The Life Examined

by Mary B. Golly

What keeps us from living a life we love? Humans love to burrow themselves into what is known as “the comfort zone.” It’s about living the cushy life of routine which — heaven forbid — is disrupted. We fear change. Some of us stay in jobs that stifle us, no longer work or even worse — endure abusive environments. Living in this safety-net robs us!

Socrates coined the phrase: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We owe it to ourselves to be self-investigative; cleaning-up what no longer works, while enhancing what we do well.

I have attended various trainings facilitated by Barbara Fagan, and they always served as a conduit to clarify my path and help me choose the high road at all costs. They helped me to do and be the best that I can be. Lou Dozier’s relationships workshops tackle the paradigm that we cannot love or be loved without loving and accepting ourselves 100%. These rigorous women stand for nothing less than greatness. For example, I learned about:

1.    Playing to win versus playing not to lose: taking well-calculated risks without fear of failure; viewing failure as useful information and a learning tool

2.    Being proactive versus reactive: being aware of “reacting” only to realize that reaction causes more of the same things we don’t want

3.    Affirming what/who we are: seeking the gifts in ourselves and others; learning to make a difference with our gifts

As a Life Coach, my practice today focuses on the aging woman and the beauty that comes with wisdom and experience. My training has taught me to be a more effective communicator, and a listener — intent on the success of those around me.

My training has also enhanced my career as a flight attendant. For more than 25 years, I have loved my job even though the airline business is a volatile industry, especially these days. 911 generated an obstacle-filled mode of transportation. People entering an airport these days often reach the plane feeling frazzled. Frazzled people are in reaction mode. I choose (and lead by example to my peers) that this as an opportunity to listen, empathize and communicate either verbally (or not), that their troubles are over! So I want them to sit back and relax, as they are on their way to their intended destination and I’m here to happily serve them. In the past, I would shut down sometimes, feeling disdainful about the situation. I knew I always loved flying, but didn’t always understand that the ways of being could make or break the experience for myself and others. It is all about the empowerment of “choice.”

Opportunity exists in all that we be and do. As a trainer for the Inflight Department, I often encounter disgruntled co-workers. Seeking higher ground, I have learned that a sure-footed attitude of empathy as well as a firm set of boundaries, based on values, can create huge shifts in others.

I am thankful for learning in this venue and from these two women in particular. The work is ongoing. I have learned about embracing the journey, and being open to change. Individuals, groups and corporations alike would make the world a better place to live through leadership training and self-inquiry.  Focusing on accountability versus an entitlement mentality generates responsible action. It precipitates collective wellness that is necessary for quantum growth.

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