Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The OFG: an introduction

What this tired old blog needs is a series of posts! After all, Olivia at Happy Luau is Being Brave right now, this being season two (I'm so glad her bravery was renewed for another season!), and Patti Digh has done several series over the years: poetry months, going-through-the-alphabet months (I still am a bit stunned that she rejected my suggestion of "xyst" as the X word/topic)--both forward and back--and I have decided it is time to contribute.

There is the Sacred Life focus which has been constant here (well, at least weekly since I completed the every-day-for-a-month initial challenge almost a year ago) because it is what prompted me to start this blog in the first place. Carla Blazek is my Matron Saint.

But what about the wisdom of the old fat guy? What about that? It is a running joke on my team at work, the references to the OFG. It's a little like the ancient commercial, "Give it to Mikey! Yeah! He won't eat it...he hates everything... Hey, he likes it!!" mixed with a little Eastern philosophy (after all, who was Buddha if not an old fat guy?).

So, off we go on the OFG adventure.

Patience with yourself...

I can still recall the first time I was really disappointed in myself. It was junior high school, and I had done a speech in class which was recorded by the teacher. She encouraged us to learn from our mistakes by taking her comments and listening to a replay of our speeches with those comments in mind.

It was the first time I had heard my own voice when it wasn't coming out of my own mouth. You can imagine the disillusionment! When we talk, we have the advantage of hearing ourselves both through the air, and through bone conduction--that's where the richness of our own voices comes from: the sound conducted inside our own bodies, added to the sound our ears pick up from the sound waves in the air around us.

I did my best to get better at public speaking, yet I harbored that disappointment for years. Did everyone hear me as having so thin a voice, one with no timbre or depth at all? It drove me to avoid a passion, one secretly held for decades, to be a singer. Instead, I took up the trumpet because I loved music too much to avoid it entirely.

In the process of overcoming that self-doubt, I learned the importance of providing to myself the same gentle patience which I offered to those around me. No, I don't pretend I am always patient with others. Yet, I found I was ten times more patient with others than I was with myself.

Then, I discovered a bit of magic: if you are nice to yourself, you will see improvements in the very areas which were prompting your low self-image. When you think about it, it is really not startling. We respond to our own encouraging thoughts equally well as we do to the encouraging words of others.

So, today's OFG message is, be patient with yourself. When you fall short, look for the improvement from last time and praise that. If there was none, look to the value of persistance in seeking improvement and praise that persistance. You get the idea: be patient. Be supportive. You are worth it!


Olivia said...

This is great, Rick, a very important message.

Isn't it odd, though, because your voice is deep and sonorous now. You don't still have a fear of public speaking, do you?

It must feel wonderful to see your dreams realized in your children when they are their dreams as well. I can only imagine the joy of this!

Peace and blessings and patience,


patti digh said...

It wasn't so much a rejection of your "X" word as a...well, rejection. ;-)

Love this advice - and the voice story, having recently been told by my publisher that I need to be more perky and excited when I talk.

I did that for one podcast interview and felt the way I did once when I tried to teach a training session like a very energetic friend of mine - felt a fool for trying to be someone else.

Back to my deep monotone for me... thanks for this lesson!

Rick Hamrick said...

O--I definitely have no trouble with public speaking now. Thanks for the compliment on my voice as it sounds to you!

You are so right that I love seeing my children succeed, and it only sweetens the deal when they do so in areas in which I would have loved to have participated when I was their age and did not.

Patti! It's great to see you here at my little place. Thanks for clarifying the saga of the "X". Not that I find it all that comforting, but thanks!

For the record, I found your voice interesting to listen to in the couple of chances I have had to hear it. No, it is not the perky, full-of-energy voice of the morning DJ, but it is silly for your publisher to think it needs to be.

With your voice and intonation, you can convey so much more with less theatrics. In other words, I believe people will listen to you more closely, and that's the perfect situation for someone offering information which requires of the listener a quiet mind. Your voice says, "Pay attention or you will miss the good stuff."

I hope you both will be back for more OFG chapters!