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

October 21, 2013

What We Say It Is, Is the Way It Is

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 3:50 pm

Towards the end of a long and utterly magnificent series of adventures in Argentina last May, I had the chance to share a dorm room with a charming American woman about a third my age at the Hotel Estoril in Buenos Aires, where I had first landed upon arrival. She was energetic, happy, bright, and hugely enthusiastic about being on the road, the kind of person you really want to bring along for an adventure. We struck up a conversation that lasted several hours.

This woman had already been traveling for months, exploring through Uruguay and Chile, Colombia and parts of Argentina. She was full of stories and laughter. Buenos Aires was a stop along the way towards more months on the road, and many more adventures to come. My kind of girl indeed.

At one point she regaled me with a story about a young man she’d met who verbally attacked her for her enthusiasm. He was also an American, but he was bored with his travel, and according to his view, “she’d get tired of it eventually.” He most certainly was. He was put out, annoyed and inconvenienced. After a few months in a foreign country, he wanted his McDonald’s, “people who spoke English,” and Starbucks.  This young man sat in his hostel and read books while she headed out every day to explore the countryside, rappel, river raft, hike and eat local food. What he called boring, she couldn’t take in enough.

We had a good chuckle, and considered how many people would have given anything to be able to go on the same trip this kid was dismissing as a bore. To have the funds to see the world and be exposed to another culture. Then we considered how one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and how in this case, an opportunity was being lost. The way this person was couching his experiences determined his experiences. His self-talk, “I’m bored, I’m annoyed, this doesn’t interest me” all led to his way of  viewing what could otherwise have been a terrific adventure.

The words we feed ourselves are very powerful. The experience, an event, whatever it is, is just what it is. What changes it is how we choose to frame it internally. My friend saw every travel day as a succession of amazing moments to be savored.  Some more so than others (eating a bug might count as a slight negative).  But her acquaintance had already decided to resist anything that his opportunity abroad could offer him. With his toxic WordFood, he’d already decided that nothing could please him. Time for him to go home, which she suggested. I hope he did before he ruined someone else’s sense of wonder.

Someone said recently how they hated the phrase “It is what it is.” Well, it’s true- it’s what we make of it, how we speak of a thing to ourselves that creates the impact. We tend to call unsinkable people Pollyanna- yet it is their extraordinary ability to seek the silver lining, the lesson in a disaster,  what a bout of cancer taught them about life- that’s what uplifts the rest of us.

I have a ninety year old friend precisely like my buddy in Buenos Aires: eager to live, learn and experience. Her joy for life is just as infectious because she takes nothing seriously, or personally. She’s had plenty of terrible things happen. But it’s how she chooses to see these experiences that keeps her young, mentally, physically and emotionally. It’s the choice that makes all the difference.

What WordFood will you use to describe your life today?

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