considering my chosen profession is helping individuals to be successful in their lives. Let me explain, I am leery of any book, CD, movie, video, business investment, or anything else, if I will only pay X amount dollars in XX number of installments it will transform my mundane existence into a life full of meaning, purpose, wealth, gold, health, white teeth, charming personality, precious metals, drive thousands to my web site, and  guarantee dogs, cats, and the opposite sex will find me irresistible.

In past centuries these pitches were reserved to snake oil salesman, but now they can be found in most email in-boxes, no matter where you live. The motivation industry is rife with get rich quick money schemes that promise you success in every aspect of your life with little or no effort on your part, except for a few dollars. I recently looked at a life coach’s package offered at $24,000. Another person was offering a one day seminar for $20,000. Sorry, maybe they are worth it, but I’m not convinced. So as I said, I’m a little leery.

Ms. LaPorte’s bio says she was a former executive for a future-studies think tank and a communications and business strategists, all without a college education. Since I have a soft spot in my heart for those educated by life experiences, I was willing to look at her book and I’m glad I did. She is the real deal. Nearly all of her ideas caused me to think about what I believe and, more importantly, why I believe it.

The book is divided into sixteen sessions and Fire Starter is a an accurate name for the book. The more I read the more excited I became. She shoots straight from the hip. At times it is liking reading a stream of consciousness, think trying to drink from a fire hose, but the message is solid. The front flap gives you a taste of what to expect:

  • Life balance is a myth.
  • Being well rounded is highly overrated.
  • Screw your principles (yeah I know…this one took me a while to digest, but trust me).
  • We have ambition backwards. Getting Clear on how you want to feel in your life and work is more important than setting goals

I am never shy about recommending what I think is good…and this is very good. In the future I will illustrate more of her philosophy, but in the mean time, you might want to consider at least looking at it at your local bookstore.

Be encouraged!

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Lightning Strikes Again

image

Once again, a person has apparently had way too much wine with dinner and decided to give me an award.  I will tell you I am honored, no matter what state of sobriety Craft Crazy Gran at http://craftcrazygran.wordpress.com might have been it when she composed her post. Thanks Gran. 🙂

Like the other awards I get the opportunity to open my life and spill all kinds of exciting secrets, so here goes:

  1. I believe I can sing, even in the face of significant evidence to the contrary.
  2. There was a time when I wore my hair at waist length.
  3. I hope someday to be the person Jake the Wonder Dog thinks I am.
  4. As a teenager I use to chase tornadoes in a pink ’62 Thunderbird.
  5. Every once in a while I will listen to Whipping Post, off the Live at The Fillmore East album by the Allman Brothers or Spanish Moon, off the Waiting for Columbus album by Little Feat, at ear-splitting volume.
  6. I turned down an opportunity to be one of the first investors in the Smurfs, because I thought the whole concept was stupid…actually still do, but it would have been a stupid idea that made me a multi-millionaire.
  7. I inhaled (more than once).

Now for part I enjoy the most, I get to nominate other bloggers:

Tim at http://sellleadsucceed.com was one of the first bloggers to reblog one of my posts…so while I doubt his ability to perceive good writing , his blog contains excellent content for those of you occupying the business world.

While I admit to not knowing much about poetry, I know what I like and the woman who writes at http://tornadoday.wordpress.com produces some very thought-provoking pieces.

Terry writes straight from the heart at http://terry1954.wordpress.com.

This girl can write some absolutely hilarious funny stuff (but quite “blue” at times, so be prepared). Also don’t be drinking anything while reading her blog, it sets up the ideal situation for the liquid to come gushing out your nostrils, don’t ask, just trust me. Check out her posts at http://paltrymeanderings.com.

April does a fine job of writing about what it is like to be a Christian wife at http://peacefulwife.com. Guys you should read her blog, because it will give you deeper insight into your wife.

Jim at http://jimcantwell1.wordpress.com wrote a post about his wife’s graduation from nursing school that I read with tears rolling my cheeks. Not only is he a good writer, but also a good man.

First of all, the title of Noleen’s blog is what caught my attention, but her gritty, honest, and compelling writing is what made me a follower. This woman is the real thing, please look at http://wordsfallfrommyeyes.wordpress.com.

As I said the last time, if there is anything in my posts you have found beneficial, encouraging, and/or uplifting, then thank God. However, if I have ever given offense, please forgive me for the fault is entirely of my own making.

I have immensely enjoyed every minute writing this post, thank you again Gran at http://craftcrazygran.wordpress.com for thinking of me.

I wish all of you who follow my blog the absolute best.

Be encouraged!

One Lovely Blog Award & More Sunshine Than I Deserve

Jenny at http://jennysserendipity.wordpress.com has mistakenly nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award and before she realizes her error, I’m going to go ahead and rush this post out…I’m thinking once it is published she can’t take it back.

Then Anne at http://mylifeuncutalmost.wordpress.com hit the wrong button and included me in this Sunshine Award.

I believe the rules are you are supposed to reveal all your secrets to everyone so here goes:

  1. I secretly love opera music, but I’m so ignorant about it I have no idea what I’m listening to…I just like it.
  2. I buy the Wall Street Journal almost every day, but really only understand about half of what I read.
  3. I am truly bewildered by people who seem to be successful at everything they attempt in life.
  4. I don’t exactly know how to be a good husband…I just love my wife, smile a lot, say yes even more, and thank God she loves me.
  5. If I were one of those super-successful athletes who command multi-millions of dollars per year, I would play about five years, live like I was earning about $40,000 a year, then retire and spend the rest of my life hanging out with Susie, my wife.
  6. I have zero (actually less than zero) mechanical ability.
  7. When I press the publish button and launch my thoughts on the internet I am absolutely flabbergasted, amazed that people take the time to respond.
Now for the part when I get to recommend a number of bloggers I believe you all should read:
  1. Lisa at http://agrippinglife.wordpress.com. Her posts are great and when she comments on mine I am always forced to think.
  2. Check out http://happinessisnotadisease.wordpress.com. The young lady who writes this has some phenomenal insight.
  3. Stuart at  http://thechangeyourlifeblog.wordpress.com has just published a new book. The book is excellent.
  4. Jeremiah at http://knowthesphere.wordpress.com has also just published a new book. This kid can seriously write.
  5. Arianna at http://ariannasrandomthoughts.com has some quality content and I always enjoy her posts.
  6. If I could write like Heidi at http://hnsieverding.wordpress.com I wouldn’t have any problems in this world…this girl is gifted.
  7. I am not much of a poet, but Lily at http://onemoremorning.com is awesome. I love reading her stuff.
  8. This one is difficult for me to read at times, but Stella does an incredible job writing about a difficult subject http://secretlifeofamanhattancallgirl.wordpress.com
  9. Kati at http://toughmotivation.wordpress.com always has great content about motivation and the work place.
  10. While this young lady never reveals her name she does give you lots to think about, read her at http://lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com
  11. Karen at http://writingyourdestiny.com has helped me become a better writer…a great lady.
There are about 183 more blogs I would like to recommend, but it is getting late, I’m still at the office, I wanted to leave thirty-five minutes ago, and I am old.  I would like to take a moment before I sign off and thank everyone who has taken the time from their life to read what I write. I am very grateful. For those of you who have made the extra effort to comment…I am especially grateful. Your comments have caused me to think and re-think my positions on what I write…in short you have caused me to grow as a person…how can I ever thank you enough? If you have enjoyed what I’ve written, if it has caused you to move forward in your life, if you in any way found it rewarding…then give glory to God, I can assure you it wasn’t me. On the other hand, if I have offended, insulted, or otherwise caused distress…forgive me…it is all my fault.
This has been fun…be encouraged!

The Brain: As I Know It

http://www.willamette.edu/~gorr/classes/cs449/brain.html

I do a lot of thinking throughout the day.

Some of it is non-productive like; “When are the Cubs ever going to be real baseball team?” or “What if I won the lottery?” or “How happy I would be if Jake the Wonder Dog would stop licking his privates when people are visiting.”

Some of my thinking is very non-productive such as;  “I wish I was smarter”. or “Hey idiot, why don’t you learn how to drive!” or  “Wow are those ever big?”

Every once in a while I veer over to productive thinking usually along these lines: “I think the world needs to hear about virtues.” or “I believe we can create a company around that idea.” or I should get up and go tell Susie I love her.”

Over the years my brain has truly amazed me. Let me show why I believe that.

Once there was a man who was a successful drug dealer. He was making a seven-figure a year income. He had all the man toys that a seven-figure a year income can provide. He had nice homes, several luxury sports cars, bespoke suits, over 200 pairs of shoes, dined in all the right restaurants, attended (backstage) all the big rock n’ roll shows, dated models, and never wanted for a single physical thing in life.

Then there was another man who was quite different from the first. This man pushed his body to the limit. He was an ultra-distance runner. He started by running 5Ks, then quickly went through 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, and ultra marathons. Then he started running even longer distances. He ran 335 miles from Houston to Dallas, Texas. He ran 665 miles from Copper Harbor, Michigan to Pontiac Stadium outside of Detroit. Eventually, he ran 3,160 miles across the United States.

Now let me introduce you to a third man. This man climbed the corporate ladder quickly and became a member of the management team for a Global 100 manufacturing firm. While with this company he developed the metrics for identifying high-potential and high-performing associates. He then developed a program to ensure these associates continued to grow within the organization.

Finally, let me present to you a man who very few know. He is quiet and studious. He takes his role in life quite serious and seeks to share what little wisdom God has graced him with. Several years ago he was baptized into the ancient Christian Church known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. Officially it is the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church, but he doesn’t mention that often. It just makes people wonder if he is Bulgarian (he is not) and it takes a long time to explain why he belongs to a Bulgarian Church when he isn’t Bulgarian, so he skips over that part. He prays frequently for his family, those he knows, and the world around him. He sincerely believes in his heart that prayer changes things, especially when nothing else seems to. He is much quieter than the other men and is happiest when it is simply his wife, his pets, his grandson (whom he adores more than life itself) and himself.

All four of these men know each other. In fact, you might say they know each other intimately, although not in a sexual way. They recognize a little bit of themselves in each other. They have a special feel for what the other might be thinking. They sense the emotions and thoughts of each other.

All four of these men are me. 

Now back to the thinking I do. How is it that these four men can exist within one human being? If we rule out schizophrenia (which we can), how can this happen? I believe I know the answer.

The brain is capable of far more than we think. It is capable of rewiring itself. We know, from what scientists have seen with those who have had brain damage, the neurons will begin to seek alternate routes of connection. I am no scientists and I’m certainly not a brain specialists or psychologist of any kind, but I know what I have lived through. I know how I have taken the grey matter I have been bequeathed and changed how I think. I know it wasn’t easy. Plain and simple, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. In some ways it took years to make the transition. I am the living, breathing proof lives can and do change for the better.

The reason I am telling this story again, I have told it a different way before, is I hope to spread hope to anyone who is struggling, either with changing or one who isn’t changing. There is always hope. Hope never weakens. It is always there.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #5–Beauty

http://fashiongonerogue.com/morning-beauty-jessica-stam-richard-burbridge/

http://roblang.wordpress.com/tag/handsome-men/

http://favim.com/image/39491/

beautiful nature 2 26 reasons to see the world (26 HQ photos)

http://theberry.com/2010/09/14/26-reasons-to-see-the-world-26-hq-photos/

http://delbloggolo.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html

http://www.creativesuite.com/art/architecture-design/building-architecture/top-10-skylines-in-the-world/

http://apihyayan.blogspot.com/2012/03/inner-beauty-quotes.html

Beauty, have I covered it all? There is the female/male beauty. There is the children beauty and the older people beauty. There is beauty that lies outside of the interstates. There is beauty that lies inside the interstate. There is the inner beauty you can see and sense in others and even sometimes in your self.

Truth is there is all kinds of beauty and it is everywhere. You can find it in the lean-to shanties on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. It is in the inner city and downtown of Detroit. It is on the high fashion runways of New York, Paris and Milan. It is in the cabins and old farm houses of rural Appalachia. I have seen in the faces of school children throughout America. I read it in the words of everyone one of the blogs I follow. I sense it in the flow of water over rocks in the creek behind our home. It is in the creak of the stairs as my wife ascends to our bedroom. I have beheld it in the color of leaves and on the backs of the box turtles that creep across our open field. I have had my breath taken away by the glow of street lights in a small town in Illinois and felt the gasp of excitement as my plane touched down on my first trip to Japan.

There is beauty in each of our children and grandchildren. There is beauty in each of our pets. There is beauty inside and outside of our home. There is beauty on the back roads leading to our property. There is beauty in the people we live around. And most importantly there is beauty in you.

There is a special and grand beauty in my wife. Not just in her face or the way she moves her lithe body, but in everything she does. The way she reaches for the towel, when she has washed her face or draws the comb through her shoulder length blonde hair. The way her lips form to say, “I love you.” The look she gets when I acknowledge her importance to me. There is beauty in her thoughts and compassion for others. To me she is what true beauty is. It isn’t something you have, or see. It is something that goes deeper, it penetrates flesh and tissue. It originates in that place we call heart and soul. From there it flows out in wave after wave, it envelopes our being.

So is beauty a virtue? You damn right it is! And it is everywhere. After you read this, get up from the computer, walk around where you live, look at the window sill, look at the door facings, look at the chairs in the living room, look at your significant other, look at your photos of family and friends, now go look in the mirror…it is all beautiful.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #4–Assertiveness

http://emotionpotions.com/emotions/12-assertiveness.html

The University of Illinois’ Counseling Center has an excellent paper on being assertive, it is entitled “Being Assertive in a Diverse World.” Excellent title and insightful content, weighing the difference between being able to express your opinions (e.g., hold your own) and going too far into aggressive behavior. Their definition of assertiveness, I believe, strikes the right balance:

“Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself openly and honestly while also reflecting a genuine concern for others. It is about having the confidence to speak your values and beliefs, and to be courageous enough to speak up when needed.”

I like that. It is succinct and to the point. Ambiguity is left for those who like to split hairs; attorneys and those elected officials who suddenly find they wished they had voted a different way on a contentious bill.

My wife, Susie, and I are polar opposites. I tend to be too far into the aggressor mode and she hates to walk on grass because she is breaking their little stems as they stretch out to the sun. She comes from a home life where the father was a raging alcoholic and a single peep could be reason enough to go in and destroy all the furniture in your bedroom. In my house, you won the argument by screaming longer and louder than everyone else. I found these debating techniques to be especially beneficial in my early days as drug dealer and as a result honed them to a fine edge.

We have learned after nearly eighteen year of marriage there is wisdom in compromise. The trick is to strike the right balance. We have found this balance originates in the heart. What are your motives? Is compassion driving your words or just the desire to be proven right? What is it you are trying to accomplish?

There is an unbelievable need in our culture for compassionate assertive behavior. Assertiveness falls in between the proverbial rock and a hard place.  Be too passive and you feel inhibited and anxious, unable to convey how you truly feel. Going too far the other way can cause a lack of respect from those you are communicating with.  The compassionate assertive person will take into account the feelings and beliefs of those they are interacting with, carefully choosing the correct words so as not to offend. They will know what to say and how to say it.

True compassionate assertiveness takes time and practice. I’ve had to radically alter my methods of communication when expressing my beliefs on a subject, more so when those I am in discussion with may not share the same feelings and thoughts. I have also failed more times than is comfortable for me to admit. Susie, as well, has learned to give voice to her feelings and emotions. She has mastered the ability to discuss nearly any situation with others and remain firm, yet gentle, in expressing her ideas. This combination has gone a long way in bring peace and harmony into our marriage.

Learning we have the right to be assertive is difficult. Developing the concept that you have the right to be heard can be extremely troublesome for some. Of course, there are varying reasons for these issues. Some may feel they cannot be themselves because of a lack of self-esteem. Others may not feel safe to “rock the boat,” so to speak, in a corporate setting. Then there is always the societal misperception that men, who are assertive, are take charge leaders, while women who exhibit similar qualities are…ahem, bitches.

As I have studied and written about virtues I continue to be struck by the tension and balance which exists in each aspect. Too little and the virtue is literally of no effect, too much and you border on being perceived as a demigod. Striking that balance is not easy. It requires continual attention to the details, as well as the big picture.

These articles have generated several comments and I hope they continue to do so. All of you have had interesting and insightful thoughts about each virtue and I have enjoyed reading them. More importantly your comments have opened ideas in my mind that I’m sure I would have never discovered on my own. So please, continue to share your thoughts, ideas, theories, recipes, money…whatever. As always I wish you the best.

Be encouraged!

The Wall Street Journal & Me

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-astonished-businesswoman-reading-newspaper-image13499072

I knew there would be a day when it would finally happen. In my mind I had thought/seen/dreamt about it many times. Usually when I was in that half awake/half asleep semi conscious state in the morning before I roll out of bed to take our rescue Husky Callie out for her 2.6 mile morning walk/trot/run when she sees wildlife adventure.

In my mind’s eye I could see myself picking up the Wall Street Journal at the local gas station/snack shop, like I do every morning, and casually turning to the Review section where I would unfold the newspaper and gaze with misty eyes, and a burgeoning sense of pride, at the one inch headline with a sharp clear black/white photo. The photo would perfectly encapsulate the intellectual weight of the article, accompanied with the byline Stephen Edwards…always in bold.

Well it didn’t turn out exactly that way. In fact, it wasn’t even close. But they did have an article about the same subject I’ve written about, which is probably as close to getting a piece in the Wall Street Journal as I will ever get.

The article is entitled, “Why We Lie”, (Saturday/Sunday, May 26-27, 2012) and it is written, not by me, but by Dan Ariely. I have no idea where they found Mr. Ariely at (according to the WSJ he is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavior Economics at Duke University. Tell me there isn’t more than one way to skin the cat.). I figure he was Plan B.  My post Lying-Maybe…Maybe Not was published on April 14th. I’m not entirely sure, but I’m thinking that is about the time my cell phone battery went dead. I’m surmising they (WSJ) read my post, were blown away by my depth and insight into the human psychic, tried to call, couldn’t reach me, then in a moment of panic (which I am sure they now regret) got hold of this southern yahoo from Duke.

I do have to give Mr. Ariely his props though, although he was obviously Plan B, he did do a fairly decent job of throwing together some interesting facts and supporting data. For instance, his overall nutshell conclusion is, “Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats–just by a little.” Which is kind of the problem. Because when you have nearly everybody cheating a little, that adds up to a lot.

He did all kinds of fancy studies and found out that people will increase their cheating/lying when; others around them cheat/lie, thinking others benefit from your cheating/lying, and (this one put a smirk on my face)…knowingly wearing knock-off fashions. The last one seems to kind of open the door a crack to cheating/lying. The idea being, “What the hell, it is such a small thing.”

Now on the positive side Mr. Ariely did discover one thing that seems to cause folks to curb their larcenous tendencies one hundred percent of the time; when participants were told to think about the Ten Commandments or swear on the Bible with their right hand, they completely ceased from cheating/lying. Interestingly even when the participants identified themselves as self-declared atheists, when asked to swear on the Bible, their cheating/lying dropped to zero. Seems like being reminded of a moral code had a significant effect on their behavior.

The article is adapted from Mr Ariely’s forthcoming book, “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone–Especially Ourselves” to published by HarperCollins on June 5. He goes on to demonstrate the devastating effects of the everybody-cheats/lies-a-little syndrome has on our society. He closes with a paragraph I am reproducing here in full, because I believe it is an excellent summation of what I have been trying to talk about for some time:

“We want to install locks to stop the next Bernie Madoff, the next Enron, the next steroid-enhanced all-star, the next serial plagiarist, the next self-dealing political miscreant. But locking our doors against the dishonest monsters will not keep them out; they will always cheat their way in. It is the woman down the hallway–the sweet one who could not carry away your flat-screen TV if she wanted to–who needs to be reminded constantly that, even if the door is open, she cannot just walk in and “borrow” a cup of sugar without asking.”

Lying and cheating have become so commonplace, it is difficult not to encounter it everywhere; the doctor who pads with extra treatments, the bank that takes an extra day to process your check, the mispriced items at Wal-Mart (always in their favor), the inability to return an item without a receipt (even when they can look up the transaction on their computers), the “I’ll be there in a minute” reply”…it just goes on and on.

I still wonder what would happen if we had a Occupy Truth Movement. Susie and I are starting a new business and we are using the tagline “Do It Right” as our vision statement…maybe it should be “Do It Right, No Matter What.” We interested to see what will happen as we decide to not fudge anything. Everything will be transparent…from our salaries, to the amount of money the company generates, to what the money gets spent on, to how we conduct the day-in-day-out business operations. It will be an adventure…and of course, I promise to document it here.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #3 – Ambition

http://www.tiptopsigns.com/Kanji-Symbol-for-Ambition-Decal-Sticker-p-2621.html

AMBITION

Well here is one virtue I think at first glance we all go, “Hmm, are you sure about this?”

Everyone of us knows someone who has taken ambition, cut the chain, and ran with it. They have run so far with it that ambition no longer looks like ambition. It looks more like greed and walking all over people to get what you want (e.g., Michael Douglas in Wall Street).

Yet let’s back up and look at ambition in its true sense. Dictionary.com defines the word as:

Noun

  1. an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.
  2. the object, state, or result desired or sought after
  3. desire for work or activity; energy

I will admit the first definition about desiring to achieve power and/or fame makes me a slight bit uneasy, but only because of their abuse. The word earnest thrown in their before the word desire creates for me a better feeling. Mainly because when I think of earnest, I think sincere and honest.

I don’t believe we have to make a choice between being ambitious and having principles. I would like to think I have ambition. Actually, I believe I have above average ambition. I know as I made the effort to turn my life around I was very ambitious. I was not going to fail. My entire focus was in breaking the bonds that I had created in my old life and establishing new positive valuable ones.

When I ran the 3,160 miles across the United States I definitely had the desire. As I have created this blog, worked on my book, and sought speaking engagements to spread hope, motivation, and success I have had ambition.

In our marriage, Susie and I have exercised ambition to be happy and content. Growing up our children understood that ambition is a necessary quality to live life to its fullest. We have already discussed with our six-year-old grandson what ambition is and how it is correctly used.

Ambition has an old fashion feel; like somehow we are now beyond the concept. Yet pure ambition can be used to propel you beyond the roadblocks and obstacles of life. It can be used to harness your positive energies and open a world of possibilities.

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As I’ve written this I have struggled with exactly how to portray this virtue. On the one hand, I want to caution against the run away freight train that turns ambition into nothing more than clawing one’s way up the ladder of life.  While on the other, I want you to understand I believe ambition is an essential feature to be successful; whether we are talking about careers, marriages, friendships, or companies.

Like most elements of life I think there is a tension that exists between good and evil. Lack too little ambition and you end up sitting in the basement of your parent’s house playing video games every day for the rest of your life. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you will ruthlessly walk over people and principles to attain power/fame/wealth.

Ambition is good, too much and you have a problem. Be ambitious, but be cautious.

Be encouraged!

They Smile In Your Face

http://www.cfoinnovation.com/content/how-make-office-politics-work-you

They Smile In Your Face

In the corporate world there is a word used to describe a most unpleasant event. According to a survey of 250 advertising and marketing executives, conducted by The Creative Group, an advertising and marketing staffing company, over 50% had the dubious honor of experiencing this nefarious act. I suspect that among the rank and file the actual percentage would be even higher. During my own tenure in the corporate world I faced it often. The R & B group, The O’Jays had their first million dollar hit with a song about it:

What they do

They smile in your face

All the time they want to take your place

the backstabbers

We are talking backstabbing. The practice of criticizing someone without their knowledge while feigning friendship and fidelity to their face. Some take great pleasure in their ability to deceive. They feel empowered and talk about how they were able to “take out” the competition. Others are quieter, they operate on the fringe and in the shadows. They appear as friends, but it is just a ruse to cover their true intentions.

And it’s not only in the workplace, but also in our homes, our marriages (who would have thought?), our children, our families, our schools, our friends, our civic organizations, our politics (boggles the mind doesn’t it?), and our churches. The truth is backstabbing has become a part of our culture. It is a factor of our lives. We literally can not find an area that has not suffered from backstabbing.

What makes this so painful for the victim is the violation of trust and confidence. This betrayal of trust can be so acute that Jennifer Freyd first coined the phrase “betrayal trauma” back in 1994 to describe the effect on the victim. Since she first used this phrase an entire theory has been developed and put forth that defines the inner workings of the brain when an individual has been backstabbed and the attending psychological backflips the person initiates to shelter themselves from the mental pain.

Like most, I’ve been victimized more times than I care to think about. But, I am not the type of person who wants to throw up a number of defensive actions to protect myself from future backstabbing. I’m cautious, I don’t want to be stabbed again, but I’m not focused on making sure all my bases are covered either. Plus I don’t want hold people at length. This world already has enough of that. I want to be open. If I’m going to error, I want it to be on the side of grace.

Without picking at old wounds, tell me how you deal with it. Are you still trusting? What are you doing to insure you are not victimized again? Is it hard to trust? As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Be encouraged!

A Personal Story

http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Depressed-Man-Sitting-in-Dark-Room-Posters_i8654375_.htm

A Personal Story 

Let me tell you a personal story.

Several years ago a friend of mine was driving me someplace. I don’t remember where, and it doesn’t matter. We were laughing and talking about who knows what. Probably the kind of things men talk about when it is only men, which means sex. It was a perfect summer day. The sky was crystal blue without a cloud from horizon to horizon and the sun was warm, but not hot.

As he was driving he began to steer the car toward the curb and decrease his speed. Since I was always on the alert, due to the kind of life I was living, I immediately began to evaluate the situation. I know he sensed the rising tension within me, because his next words were, “Relax Steve, I only want to ask you one question.”  I still wasn’t entirely convinced, but this was my best friend. He knew all about what I did to earn my seven-figure a year income, because he was my right-hand man in the organization I had built. While I always kept at least a few things to myself as insurance, he knew enough, and was as deeply involved as I was, which was a kind of insurance in and of itself. Of course there was always the threat he might want to take the quick route to the top of the food chain, but I didn’t believe he had it in him to pull the trigger, at least not at close range in the front seat of his car. Nonetheless, it was always good to be cautious, so my right hand inched slowly to the inside of my jacket.

When the car had come to a stop, he reached over and shut off the engine. The stereo died and all I could hear was the rush of traffic along the freeway and my heart beat, pounding a mile a minute. He shifted his weight in the seat and turned to face me. The look on his face is still crystal clear in my mind over three decades later, as I heard him ask,

“Steve, don’t you think it would have been better for all of us, if you had never been born?”

I felt like all the oxygen had suddenly been sucked out of the car. There was a ringing in my ears, more than likely from the sudden surge of adrenaline. I was engulfed in the most complete silence I have ever experienced. I no longer heard the cars as they whizzed by. Nor did I hear the birds chirping in the nearby trees. It was just the ringing and the vast silence.

I don’t recall what I stammered out, but his question hit the mark. I carried that question with me. During quiet moments I would take it out and think about it. What was my worth? Why am I alive? What is this thing we flippantly refer to as life? What am I doing here? Why am I here?

It would be many more years before I would have my “life revelation” and find the answer to those questions.  Those were dark years. Not that I didn’t learn from them, I did. But I learned the hard way.

Now I am far removed from the events of those years. I have created an entirely different person from the one who lived in those times. One of my readers once wrote and said I was “plagued” by my past. I’ve given considerable thought to that sentiment. I believe the reader is/was wrong. I am not “plagued” by the choices I once made. I am well aware of them and the impact they had on me and others at the time.  But the operative word in the last sentence is “had.” No longer am I governed by those actions. I have a deep passion to help others find their True Path in life. I have discovered we only get a set number of years and wasting them by floundering around seeking our direction is counter productive to what we want to accomplish.

But plagued? No way! I have triumphed over that life! I have come out on the other side victorious! I did so with the patience and love of the one I am now married to. She saw the possibilities. She had/has the faith.

This post is difficult to end. I don’t have a nice and tidy wrap-up. I am not inclined to rally the troops and lead you in any type of charge. I just want you to know if your love is filled with drama, more or less it doesn’t matter, there is hope. You can change. I can show you how.

Or if you have that person in your life who no matter what you do, they never change. You have poured time, money, effort, prayers, and everything else you could think of into their lives and they never change. I can tell you not to give up hope. There is and always will be the possibility, even up to and including the moment they draw their last breath, that they can change.

I know…I use to be one of them.

I am always available to talk…stephenedwards922@gmail.com or 812-314-1358.

Be encouraged!

 

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