Archive for October, 2008

One of the things that’s hardest for me to deal with whenever I’m single is knowing how awesome I am at being a boyfriend, and not having the opportunity to be that. In the Abraham Maslow sense, it’s the frustration of not actualizing my potential in that area. It shows up in thoughts like, “I’m so good at being a boyfriend! Why won’t the world let me be one!”

Yesterday, after a great conversation with my friend, Joanne, I realized how myopic I was being. I can be the loving, empathetic, giving, attentive, caring, supportive person that I love to be in my romantic relationships. I can be that person in all of my relationships — platonic, business, family, etc. I am that person.

I was perceiving a single arena in which to express who I am totally and completely. By why limit myself?

I think it helped to see the “love in the streets” that I wrote about yesterday. It was an example of how each of us can relate to anyone in any way we choose. The people in the crowd the other night were relating to strangers as if they were best friends. It’s all a choice. And I choose to be all that I am in every relationship I have.

Good news for the people in my life, right? 🙂


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Last night, the Phillies won the World Series. I live in the downtown section of West Chester, Pennsylvania, right in the center of town. As soon as the Phillies won, the streets erupted in madness. Screaming and cheering, cars honking, people hanging out the windows.

Now I’m not a big baseball fan, but I’m a huge fan of celebration. So of course I joined in!

It was utterly amazing. I could not stop smiling and laughing. The streets were full of joy and love. Strangers hugged and high-fived each other in the freezing cold for over two hours.

I was in the moment with it, but when I returned home, I couldn’t help but be a little sad at how stark a contrast it was to the days and weeks prior. The upcoming election has divided this country into two factions that absolutely hate each other. That’s not accurate. This country has been divided that way for years.

One of the intersections in town where people gathered last night to celebrate is the same intersection where groups gather almost every Sunday to protest or support the war in Iraq. Each group screams across the street at the other, just like people were screaming last night. But it’s hate they scream, not the love and joy I experienced last night.

I know that the best hope I have to change the world is to start with myself. It’s clear that these 100 Days are much more important than I originally thought.

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I rock!

Tonight I finally spoke to a woman I’ve been wanting to speak to for weeks. It was easy, it was natural, it went great. I probably ended the conversation sooner than necessary, but better sooner than later. Left on a high note, like George on Seinfeld. 🙂

What I learned most was how inaccurate my stories are about why I shouldn’t approach women. It’s so obvious to me that we are all just people, yet those stories run wild in my mind.

The key yesterday was the approach. Once I made the decision to walk towards her, everything that followed just unfolded naturally. I remember a similar lesson I learned in sales. Once you pick up the phone and start dialing, the process is in motion and it all takes care of itself.

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My biggest obstacle in speaking to 5 strangers each day is my tendency to work so much that I don’t ever leave my apartment. On the days I leave, it’s usually not a problem. Speaking to a couple of people happens naturally, and it’s pretty easy to get that number to 4 or 5.

In the past week, I’ve had a mix of days where I did get out and didn’t get out. I’m starting to think that what’s been holding me back is not just limiting beliefs like “I’m not good enough” (which do have some effect), but the practical matter of my work keeping me physically isolated from people.

I intend to create some routines and structures in my life that get me out and around people more often.

That said, I don’t want to invent some kind of problem where there isn’t one, either. The truth is, I meet people pretty easily, I think, compared to lots of other people. In just two years of moving to a new city where I didn’t know anyone except for my sister and her husband, I’ve met about a dozen really amazing people who’ve become very good friends, and many more who could easily become good friends if I had more time for those relationships.

So my intention is to be clear. To (in the words of Anthony Robbins) “see the problem as it is, not worse than it is.”

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Yesterday I went to the bookstore 2 hours before my meeting so that I could do my exercise of talking to 5 strangers. On the way I saw a friend drive right past me, so I called him and we agreed to meet at the bookstore. Turns out he wanted to talk to me about some challenges in his romantic relationship, so that’s what we did.

I remember at one point thinking, “Oh crap, this is eating up all my time and I won’t be able to do my 5 strangers exercise.” And then I caught myself. There I was in a relationship. I was listening to a good friend, giving him my full attention, being present with him in a way that was valuable for both of us. Why was I worried about my little exercise?

So the lesson I learned is that I can get hung up on the 5 number to the point where it undermines the purpose of the exercise. As I reported previously, the shift in me has already happened. Speaking to strangers is now an exercise to reinforce the shift, not create it as I originally thought. The 5-a-day exercise will serve me if I relate to it as a fun game, not as an obligation.

This evening I went out to a little coffee shop and spoke to 4 people there, and then a fifth on my walk home. I did not put pressure on myself, and I can see how if I had been too focused on the number, I might have missed some opportunities that unfolded quite naturally.

I also noticed some strong feelings of “not good enough” that showed up today in various aspects of my life. I’m sure it’s related to these 100 Days of Peace in Relationships. I’m pushing against my comfort zone and resistance will show up.

And I want to speak to all the kind-hearted readers of this blog who may feel compelled to “cheer me up” from time to time: Your kindness is welcome and appreciated, AND know that there is nothing wrong. I do these 100 Days so that my unconscious fears and limiting beliefs show themselves. So when they do, it’s something to be celebrated. 🙂

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Yesterday was the beginning of stage 2 of these 100 Days of Peace in Relationship. My intention in stage 2 is to approach at least 5 strangers each day and have authentic interactions with them. Yesterday I approached 1.

Yesterday was a great day full of things that are top priorities for me. I spent time with my family and launched my new Peaceful Productivity Group coaching program. And as regular readers of this blog know, Sundays are usually kind of sketchy for me.

So I realized a couple of important things:

  1. Peace is the fundamental concept here. Making this 5-strangers-a-day intention into a stressful “have to” violates the spirit of my 100 Days of Peace.
  2. Sundays are to become sacred days of self-care. A day to rest and rejuvenate.
  3. My book and my new group coaching program are higher priorities than this 100 Days of Peace in Relationships challenge.

So I’m still very committed about my 5-a-day intention, and clearer on its place in the bigger picture.

Yesterday I encountered one stranger and approached him with a friendly and humorous observation. He responded positively but seemed shy and uncomfortable so I did not push the conversation very long. It felt totally natural to me, and I consider that a wonderful success.

Today I’ll have at least an hour at the bookstore to approach some more people. I’m excited to see who I meet!

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Today completes stage 1 of my 100 Days of Peace in Relationships. My intention for these first 10 days was to condition an attitude of gratitude and appreciation. I would evaluate my success as moderate. My mood has been relatively even and peaceful, yet I’ve slipped a little in the past few days with my actual practice of saying “thank you.”

I re-affirm this practice, and will take it into the next stage.

For the next 30 days I will approach 5 strangers each day and have an authentic interaction with them. I am a little apprehensive about the time commitment this will require given my book deadline and the launch of my new group coaching program. Keep the intentions of these 100 Days front and center is crucial.

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