Setting Intentions for the Holidays

We judge others by their actions, and we judge ourselves by our intentions. Yet, how often do these intentions cause us emotional disconnect and discord? When was the last time you took your own intention inventory?

November 30, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:01  
Hey everyone. Welcome to the self awareness Journey podcast. I'm Melissa Albers.

Unknown Speaker  0:06  
And I'm JJ Parker. This podcast is for seekers, seekers of happiness and joy seekers of a centered approach to success in life. Seekers of their true authentic selves.

Melissa Albers  0:17  
Get ready for some real talk on everything from anxiety, emotions and habits. To love, compassion and forgiveness. We know you'll be challenged and enlightened by this conversation. We're so glad you're here. Let's dive in.

Unknown Speaker  0:34  
This weekend, I frantically put up all of our Christmas lights, because like everyone knows were in Minnesota. Right? So it was like, kinda nice. It wasn't nice. No, it was 40s. So I was like, Oh, I gotta get the Christmas lights out. Like, right now. So Saturday. I got them all up. And no kidding. It snowed, like 30 minutes later.

Melissa Albers  1:02  
So it was view. It's kind of Yes. So every time I wash my car, it's gonna rain. Just gonna start telling everyone on the pod. Oh, by the way, I'm washing my car this week, FYI.

Unknown Speaker  1:12  
Totally. But I was like, in a little bit of like a, I don't know, like, fall frantic. holidays are coming kind of state right? Like, gotta get gotta get this stuff done. Got to get these things off my checklist.

Melissa Albers  1:31  
Right, right. Right, right. I agree. And everybody is feeling great pressure to get stuff done right now.

Unknown Speaker  1:38  
Yeah. And I was just thinking like, where anxiety is generally a little higher than normal. Like, right? Like, I'd say, like, you know that the rising tide of anxiety. The tide is pretty high right. Now.

Melissa Albers  1:54  
That's such a good way to say that you're talking about you don't mean for you? You mean just in general, just in general? Yes. Yeah, I've noticed that too. And the multiple companies that I work with it that is so true. There's like, the way I would even describe it a little further is, it isn't just anxiety. It's like this amped up energy that is attached to more emotion. Like people feel more emotional right now. And then you add the anxiety of something on top of it. And people are behaving kind of badly, to be honest. Yeah. I've know. I know that sounds judgy. I don't mean it to sound judging. People aren't operating in their best selves. A lot of a lot of the time right now.

Unknown Speaker  2:41  
Right, I angst delay put up the Christmas lights. Merry Christmas. Well, um, what? So what? For me what what I was thinking about while I was hurt Well, while I was doing that, yeah, I was like, I, you know, we talked about this a lot. Like there's an expectation like, wow, the expectation is that, like, we have the Christmas lights set up, right. But, you know, personally, I've been very, very busy. Like stretching myself really thin. You have Yeah, and yeah. Like, was it really all that important to get the Christmas lights up? Probably not. I was just thinking like, am I just making making life harder for myself by Yeah, trying to do these things? Especially these tradition things that maybe I can let go on a little bit?

Melissa Albers  3:38  
Yeah. Well, I like this. I like this that you're talking about that you said, you make things harder on yourself. And I think we all do that. I think we all make things harder on ourselves than necessary. Yesterday, I had the same thing happened totally different topic, but it was kind of the same thing. Like one of the things that I was that I used to do a lot is I would almost sabotage myself. So what I mean is I would have an idea of something that I really wanted or that I was trying to show I could do or just something like that some some sort of really deep desire. And then I would get kind of a fear that I couldn't have it for whatever reason like Oh, but what if what if what if what if right that all living in the what if instead of what is I was just so good at that and as a result, though, I would end up sabotaging the things that I would really want because even if I did get them I had attached so much energy around, what if I can't and and what would this look like that I almost talked myself out of it. I happened a lot and that was a pattern that was really ingrained in me for a really long time. And I feel like yesterday, I had that happen in a really little small thing, but I was like, Oh my gosh, there it is. Right. And it was so And it Mitch actually called me out on it, which he usually is. So

Unknown Speaker  5:05  
He's usually not calling you out on things. Never

Melissa Albers  5:07  
always. So He's so kind and so patient and I said something and he said, Melissa, it's like you're sabotaging yourself. And as soon as I heard that word, I almost, I just was like, Oh my gosh, I'm making this so much harder than I need to. Yeah. And it was a, it was around something completely stupid. By the way, it was like, it was like Christmas thing, you know. So it was not a consequential subject, but I had so much energy built up around it. That I was making it way harder on myself, of all the ways I was thinking about it, I spending so much energy thinking about it.

Unknown Speaker  5:44  
So it seems to me, we I just love you. And I asked that. But we could maybe it's broader tend to like, make like, right, like make things more complicated. Or, or, or do more and do more. Until the point where it's like too much. Yes. Or, like you said it causes a ruckus, right. So, right. What's this? Why do we Why do some of us tend to like, try to do more, commit more ship more produce more? Yeah. So it's going the other way? Which should be like, simplifying, do last. Right? Yeah, I went, there must be like a human tendency in there. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  6:33  
Well, first of all, I love the question. And see now you pose the question. So now, you know, according to the podcast, I have to answer first. Yeah, those

Unknown Speaker  6:42  
are the podcast rules.

Melissa Albers  6:43  
You thought of the creative question first, so that whoever says the question, the other one,

Unknown Speaker  6:48  
put you on the spot.

Melissa Albers  6:51  
I think, I think a lot of the reason that we do these things is habit. I think it's habitual. Mm hmm. This need to prove is habitual. And I don't think that we actually in our souls, really believe that. But we just do what's habitual, it's easier, it's easier to not think about it differently. It's easier to not change a habit. It's like, Oh, I like for example, we're talking Christmas is coming up. And if you don't celebrate Christmas, certainly it's the holidays, you know, Jewish holiday, several other holidays. So there's amped up family expectation in here as well. Lots of expectation, the season of expectation is upon us. And so much of those seasonal things, our family tradition, habits, this is what we do to make this look and feel a certain way. And I think we do that in our day to day stuff, too. Yeah. Why do you ever

Unknown Speaker  7:58  
I think that certainly part of it is habit. But I think like, you know, as someone who like is I'd say like a high producer, right, like at work I produce a lot. Yeah, I side projects. I produce a lot. Yeah. Yeah. Like it's just like probably part of my own self worth. Yeah, this is my own internal thing. My own self worth is the amount of stuff I can do. So like in that way more is more, right. But more is not more more generally leads to like, either, like sunburn. Yeah, maybe in crabby doing it and being crabby. Or, you know, like the result is not? Yeah, like, what, what I would intend but yeah, I think for me, I think it's, it's part of, like, my, like, the identity I've made for myself. I don't think anyone else expects it. Like, actually, I wrote this thing. I was doing this like planning thing. Yeah. And an expectation I have for myself, this might sound crazy. Have you ever heard of a company this is started in the software world where you'd have computer programmers. And then some of the computer programmers, we would call 10 xers which means that they could produce 10 times the amount of code as a as a as their peers. Right? So like, one in 50 programmers was a 10 XOR. So they produce like whatever is about their, you know, makeup. Right? So, like I always want to be a 10x or yeah, like I was that when I was a programmer I am that right? Like, you know as a business owner are human and I am. Yeah. And I wrote that I shared that with my wife and she's like, What on earth? Are you? What? Why would you want to be? Why would that be a goal of yours? I was like, actually, that's a pretty good question.

Melissa Albers  10:15  
Do you think it would be really fun or really scary to have our spouses on a podcast with?

Unknown Speaker  10:21  
Oh, it'd be, that would be an episode. But that was that that there? For me? Right would be an example of like, I feel part of my identity as a super high output. Yeah. Person. Yeah. But it's not, you know, I'm not saying that. I'm not bragging that I'm just No, I no more say like, that's not not in a lot of ways a good behavior. Well,

Melissa Albers  10:46  
hang on a second. But don't you just think, though, that coming back that that is what expect you're putting an expectation on yourself? Right, totally. So there it is. It's the setting extreme expectations.

Unknown Speaker  10:59  
And I'm much harsher on myself than other people are. Yes, my, if I don't do it, then I feel bad. If other people if I don't do it, other people. Yeah, I'll even notice or care.

Melissa Albers  11:07  
Well, and I'm trying to recover from being this way. I don't do a great job. As you can see my calendar, no one else does. But I feel the same way in it is very, very stressful. And the funny part about that is when you have such high expectations of yourself, you set more and more high bars. Because you just think, Oh, well, that was a really, really hard goal. And I achieved it. Why didn't I make it harder? So there's even a little energy behind that. That's like, right, even though I knew this was really, really hard. And I did it. It's like, there's no space for grace in this. It's just like, you should have made it higher next time. You will. And you don't really verbalize, I don't verbalize. That's how I think about it. But I guess now that you're talking about it, I'm like, Yep, I do that, too.

Unknown Speaker  11:59  
Melissa and I are huge self awareness nerds. We've been working on this stuff for a really long time. And we love talking about it and sharing it with all of you. We've actually brought all of the stuff we've made into an online course. And we think it's really great. The course starts by learning about yourself, and how your mind body connection works. It dives into your thoughts and feelings. And then helps you learn how to become your true authentic self. Start your journey today. Head to the self awareness journey.com To learn more, and sign up

Unknown Speaker  12:39  
have you ever been flipping through Netflix and then watched one of those documentaries on minimalism? Like yeah, people who like sell all their stuff? And then just like live in a van?

Unknown Speaker  12:51  
Yeah. Well, yeah. Are you talking about those two dudes? There? Are these two?

Unknown Speaker  12:55  
Yeah, there's one about two guys. I did that.

Melissa Albers  12:57  
I asked that one. That was really cool. They I know. That's what they did. And then they went around to like bookstores and did free speaking events on minimalists. And they

Unknown Speaker  13:07  
were they were so nice. I look at that. I'm like, Oh, that looks good. You would never do that. Well. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  13:17  
I'm spending a moment dreaming about this. And the only thing that I think is, well, I do have children they'd need Well, that's okay. There are cell phones.

Unknown Speaker  13:25  
Your children are all grown and you doing that is totally acceptable. Me doing that. With young kids at home would be completely unacceptable. Yeah, it is kind of like a fantasy. When I snap, I'm just gonna be like a guy in a van. I'm not on anything.

Unknown Speaker  13:43  
Oh, I love it. So So you know, we're make Well, I'm just

Unknown Speaker  13:47  
I'm joking about that. Right. But what I'm actually more saying is that, isn't it funny that a fantasy of mine isn't going on some vacation or doing something? It's like actually living a simpler life? Hmm. A fantasy of mine is living a simpler life. Yeah, that seems insightful.

Melissa Albers  14:09  
It does seem really insight for me. Yeah. Well, you know what, though? If you look at your life, like if you look at your life, if you look at my life, we don't have complicated lives. We're just No, I agree. I mean, neither one of us are you know, members have this and have this and do that. Like we we have like a outlet like you have tennis and you have your family and a cabin and but it's not. It's not crazy. Over the top. There are lots of humans that have way more a larger footprint in terms of what society expects of them. And yet we still feel such tremendous pressure. So I think like that's interesting to think about right? Is the reality, a simpler life or The reality is simpler mindset.

Unknown Speaker  15:03  
Oh, that's a good question.

Melissa Albers  15:06  
Yeah. Because because the mindset that we have is, produce, produce, produce achieve achieve achieve, be better than everybody else work harder than not in not in judgment against them, but in judgment against ourselves. We both do that.

Unknown Speaker  15:22  
Yeah, Simplot. Like, you're right can because there are some things that I would say like that I like, but I can do that I'll do right or produce, or like running the business, right? Some people will look at that and say, Oh, my goodness, that is super complicated. There's a lot of moving parts, right? We have like multiple business models, we have multiple go to market strategies, we have a very, we have a fairly complex architecture for, for for, you know, like my various businesses, right? Yeah. To me, that's not hard at all. That's not complicated. That doesn't cause chaos. Right. But my mindset in it, like you're saying, is that this all makes sense. I can operate it with no problem. It's, it's easy for me. That's a mindset. That's, you know, the reality is, is it does have a lot of moving parts that it is complicated, right? But I don't ever think of it that way. So it's not that for me, right. Right. So shifting your mindset around things like that might be causing a little bit of ruckus is interesting.

Melissa Albers  16:40  
Yeah. And I think that, it seems like when something gets when we get triggered by something, you know, in that complication, whatever it might be, it could be work, it may be at home. And, you know, I said something about the holidays, because we're right in the middle of the holiday season, too. So you have all these other expectations that are completely separate from your normal ones. And what's the mindset that you're going into it there too, because Yeah, boy, oh, boy. I used to make 98 dozen cookies every year. 98 doesn't, and minus

Unknown Speaker  17:16  
eight times 12. No,

Melissa Albers  17:19  
plus amounts of cookies, and caramels and chocolate and, and I love doing it. But I it became it became a stressor. Because there were so many I would start the day after Thanksgiving, I would have this whole process. But then everything else got busy too. You know, and I still had this process. And I had these 80 other processes. And my mindset was one of there's no flexibility. This is what we do. This is yeah, this is just what I do. Right? Yeah. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  17:49  
So what, like, what would you suggest? Like, just tactically? Yeah, as we move into? The holiday is, which is generally a busy season for everyone. What are Yeah, you know, work kind of still continues for us where it gets a little lighter. But certainly family stuff amps up, right. So like, how do we not get wrapped around the axle? This coming year, like we do all other past years? Yeah. Are we gonna avoid it this year? No. What's really

Melissa Albers  18:27  
cool about this conversation is there it's more of a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach. I mean, you're asking a really good proactive question.

Unknown Speaker  18:36  
All right, right. Like we're just after Thanksgiving. Yeah. Where we know that the rest of the holiday seasons gonna unfold? And how are we going to get ourselves in the right, right? Headspace? Yeah. And mindset. Yeah, navigate through? Well,

Melissa Albers  18:53  
and again, you know, me, I'm not always just about the head. To me, it's the emotions and the feelings that are attached. And and I think a lot of times when we get going faster, and I think this is for me, the key of this whole conversation is recognizing when we're spread too thin, recognizing when we have angst recognizing when we're over our skis, on projects, on expectations on habitual patterns that are stressing us out. Rather than slowing down, we speed up. And to me, a proactive approach to this whole thing would be the minute you're sensing in your body, in your energy in your heart, in your mind, that you're in angst, is to just slow down for even a minute. What if we, what if we just did that like, like, for example, going into the holiday season? Or going into planning for work or you know, anything that that's that's a quote project? What if we just sat and said, How do I want to feel and be in this? How do I want to be with this? I already know mentally the things that are going to get checked off the list, because that's just what happens. But when this is over, and I look back, how do I want to be recalling how I really felt how I was? What do I really want to be? Do I want to be present? Do I want to be more light than normal? Do I want to be comfortable? Do I want to feel creative? That what's the most important feeling that you want to bring in? And I because I think all things flow from that we lie to ourselves constantly and tell us it's all what we think. We lie about that all the time. And boy, oh, boy, we can we lie about it for days and days and months and months, to ourselves. Like if I just think this way, I just think that way, I just think this way, what if the mindset simply was I'm going to come back to a more basic question of myself, rather than these complex questions that I'm keep asking. And I'm just gonna say, How do I want to be in this? Yeah. That's interesting, right?

Unknown Speaker  21:09  
sudden, your entire like, I like these, setting your intention early, really early. Like we talked about that first four things that maybe are about to happen. Like, before I walk into this meeting, I'm going to set my intention. Before I have this conversation with my spouse, I'm going to set my intention. Yeah. You're saying, hey, let's set the intention for the holidays. Right now, a month before it happens. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  21:37  
Alone, right. And without the input of what other people think you should say, and do and be. It's alone. And what are you choosing that is in your best interest? Yeah, you know, how do I want to be in this? Because Christmas, or the other holidays will come and go. We I will do all the same hustle and bustle. And I can either feel angst and stressed and tired. And almost like, oh, just get this over with? Or wouldn't it be cool if I just was like, I still want to do all those other things. But what I'm not going to do is replace my good feeling with those things. So I want to have the perfect meal for when my family's over. And I want to feel good in the having of it. But if all of a sudden, I don't feel good because I couldn't get two pies made. I couldn't do this. I couldn't do that. And it no longer made me feel good. And I just powered through anyway. What's the point?

Unknown Speaker  22:47  
Yeah, right.

Unknown Speaker  22:48  
What's the point?

Unknown Speaker  22:50  
Here's a question for you. If you set that intention for yourself, right? What are you going to share it with your family? Like I intend to be this way during the holidays? No,

Melissa Albers  23:06  
I don't think Yeah, and I say this a lot in coaching, especially when you're trying something new. When you're in partnership with yourself and your inner being, as we talk about your true self, your authentic self, it's your inner being self, right. When you are in the process of listening to your inner being more. It's not natural for many people. For some it is, you know, people could call that prayer people could call that all sorts of things. However, when you're in partnership with yourself in something new, I often will say, don't share it. Don't share it, just be it. Because by sharing it, the more you talk about it, then other people feel obligated or like they get to weigh in on it in a way that is not appropriate. Because whatever advice they give you about you, they are giving it to you based on how they want to feel based on what you're doing. It's just natural, natural human tendency. Well, why don't you just go do this? Well, because that doesn't feel right for me. But you're saying it would make you feel better if I did that. And it says it's not a selfish thing. It's not people being mean spirited. It's just the way humans work. So

Unknown Speaker  24:25  
when you're trying to be helpful, but it's not very helpful. Yeah, yeah.

Melissa Albers  24:29  
So I really think when we're and I really feel when we're in this process of being intentional. quietly going about your business and setting that tone, that resonant tone, people around, you will change. Yeah. Because they're picking up on it. They're picking up on that all the time.

Unknown Speaker  24:51  
So I'd say this is the homework for all of our self awareness journey listeners and ourselves. Yeah. Get take some time for yourself. Yeah. Really think about your intention how you want the holidays to feel for you. And be really purposeful about, about cultivating that.

Melissa Albers  25:15  
Absolutely. And this is in a proactive state but don't feel like you failed when all of a sudden you find yourself amping up and you go, Oh, darn it there I am. Like, I didn't do that I'm a failure.

Unknown Speaker  25:27  
Rather than just remember, right? I'm best remember? Yeah,

Melissa Albers  25:30  
I'll come back. Just come back. You can begin again. That's the famous meditation phrase. When you're learning to meditate, just begin again. Same with this.

Unknown Speaker  25:37  
Did you enjoy this episode? Please go to your favorite podcast platform to subscribe rate and leave a review so others can discover it as well.

Melissa Albers  25:46  
Growing self awareness is a lifelong journey and there's always further to go. And it's better when we're all in it together. Please think of someone you know who could benefit from hearing today's conversation and share this episode with them. We can't thank you enough for listening. Until next time, happy exploring seekers.

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Discussed in this episode

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Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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