What would it feel like if at this time next year you looked back at how you lived your 2018 and said, “That was a wild awesome ride, let’s do it again!”?
I invite you to put away the resolutions for a minute and stop listening to the troll on your shoulder dancing around mocking all your bad habits, failures and what needs to be changed. Instead think about one dream that you’ve always said ‘someday you’re going to do’ and imagine accomplishing it in 2018.
You see your dreams are like the pea in the Princess and the Pea fairytale. There’s a mile-high stack of old mattresses on top of that pea. You shouldn’t be able to feel it anymore, but yet it’s still there.
I call this whisper of dreams the Desire Effect™ and it’s the marriage between yourself and life. Even if you hid your deepest desires away they’re still there in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, and for better or worse. They never leave because they’re the key to your true happiness, self-esteem, and a life lived without regret, yet they are covered everyday with another mattress. This marriage with your desires may be the least nurtured relationship in your life.
Your desires are the most powerful allies in being able to live the life you’re meant to live and to break the desire/regret cycle, yet most people will die never having let the desires come to full effect.
Most of this has happened subconsciously. Once you understand it, well then it does become your responsibility to change it. So decide if you’d like to take control of your life and throw off all those mattresses before you read on, because what I’m about to tell you will leave you in control and some people would prefer the excuses. They’d rather leave their lives in the hands of programs and gurus, doctors, and bosses, bad relationships, and blame, because there’s a part of their brain that says, “We’re safe. We don’t like discomfort.” Seventy-five percent of the population is motivated by external forces: praise from others; fear of pain; fear of being reprimanded; love from others, etc. So oftentimes you make decisions based on what society will deem success and right.
So are you ready to see what those external forces have done to you?
Let’s take a little journey together.
Everyone starts with dreams and desires. Little kids imagine what their lives will look like. They dream big. Every adult has a list of, “Some day I’m going to_____.” So imagine you’re standing at a split in a road with a huge mountain in front of you.
That mountain looks steep and rocky. You’re holding a treasure chest of all your dreams.
When you look to the right you see the people in your life. They’re urging you to follow the path they’ve taken or want you to take. “You want to be a dancer? That’s silly. Barely anyone makes it and you don’t have the body. You want to be a writer? I wanted to be a writer but it’s not practical. An artist? Well maybe if you go into graphic arts. Sail the world? Everyone wants to travel, but then it’s time to realize that life doesn’t turn out the way you want and it’s what happens when you’re making other plans.”
All these external voices are coming at you telling you what you should be. Many of these voices are well intentioned. These people love you and they don’t want to see you fail. Their personal fears and experiences are placed upon you. Add in the media and all the propaganda you’re fed about what makes a successful life and there’s a constant bombardment battling with your dreams aka the mattresses on top of the pea.
Let’s turn away for a moment and look at the left split in the road—the chance to follow your desires. This path is terrifying. There’s very little data on how it will work out, because it’s a unique path, one that only you can take and no one else has ever done. There’s no map, no one to take your hand and say, “See this is how it will end up.”
So you take the path on the right. At first it works out well. You see the design in front of you, and you know the goals. You work hard to get there. Yet underneath, The Desire Effect™, keeps haunting you like that little pea that won’t allow you to sleep comfortably. Suddenly life, even if it looks perfect on the outside, starts feeling like a chore and resentment builds along with unhappiness. The stress compounds and the psyche yearns for release. Food, alcohol, social media attention, fighting with loved ones, creating drama that gives you a boost of brain chemicals, all create bad patterns that are hard to break. You begin to zone out; to get away for one minute from the life you’ve built by binge watching television or just shutting down.
Ultimately you need an outside force to break you from this pattern and you see commercials for workout systems, diets, financial programs, counseling, coaching, etc. They give you a new vision of what will make you happy, and forward momentum happens as you get an endorphin rush based on a future results. The feeling is fleeting, failure starts to be debilitating and once again you start to simply make it through the day.
By the end of most people’s lives they look back and wonder, where did all my dreams go? Where is my health? My life? Oh well this is just the truth of living.
But it’s the biggest lie ever told.
What if instead, you got off of the right path and stepped into the unknown. It’s scary, your brain and that troll are going to tell you it’s impossible. You can’t remember your dreams anymore, or you can, but they aren’t practical. You have responsibilities. You like your life. There’s no real reason to complain. There isn’t enough money.
But what if you could climb the Appalachian Trail? Or take a month off and live in Italy? Or write that novel? Or learn to dance? Or whatever your pea has been whispering for so long.
Let’s take an imaginary stroll down the left path. There’s excitement and fear wrapped together because it means so much to go after your dreams and you don’t know if you have what it takes to do it. You take the first small steps and think, “Well at least if I fail I’ll know I tried, but to fail would hurt so much because I want this badly.”
And then you do fail. It’s inevitable. It happens, yet instead of running back to the right path you realize you’ve started to climb the steep mountain and didn’t even notice. You learn from the failure and decide, “Hey it hurt, I fell, but I’m still okay.” Your confidence goes up.
Suddenly there’s a desire to be healthier because you want to climb this mountain faster and your diet and workouts are chosen to enhance what you’re doing. You begin to make financial decisions not based on stuff, but on a life well–lived with meaning and experiences. You realize if you’re out of debt or make more money you’ll have freedom to have more dreams, more fun, and you start making better decisions. Suddenly the view of the top of the mountain comes into sight and you’re not even breathing hard. You notice that you’ve been meeting like-minded people who also chose the unknown path and you’re happier in your relationships. The regret is gone.
You reach the top of the mountain, with a few bruises, a few healed injuries, but as you summit you see a whole world before you that wasn’t visible at the original crossroads and you realize that this one dream that you took a chance on has led you to a huge life. There’s no longer time for zoning out, or binge watching television or all those things that allowed you to escape. You need at least five lifetimes because there’s so much to explore.
Do you still want to make that resolution based on changing what you dislike about yourself?
Want to step onto the unknown path? Don’t know where to start? Take the Dream Survey to see where you stand with your Desire Effect™. Join our Facebook group A Year of Dreams and like our Page Dare to Dream/ Marci Nault for a year of inspiration and support. Only in dreaming can you see how magnificent your life is meant to be. Make 2018 the year you settle for nothing less than magnificence.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.