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Hello Dear Readers,
I hope this finds you well. It’s been a bit quiet on this front and here’s why.
Recently I was confronted with a very serious ethical matter necessitating that I take action. This action has cost me thousands of dollars in legal fees, loss of what I thought were authentic colleagues , etc.
What has struck me is people’s reactions and comments to the situation. Those reactions/comments have included everything from:
- Just ignore it
- What are you trying to get out of it
- Keep me out of it
- Not your/my problem
- Oh well
- I’m staying for the check
- Pretend it never happened
- Just sue , get paid a bunch of money, shut up about it and move on.
As those of you with a conscience might imagine, I’ve been rather shocked by the above reactions. Like you, I’m not wired that way.
Curious as to the above cowardice, I did a little digging and uncovered a rather disturbing phenomena called,
“THE BYSTANDER EFFECT”
The Bystander Effect is explained well here by Dr. Lenhert :
In social psychology there is a concept called the Bystander Effect, in which the likelihood of someone responding to a situation decreases as the number of people witnessing the situation increases.
This diffusion of responsibility that happens when more than one person witnesses the same injustice on the one hand is somewhat understandable (people seem to think someone else will deal with the problem, or if others are not reacting they shouldn’t either) but at the same time baffling and disturbing. It seems counterintuitive to think the more people are available to help another human being when they need it, the less likely that person is to actually be helped.
Rather disturbing right? But think about it. We see this bystander effect often in sexual harassment cases, college sexual assault investigations, politics and countless other situations.
How sad it is that others avoid personal responsibility and look to others to right a wrong. Where is the sense of personal and societal responsibility? How does one live with oneself? Is a title/paycheck really worth one’s integrity or reputation?
So inspired in large part by my lunch with Gretchen Carlson (formerly of Fox News), I’ve decided to do something brave, true and hard. It’s not popular and several others (with the exception of one) have chosen to turn the other way and predictably, shoot the messenger. I’m actually quite sad for them as I don’t believe this will end well for any of them.
But you know what? I am “putting my right shoes on” and pressing on. I’m not going to be bullied out of doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is more important than money to me. I’ve chosen not to stand by and let others be duped, careers and reputations be destroyed or worse. I will speak the truth. My silence can’t be bought. (Surprising coming out of a lawyer -eh?) Stay tuned.
As I watch the marches and the protests across our great nation, I am encouraged that others are getting “their right shoes on” and are no longer willing to be bystanders either.
Will you stand up for what is right and true in your profession and/or life or will you be a “bystander” too? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
You’re in a rut, stuck, feeling discouraged. Maybe even numb or fearful. We’ve all been there, right? I know I have. Last spring I had the worst writer’s block and couldn’t find my way out. It was awful!
When you’re in this place, what do you do?
Plain and simple-you’ve got to take your power back. Whatever’s haunting you, scaring you, keeping you stuck… you’ve got to face it head and grab your power. But exactly how do you do that?
FIVE STEPS TO TAKING YOUR POWER BACK
- Make A Decision: Sounds cheeky, right? Well, hang on and don’t skip this part. Remember that the situation remains in your life until you decide to make a difference. That’s the thing that most people miss. The real power is in the decision folks. Sure, what you decide is important in the long run but it’s the decision itself that gets you unstuck.
- Put your Support Team in Place: Yes, yes, yes, this sounds all touchy-feely but take me at my word and just do it. Whether you call it your “squad”, advisory board, circle of mentors, lawyers or your book club, make them aware of your decision and ask them to hold you accountable to that decision. Life inevitably throws us curves; our responsibility is to plan in advance for them and a support team helps us do them.
- Write your ideal scenario: Often times when we feel stuck in our job, circumstance, relationship, we can’t see the forest through the trees. When this happens to me, I feel like I’m in quick-sand and every step is a total slog. I’ve found the best way out of that gunk is to write my perfect scenario of the situation.
- Ask yourself the following:
How do I want it to look?
What are the baby steps I might need to take in the future to get there?
How do I want to feel in this scenario?
(For me, this last question is the most important.)
You will find that for the above to work authentically, you must give these questions rigorous thought and real work. Go deep and then write it down.
4. Find The Authentic Thought Leaders: Once you’ve written your ideal scenario, then it’s time to look outside of yourself. Who are the thought leaders on this issue? Who’s doing it differently, how are they doing it and why? Do they act out of integrity or are they a fraud? How can you work their ideas into your ideal scenario? Some of my thought leaders I turn to are:
Elon Musk: Innovator of all Innovators
Founder of Medtronic, Philanthropist, Authentic Leader: Bill George
Sarah Young: Author & Inspirational Writer
5. Harness The Power of LinkedIn: People ask me all the time, what’s the best online venue to network or get new ideas. Yes, I’m a Twitter junkie for news but LinkedIn is my go to. Despite its lousy customer service, LinkedIn’s power and reach never fail me. Take a class and learn how to really use it to your advantage.
As so many of us struggle with this, I’ll be writing more on this topic in the future.
So I ask you, what do you do to take your power back? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Let’s help each other, shall we?
Hello! Wow, did last week’s blog post on 2017 purging ever strike a chord. It seems that I am not the only one that needs to purge things and people from my life!
Interestingly, I received all sorts of emails from folks asking me not to purge them. Oh sheesh, no worries there!
Let me be clear: I am only purging those who have behaved in such dysfunctional/non-productive ways and have made no attempt to clear the air or apologize. And mostly, I am purging “stuff” that no longer serves me.
I also received many more emails and messages and folks who were of the same mindset. Maybe this nasty election did us all in. The acrimony was beyond!
In any event, one of the questions that I’ve repeatedly gotten from readers is this:
“How do you get rid of stuff so easily?”
Well for one I’ve moved alot which makes it easy. But mostly I adopt the following question:
“Do I really, really love it?”
If the answer is no, it’s donated, consigned to my favorite consignment store, To Be Continued, or give it to someone I love.
I ignore the silly “rules” about whether I’ve worn it or not in the last year. I have things in my closet that I haven’t worn in over a year but because I love them so much, know that I will wear them again.
So I’m curious, what works for you when you need to purge stuff?
Patty Comeford Adams, JD
Assumptions are very dangerous things, especially in our personal lives. Assumptions get people in trouble daily and when combined with misinformation, are frankly downright disrespectful. They manifest as accusations, unkind words and often gossip.
Think I am alone in that belief? Not so much. author don Miguel Ruiz, in his well-regarded best seller puts it this way:
“If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”
― Miguel Ruiz,
The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth! We invent a whole story that’s only truth for us, but we believe it. One assumption leads to another assumption; we jump to conclusions, and we take our story very personally. Then we blame others and react by sending emotional poison with our word. (Emphasis added).
That said, I recognize everyone has a bad day, a bad week and forgiveness is often in order. But perhaps the next time you are tempted to make assumptions, you might want to communicate, ask questions if appropriate, apologize and promise to do better the next time.
ps…This post in no way was inspired by family members near or far. xo
Patty Comeford Adams
I’m officially declaring the 2017 the year of the PERSONAL PURGE. Want to join me? Read on.
Early last summer, while we were in Jackson Hole, I came to the painful realization that certain people I had in my personal life were either ripping me off, not reciprocating, causing trouble in close relationships, not doing their job, treating those I love with disrespect, or gossiping etc etc. Ouch, right?
Some of these are people were people I loved and cared for immensely, entertained in my home, did work for me or ones I mistakenly considered friends. Double ouch.
But as the old saying goes, “Once shame on you. Twice shame on me”. So shame on them and shame on me -but no more!
So with that wisdom, here is some straight talk on what I am purging in 2017:
Personal One-sided Relationships:
If I have shown up for you and you don’t bother to show up for me and I have expressed that concern and you did nothing. Then sorry— our friendship is probably doomed. Friendships mean the world to me. My women friends have saved me over and over again whether it be the loss of my parents, moving, sale of a business or what-not. I take them seriously. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but what I do know is this: I am a fiercely loyal friend, I show up for you. Also, I straight talk with you and expect you to straight talk with me.
If you spend connecting with people by gossiping about them, it’s pretty simple. I am sad for you. And I am purging you.
If you run around to acquaintances/friends/business associates playing the victim, all I can say is this: Everyone knows what you are up to and nobody respects you. I spoke my truth recently to a man who has left his wife in the lurch. His response was to be a victim and blame it all on her. Quite telling, mais oui?
Related to #1, if all you do is take from me and my family (money, our possessions, our time) and don’t give back to the world or others, you are gone. As the Judge that I worked for all through law school used to say, “Patty, you don’t have to be smart to be a criminal”. Enough said.
If you mess with my family, people I love and care about, my authentic friends, you too are gone.
Clothes and More Clothes:
I have purged my closet to its core. Truth be told, much of this was the result of losing 20 pounds (10 0f which are back) when I was so sick this summer but does it ever feel good to get rid of stuff ! Getting rid of stuff is often painful for all of us. In this case it wasn’t because I donated much of it to my dear blogger/friend/social worker extraordinaire Susan Kanoff Andrews and her amazing blog and new and widely popular charity, Uncommon Threads.
But the real magic in all of this is that one I purged the above, wonderful things happened. A new home. New loving friendships. New possibilities. All of this purging is so liberating. I feel so very free and have so much more time for those I love and love me.
Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!
A big thank you to Jeanne Comeford, Cathy Comeford, my husband, Jessica Adams, Jocelyn Vodnick, Carolyn Brown, Tonia Maloney, Kelly Richardson, Rebecca Bond, bff Patty Hamm (pictured above), book maven Andrea Katz @grtthoughts, and Twitter sweetheart Sharon Antonio. Last but not least, a thank you to my adorable granddaughters and grandsons who give me strength and hope every day. No, I’m not your biological grandma but I sure am blessed to have you in my life and I love you to the moon and back. xoxo.