WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

August 20, 2012

When Our Parts are Speaking WordFood

All of us are made up of personalities, or “parts,” and they show up in different circumstances. Psychology today recognizes that this isn’t multiple personality syndrome at all, but the way we all react differently in different situations, and how we may be swept away by an emotion or state of mind.

For example, let’s say you’re a grandparent and the kids are bringing over your two year old cherubs for an afternoon visit. Unfortunately, you and your husband have gotten into a rip roaring argument about the car accident you got into the the day before. There you are in the living room screaming at each other, faces contorted and red, gesticulating, looking like the devil incarnate, when the darling kids hurtle in the door. “Grammy! Grammy!” Instantly you transform into angelic Grammy and sweep them into your arms, your face is transformed, all anger forgotten. Are you schizo? Not in the slightest. These are our parts. One part of you was arguing, the other part of you is Grammy, and they are both perfectly legitimate. They both have unique egos and personalities.

Every day we are subject to the demands of life, and we speak nutritious or toxic WordFood to each other based on which part of us is in play. At times we might think later about ourselves and think, ” What I jerk I was!” But in truth, it was just a part. It’s not the whole of us.

We can get drunk on our egos, get angry at times, and not care who gets hurt. At times like this our egotistical parts can be like an out of control bowling ball and take out everyone in the room, and the next day someone taps us on the shoulder asking for an apology. At that point we’re sober again. “Who me? But I’m not like that! I’m a nice guy!” The truth is, we are like that- a part of us anyway.

We each have within us a multitude of these parts and they write checks in our name all day long. Emotions like fear, anger, frustration, love sweep us off our feet and we end up saying all kinds of things that otherwise might be withheld. It’s the legacy of being human. What’s important is to remember that we’re all like this.

Last night I was having a conversation with a dear friend and I had a part out that wasn’t very attractive. She has been through a lot of losses and it would have served me better to do more listening than talking. But true to her nature she spent a lot of time coaching and listening. It’s instructive when we can look at our parts and see them in action, and learn from them how we interact.

A few years ago during NFL season there was an ad showing cowboys herding thousands of cats. That’s what it’s like, trying to manage our parts. They are unruly, prone to rise based on our emotional state, and we will speak all kinds of WordFood when we are in their grip. If we develop a greater awareness that we have parts that can at times speak out of turn, then we can not only be more accepting of this in others, most important we can accept in ourselves.

August 16, 2012

Listening To Ourselves Talk

The other day I went to lunch with my financial advisor, whom I hadn’t seen in several years. She asked me a perfectly reasonable question: “How’s it going?” And I told her. And went on a rant.  Two big accounts hadn’t worked out, I had worked hard on them, yadda yadda. After a while I began to listen to myself, how negative I sounded. “That’s pretty toxic,” a part of me thought,” and that’s not how I want to be in the world.” Clearly a piece of me needed to vent, which is understandable. But our words are indicative of our inner world and it’s instructive to take a look at the pictures they paint about our beliefs about ourselves and our place in life. What I was painting wasn’t pretty.

I slowed down and took a breath. My lunch partner was kind enough to replay some of what she heard. We agreed I might need to take a stress break. But more than that, the gift she gave me was the mirror. It wasn’t fun to hear myself complain. By the end of lunch we were laughing and I was over myself.

When I looked back honestly at what had cancelled, one contract was a bullet I’m glad I dodged. And the other was work that I no longer really want to do. So really, what’s been lost? Sometimes the Universe forces a major housecleaning so that new opportunities can appear. We’re so busy concentrating on what we’re losing that we’re not open to what’s possible. We focus on our losses, and can be blind to what’s coming.

My coach Lari talks about being “in question.” Holding an open space around what’s next. Being willing to not know. The way he describes it is that we need to “push away from the side of the pool.” Since I have a fear of drowning this analogy has real meaning for me. It means I dog paddle for a while in the deep end.

Lunch was a gift, a reminder of how we sometimes get swept away by life and by our negativity. I took time to consider how lucky I am and how much there is to be thankful for in all aspects of my world. Afterwards I mentally pushed away from the side of the pool and figured what would come, would come.

The next conversation I had with a new potential client was amazing. We immediately clicked. It could lead to a remarkable relationship. All signs point to a lot of potential, but more importantly, work I love for a company I respect. Had I gotten the other two accounts, this couldn’t happen.

Do you listen to how you sound? Are you lucky enough, as I was, to have someone play back your WordFood so that you can hear when you’re being toxic? These are our true friends. We all have parts that want to vent but there’s a time to put that part to pasture and make room for what’s possible. Pay attention to your words, and what they are saying about your state of mind.

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