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Blog: Explorations and Reflections

on awakening the True Self.

  • Writer's pictureMick Scott

Our dog, Bear, loves going on walks.

He’s male and he likes to sniff every pole, mailbox, and tree we pass, and pee on half of them himself.

It’s mechanical for him. He sees a pole, he hustles over to it, and he sniffs it.

"Dude! It smells like pee! They all just smell like pee!!"

I’m sure there’s a world for him inside that smell. Details that you and I likely can’t believe he gets from a smell.

Yet, it’s still just another tree that smells like pee.

And it’s got me thinking:

What are the pee trees in our own lives that we simply can’t help sniffing?

The distractions in our lives that keep us from doing our real work? They’re pee trees.

The same petty arguments we have with our spouse, our kids, our colleagues? They’re pee trees too.

The endless stream of judgments about ourself, others, and institutions? Pee trees.

Complaints. Pee trees.

Excuses. Pee trees.

Justifications. Pee trees.

Resigning ourselves. Pee trees.

Being cynical. Pee trees.

Putting our egos - our small self, our false self - first. Pee trees.

For most of us, the pee trees we can’t help sniffing are fundamentally the same old stories we wake up into and go to bed with each night. Stories like:

Life is hard. 

Life is unfair.

People don’t get me.

There’s something wrong.

There’s something wrong with me. 

There’s something wrong with them.

People don’t treat each other kindly anymore. 

I’m not good enough at this. They’re not good enough at that.

I’m too much, they’re too much, and we’re too much.

I’m screwed.

I’m unlucky.

Humanity is doomed.

Evil is prevailing.

The urge to sniff those trees is real. It’s just like our attraction to drama - it’s there and it’s a part of the mechanism of human being.

We’re addicted to sniffing these trees, but we don’t have to sniff them - we don’t have to react from the urge to sniff them. We can allow the urge to be there.

If my dog could just get this: those trees all smell like pee, and if he could just be with and allow the urge to sniff them to be there without reacting from it, he could move beyond smelling each and every tree.

And something else would become possible.

For him and us.

Much love. ❤️

  • Writer's pictureMick Scott

19 years ago, I sought coaching for something I was struggling with. The situation was hard, stressful, and anxiety-producing. I couldn't see my way out of it.

The coach asked me a very powerful question: “What are you committed to?”

Nothing came to mind. At least on the surface, I couldn’t tell that I was committed to anything.

“I’m not committed to anything.”

That’s why I had no power.

Some people don’t like the word power. Power in the way I use it doesn’t mean force. It doesn’t mean power over someone or something. It doesn’t mean domination

Power, as I use it, is the ability to honor our commitments. Power is aligning all levels of my being - mind, heart, body, spirit, actions, relationships - intentionally, in service of my commitments.

It’s no wonder why I was struggling, stressed, anxious, and exhausted. I had no power because I had no clear commitments and no integrity in honoring the commitments I did have in the background. 

The truth was that I did have commitments - commitments of the spirit. I just wasn’t present to them, aware of them, or intentional about them at all.

I was blowing in the wind. 

When we're not living from our commitments, we're living from our default intentions

Intentions are our objectives or purpose. They are the background for all our actions. ALL actions are taken with intentions in the background. ALWAYS. Mostly, we’re oblivious to the intentions guiding our actions. This is living from the default

You see, we are always intending something. We’re just not usually conscious of what we’re intending.

We yell at our kids too often. We gossip about our boss and colleagues. We complain about our spouse. We judge others’ behavior and make them wrong.

Here are the default intentions for human beings:

  • To be liked

  • To look good or avoid looking bad

  • To prove we’re better (or worse!) than others

  • To be right

  • To win this argument

  • To dominate or avoid domination

  • To make it

They’re how we show up a lot of the time.

Our created intentions, however, align with our commitments, our aspirations, our values - our ‘why.’ Created intentions are what people mean by "live intentionally."

Created intentions are our access to fulfilling our commitments.

The quality of our lives can never be any better than the intentions we’re living from.

Think of the different areas of your life: maybe work, home, marriage, children, religion, spirituality, hobbies, health, fitness, diet, etc.  In each of these areas, you have commitments. Sometimes the commitments aren’t obvious even to you, but you can find them if you look.

When our actions are guided by created intentions, we're honoring our commitments.

So how do we live more powerfully in our lives? By living from our created intentions instead of our default intentions.

First, get clear on what you’re committed to. Then, be intentional in how you show up in honor of these commitments.

That’s one definition of integrity, by the way: aligning our intentions with our commitments.

Much love. 🙏❤️

  • Writer's pictureMick Scott

We're all afraid of looking bad to some extent.

It’s why we don’t raise our hand when we have an answer or an idea.

It's why we don't speak up when we don't understand.

It’s why we pretty ourselves up in dress, in tone, and in topic to fit someone else’s idea of appropriate or acceptable or cool.

It’s why we people please.

A fear of looking bad is even one of the drivers behind how we parent - we often want our kids to behave, dress, or choose in certain ways so they don't make us look bad!

So what’s behind this fear of looking bad?

The source of our fear of looking bad is the source of all of our fears: insecure thinking about ourselves.

We question our own likability, our own attractiveness, our own intelligence, our own coolness, our own creativity, our own worthiness, and our own capability.

Inside, we judge ourselves, and we're afraid of others judging us too.

There's a payoff to this fear of looking bad: it keeps us playing small, it helps us avoid being wrong, it keeps us safe (at least we think it does), and it gets us off the hook for making a difference in the conversations and areas of life that matter to us.

There's also a real cost to this fear of looking bad: our aliveness, our authentic connection with others, our peace of mind, our self-expression, and our empowerment.

We constrain who it is we can be in our lives in order to avoid looking bad.

And we sell out on what matters to us. We sell out on our values. We sell out on what's right. We sell out on the people we love, and we sell out our own integrity.

This is one of the fundamental, default ways of being for humans. We are fundamentally afraid of looking bad, and we fundamentally desire to look good.

So how do we break free?

This is longer-term work, not exactly for a 5-minute blog read - my clients break through this fear in meaningful ways during our one-on-one or group work.

Here's a start though:

Our fear of looking bad is a fear of being judged. How do we know that others are judging us?

We're judging them!

She’s too tall, he’s too bald, her jokes aren’t funny, he’s ugly, she’s arrogant, his tie is too short, her makeup is too thick...

The judgments flow and flow and flow. 

We try to make ourselves taller by cutting down others.

Therefore, one technique to break free from the shackles of a fear of looking bad is to fall in love with others. Instead of judging, wish them well. Instead of talking behind their backs, acknowledge them for something good. Instead of focusing only on the negatives about them, bring attention to their positives.

In fact, one of the most powerful techniques I've found to leave behind my default ways of being: be intentional.

The machinery of human being will always have some survival-based mechanism ready to kick in. Disrupt its ability to kick in by being intentional in all things.

Be intentional in why and how you engage with others. Be intentional in how you speak and treat yourself.

The title of this post is not worded great. It would be more accurate to ask the question this way: "What does giving in to this fear cost you?"

Because we're human, we're going to bump up against the fear of looking bad. There are so many valuable, important, and impactful reasons to step through that fear into intentional action.

Start now.

With love and gratitude. 🙏❤️

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