April 22, 2011

Some advice for Canadian politicians

I am never impressed when a business representative spends time criticizing his competition, rather than selling his product or service on its own merit.  In fact, a guaranteed outcome is that I will not buy from that business.

If you want to be the best at something, is the path to get there about criticizing what someone else does or has done?  I think not.   It is about focusing on yourself, not on others.  What do you offer?  Why are you the best for this work?  What is important to you, what do you stand for that makes you the choice in this area?

Which brings me to politics.  Our politicians, for the most part, seem to think that criticism, or negative politics, will somehow inspire us.  

When I watched Obama's presidential campaign in the U.S. back in 2008, I was struck by the absence of negative politics.  It stood out for me as something completely different, and I got how powerful it was. I haven't been able to listen to any politician in the same way since.

A career in politics is not easy.  I would imagine that someone who chooses a political career is driven by a strong drive to make a difference, a drive based on values, whether they be integrity, respect, freedom, transparency.  

I want to see those values.  When a politician speaks, I don’t want to hear the rhetoric and I don’t want to hear the mudslinging.  

To my fellow Canadians who aspire to lead our beautiful country, the true North strong and free:  
I want to hear what you stand for.  
I want to hear why you are doing what you are doing.  
Stand on your own merit.  
Engage me in why I should vote for you.  
Not in why I shouldn’t vote for someone else. 

Photo by AndrewMark, courtesy of stock.xchng.

April 6, 2011

on bad days

We all have bad days.  Days when we feel low, ineffective, perhaps unappreciated.

There are a few things to remember on such days.

First, be nice to yourself.  There's nothing wrong with having a bad day. You can use it to remember later that your life is pretty good most of the time.

Being nice to yourself means surrounding yourself with the things in your life that tend to bring you up, rather than down.  Schedule meetings with people whose ideas you find stimulating, and save the challenging folks for another day. Have lunch with a supportive colleague or friend.  Listen to music that lifts your mood (a link to my favourite 'bad day' song - a video - here.)   Read something that inspires you, and save the newspapers and articles focusing on what's wrong with the world for another time when you feel a little more resilient.

Being nice to yourself includes giving yourself permission to wallow in suffering for awhile.  Just telling yourself that you have nothing to complain about doesn't actually make a difference.  How you are feeling is how you are feeling.  Remember the adage 'what you resist, persists'.  If you are really successful at wallowing, you might even be able to see the glint of humour in the drama you are creating about your life.  Humour goes a long way towards moving through the low feelings.

Something else useful to remember is that no matter how bad things seem, this isn't how your life is.  It is just how you are feeling now.  When you have moved through it, you will likely have forgotten how you felt, as well as what took you there in the first place.

Lastly, you can remember that you get to choose the point of view you have, the one that has a large bearing on your mood.  If you decide to focus on what's wrong, that is likely what will show up for you.  If you instead choose to focus on the things that are going well, you will see more and more of those things in your life.  And that perspective tends to feed on itself.