On Truth Circles

I have a memory pending substantiation from my childhood friends but it goes something like this….

 

We are in 7th grade and it’s the end of the school year and my friends and I have been called into a Truth Circle. None of us know exactly what to expect but it’s a sunny day and we gather on the soccer field, about eight of us sitting cross legged.  What happens next is hazy but I believe the Leader of the Truth Circle (one of our 7th grade friends) told each of us what no one liked about us.  I remember some girls crying and I remember acting stoic as I heard my “truth” and feeling relieved that the only “truth” that no one liked about me was my apparent stealing of everyone’s boyfriends (kind of seemed like a compliment?).

 

Many months ago on Facebook, I posed the question to my friends, “What if someone could tell you the “truth” about yourself?  Would you want to hear it?”  The response was mixed.  Some said definitively “yes” and some said “no” and some said that they would like to hear it but it would have to be from someone they completely trusted and in a way they could receive.

 

In theory, this is what we have Managers for at work and Mentors for in our lives.  As a Manager in a corporation, I had my share of giving performance reviews to employees as well as receiving them and I always found it challenging.  Within a corporate structure, how honest can we be?  How do we know that the person giving us feedback really has our best interest in mind?  Are they rationalizing my shitty raise because of the company’s profits or was my performance really lacking?  How will I ever really know given the legal bindings of corporate America?

 

There is a mode of career coaching called the 360 I find intruiging.  It is usually for Senior Management in corporations.  The employee is evaluated and reviewed by everyone around them.  Peers, direct reports, colleagues and those above. This feedback is presented for your higher good by a trusted Coach and often reveals blind spots to help make you a better employee, Leader, contributor and peer to your colleagues.  My client and friend Erika who shared her 360 experience with me said it truly was a game-changer for her professionally and something that she craves again now many years later.  What it taught her by revealing her blind spots helped her become a stronger Leader and also helped her excel as a high performance communicator.  Could the 360 be the modern day and helpful version of the Truth Circle?

 

In the age we live in, we are presenting an image of ourselves in social media at all times.  We are creating a perception of ourselves and marketing ourselves every time we tweet, post a picture on Instagram or post a Facebook status update.  Those who observe us are making decisions and having feelings about us 100% based on the tone that we use in our pictures, updates and comments.

 

Recently Gwyneth Paltrow, bless her heart (as the Southern ladies say when they don’t mean it), found herself in a PR shit-storm for stating in an interview that working mothers have it easier than she does because while working mothers have a routine (9-5 job, mornings at home with our kids), she does not.  14-hour movie set days are so difficult!  We all, every mother (working or not) collectively vomited a bit and solidified what we suspected about Gwyneth.  She’s so deep into Gwyneth-Ville that she does not know HOW she comes across.  I call this Gwyneth Syndrome.

 

As horrible as that 7th grade Truth Circle may have been in the most awkward and uncomfortable stage of life, I wonder if there was a way we could do this for each other in a good way.  If someone could tell you the “truth” about yourself, would you want to hear it?  Would you tell me if I had Gwyneth Syndrome my friends?
Please?

 

The_Self

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On Unicorns

In December, I met a man online and we fell for each other hard.  This was not just any man-this was the kind of guy I have only heard about that is usually taken/married/just in movies (picture Jake Ryan as grown man).  Not just smart, funny, wise, interesting, successful, a great Dad, athletic (but not obsessive), movie-star good looking and in a MEN’S BOOK CLUB for God’s sakes.  I kept pinching myself as we went on amazing date after amazing date and I came to label him to my Facebook friends as The Unicorn.  As I have done since I started dating about 2 years ago, I kept looking for the “dealbreakers” but really couldn’t find a bad one.  Dating in one’s 40s becomes a damage assessment game.  Will it be a crazy ex, financial stress, bad kids, STDs, DUIs…basically, I would screen each date like a Private Detective wondering, “How bad is it?”….

 

The only dealbreaker he kept showing me was his fear of love.  Fear of love?  NBD.

 

As it turned out, his fear of love was stronger than his desire to be with me so 2 months in he decided this whole love thing wasn’t for him and we stopped the BF/GF train on the tracks.  As crushed and blindsided as I was, I have always been of the school of, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them” (Maya Angelou) so I did NOT try and persuade him that his decision was a bad one.  I adapted.  We continued to date each other but not exclusively (against popular opinion which was to kick him to the curb) and I started Mission Get Over Him.

 

My mission was futile.  I seem to have the kind of heart that has an on-off switch.  When I love you, it’s nearly impossible for me to stop.  I give my whole heart to what I do and those around me, for better or worse. But I sure did try.  Here is a non-exhaustive list of what I did:

Read self-help books (Highly recommend the book “Attached”.  Brilliant!!!!)

Talked shit and asked existential questions about love on FB  and with Clients (very helpful!)

Wrote in my journal

Cried at night (late night was the worst)

Allowed myself to feel pathetic

Went over old texts to prove I didn’t imagine it

Massage therapy

Consulted a Psychic

Lots and lots and lots and lots of dating

Dated people I thought looked like him (a first and what I consider an all time low and extremely cliche)

Considered a mid-life crisis.  What things haven’t I done yet?  Date a 25-year old?  Visit a sex-club? Why not!

Read extensively about Consensual Non-Monogamy/Polyamory-maybe this is the future???  If I can’t have one relationship, maybe I should have 3 or 5 or 7?  

Made out with new guys

Sang sad songs

 

At one point, I encountered a brilliant 4-year old who was holding a toy purple plastic Unicorn.  Knowing that children are infinitely wise, I asked Josie if she thought Unicorns were real?  She said, “Yes, but they all died.”  And I said, “Why?” Her response was that when the boat came, they didn’t get on it.

 

An apt metaphor.

 

All said, nothing made my love for him go away.  I am sure he felt that when we spent time together but I had let go of any future between us.  Then, at the 5 month mark, my guy decided that he was ready.  I can’t speak for him and how that all played out but I can say that my response was, “Hell yes!” and here we are on the BF/GF train. So is he a Unicorn?  I guess it depends on how you think about it.  Is he rare and mystical?  Yes.  Is he exceptional?  For sure.  But he is a also just a man, with scars and fears and flaws just like everyone else.  It seems childish now to have ever used that label but at the moment, it made a point which is still true.  You don’t often meet Extraordinary.  And when you do, hopefully you are ready for him.

photo (2)

 

On Blind Spots

For the twelve years I have been mastering the craft of Haircoloring, I have been obsessed with the backs of heads.  Most who know me, know this.  I have always felt that this was one major difference between decent/OK Haircolor and GREAT Haircolor.  Many clients comment, when I am consulting, that the back of their head doesn’t matter because they can’t see it.  They will often say that they don’t ever look at it.  And I will typically offer a differing point of view by showing it to them and in the process of working with me, I will make it better.  The fact is that it does matter because everyone else sees it!  Many hairdressers cut corners on the backs of heads.  Why? Because they can, because the client doesn’t necessarily notice.  And therein lies the distinction between a high end salon and everywhere else.  One would hope.

For many years I was a Road Warrior, traveling for my career as a corporate trainer teaching Haircolor for a major company.  Inevitably, insufferably, I would be staring at the backs of heads on airplane ride after airplane ride, fantasizing about how to fix them.  I would dream about setting up a “911 Salon” at airports where I could just pull a client into and show them how good it could be!  I used my thoughts on this subject to teach and hopefully, open Hairdressers eyes to higher achievement in our craft.  Into my 10th year (10,000 hour mark of mastery according to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers) I began to see the psychological connection between the backs of heads and our own blind spots as people.

My years behind the chair are largely spent in deep conversations with clients and what makes this relationship so meaningful and satisfying, is the time spent in dialogue and discussion about our paths, choices and often our weaknesses.  We cover all subjects but I am often led to the same conclusion as my time spent staring at the backs of heads-that there are things so obvious to others but completely blind to ourselves.  I include myself in this of course and I have come to believe that we all have blind spots, as obvious as the bad back of head Haircolor.  This is the spirit of this blog and of my life’s work at the moment.  How to maneuver through the seemingly obvious in the areas of fashion, romance and parenting.