In the second month of Season 1 of #Fire5atPhoenix, we had four more amazing guests.
The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship we have, and one that has an impact on every other relationship.
This topic was deliberately left open so that the guests could bring different topics and angles to the conversation. It resulted in some incredibly powerful conversations and out of that some great hints, tips and advice for the listener.
Each episode is full of rich conversation, 'talking about relationships'.
Episode 1 with Daniel Edozie
Dan is a professional basketball player, a youth mentor and an inspirational speaker.
In this episode, we talk about grounding who you are, connecting with yourself and who you are, and want to be plus identifying what is important to you.
We talked about our own experiences of creating that relationship with ourselves, and also how it has felt at times in our life when we have lost that connection, and the importance of taking that time and focus to work on reconnecting and strengthening it.
Finding yourself and who you are, personal growth and how that looks and feels, is a very individual and unique journey, there can often be a pressure to 'have it all worked out' and sometimes we can be in control of this, and at other times life experiences are what help create and shape who we become and that inner confidence we have as a result.
We talked about living in alignment with our values and having that sense of direction. Knowing who you are and what is important to you, can help with having inner confidence, self-assurance and awareness that you are grounded and have the inner stability to continue to move forward and through the challenges of life.
We talked about values, purpose and the relationship with yourself being like a solid inner core. The outer part of you grows, evolves and changes yet the inner core is what drives and is fundamentally who you are.
We discussed how relationships with others can add to it, and why it is important to work on the connection and relationship with yourself first so that you can then offer that to others.
Having a good healthy relationship with yourself helps others to create a healthy positive relationship with other people.
Dan shared how this can often be uncomfortable as we work out who we are and that there is a risk of looking to others to shape who we are, rather than using our own learning and experiences to choose how we want to shape who we are becoming.
Letting go, and learning when to let things go is part of how we can strengthen what is important and healthy.
We are our most important resource, and so investing in that resource is so incredibly important, it needs to be looked after and cannot sit and lie stagnant. Learning from our experiences, learning from others, adds more tools to our toolbox to help us continue to evolve and grow.
The more we develop our resources the more resources we have to use to help us make the most of life.
Episode 2 with Kelly Armstrong
Kelly is a mum, a strongwoman competitor, a hairdresser and a business owner.
Her first question asked about building a positive relationship with yourself but keeping it in balance so that it doesn't become overconfident or seen/perceived as cocky.
Self-confidence and self-assurance look and feel different to different people. What may feel in balance for you, may appear 'overdone' to others depending on where they are with their self-confidence.
Self-awareness plays a big part in this however we talked about how often the overconfident and cocky behaviour is actually an individual trying to mask lack of confidence.
We talked about toxic relationships and friendships, noticing when these relationships are no longer healthy, noticing what it is about the relationship that is making it feel toxic for you. What has changed in the dynamic, why does it no longer feel positive and healthy?
We have the choice to distance or remove ourselves from that connection or we can choose to have a conversation with that person and explain how we feel, and what we notice to give them the opportunity to resolve and work it through. We have to decide if we feel this can be resolved and if it is worthwhile investing our effort and energy into this.
'Friends for a reason, season or lifetime'. How does the end of a friendship impact how we feel about ourselves?
Acceptance of what that friendship has given us, being grateful for the part that person has played in a part of life and our journey can help us to appreciate the value without feeling like we have to hold on to something that no longer has the same purpose.
Our life flows, at times people flow with us in the same direction and with shared value and purpose. Trying to hold on to something/someone, that is flowing in a different direction or at a different pace can feel negative and uncomfortable as it is forcing someone off their own course and disrupting the flow of your own. Let go, accept, appreciate, and flow.
We also talked about how we can help young people have more confidence and build that relationship with themselves. We both agreed that paying young people compliments on character, behaviour, and effort/enthusiasm rather than looks, ability or achievement, can help them learn what is important for/to them, self-acceptance of their uniqueness, and how they are contributing to the world.
Kelly asked why we are more accepting of ourselves when we get older. We both shared our experiences of how life has helped us to work out what is important, what is worth fighting for, learning to accept things and let go and how this is a significant part of knowing and understanding ourselves and improving that relationship with our self and becoming confident in who we are.
Episode 3 with Jo Richards
Jo is a Happiness Coach and describes herself as a 'connector of people'.
Jo asked me what I notice is the most common problem for people when working on their relationship with themselves? I talked about identity, in particular, who we are when we are not wearing an 'identity hat' and in a role, partner, employee, business owner, parent etc. We talked about how people can work on this, and how 'ikigai' is a great tool/framework to help people to find their purpose and their 'reason to be'.
Finding out what is important, what lights your fire and what is meaningful. I shared how a favourite part of coaching for me is helping people to notice what it is that excites them, watching how body language changes when people talk about the things that are important.
We then moved on to the most common problem people have in their relationships with others. We talked about the importance of communication and also the importance of knowing what it is you want to communicate and that is why the relationship with yourself is so important in building relationships with others.
How can you communicate with others to help them understand if you don't understand it yourself?
Listening, acknowledging, checking they have understood as you intended are so important.
Our relationships with others can often be influenced by previous relationships and interactions with others in the past. We talked about the key principle of mindfulness in staying present, being in the moment and leaving past experience and judgement aside.
Finally, we talked about the key to lifelong happiness with ourselves and others. Jo asked what habits can help with this.
We talked about appreciation and gratitude. We are all a work in progress however it is important to show appreciation for who you are and where you are at. Everything that you have contributed to, those who you have contributed to. and those who have contributed to your journey.
The appreciation for the lessons we have received, even the tough lessons that have helped us to grow and evolve.
Genuine, mindful, in the moment appreciation.
We also talked about the power of showing up as your authentic self. How this helps build the relationship with yourself and also attracts and creates relationships with others who want to connect with the real you.
Can you say; " I know I don't fit with what you think and feel life should be like, or agree with the choices I make, however, I wake up happy and I go to bed fulfilled, and I am good with that".
We then had a discussion of the relationship between parent and child. How we support them to build a relationship with themselves and guide and support their relationship with others. The balance between fulfilling our needs as a parent and also not losing our own identity so that all needs are met within that role and also the importance of helping them learn by 'showing' them what good, healthy relationships look like.
Episode 4 with Jamel Watkis
Jamel is a husband and father of 3. Jamel stated his intention right at the beginning, to ask some challenging questions and come with a different angle to the other guests.
An approach I welcomed!
Jamel asked if the recent events, the black lives matter protests in response to the murder of George Floyd, on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, had impacted people's wider relationships, in particular their relationships with their community.
Jamel asked about my relationship with my community and people around me, in particular after the protest events in Bristol and the toppling of the Colston Statue.
I answered honestly, as I promised I would. The events had made me aware that my knowledge, awareness and connection with people from different backgrounds, cultures and communities to my own. I shared that I wanted to learn more, to use this as an opportunity to listen and hear other people's experiences and acknowledge experiences to enable me to strengthen and increase relationships with people, communities and my city.
Jamel then brought the conversation on to the relationship between communities and the Police. I shared that I was incredibly proud to have worked for the police for 20 years and that I worked with some amazing people who were (and still are) passionate and intentional about doing their very best for the communities they serve and keeping people safe.
I shared my opinion that the institution nationally had work to do. That both the police and the communities had to challenge their bias, challenge their negative and unconscious bias and to proactively listen and work to understand how they can work together to move things forward.
I felt that both the police and communities wanted to improve this relationship and that this needed listening, understanding, less talking and more listening and recognition and learning from past mistakes. I also shared that this was also the case across other organisations that serve communities, education, health, social and community services.
We talked about the need for change and how building these relationships, one that is trusting and open, alongside a true representation of society, is a key part of making change happen.
This was a powerful conversation - one I definitely recommend you listen to in full. (Time stamped link here)
Jamel finally asked about my relationship with friends and family and how that has been impacted by lockdowns and social distance restrictions.
I shared that as an introvert being home was not the challenge for me as it was for others, however, it was nice to see family and friends in person again especially as many family members had been in full isolation as high risk.
Jamel shared his experiences as a key worker, how he had seen a lot of humanity. I used the opportunity to throw a question back to him to ask him more about his experiences over the past few months.
He shared the positives, kindness, community, support, and the negatives, seeing selfish behaviours driven by fear and a scarcity mindset.
This brought the conversation around to our earlier discussions about fear and division and the power of coming together, understanding and cohesion of communities and working together for the shared human needs of survival. #StrongerTogether
There was then a very bizarre analogy about toilet roll and power - I'll let you hear that one for yourself!
A great conversation with lots taken away and insights into different perspectives.
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