To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else. ~H.H. the Dalai Lama 

According to http://dictionary.reference.com analysis is the tracing of things to their source; the separation of an intellectual or material whole into its constituent parts for individual study, and the study of such constituent parts and their interrelationships in making up a whole.

The Medieval Latin and Greek roots mean to undo, to loosen.

Criticism is the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything; censure; faultfinding; disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings.

The origins can be found in the Greek meaning to judge, to decide.

 The two terms are similar in that they break something down to then review the parts. The big difference is the intention of this review. An analysis is more neutral or even positive. It is done so that a person can better understand a situation and work toward a solution. It emphasizes responding and taking responsibility.

Criticism is more negative. It can only be made somewhat more positive when the disclaimer “constructive” is placed before it. Even so, it paints a picture of unequal authority and expertise in which the person at the receiving end is at a disadvantage and is being lessened. Whereas an analysis separates a subject into its elements to puzzle together a solution, criticism pokes holes and tears apart the matter and leaves it at that. It is a statement of right and wrong.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. ~Anaïs Nin

When we criticize, from whose perspective are we doing so? Do we know the process that led up to the situation? Do we know the perspective that underlies it?

Upon hearing of a person’s actions, have you ever jumped to a condemning conclusion thereof, only to backpedal when new information is introduced that completes the picture and makes the action seem logical to you? This situation is illustrated in the tale in which the farmer, who find his chickens dead, shoots his faithful dog, who has blood smeared all over his muzzle, believing the dog to be the culprit. Following the trail of blood, however, he becomes full of remorse when he finds a fox, killed by his now dead dog.

Who do you tend to criticize and for what?

What is the goal of criticism? How does it make you feel to criticize? How does it make you feel to receive criticism?

If criticism imposes our ideas of right and wrong on a situation, passes judgment on a person, do we feel stronger by criticizing? Are we passing judgment on ourselves, too? When we are criticized we feel personally attacked, become defensive and want to justify our actions. Additionally, we feel estranged from the person, who criticizes. Criticism can hurt and isolate people.

Often by analyzing our own behavior honestly, we find that we have acted or would act in a similar manner as a person we have criticized. Whenever we perceive faults in others, the challenge is to become aware of our own shortcomings and work toward improvement. 

Please list a situation or action you recently criticized. 

  • Step into that person’s shoes. How could you justify this action?
  • What information could be added that would justify this action in your mind?

 

By analyzing we take action to understand a situation and create solutions and appropriate responses. Through analysis we loosen the grip of a situation by studying the parts and their interrelation; we break things down into manageable pieces and can thus more easily gain an overview.

Analysis empowers us to face a situation, and allows us to see what information we need to better understand it. This might include information about our own or others’ perspectives, which in turn might help to unearth an Underlying Automatic Commitment, pointing the way toward action and the steps that can be taken.

When we focus on analysis without judgment or blame, we can zero in on the issue. It gives us freedom and can be a way to build relationships with people by respecting them and better understanding their motives. In order to do this, we must be aware of our focus and intention. If we are passing judgment or attacking a person, we can be mindful of our own perspective. When we pass judgment, we also narrow our own range of motion.

If you notice that you are criticizing, what can you do?

What does this criticism bring you?

 

When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self. ~Confucius

Sarina Hrubesch
Take 2 Coaching

How do we know if we can trust something?

For new medications and therapies, scientists use the method of double blind studies. As far as I understand it, this means that neither the experimenters, nor the subjects are aware that they are part of the randomly assigned group(s) that are given a placebo. This method ensures that the factor being studied is the cause of any change, and not just a placebo effect.

But, wait. What then is a placebo effect?!? A placebo effect is an improvement in a condition that is being studied. This improvement takes place not with the administration of a drug. The change is caused by will, that is, by the belief that the pill, or whatever treatment form, taken, will bring about a change.

A placebo effect is, therefore, thoughts helping the body heal.

The placebo effect is not strived for. However, if the thought alone that a treatment will lead to healing or improvement, how can we harness these thoughts?

I am not suggesting that we can do away with medicine and I do recognize the fact that there are many healthcare professionals, who tap into the power of a patient to help heal herself, perhaps just not enough…yet.

Let’s all try to tap into our own healing powers. 

How can we increase the belief in our own healing powers?
How can we increase the amount of self-healing done, even if in combination with other methods?

Maybe we can all do a little experiment.
Spend one or two or three or seven days jotting down the situations and any thoughts we have that are negative as well as those that are positive in regard to our own ability to help and heal ourselves.

I will do this and report back. Hopefully this will lead to some insight into what brings out my positive energy, so that I can become more aware of what I need to adjust to increase those factors.

Let me know what your results are.

On Wednesday, in my Cross Cultural Coaching class we discussed the idea of culture. Yesterday we discussed Truth and Fraud.

Both Beate and I seemed to have done a lot of reflecting on the subject of culture and cultural differences. She, a german woman living in Singapore, and I have both experienced being submersed in a different geographic culture.

The more we progressed with the discussion, however, the more we noticed that there is so much diversity in each cultural group we tried to grasp: nations, states, gender, etc. It boiled down to each person is her own culture.

What opportunities does dealing with and being open to diversity present?
We have the opportunity of discovering new possibilities of living according to our own culture, true to ourselves – living our own truth.

In these many groups that are elements of our lives, our identities, and our cultures, to which we belong outside of our one-person-culture are many ingrained ideas, norms, guidelines by which we judge ourselves and others, and which influence our behavior. These groups may be our family, our friends, our Saturday afternoon sport group, our work colleagues, or more broadly our age group, our gender, our nation.

It is necessary to be aware of these influences to understand and to deal with them. When we understand where our ideas and values come from, we can then decide if they are constructive to us in living according to our own culture, our own truth.

Be true to yourself–become aware, seek to understand, only then is it possible to define and move toward our own truth.

Wow, that’s a big little word. It impacts us daily. It keeps us in a cage. It stops us from growing and progressing.

We can all think of an example of something we don’t want to do, because we are afraid of the outcome, are afraid of what people will think of us if we make a mistake. We fear not being able to deal with the lack of approval. We sometimes become so focused on that fear and the feeling of failure, and can see no other outcome. We paralyse ourselves.

I remember playing disc golf with a friend. This was my first time playing the game. It was a beautiful day on a beautiful course, partly out in the open, partly through the woods. I had to laugh at myself on a couple holes in the woods. The more I told myself, “Don’t hit the tree, don’t hit the tree”, the more likely I’d hit it dead center! I focused on the tree and not the goal. I doubted my ability to overcome this obstacle.
Gee, if I could summon such concentration and energy to guide the disc – or my actions in other arenas – to sail smoothly through the air and land with a “chink” in the basket with as much pinpoint accuracy, I would be thrilled.

I believe it is possible.

Throughout our lives we have learned right from wrong. This learning came from many sources, from family, friends, school, books, TV, sports groups, magazines, etc. Unfortunately, the notion of a right and a wrong way of doing things has been imposed on many facets of life and the manner in which we should approach various tasks. As we grew we became more aware of what we perceived as the general concensus of “right”, and we became more keen on doing things this way to fit in. We no longer only focused on our goal and our thoughts.
Learning to take our first steps, for instance, we were not very concerned about how we walked, or if others might laugh at our style. We saw something that appealed to us, and wanted to reach it. We saw an action, and attempted to emulate it. We fell down, and tried again. 

I am not so extreme as to suggest that we block out the world and other’s opinions; these opinions can be very valuable if constructive. I merely suggest we focus not on the obstacle or the fear, but rather on our abilities, the goal, and our motivation – and very importantly, the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies our success. This sweet feeling of success can only be achieved by persisting despite fears. We don’t need to ignore fear, but are challenged to face our fear.

We all have faced so many things in life already, achieved and learned so much. Do not forget your accomplishments, although they may seem little and unimportant to you now. Once we have learned and mastered something, it does seem easy, but it is no less of an accomplishment. Find the talents and abilities within yourself that equip you to face the situation, and/or find support. Stay focused on your goal and that blissful feeling of success. You may stumble, or even fall on the way to achieving your goal, but keep that visualization and feeling of success alive and you will be able to get back up and press on.

Growing and learning may have daunting, painful parts, but attaining your goal, reaching and tasting those grapes are sweet, so sweet that a skinned knee or bruised ego are soon forgotten. So be honest with yourself about your abilities, seek support when necessary, keep your goals in sight, and keep the feeling of success present to maintain motivation. Are you ready for all the grapes?! Enjoy, you deserve it.

Btw, I am proud of having finished the disc golf course at par. Next time, though, if I…!

How has this society become so addicted to instant fixes? 

Is it because we as a nation have been so successful at innovation, being able to solve problems by analyzing them, pooling our resources, brainstorming, and working under deadline pressure?  It seems to me that we are proud of this history; I know that I often react and think the same way in my life.  It stems from a sense of confidence, I tell myself.  Why worry today about things that may occur in the future, when it happens, we can deal with it. 

The analysis that is done can be based on personal experience, or can be based on the scientific method.  A hypothesis is formulated and then tested.  It is imperative that one identify the contributing factors and test the effect that each factor has on the situation.  (This is obviously a gross simplification of the scientific method, but I think you will agree with the gist.) 

The study I heard about this morning involved asthmatic children and the behaviors of their families that contribute to a lower risk of ending up in the ER.  The factor identified as playing a key role => dinner.  It all made wonderful sense to me. 
If a family engages in regular dinnertime activity, with assigned roles, such as setting the table, and the meal has a defined beginning and end, and if the family members authentically care about what transpired in each other’s day, then the asthmatic child was, so to speak, healthier. 

I like that word, authentic.
What kind of families engage in regular dinners?  What kind of families show that they authentically care about one another?  Are they the same as those, who do not?  What factors contribute to exhibiting this behavior?  Are these families just more functional to begin with? 
Will other families be able to produce the same result without being as functional, just by implementing a dinnertime tradition?
What does that mean to be a functional family? 

Ok.  I’ll stop, but do you understand my point?  Does it help us to believe that we can identify a single factor or behavior that “causes” a desired state, and by scheduling in that factor in our calendar, we can achieve the desired results? 
Another example are the healthful benefits of Resveratrol from red wine.  This substance has been found to extend life, prevent cancer, enhance athletic performance, act as an antiviral substance, etc.  Wow!  This is perhaps the reason that the French, who drink red wine regularly, have a lower incidence of heart disease. 

It was determined, however, that to produce the analog results in humans (yes, the studies were done on mice), it would be necessary to drink 50 bottle of wine to get the equivalent amount of Resveratrol.  Not to worry, a pill was introduced.  But alas, the findings were not positive.  What went wrong? 

Could it be that we are focusing on the wrong framework?  Do the contributing factors, which are identifiable, really have the same effect alone, as they do in combination?  Aren’t we continually also finding that, either, we just have not been able to measure or identify ALL contributing factors, or we see how elements only in combination have the desired effect?  By dividing out the single factors, we have not conquered the problem, but have squelched the synergy. 

Perhaps Resveratrol does have these wonderful effects, but very likely the lifestyle and attitude of living in and celebrating the moment goes even further.  Who is able to sit down with friends/family, eat dinner, converse, sip a glass of wine, and just be in the moment?  Doesn’t this require, at least for that timeframe, the ability to put other things aside? Often this is a forum, in which to mull over problems, seek advise, or just the act of verbalizing thoughts helps one to better see the solution.  Doesn’t it help, just knowing someone authentically cares enough to listen?  Doesn’t hearing about other’s issues and trying to help them, put your own matters into perspective? Isn’t it a wonderful feeling caring about and loving others?
Is only the Resveratrol at work? 

Does feeling light and heat on our skin have the same effect as being outside, feeling the warm sun, the breeze on your skin, hearing the activity (or lack thereof), seeing the smiles on other faces?  Does taking a pill have the same effect as savoring a glass of red wine with most of our senses – visual, olfactory, and taste?  Does it satisfy in the same way?  Or does it leave a gap? 

We strive toward more health and happiness. Are we not willing to receive it? Why then are we afraid to face the challenge of living a life filled with Authenticity and Enjoyment?

It may be necessary to first become aware of how you really are living. Understand what kind of behavior patterns you fall into. You must make the commitment to want to live a better life and take action. Is it worth it to you? This change will require only that you be honest with yourself, be authentic, and enjoy.

Changing patterns of behavior is not easy, but it is possible. To make a long-lasting change, one must make a long-lasting commitment. You deserve it.  Find support. Get started now with small things.

Let’s try to focus on the small things that make life wonderful. Be grateful that we have these things and can enjoy them. Focus on the positive things we have. Know we have the ability to master our life. Authentically appreciate the love and support we have from our friends and family. And be much healthier and satisfied in the process. 

This is Sarina coming at you with BlinknFlow.

Why this blog?  What does BlinknFlow mean?

This blog is taking its first baby steps, well, actually just getting its first peek of the wide world out there, and working towards taking those first steps.  BlinknFlow is the birth of a coach.  You will be able to follow the stages of learning, the processing of information, and development of ideas and concepts as I move toward this goal.  So, please join me on this transformational, inspirational, and informational journey.  I welcome travel companions with their ideas and feedback – these are the necessary forces that interact to keep the project in motion, akin to the physical forces that accelerate and keep a planet or comet in orbit and on its path.  This path may seem circular, but it does not necessarily remain the same.  Perhaps it is more of a spiral, building on a foundation, continually exploring new territory, expanding, incorporating new information into the established.

BlinknFlow refers to two concepts that are central to me and my philosophy: intuition and harmony.  But let’s take a step back, and begin with coaching, since that is what it’s all about.  Coaching to me is about helping a person better herself and/or her life situation, to help her move forward towards a self-defined goal.  A coach helps the person help himself, helps him get more in touch with his own strengths and values in order to create and act on an action plan or make the best decision in that situation.  When this is achieved, it creates the desired harmony in life, or at least in that situation.  When, consequently, it is possible to reach this harmony with less and less conscious effort or focus on the details, it can lead to a feeling of Flow.   Flow is a feeling of being in sync, when everything seems effortless, automatic, smooth.

A part of achieving Flow is trusting one’s instincts or – I would argue – intuition.  Our intuition is that well of knowledge we have within.   In my mind’s eye I can see this well, its cylindrical form drawn by that spiral of learning I mentioned above.  As the spiral rises, the well deepens.  The knowledge base grows and the connections between the pieces of information strengthen and become a network of interconnected ideas, or concepts, working values, and a philosophy.  This is our intuition, through which we can filter pieces of information, to very rapidly – in the blink of an eye – make decisions.  In our language, we often refer to making decisions based on a gut feeling, without even having to think.  Our senses take in the information, filter it through our intuition, and seemingly instantly we have made a decision.  When examined more closely, taking time to sort out the information that was taken in through our senses, we see in retrospect the pieces of the puzzle that correspond to our knowledge base.  But this knowledge is so compact and interconnected, we don’t have to go through each piece one at a time, the conclusion is seemingly automated.  This is the end result of much of our learning.  To represent the use of and trust in our own intuition, I have made use of the term “Blink”, the title of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.

This is my view of and my wish for coaching.  For me, I am starting out learning the baby steps of what goes into being an excellent coach.  For my future clients, please take the chance of working with me to get through a problem, an issue, a stage in life, or a difficult situation at work.  My goal is to reach the BlinknFlow stage by learning and increasing my knowledge base, becoming an excellent coach, so as to help others do the same.  The end result for both of us: to more and more often be able to use and trust our intuition, and more often achieve the desired harmony in life.

Thank you for reading, please give me your feedback and ideas.  I wish you all many BlinknFlow moments.