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Worms Eating At The Core
by Barbara Garro

Up for a “whack on the side of the head?” (At the end of this article, you will be invited to join me in a challenge I am giving myself!) January, by far, gives us the year's most time-friendly window to go inside and have a look at ourselves. Dare I invite you to see yourself with such scrutiny as if you were going to marry yourself this June? True to the title, I invite you to dig for worms at your core eating away at your personal and professional happiness by asking yourself these questions:

• How often do I repeat bad behavior?

• How often do I excuse my bad behavior?

• How cruel are my "jokes?"

• How often do I lie and feel innocent doing it?

• Who am I angry with that I stay so preoccupied with my hurt that I refuse to forgive and free myself of my self-imposed prison of pain?

All looks good to your world from the outside, yet, you know some things are eating at you. While you haven’t taken the time to identify them, life would feel so much better if you could remove them and the damage that’s already been done.

Consider what C.S. Lewis had to say about relationships, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

Relationship Questions to Dig Toward Worms at the Core:

• What fails to satisfy with your relationship with each member of your immediate family and with all of them as a family unit? If you are without immediate family, are you okay with that or do you wish your situation were different and need to take action?

• What fails to satisfy with your relationships with your friends and your support system? If you find yourself without strong “got your back” allies, you’ve got serious soul-searching to do. • What fails to satisfy you about your current career? If you are mostly happy, check this one off, you've got other fish to fry. If this could be one worm at your core, do you have career dreams and visions that deserve more respect and taking greater responsibility for achieving them?

I invite you into more positive metacognition, awareness, analysis of your thinking processes to encourage you to study your self-regulation to perpetually refine it. Why? To avoid letting yourself get more stale and stagnant year after year. You may remember from my book Grow Yourself a Life You’ll Love, the stark reality, “When you’re green, you’re growing; when you're ripe, you rot.”

Consider how you are adapting to new media environments simultaneously in our high technology digital world and their ever more demanding and time-consuming invasion:

• What Media Deserves Your Attention? What criterion do you use to be discerningly selective about what you read online, watch on television, listen to over the radio?

• Do You Manage the Information Constantly Coming at You with Purposeful Focus? Are you as constantly managing what information you generate, what information you request, and what information is shared?

• How are You Holistically Managing Your Time to Support Your Personal Development & Learning? Again, how do you decide who or what gets your waking hours?

• Are You Ever-Building Your Social Skills to Communicate & Interact with All Types of People? Not just a catchy phrase, “global economy” exists as our new world.

• How Sharp Have Your Negotiation Skills Become When Texting & Emailing? Impossible to succeed forward without the capability of discussing complex subjects in a multifaceted way.

As promised, here’s my current “whack on the side of the head,” the http://www.AComplaintFreeWorld.org’s 21-Day Complaint Free Challenge. How it works: you get a purple “AComplaintFreeWorld.org” unisex slip-on bracelet. Complain out loud, although complaint-thinking remains free, and you must switch the bracelet to the other wrist and start the count-down back at Day 1 (average to completion: 6-8 months). Why did I choose this one? Relationships are really all we have here on this planet. I wanted to begin 2016 disciplining myself to cultivate better interactions with people, both personally and professionally. Why did I choose it now? I learned about this challenge at an Albany, NY, Peace Project workshop on happiness. Already, on Day 6, I am a happier person and people are enjoying seeing my struggle to avoid complaining.

Complaint-Free Day-by-Day, Here's Are My Takeaways:

Day 1 - I learned to exercise my choice to refuse to complain, even if justified. When I did it myself, I also learned that my equipment probably did a better job and it had to be done twice anyway. (I would tell you what it was, but that would be outing a complaint.)

Day 2 - I learned how stress-reducing it is to decide immediately to choose to stay Complaint-Free. Annoyance gone, I move on.

Day 3 - I learned that the opposite of voicing a complaint is voicing a gratitude. This huge break-through felt so good to discover through working my way through this 21-Day Complaint-Free Challenge. Day 4 - I learned to give a sincere blessing to the source of my displeasure. How freeing this feels.

Day 5 - I learned that staying the course Complaint-Free also means not complaining about me. Imagine….

Day 6 - I learned that unkind acts are complaints and count.

In order to fully participate in this challenge 24/7, I had to let people know what I had taken on. Why? Stopping myself mid-sentence, citing “purple bracelet” in answer to questions needed some explanation. Two stories. First story comes from the first person I shared my Complaint-Free Challenge. I told her I fully intended, despite the “average,” to ace the 21-days first time out. She shared, while smiling a huge smile, “Barbara, if anyone else told me that, I would just laugh, but you, with the focus and determination I know you have, I believe you’ll do it.” Tomorrow is Day 7.

Second story comes from sharing the Complaint-Free 21-Day Challenge with two children, Ariana 7, and her brother, Marcus, 8. After explaining the Challenge and giving them each a bracelet, Ariana shared her “complaint” that I was already on Day 4 and she was still on Day 1. Hearing her, I told her I would grant her and Marcus a dispensation to make us all on Day 4. They were happy. Taking full advantage of the freedom to think complaints, Ariana would occasionally run away from us shaking her head and hands. Forty-five minutes into the Challenge, Marcus came up to me and said, “I am back to Day 1.”

Now, if two children can take the 21-Day Complaint-Free Challenge seriously, how about if you follow their example and see what you learn about yourself by forcing yourself to stay complaint-free for 21 straight days? Are you the boss? At the workshop, I heard some stories of workplaces taking the Complaint-Free 21-Day Challenge with amazing workplace stress-reduction and increased productivity.

Having fun inviting others to join me in the 21-Day Complaint Free Challenge, here are some reasons why I got refused:

• “Why would I want to do that, complaining is one of my life pleasures?”

• “I’m good with people, don’t have a need to wear a bracelet.”

• “I’m going to wear it until someone says they want one, and then I will give it to them.”

As the Enlightened Envisions coach, I would be happy to have a complimentary coaching conversation with you to explore the enlightening things you learn about yourself taking the Complaint-Free 21-Day Challenge.