“If I Can Do It So Can You”….mhmmm

Photo by Paula May on Unsplash

How many times have we heard this? If I can do it so can you? Or maybe you’ve said the reverse to yourself: “If they can do it so can I!” Well yes and no. This statement has to be one of the most overly used untrue cliche’s out there. While I appreciate the optimistic attitude we have to realize that just because someone has accomplished something doesn’t mean we will do the same. Particularly, as it relates to the exact manner to which that person has arrived at that destination. There are so many wildcard factors and moving components that do not always duplicate themselves into the same result as someone else. Hear me out, I am not trying to be a Debbie downer here (and sorry Debbie – you must be tired of people using your name in that cliche) but simply trying to be realistic Renita. Being realistic doesn’t mean you are being pessimistic. So many times we transpose the two and move through life with blissful ignorance to the facts. Yes, anything is possible and the chances of replicating ones previous path have some mathematical probability but not always. By understanding this, one can still take the quest of duplicating another person’s “successes” while simultaneously having a healthy view that things may not identically align. This is due to a myriad of external factors, largely out of one’s control. Yes there are many things we can “control,” but not all the factors that ultimately can affect the outcome of our efforts.

There’s a sweeping sensation of “How I” videos circulating on YouTube. The goal is obviously to motivate people to accomplish the subject matter at hand. Yet, what it indirectly does is subconsciously set people up to compare themselves to the accomplisher and think to themselves why they have not and are not able to do what that person did. These video testimonials say “well all I did was” and you can do it too. Well that’s easier said than done Sherlock. While some videos come with disclaimers about how everyone’s situation is different, oftentimes this factor is largely overlooked. So I can only imagine how many people sit there and watch going “i sure wish I was them” or “I wish I could do that” or “that must be nice” because they know their situation just won’t allow them to do that. Now I can hear the rebuttals about what I just stated. Well why don’t they change their situation and stop making excuses you say. Again, easier said than done. Some people may not ever be able to change a particular element to their circumstances, thus their duplication of achievement will most likely be different.

I say all this to say that it’s good to be motivated by other people’s accomplishments and strive to duplicate a degree of that in your life; but keep that drive at bay. Give yourself some grace if you are not accelerating at the same pace as the other person. Focus more on staying in your lane and finding to what degree of accomplishment can you realistically obtain. And BE OKAY with that. You can certainly find areas in your life where you can push yourself more and refine habits that are counterproductive. But overall, stay in your lane and celebrate your life with a level of gratitude which finds appreciation in life itself.

Toxicity in the Workplace / Workplace Environments

Toxicity in the Workplace / Workplace Environments

The Office….

Yeah it was a classic movie and spin off television show, but the antics they portray on there are nothing shy of the truth.

In fact, much of the portrayal in my eyes is under-played. Predominately captured in a satirical manner, these episodes try to make light of what is a daily struggle for many people. Not just Americans, but globally. MANY feel the day to day pain of the workplace environment that is largely toxic in nature and in practice.

Now this toxicity is not just about a rebellion to “not work for someone,” as many people are okay with not having the responsibility of running a business, but the problem stems from the way those who are “in charge” execute the culture of the company. The toxicity also derives from the healthy, but oftentimes not so healthy, competition among co-workers. Where people are always scared of someone out-shining them, one-upping them, or flat out blackballing them out of a job.

It’s sad.

The “survival of the fittest” game in the world of employment mirrors a combination of all the reality TV shows and popular Hunger Games series. Falsities, pretense, alliances, secret meetings, covert and overt verbal condescension. I could go on and on. The list of downright terrible things that go on in the workplace is endless. I wish I could say otherwise, but I have rarely been in a company or organization where I felt like it was a “healthy” place to work.

Healthy meaning:

  • The people genuinely cared
  • The people were authentically sincere
  • The people were not there to compete with me but to genuinely get to know me, collaborate and create an environment that also facilitated this for it’s patrons.

Literally, I can count on one hand and maybe even one finger for the workplace(s) I felt closely accomplished this.

Entrepreneurship isn’t the sure fire alternative

Many of you out there reading this are like, well start your own business if you feel that way! For those have taken the path of entrepreneurship, you may even be saying to yourself this is exactly why I’ve started my own business, because I just can’t deal with the very thing you are describing.

I too took the path of business ownership having founded and operated a media production business for five and a half years. I hired several contractors to work on projects and I was also hired as a subcontractor to work on projects during this time. The main challenges I faced when working with hired subcontractors was trusting the quality and execution of their work. It was nerve wracking to say the least, and many times they let me down and I had to play “clean up” with the client. So for many who don’t want to deal with things like this, resigning to the old fashioned resume hunting and traditional workplace environment is par for the course.

Back to the realities of the office….

Oftentimes these corporate office environments leave one forced to deal with societal issues with repeat offenders, a.k.a co-workers, for an extended period of time. Yes, the ultimate test of a ninja warrior. Who can outlast the constant micro and macro aggressions of ageism, sexism, racism, faithisms, payisms, etc? All wrapped up in a: sign here, sign there, show up, clock in, clock out, don’t complain, don’t speak up gift size box topped with a bow of low pay and low opportunity (and a cherry on top).

But you’d be a fool to reject this right?

Because what are the alternatives? It’s either unemployment or starting a business. And we all know, it takes money to make money, and even then it still takes time and a bit of divine fortune for you to make a profit. Of course, many people are not forced to make this decision between the two because they either choose a life of being in the military (which I’m sure has it’s own set of issues) or they inherited/were passed down a position of income earning opportunity that makes life “comfortable” enough for them. So they do not have to endure the toxicity that is often found in these workplace environments (not to say they don’t have toxic issues in their life, but that they are not forced to have to work a job they don’t want to or stay in an organization they don’t enjoy).

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Real vs. Fake Changes

Many people are wanting the “work from home” option due to this very reason. The less people they have to see and deal with the better. Companies are trying to renovate their spaces to make the office a “fun/great place to work.” Yet oftentimes, they are just putting a band-aid on cancer; changing the outer appearance without addressing or changing the inner culture and personality of the organization. Adding a ping pong table does nothing to change the benefits package if one still cannot afford the overall employee healthcare benefits. Putting fancy new furniture in, does little to change unequal practices in managerial promotions and leadership development.

The toxicity out there is real and it is often under-talked about because people are scared. People are scared they will lose their job if they speak up at all about anything toxic going on in the workplace. I am not immune to this backlash as my current (or future) employer could either deny me employment for “thinking this way” or posting an article like this.

So whose responsibility is it?

While I do believe all employees have an individual responsibility to create a less toxic office environment, I would be remiss if I didn’t address the role Human Resources has played in perpetuating toxicity in the workplace. Sadly, Human Resources (HR), which is supposed to be just that (a resource for humans) has done a poor job doing what their name says. Instead, they’ve become paper pushers, documentation specialist, and a distrustful collective that resemble wolves in sheep’s clothing. Meaning, they want you to come to them when you have a workplace issue, yet there is little protection of your job when you start rocking the boat.

Oftentimes, going to HR for an issue only complicates it and a person is better off either handling it themselves or leaving the organization altogether. Do I believe all HR departments in all companies operate this way, no. Do I believe 95–98% of them do- yes. Until HR changes the landscape of how they operate, individuals will continue to be subjugated to massive toxic workplace environments with no resources to back them.

Sadly, HR has become the taboo boogeyman that resembles going to the “principal’s office” in elementary school. Many people say “oooo I don’t want to cause an ‘HR issue’” or “I don’t want to get in trouble with ‘HR.’” This is sad and needs to change. I challenge all HR people who may be reading this, who quite possibly maybe getting upset with me for talking about their job, to do something different for the global workplace culture and change the landscape of this sentiment.

A Challenge for All

Additionally, I challenge all others who are tired of the toxic workplace environments to be the change you wish to see. If you want different, do different. Speak up and support office cultures you see headed in the right direction and object to the ones that aren’t. If you get pushback, good. That means you are doing your part to help change the world….for the better.

While, I realize everyone can’t work for an amazing company (and amazing is subjective to what is important to you), what we all can do is intentionally participate in doing our part, wherever we work to create a less toxic and healthier work environment. If you have personal issues going on, leave them at the door of the entrance if you are not mature enough to handle them while working.

For example: giving your co-workers a professional and courteous heads-up about why you may be agitated or down about something without telling all of your unsolicited business that some people may not even want to know about instead of displacing anger on your co-workers who don’t deserve it or aren’t the cause of the issue you are facing. 

You can also do your part by working on being a person of healthy conflict resolution. Which is one of the biggest areas of workplace toxicity. If someone or something in the office bothers you, go to that person and clarify/resolve the issue respectfully. Refrain from passive aggressive behaviors and circumventive shenanigans that only escalate the level of toxicity.

All in all, I realize this is a heavy topic that has not changed and may not ever change dramatically in the next few generations. I would be foolish to think human beings, aren’t going to continue to be human beings. But what I will say for those who are needing a bit of encouragement out there in their current work situation is “I see you” and “you’re not alone.” Do the best you can and try not to let the job define your personal worth and overall life enjoyment.

Am I the Only One Fighting for True Friendships?

Photo by Hian Oliveira on Unsplash

In the age of social media we’ve cultivated an era of virtual interactions that serve as a poor attempt at true friendship. The fight against this has been slow. Despite the fact that there are a remnant of people who have brought awareness to what this “virtual activity” is doing to our relationships with people. It has been said that we shouldn’t look at the past through rose-colored glasses and develop unrealistic nostalgic conclusions. But in some instances, including this one, I think an honest look at the past is in order with understanding the current state of today’s definition of a friend. In the past, you would often here of lifelong friendships that endured many difficulties but that they kept the friendship through the difficulties for decades. Don’t get me wrong, there were still some Judas’s amongst the crowds and pretentious people in the midst. But the percentage of efforts for real connection I dare say were higher than they are today. If one had an issue, they would either fight it out or calmly talk about it. But the issue was brought to the light. Today we have the exact opposite. Most people run from any confrontation or conflict. They would much rather take the easy way out and delete and block someone from their phone or social media page.

The other thing is that people would rather stay to themselves than to let someone know they are going through something instead of completely going silent and not returning someone’s text or call. What happened to telling your friends you’re having a tough time? What’s with the social shame? Have we truly allowed culture to shame us into our corners to hide our vulnerabilities with one another? We’ve certainly allowed culture to make “busyness” an excuse for any efforts of friendship. Now-a-days this is the number one answer or lack thereof for people to be self-serving and self-centered. It allows people to take what they want from a person and not give back in mutuality of effort. I cannot even begin to tell you how much “ghosting” has jaded my view, cares and efforts for building relationships with people. The concept of chasing someone down and constantly reaching out to them due to their lack of communication back to you is not only tiring but it makes you feel worthless. Like wow – they really don’t care and I’m not important to you. You know people make time for what they want and what they feel is important or desirable to their lives. We all have the same 24 hours. So to have the excuse of work or just plain “busy” is just that – an excuse. If the president of the United States can have friends – as busy as they are then that everyday person can too. But this idea of friendship is still very loosely used because oftentimes people think they are very successful in that area. While, i suppose, that would be determined by what definition that person ascribes to when it comes to calling someone a friend.

During a time when I was extremely jaded by people and their lack of effort for intimate friendships – I had a conversation with someone and they told me they have three good friends and they speak to each one of them once or twice a year. I then replied to them – “I’m sorry, that is NOT my definition of a friend.” To only speak to someone once or twice a year seems surface level. How can anyone develop a long-term closeness by only interacting a few times a year. But for some – this is preferable. This is friendship. To others, such as myself, it is not. I desire both intellectual and emotional intimacy with a person I call my friend at the very least. I desire that person, to keep in contact with me at least a few times per month if not weekly. We may not get to talk everyday – but to consistently go weeks and months without conversing feels like a conjugal friendship visit.

But I realize this is where we are in our society. We created the monster of distance when it comes to any true connectivity with people. So why would friendships be any different? For those of us who desire the type of friendship connection that I’m speaking of – you may have to resolve within yourself that less is more. Maybe you will only have 1 or 2 people (literally) who desire the same and connect with you. And this may only be for a season in your life since people’s desires change. Continue to be your authentic self and be okay with staying in your lane and not trying to force people to change and be what you want them to be. Work out any bitterness or resentment you have with past relationships and your current feelings about people. It’s not easy as people will still continue to let you down; that’s a guarantee. But at least you can be self-aware of what you desire in a friendship and you can articulate that to individuals you come in contact with.

Moral Suspicion

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Everyone I know is morally suspicious. What about you? Are the people around you operating in a mode of moral suspicion? Nowadays, people fear the person sitting next to them. We raise our inner eyebrows to the sounds of someone asking for help. When we see someone who may need help, we second guess our initial inkling to investigate for our own self protection. We close ourselves off to as many strangers as possible for fear of what they “may” do to us. We act as if everybody is guilty until proven innocent. Leaving no margin of error for the opposite outcome – which is someone being who they say they are. What has happened to us? When did we lose our collective distrust of our neighbor? Has there ever even been an era where people did not live in an unconscious state of moral suspicion? Some would argue no, while others would vaguely reminisce about the good ole days. Days when people would leave their doors unlocked and open or sleep with the windows open. Days when they let their children go over their neighbors houses. Days when they helped a stranger on the side of the road with a flat tire. When they gave a stranger a ride to a destination because they saw them walking with groceries or with a child.

But now we live in a time where people won’t even answer the phone to a number they don’t recognize on their caller id unless it is a number stored in their phone. I had a relative literally pick up the phone and pause in silence for 10 seconds and waited until I said hello first for fear that if they said hello it would be an automated scammer that would instantly signed them up for something they didn’t want to authorize. The other day I was in a vehicle with a group of people and there was a vehicle swerving back-and-forth flashing their lights on the expressway as if they needed help and the majority of the people in the vehicle refused to want to see if the person in the car needed help for fear that it may be some sort of set up. I had a co-worker tell me they had to but cameras to see which one of their neighbors keeps stealing their trash cans. Many of you have cameras to watch out for people loitering around looking to steal packages left on the doorstep or scoping out your vehicle for items to break in and seize.

These are the times we live in. Sad – I know. It’s no wonder that so many people simply feel they cannot trust anybody. But is this the cultural monster that we’ve created? Has the competition for more or the pursuit of acquisition of things created a wedge in our basic universal trust for each other? Have we allowed people who drive these societal institutions to continue to create distrustful environments that mold our interactions with each other? What level of accountability should we hold for ourselves to have gotten to this point? What are ways we have tried to game the system, get over or take advantage of others? Whether or not we feel our voluntary participation in doing this was justified based on our views of how wrong or rigged we feel the systems in place are. If you disagree with policy of a company or institutional system do you openly challenge it or do you secretly circumvent the policy for your personal gain? Are you adding to the general distrust of the current climate or are you finding honest ways to create change and build trust? If you’re a slight cynic like me you might be thinking – what’s the point in being honest and not doing honest things that work for your benefit? Because these systems in place are predatory, bias and greed-based. So why should I even care or try to be honest and go along – I’ll simply finish last, end up penalizing myself more and causing unnecessary burdens. Well you and I may be right …to a degree…but we don’t have to compromise our integrity for the sake of material gain.

It really boils down to that which one do you want to go to bed at night knowing you have: integrity or manipulated gain. If you’re satisfied with the latter and can sleep at night and look yourself in the mirror with the utmost dignity then chart on my friend, chart on. But for those of us that find difficultly in doing this sometimes we have to take the L in certain areas to live with our morals and dismantle any moral suspicion people may have about us. That is what we can control. We can control the outputs of our one to one personal interactions with people. Even if people have a hard time trusting you because they’ve been burnt too many times. You can be a breathe of fresh air and chip away at the distrust by authentically engaging with them with transparency and reliability. Having said all this, I still think it is wise to “test the waters” and not blindly give away your full level of trust and confidentiality. Use discernment and time tested results to see the depths of engagement that you can go with that individual or societal institution. Guarding your heart with a healthy and open level of tension is one of the best ways to not let the negative aspects of moral suspicion get the best of you.

No “tiny” solution for the housing crisis

We are two years away from a recession… or so they say…maybe even sooner. This, of course, is all speculation stemming from the upcoming 2020 elections and the seven year cycle of the housing market. According to it’s historical cycle, the crash of 2008 showed a seven year down turn of the housing market (2015) which has since made an uptick in market values nationwide. This ascent has shown strong numbers over the past four to five years and has turned the current state of the housing industry into a sellers market. Leaving many potential buyers feeling outnumbered -literally and figuratively. Many buyers feel stuck either having to settle for third or fourth choice neighborhoods or simply forced to stay put. Many say this is just the dog-eat-dog market of the housing industry and it’s just business. Well, what if we re-examined the culture of the housing market to create continuous opportunities that would scale to fit a larger audience of homeowners which would stand a greater chance of enduring the volatility of a capitalistic economic? While we can debate for years on whether the capitalistic system needs to be dismantled because it is the cause of the current climate of the mess we are in, I think we can all agree that unless there is a massive revolution to overturn the current system – capitalism is here to stay. Thus, individuals who are seeking to change the landscape of the current system need to find small wins and creative solutions to slowly begin chipping away at the tank that fuels the machine.

Image result for tiny home
Photo Credit: Google Image

One such creative solution is micro housing or “tiny house” living. Just like the cyclical nature of the housing market comes the re-introduction of the small house movement. Tiny or small houses is a return to houses of less than 1,000 square feet, which was the norm prior to 1978. The crash of 2008 put this ancient-old habitation back on the map again, but this time with a modern twist. Tiny house living is a viable solution for the nationwide housing crisis we have and are currently facing. This housing crisis does not just comprise of non-working people, consequently it mostly contains working class Americans who are trapped in a house of mirrors. Pun intended. Just when most think they’ve found the way out of the complex maze of twists and turn, they’re quickly reminded of the loss of progress they’ve actually made (as they run into another mirror). As these mirrors reflect a persons image back to them, it can seem like an endless quest to find what they are doing wrong (to not successfully exit the maze)? Since they are, of course, the only one they see in this maze of mirrors.

Many people feel isolated and singled out as to why they cannot seem to obtain basic housing when others around them seem to move about without much obstruction. These individuals may even ask themselves, “Why can’t I get out?” For many, playing by the traditional system has not and will not work for them so in order to move forward they have to consider the age-old quote by Albert Einstein which states that: “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Since the housing crisis was created as a result of a certain kind of thinking, we must then be open to a different kind of thinking to help create solutions. Tiny house living is one such solution. The micro house concept, while not new, has been proven to be a successful strategy and should be a viable alternative form of thinking to help change the current conversation of the housing market. In my local area, there is one such group of organizers led by Will Johnston who is committed to putting their blood, sweat and tears into moving the needle forward as it pertains to providing alternative housing solutions. For more information on tiny house living visit the microlifeinstitute.org.

Living in Another Country and Moving to Another State

Today’s blogpost is about living in another country and moving to another state for which I have done both. People always ask/assume that I’m prior or current military when I say that I lived abroad or that I live in a few other states. I emphatically but graciously always respond with no while thinking to myself: “why is it that people only think military personnel are capable of this lifestyle?” As I chuckle and shake my head to myself, I then proceed to answer any questions they ask which almost automatically begins with “so what’s it like to live over there?” Depending on the mood and amount of time, I then go into as little or as much detail as possible. What people don’t realize is that everyone’s experience is different because there are so many factors associated with the living condition. Now my experiences to live in another country or state were all done by choice. I can only imagine what it’s like to live as a refugee, military personnel, or any other arrangement where it was not necessarily my planned decision to go and live somewhere else for an established amount of time.

Many people think that it is so cool and so much better to live somewhere else besides where they were born and/or raised. Having said this, there is no denying that there are some places where the environment is terrible and the need for escape is necessary. Yet, what I’m speaking to in this conversation starter is the notion where I think people reach a point in their lives where they are “over” there familiar surroundings and just want to see what else is out there. I honestly think its great when people want to explore! I champion exploration and curiosity of the unknown – of course with a balance of calculated risk. I learned the latter part the hard way as I jumped into a few moves sight unseen.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

I now encourage people when they are considering moving to either another country or another state to try and consider a few things. First, visiting that place to get a feel for the land and the resources is good, but at the end of the day it almost always won’t be the same as when you actually live there. There are many places that on the surface are great places to visit, vacation, and retreat to but when you get down to the day-to-day nuances of your routine things you would have never considered or been aware of will surface. And these things aren’t always the pleasantries that seem to go unnoticed when you visit. I think we have to dismantle the fantasies we carry in our heads about these other places; knowing that over there isn’t necessarily the promised land of riches and gold. While you may be leaving your existing environmental challenges moving to another state or country will still present it’s own set of challenges. I wrote an ebook entitled “The Simple Life” which outlines these challenges and the harsh realities of living abroad. It’s a quick read and if you want to learn more about my findings of living abroad you can download a copy from Amazon.

The other thing I encourage people to consider is to balance the preparation with the outcome of the decision. I have moved to several places with varying levels of preparation. For some moves, I prepared for it for over a year. For others, only a week or two. For each move whether I was more prepared than the other, it still wasn’t enough in regards to how well I enjoyed the location, where I landed and how much (or less) I was prepared for the climate conditions. You don’t know what you don’t know – right? Also people can tell you “oh it’s hot in Arizona” or “boy it rains a lot in Seattle” but you really can’t fully grasp how well you’ll respond to the temperatures or even how true it is until you actually experience for yourself. Don’t go into it thinking oh well – I lived in a hot environment before so I’ll be fine or I like the rain so this will be great! While I appreciate the optimism – just don’t set yourself up like that. Throw out your badge of “abilities” and go into the new environment with an openness to see just how well you truly can manage it.

If you are considering a move, do some research in regards to access to certain types of food and transportation. I talk about the pro’s and con’s of each in my ebook and provide some more detailed things to weigh out.

While I’ve never purchased a home before, I cannot speak to doing that in another state or country (if allowed). What I can say is that I’ve seen where not limiting yourself to only buying a home before you move there can help lessen the shock, disappointment, and most of all feelings of being stuck. Maybe consider renting for a year to decide if you like that area or even if you like the state or country for that matter. This way you get a better feel for the location than you would by just visiting and making a decision to purchase something in that area. You can get to know the property laws, community, access to amenities and transportation situation better.

All in all, my best advice to you is to be open. Throw out your expectations and do the best you can. You really don’t know until you try and even if you are privileged enough to do that appreciate the move for the life experience that it is.

Podcast Interview – Siblinghood: Unpacking our Relationships & Discovering Our Identity


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What do our relationships with our siblings tell us about ourselves? Is there any connection between birth order and our personality traits? If so, what can we learn from this self-discovery and how can we use the understanding to better interact with our siblings?

Here with me today to unpack our sibling dynamics is guest interview: Marilyn Whitley-Carter.


Podcast Episode – Faith, Travel & Missions **Interview**


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Faith, Travel & Missions…a 3-headed engine that often gets steered in a precarious manner. In my previous podcast entitled the Insult of Charitable Auctions I talk about the balance between foreign partnership and local development…and how if not careful our seemingly well-intentioned actions quickly turn into toxic charity. Charity that does not accomplish what it ultimately set out to begin with. For more on this, listen in to today’s episode where I bring in guest Kristina Smith to discuss this dynamic.

To contact our guest today:
Kristina Smith
Instagram: gethype_inc


Podcast Episode – Cultural Immersion will not give you the Kooties – Interview w/ Special Guest!


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Oh yeah – I said it! The kooties…yuck! you know that thing we used to tease each other about in primary school as the imaginary contagion that would lead to the zombie apocalypse. Yeah…Many of us think something of this nature will jump on us when we travel to a foreign country….and Heaven forbid we even decide to move there permanently! Well one brave soul has done just that… Catarina Gutierrez has decided to take the bait of cultural immersion by moving from the U.S. to the unicorn land of New Zealand.

Take a listen to today’s podcast episode to hear more about her journey and what it’s like to live and work abroad.

Podcast Episode – The Johari Window


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The Johari window is a cognitive psychological tool that was created by psychologists Joseph Lyft and Harrington Ingham in 1955. Combining their first names, the Johari window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. It is a four box quadrant set up like a traditional house window frame that contains four areas of inner and external engagement and discovery. Box one is the “open” or what I like to call surface-level quadrant. It is the area(s) in our lives that contain information that is openly known to both ourselves and our peers. This is the predominant box, I believe, most people live in.

Box two is what is called the “hidden” or “facade” quadrant. This is areas in our lives that we are aware of but remain hidden to our peers. Essentially, we hide these inner knowings and put on a facade to others in hopes of masking our true selves. We don’t openly share our awareness of self to others for various reasons particular to oneself (mostly due to fear of being found out).

The third window or box is called the “blind spot.” This is pretty self-explanatory, but it simply describes the exact opposite of the previous box (box 2). These are things known to others/our peers that are clearly revealed to them that are not revelations to us. This box is a bit tricky because while I’d like to say that these are facts clearly made known to others, it could also easily be false perceptions or assumptions not thoroughly investigated. Yet, for the purposes of staying on track and concise we will just go along with things that are made known to others and not to ourselves.

The fourth and final box/quadrant is called the “unknown.” This is my favorite box! It is the mystery box. The box undiscovered by either party. Yes, indeed it is areas in our lives that have neither been made known to ourselves or to others. This is ultimately the box for which I wish we would push each other to authentically live in and journey towards. This is the ultimate prize when we Indiana Jones our way to discover the unknown depths of ourselves and either share that with others or have a shared discovery with our fellow person. Sadly, though, many of us live and stay in box one (as I alluded to earlier). We don’t even attempt to move into box two or three let alone journey to the courageous fourth box. In my eyes, anyone who consciously makes a lifelong effort to live in box four does the greatest work of fully self-actualizing.

Journeying through these quadrants requires courage and pushing oneself to be okay with being comfortable with being uncomfortable. It requires a level of risk and uncertainty. Let’s be honest, not everyone will willingly sign up for that. But for those who do, I encourage you to step out and be bold enough to journey through at least quadrant two and three. Make those areas that are known to yourself verbally declared to those around you. Additionally, allow others around you (that you trust and have your best interest) to usher you into things that they have discovered about you to see if you discover these same things about yourself. Then as you gain momentum – go ahead and dabble into box four. Don’t be afraid of the new discoveries that await! Even if these are not so pleasant findings the self-discovery is still worth the pain. Some of you are saying “un-un – I’m good…i don’t even want to know anymore things that will make me have to change or cause me to be sad. So I’ll stay in my box one life and ride out into the sunset from there.” Beloved! Let this not be your consignment! Give it a shot and don’t resign when things get uncomfortable and tough. The efforts you put in will bring you a new level of inner intimacy with yourself and with others that is quite simply worth it.