Posts Tagged With: Jerry Seinfeld

Day 2214: Fall in love every day

Yesterday, I fell in love with the HBO documentary If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.  This lovely movie about vital and thriving people in their 90s lovingly showcases Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Norman Lear, Betty White, Iris Apfel, Tony Bennett, the late Stan Lee, and many lovable non-celebrities. I love this tag line for the film: “What’s the secret to living into your 90s — and loving every minute of it?”

Jerry Seinfeld, who is not in his 90s and who I hope gets there (because I love him), is also in the movie. He describes his ideas about how to live well into your 90s, which include “Fall in love every day.  I don’t mean romantic love. Fall in love with your parking space.”

Maybe I WILL make it into my 90s, because I fall in love every day, with my parking space and many other things.   Do you see the love in my photos from yesterday?

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I love so many things about those photos, including the penguin-that-looks-like-a-monkey Starbucks cake pop. I also love that my new and lovely co-worker Alice and I went to Starbucks yesterday not wanting to buy anything but just to smell the coffee (which some lovely researchers say can revitalize you), and the lovable Starbucks barista (not pictured) opened a giant container of roasting beans (also not pictured) and let us smell their lovely aroma.

One of the lovable social work interns at work has fallen in love with the music of jazz drummer Brian Blade and he suggested I listen to him, which I did.   I fell in love and maybe you will, too.

What might you fall in love with today?

I’ve fallen in love every day about thanking those who help me write these daily posts and also my lovely readers (including YOU).

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 194: Personal Power

Dear Reader,

I would like to share some Random Thoughts on personal power, on a Saturday morning (after an exhausting week at work and during a morning where I have just re-read two of my blog posts from earlier this year — Post One and Post Two).

(Why did I re-read those particular blog posts? Because I noticed that somebody in Finland had just read the first one and there was a link — or ping-back — in the first one to the second one.) (Talk about random ….)

Without further ado … (Jerry Seinfeld — or perhaps Garry Shandling — once said, “What is ‘ado’, anyway, and why should there be no further of it?”):

Random Thoughts About Personal Power

(“Random,” in this context, means, “I have no friggin’ clue how I am going to organize or choose among all the thoughts I am having about this, right now.”)

1. There are times, in our lives, when our personal power is greatly restricted or non-existent, to our detriment and pain.

Obviously, this is true if we are subjugated to unjust laws that restrict freedom and cause suffering.

This is also true if our role or position intrinsically has less power. (Being a child is just one example.)

2. Sometimes, it is difficult to figure out how much personal power we have in a situation. When we perceive that we are powerless, it is difficult to act. We might focus our energy and thoughts on survival, rather than on the possibility of change.

3. Often, we need the help of others to leverage and support our personal power.

And on a more personal note …

4. The Tiger (which has shown up in my blog posts here and — what amazed me this morning — in both the blog posts I referred to, above) might stand for anger…. or it might stand for Personal Power.

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Before I end this post for the day (so I can go out into the world and, perhaps, exercise some personal power, in some small way), I would like to tell you about a Worksheet I use in my groups.

I hand out worksheets, about topics that often come up in groups. These worksheets have a few questions on them. The participants write their thoughts down and then the group members share these thoughts and discuss them.

One of these worksheets is on the topic of Personal Power. The questions are something like this (I can’t access the exact language, because I am not at work today):

Worksheet on Personal Power

1. What does “personal power” mean to you?

2. What are some examples of times when you were able to exercise personal power? What are some times when you were not?

3. What gets in the way of you having personal power?

4. What helps you recognize and use your personal power?

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(I am now letting go of judgment about how well I was able to remember those questions as well as judgment about the questions themselves.)

Okay, I now need to end this post, to obey the rules of time and space (and get to an appointment on time).

Thanks to all,
Ann

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 52: Preparation and Spontaneity

While I’ve thought of several different topics (and titles) for today’s blog post, here’s my ultimately goal for this post:

I am giving a 30-minute presentation, later today, at the hospital where I work, to somewhere between 8 and 15 doctors and residents. The presentation is about the work I’m doing at the hospital, which includes group therapy. So what I want to get out of today’s blog post is the following: (1) reducing my anxiety about doing this talk  and (2) helping myself prepare what I’m going to say.

Here’s the deal about #1 above: I’m actually not anxious AT ALL right now ,which surprises the heck out of me, for many reasons.

Here’s the deal about #2 above: I’ve been thinking a lot about preparation lately, and how challenging it can be to balance preparation and spontaneity, which seems so important when you are preparing for  …… um …… anything (including a presentation, a party, a meeting, a therapy group,  writing something, or anything else one might feel the need to prepare for).

I want to write a little bit, right now, about public speaking, because — let’s be blunt — that’s what I’ll be doing today.  And Fear of Public Speaking is one of the most common phobias — it’s often what people fear more than anything.   Jerry Seinfeld has a funny  line about that. I just googled that line and here it is:

“According to most studies,  people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number 2 is death. Does that sound right?  This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Man, I love Jerry Seinfeld. I’ve loved him since I first saw him — decades ago, when he first started performing  stand-up on late-night talk shows.  I could spend this entire blog post analyzing that above line and why it’s so effective — especially in terms of beautiful communication with the audience.  But I won’t. (Maybe that could be the topic of a future blog post?  That would be fun!  And I do have all year, don’t I?)

So why is public speaking sooooooo scary?

Well, here is my “expertise” about this (based on my own experience):

When I’m anxious about public speaking, I’m afraid I’m going to screw up.

That’s about it, folks.

Well, let’s take a little bit of a closer look of what “screwing up” means to me.  And I can really freak myself out about this — with lots of frightening details, dire results,  and scary images, too.

If I were to get anxious about the presentation today (and I’m assuming that’s going to happen AT SOME POINT today), here are some of the thoughts I might have:

I haven’t prepared enough about this.  What’s the matter with me?

I won’t have enough to say.

I’ll freeze.

They’ll all be staring at me, thinking things like …. She’s an idiot! She has no idea what she’s doing! Who hired her?  I would NEVER refer any patient to her, for group or individual work!  

The residents — my audience — will  be bored.

I will pick up negative signals from them (that they’re bored, impatient, confused, judgmental) and even if I was doing okay before that, I’ll immediately stop doing okay.

I’ve prepared too much for this.  

I have too much to say, and I’ll run out of time.

Because I didn’t prepare enough (or prepared too much), what I have to say is confusing.  

I’m sure I could keep going, with this Festival of Anxiety, but I think you get the picture.  (And I assume that some of you can relate to these kinds of thoughts.)

Okay, time out!  As your Blogging Host, in This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, I would just to point out  there are several cognitive distortions in my Scared Thoughts, above.  These include — at least! — Fortune Telling, Mind Reading, Labeling, and Catastrophizing. If you want to check out the 13 Cognitive Distortions (and maybe figure out how many distortions made an appearance above) see here.

So I guess I’ve already helped myself, this morning, by identifying cognitive distortions that are often involved in Fears about Public Speaking.  I’m hoping that naming those — here, with you —  will help “inoculate” me for later today, when those fears, inevitably, want to creep in. (That is,  as the 1:15 Time of My Talk approaches).

Eeeek!  (I definitely got a little Anxiety Bump, right then, when I wrote the starting time.)

Okay, reality check here, as I’m writing this post.

I had some things I really, really wanted to write in this post, because I thought that would help me prepare for the talk.

And, as usual, I’ve gone different places in this post (places I value, though). But how important is it —  that I write what I first intended to?

And how important is it that I prepare for the talk, by writing this post?  Wouldn’t it be okay (and make it more fun!) if I didn’t worry about preparation, had faith in my ability and knowledge about the topic,  and trust that I could say useful and engaging things in the moment?

I guess I was just defining spontaneity right there.

So, how should I balance preparation and spontaneity?

And I AM back to my topic.

Well, here is something that I KNOW helps me, when I’m preparing for anything.  It helps me o have some structure in place, that allows me enough room for play.

Structure = preparation.

Play = spontaneity.

And I’m realizing something: The reason I wasn’t anxious as I started writing this post was that I had reached some balance — in my mind –about structure and play for this talk.  I had identified some specifics about creating structure — and how I could play within that. And that had helped, enormously. Hence, no anxiety.

So I’m going to try to put into words, right now, what is giving this talk structure for me.

Structure.

Well, I know how long the talk is (30 minutes).  And I know how many people are going to be there. And I know where I’m giving the talk. So all that helps.

Okay, what I’m going to write here — I’m realizing right now —  is probably THE KEY to why I’m not nervous . The doctor who asked me to give this talk — to the medical residents she helps train — gave me the following information, when I asked her some questions ahead of time about giving this talk.

These residents  have heard all sorts of different kinds of talks — formal, informal, whatever.

They have no particular expectations.

Because they can get nervous about what do when they are seeing patients who are reporting depression, stress, anxiety, or other kinds of emotional pain, THEY WILL LOVE TO HEAR WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM.

Now, the doctor who spoke to me didn’t yell those last words (and I am totally paraphrasing what she communicated to me, in my own language).  But I’m pretty sure those were the messages she gave me about How To Prepare.

So that creates a really stress-free structure, doesn’t it?  And it pretty much rules out mind reading and fortune telling, doesn’t it?  Because NO MATTER WHAT I SAY, THEY ARE GOING TO LIKE IT.

And that’s probably not entirely true, but it sure sounds good as a pre-presentation pep talk for myself — and  a great way to challenge any mind reading and fortune telling that comes up for me.

Again, hence, that lowers my anxiety.

Now I did want to say more, in this post,  about ways I am creating structure for this presentation, because I think that will be helpful, too.  It also fits in with how I tend to create structure (and safety) for the groups I do.

Ways I Will Be Creating Structure, in my Presentation Today

I will start out my presentation by somehow asking the residents — my audience — what they would like to get out of the talk.   I may — if I have THE GUTS! — use my new magic wand, and ask somebody to make a wish about what they’d like to hear from me during the 30 minutes.

Then, the wishes from the residents — about what  they want to hear  — will dictate what I talk about.  I will be prepared for likely things they might ask for, by having hand-outs on information. This will include information  about how they can refer patients for individual and group therapy and what kinds of therapy are available for their patients.

And, if they ask for things I haven’t prepared for, I will probably make a joke about that, and hand out what I have, anyway.

I will have — on hand — elements of the groups I do, so I can demonstrate these  (if time allows).  These components of the groups I do include Mindfulness Exercises (a way to be more in the moment, by focusing on one thing), Check-ins (where people introduce themselves and have room to say what they want to say), Exercises about Developing Coping Strategies, and Wrap-up (where we get closure on the group meeting, and people can say what they got out of it.

Duh!

Okay, a light bulb just went off. (Hence, the “Duh!”)   And this is a very well-used light bulb, which seems to switch on, a lot. (I’m surprised this light bulb hasn’t burned out by now, but I guess that is the advantage to this kind of light bulb — a mental idea.)

This talk I’m giving today?  It’s a group.

Man, so many things I do are — in one way or another — a group. How would I define a group? A Group has two things: People and Communication.

(By the way, blogging?  That’s creating a kind of group, actually.)

And I know a lot about groups and how to do them and how to make them effective enough.

And the components of the group therapy groups I’ve been developing and running at work — those groups I want to tell the residents about today?  I  can use those same group components to give my talk today. 

And in ways, I was already preparing to that: by starting with a “check-in” (where the residents will say what they want)

Okay, I’ve gotten what I need out of this blog post.  Gotta go to work and do some groups!

And I hope you’ve gotten something out of this, too – this thrown-together amalgam of Preparation and Spontaneity, which is this blog post.

At least you got a great Jerry Seinfeld quote, dear reader.

Thanks for reading — and doing this group with me!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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