The power of surrounding yourself with people who energise you

There have been lots of ups and downs in my life and at the moment I am in a very good space and determined to stay there. However some very special people close to me are struggling and I see myself in them and so want to help. But I have learned along the way the only person who can really change you is yourself. What I can do is share my journey and hope it turns the light on and like me they will see how much joy they can bring to the world and most importantly to themselves.

When things get on top of you and you just want to run away from everyone and everything and hide, the well meaning so often recommend shrinks and pills. For me the power was in extensive personal development and this has been my journey for the last 5 years. I would like to share with you part of a recent presentation session I enjoyed as part of our Young Farming and Eco Champions workshops so much so I repeated it again for our farm team.

The YECs and YFCs and now our farm team are very blessed to work with Annie Burbrook who was recommended to me by some-one at Win 4 where she does their voice-overs ( one of her many talents). Annie is one of a number of very special people who changed my life to enable me to work on being the very best person I can be. 

Here are some highlights for me from the presentation “Learn to ask for help”

“We need to put the idea of “self-care as selfish” behind us for good.”

It is very common for people to struggle with asking for and receiving help.

“Sometimes my natural default is to want to be in charge by doing things myself. And over time, this “I’ll do it myself” mentality has turned into…

“Hi, I’m General Manager of the Universe and you need to do this my way and in my time to get me happy”.

What follows from there isn’t pretty.

Eventually I proudly wear the cloak of martyr, and everyone pays the price. I get bitchy and resentful and I end up feeling painfully alone”. Cheryl Richardson

This is often driven by

  • The desire to control possible conflict or disappointment.
  • The desire to control the perception of others by not appearing weak.
  • The desire to be the one who is less indebted to others.

This desire to control has an impact on others as well.

We often wound our most important relationships.

We can become critical and overbearing with loved ones and co-workers causing them to feel inadequate, frustrated or incapable of handling the simplest task.

The key is to take up the challenge to ask for help long before you need it.

Rather than complain about how others have let you down, see your frustration as an indication that something needs to change.

Ask people to help instead of being a hero by attempting to do it all yourself all the time.

Be careful of over giving

When we over give it is often a sign that…

  1. .A need isn’t being met.
  2. An emotion isn’t being expressed.
  3. .A void isn’t getting filled.

In some way we are feeling deprived.

“No one appreciates the things I do.” means

“I take on way too much, hoping that someone will notice and tell me how good I am or how grateful they are”.

Think about the ways – big and small – in which you deprive yourself of what you need.

When you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, burdened or resentful it is time to ask yourself…

  • What do I want right now?
  • What do I need more of?
  • What do I need less of?
  • What am I yearning for?

Maybe you need to

  • Get more sleep.
  • Develop a creative outlet.
  • Create friendships that leave you feeling energised.
  • Consider ways to have more fun.
  • Seek out an adventure.
  • Have some time out by yourself.

For me the answer has been to create friendships that leave me feeling energised and stay away from the people in the world who only see the negatives.

How many people do you know who only see 1000 reasons why something shouldn’t be done?. I don’t know about you but I find far too many of those people at all levels in agriculture

Now to the story this morning that inspired this post. Thanks to my regular dose of Bushbelles I read this superb article by Richard Glover “Step into the Sunlight” which I have cut and pasted and copied for you here. May I strongly suggest you take the time to read it, its wonderful and this type of thinking changed my life …………

A couple of years ago I bought two massive china pots and installed them on each side of the back door. I filled both with wheelbarrow loads of sweet-smelling compost and planted four gardenia seedlings in each. The pot on the left now offers a profusion of foliage, a tangle of branches bristling with life, while the pot on the right has a few struggling twigs and some stunted lonely leaves looking ready to die.IMG_6689

Funnily enough I have two pots on my verandah that fit this description perfectly. Here they are. This week I decided to cut them both back so they look pretty much the same, gave the sad and sick one a bunch of flowers and a second chance and looking forward to seeing if it can have a “Step into the sunlight” revival

The way the sun angles in under the verandah roof has created slightly different conditions for the two pots. They’re only half a metre apart but the result is dramatic: Garden of Eden on one side; nuclear winter on the other.

They say Australians are obsessed with real estate, and maybe it’s true. Deep in our national story there’s the idea that the most important thing is ”position, position, position”.

Australia’s European history begins in 1788 with the dumping of the human detritus of Britain: people who were poor, mostly ill-educated, criminal. Even in the world before genetics, the First Fleeters were the ultimate example of what would have been called ”bad stock”.

Yet, repositioned in the sunlight, they flourished. Given proper conditions, the most seemingly miserable of people could grow tall and true. In the young colony many did so almost instantly, as if the First Fleet were a nursery of struggling and misshapen plants that just needed a splash of water and a shaft of sunlight to come good.

This was Australia’s first big discovery: the soil is more important than the seed. Add it to the list that later included Vegemite, the medical use of penicillin, the hills hoist and the bionic ear.

To some degree, all of us struggle or flourish according to where we are positioned. Our lives can be hard or easy depending on where the pot is placed. More remarkably, the real estate mantra – position, position, position – can even change the way we feel and behave from day to day.

Most of us, I think, have had this experience: behaving quite differently according to the people in the room at the time. With some people we feel in perpetual shadow; with others, the sunlight seems to angle in and we are aglow.

”What must Warren Whatchamacallit think of me,” you wonder after yet another night in which you were dull, tongue-tied or anxious, letting the discussion whirl around you without taking part. If only you could explain: ”I’m only like this, Warren, when I’m with you. With other people I can be quite good fun.”

With one friend you feel as if you are quite intelligent, discussing erudite issues of politics or literature. You are witty, insightful; the right phrase springs into your mouth at the right time. The very next night, in the company of someone else, you feel dumb and boring. Anxiety or insecurity grips so strongly that the right word, the witty phrase, can never fight its way through to the surface.

Even worse can be the experience of visiting your parents in the company of a friend. Suddenly your sunny self disappears and you find yourself transformed into the grunting, sullen 15-year-old of 10 years before, locked in a dysfunctional relationship with your mother or father or older sister. On your way out the door, you half-wish your friend would reassure your family: ”You know, when you’re not around, he’s not like this at all. He’s actually quite normal.”

I’ve been thinking about the subtleties of positioning – how the sunlight can hit us when we are standing on this spot, but not in this other spot – since a conversation last week. A group of fiftysomethings and twentysomethings had been talking about the notion of one’s ”best self”. Your ”best self” is that self who is open and interested, sometimes entertaining, sometimes erudite, sometimes caring. The ”best self” is the person that reflects your own sense of who you want to be.

The question was asked: with which people are you your best self, and with which your worst self? The discussion was long and revealing, but one moment stood out. One 25-year-old man said to his fiftysomething ”aunty”: ”I think I’m my best self, or at least my funniest self, when I’m with you.”

Overwhelmed, the aunty – best friend of the boy’s mother – found tears in her eyes. That’s hardly surprising. The best compliment you can pay someone is to say, ”I like the person I am when I’m with you”.

Personalities form early: that is true. We are a product of our genes: also true. The position of the pot, though, makes such a difference.

Why, then, don’t we strive harder to move into the sun? Why don’t we spend more time with those who bring out our best selves, and less with those who bring a nuclear winter? Perhaps we could all send out the mental note: ”Warren Whatchamacallit, I know I’m booked in for a barbecue with you on Saturday week but suddenly I find that I am busy. I’m off to spend time with people who think I’m fabulous. And guess what? When I’m with them, I mostly prove them right.”

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

5 thoughts on “The power of surrounding yourself with people who energise you”

  1. Thank you for the mention and I absolutely loved and related to this post. My son has recently been diagnosed with autism and to say it has ripped our world apart is an understatement. Now the crisis and shock have passed I am needing to find out how to move on and up and am reading everything I can get my hands on to do just that. My one thought is ‘how do people who have been through a crisis move on’? I know its all a process and we will come out of this better all round and am finding that yes surrounding myself with good people is key to that. Thank you for the inspirational read. xx

  2. Hi Julia,
    I’ve just interviewed a parents of autistic kids for Melbourne’s Child (I think it’s going to be in the October or November editions of MC and its sister publications nationally) and found that universally, they took a few years to come to terms with the diagnosis.

    What amazed me was that once they got beyond the shock and learning stages, they genuinely felt autism had added rather than detracted from their families.

    One of the important messages parents were desperate to pass on was the importance of great support and that small communities were often much better at offering that than cities.

    Another thing that they passed on as being critical was getting to know the system. There are lots of different service providers and lots of different funding sources, which can be hard to find. Seek out other parents who have “been there and done that” and pick their brains. I know you’re a really resourceful person, which seems very important. All the parents spoke of just how critical it is to be a “good advocate” for their children.

    One wise parent told me that it helps to remember that each of the stages is like a changing season: you won’t be stuck there forever. It does get better. Good luck and, if I can help with a few contacts, DM me on Twitter @milkmaidmarian

  3. Gosh, I just realised I have read your piece in Canberra’s Child and kept it aside in ‘my pile’. Was a great article for me to read. I didnt realise you were the author…. Thanks again.

  4. Sorry for the bad grammar and all – when I read your comment, I wanted to reply immediately but it was in the midst of the “witching hour” here and my attention was a little compromised! 😉

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