Social Skills

Misplaced Your Mojo?

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Duck leadingThis article is a tad self-indulgent. I’m letting myself get away with it. I have a feeling many women (ok, maybe men too) will relate.

Leadership is a word I’ve shied away from ever since I can remember. Even as far back as primary school, when asked to collaborate with fellow students on a project, I hated it. I intuitively knew that someone had to take charge in order to get the job done, and I was willing to have a go, but my personality was definitely not suited to asserting myself, so I would tend to withdraw, sit back and let things unfold however they would.

When I worked in the corporate world, I soon learned to connect expressing ideas for innovation or improved efficiency with pain and discomfort, and just stopped bothering. I would quietly brood and feel frustrated at what seemed to me to be an illogical way of operating unfold at the whim of egos and who had the most dominant personality. I saw my suggestions in meetings (when asked for them, by the way), ridiculed, and then implemented later by male managers. Don’t even get me started!

As recently as my coaching training, this pattern was still showing up. I got bogged down on technicalities, I was a “yeah but”, a mismatcher, a “what if”. I often felt I was the exception, I was different, and that I didn’t fit in. As I feared, every time we had to get into groups, my heart sank! It all worked out though, and was exactly what I needed to face this thing and tug away at some of the threads which were holding this limiting belief together. One group I was in, in a public speaking training which was particularly challenging, gave me a beautiful feeling of empathy and contribution with my group. At another time in the same training, I actually hid in the toilet!

iStock 000070651769 SmallOk, we’ve all done it, I’ve done it, I’m not claiming to be morally superior in this department, and basically that’s what I want to write about today.

Facebook, TV, YouTube and conversations are the likely places to find a bit of moral outrage. If you’re really in the mood to be pissed off about something, you have plenty to choose from, whenever you like. Somebody is always objecting to something and we’re all invited to join in expressing how terrible and awful it is. Animal cruelty, environmental destruction, racism, domestic violence, economic genocide, corruption, bullying, unfair legal systems, sexual abuse, misogyny, poverty, you name it.

Maintream TV current affairs programmes are a classic. Recently we’ve had a whole series of reports telling us to be outraged about “hoons”, basically people doing burnouts on public roads for fun. We get the dodgy builder ones, dole bludgers are ripping off your tax dollars, all that kind of thing. Meanwhile, people all over the world are being bombed, starved, tortured, enslaved, raped and so on, the planet is being destroyed, and there’s barely a peep about it.

Whatever your views on these particular kinds of stories, what I can’t get past is where they fit into the overall scheme of things. We’re more interested in the latest celebrity scandal than we are about blatant injustice on a global level.

iStock 000007830134SmallBad stuff happens in the world – it’s going on right now.  At this moment, people are suffering, animals are suffering, and our planet is suffering. 

Mild swearing warning, but I will not be talking about any details of any distressing news.

If there was no bad news reported and no sad tales told, we could be living in ignorance of the consequences of our actions.  We could be missing out on opportunities to make a difference, to learn, to grow, to contribute.

Yes, our actions, not their actions.  I’m looking at this as us all, as a whole species, being responsible collectively for the conditions we’re living in and how we’re functioning.  But more on that in the next article.

So I guess I accept that bad news needs to be shared.

What interests me is how and why it’s shared and the intention behind each instance, and how we can use our discretion to influence the way our society deals with bad news and how we respond to it.

I saw a very cool documentary a while ago, interviewing hard core journalists about their experiences and thoughts about some of the horrendous things they had reported on.  The journalists interviewed were genuinely searching and bearing their souls looking for answers, often answers that could not ever be found, about where to draw the line, about what people needed to know and was beneficial to know, and what was going too far.  It really got me thinking.

I’m for freedom of speech.  I’m opposed to censorship (I think – I have some grey areas, I suppose like most people).  I believe in the truth being available to everyone.  I admire whistleblowers, outspoken writers and journalists, free thinkers.

I don’t admire exploitative journalism, un-necessary invasion of privacy, inaccurate or unchecked information and shallow sensationalism.

Group of friends sharing a casual meal outdoorsIt's that time of year again, when we tend to have an increased number of get togethers as we head towards the end of the year. 

As you catch up with family and friends over the coming weeks, it's a good opportunity to notice little details for future reference.  Things like food, drink, music and reading preferences, so you're able to keep these things in mind for future gift giving. 

It's also just a great opportunity to develop your listening skills and see how much better you can get to know people by paying attention to what they're saying.  Actively listening is a great way to make yourself feel more comfortable and confident in social situations, and to take the focus off yourself. 


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