Wake up, shut it down

Joey Garcia

My boss is incredibly smart and talented. I’m intimidated. I want to make a good impression but get so nervous that I talk fast, repeating myself and sounding crazy, or get dry mouth and tongue-tied. My co-workers notice. One teases me that I’m crushing on my boss. I’m not. I just really want my boss’s admiration and respect. What advice do you have for me?

Wake up and smell the self-sabotage. It’s normal to want to excel at work. But healthy motivation is driven by the desire to contribute and a commitment to earning the income needed to live well. Your motivation, though, is approval. Treating your boss like a celebrity is harmful to your career and your self-esteem. Change your perspective. Remember, your boss is human. That means there is some area of his or her life that is, or was, messy and poorly managed. Another possibility: Some people interact through their accomplishments to avoid emotional, mental or spiritual intimacy with others. I’m not suggesting that you ferret out your boss’s secrets; just see your boss as a whole person, with intelligence, talent and accomplishments as well as shortcomings, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies. If you do not engage in the effort to see reality, you may fail to mature fully into your potential at work.

When you do shift your perspective, you will realize that your boss, by accomplishments and presence, represents qualities and skills you wish to develop. Now the fun begins. Sit down with a notepad and strategize how to nurture those qualities and skills in yourself. Ask your boss to recommend books and other resources. Ask other people in your industry to recommend a business coach. Working with a professional coach, begin a goal-directed program to become a business professional you can admire. As you redirect your energy into your own life, it will be surprisingly easy to speak to your boss. The dry mouth and chatter mouth (verbal constipation and diarrhea) will be gone. You will still admire your boss but without any of the histrionics experienced now.

My boyfriend of one year and I have been fighting physically and verbally, causing my life complete chaos. I’m scared to break up with him, because who knows what can happen. I have never been mean or disrespectful in any other relationship, but this one brings out a whole different side of me out. I hate who I’m becoming. It’s also weighing on me that I met someone new. It was random, I’m not a cheater, and I don’t want anyone to cheat on me. But this guy is perfect in every way. He knows I have a boyfriend, but continues to try to steal me away. Am I feeling lust because I’m not sure where my relationship is going? Can a relationship work that has started in a negative way?

Yes, a relationship that begins badly can endure (but that doesn’t mean it should). Yes, lust is a distraction. Yes, you have a habit of participating in situations that escalate into serious crisis because you have not embraced your ability to shape your own life. Yes, it feeds your addiction to adrenaline. Yes, it’s like sticking a needle in your arm. Yes, stop pretending you are the victim of one man’s rage and another man’s affection. Yes, that means the new man cannot steal you away without your consent. Yes, if you don’t like who you are becoming, stop. Yes, you need to see a psychologist, end your relationships, get a restraining order if necessary. Yes, it’s time to shut this chapter of your life and start over. Yes, that means now. Whoops! Only the first two responses are answers to your questions, but you might find my other thoughts useful, too.

Meditation of the week

A prowler stole a metal “Blessings” sign from a planter on my front porch, an evil-eye protection medallion from my front door and a vintage aluminum lawn chair from my backyard. The prowler also smashed a glass hummingbird feeder on my back porch and lined up slate tiles like little mountains against the side of my house. How was your week?

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