Back Up, Pass On…

Don’t just think about it – do it! ~ anonymous

After weeks of annoying me and losing connection, my laptop froze me out a few days ago – after I’d decided to back everything up on a memory stick, but before I’d actually got round to doing it. (I thought I’d do a bit of spring cleaning of my Word documents and AOL personal filing cabinets first.)

My husband had to use a restore function that guaranteed nothing would be lost; we couldn’t have got in otherwise.

The procedure resulted in the loss of every file I had ever saved on AOL: testmonials from years of coaching and writing, addresses, my mailing list, hundreds of quotes, links to ebooks, e-courses I’d wanted to digest properly, and my entire bookmarked Favourites list, which I’d recently pruned and distilled into my absolute favourites and most useful.

A decade ago, I’d have been wailing It’s not fair! Why me! This is all I need!

A few years ago, it would have been the hand that gently held my face down as I slipped under the water without a fight.

But this weekend, I knew there were many lessons there for me, as clear as if the Universe had written them up on a giant blackboard.

  • Listen to the warnings that synchronicity sends.
  • Log off more and love your family better – or we’ll make sure you do.
  • Protect what you cherish.
  • Take nothing, nothing for granted.
  • Back up everything that you value in your computer!
  • Deliberate clearing out and making way for a new phase  feels great. Having it imposed on you, not so great.
  • Build your files with absolute clarity.
  • Build an address book of people who’d miss you and write to you, wondering where you’d gone if you were silent for a while. Let the others go.

I wasn’t skipping around singing, What a lovely silver lining! I spent the weekend in sad shock, experiencing that eerie silence that comes before a storm, a huge wave about to break or a child’s wail.

But it hasn’t come.

I got an email yesterday from Marc of Daily Aikido and Welshscribe. When he learned I’d lost all my bookmarks to posts and sites  about SEO and blogbuilding , he sent me a file of dozens of his own favourites, saying “I know they probably can’t replace what you lost but they may still be of use to you.” Marc’s the kind of quietly passionate, funny and sincere travelling companion everyone should have  supporting them on their journeys.

I also learned, when I was wallowing in the discomfort of having discovered some unpleasant blogging realities, not to take so much of the blogging world so personally. Real life events this week have reminded me not to take anything people do or say too personally. Stuff happens and it is what it is. It’s how we deal with it that reveals who we really are.

As long as I’m true to myself, I can live with most things.

Learn from what life throws at you, pass on what you’ve learned and move on. That way, nothing good is ever lost.

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I found this in my inbox today. Last week, I would have filed it in my AOL file called ‘Yummy Things to Post Someday’.

9 Immutable Laws of Not Taking Things Personally
by Christine Kane

I always tell people that there’s nothing like the entertainment business to teach you how to not take things personally!

Really though, there’s opportunity in EVERY business to get this same lesson. It’s about learning to live as a creator, and not as a reactor.

In my work, both as a coach and as a coachee, one of the common challenges is about not taking things personally. That’s because moving forward, getting bigger, and living your dreams require that you step out of the petty concerns of your small self. You simply can no longer afford to waste that kind of energy and attention.

So, here are the 9 Immutable Laws of Not Taking Things Personally. Let them guide you to bigger places in your world!

1 – SWSWSWSW

A well-loved acronym, this stands for “Some will. Some won’t. So what? Someone’s waiting!”

It means that some people will love what you do.

Then there will be those who look at your work, read your poems, review your resume, visit your store – and they’ll shrug and say, “Yea, not so much.”

So what?

Somewhere out there someone is waiting for your gift. And if you have to keep working on your craft, or wait a little while, that’s okay!

2 – Know your “Why.”

This is what Sheri McConnell (my coach) says to me if I ever get afraid of stepping out in a bigger way.

Your WHY is your deeper motivation. Your WHY is your guideline. Your WHY will help you dismiss the minor petty things that try to hold you back. If you don’t know your WHY, it might be time to get clear.

3 – Remember that people are busy.

People are busy.

Don’t sink into resentment when a single email isn’t answered. It’s not personal. Many times, it’s just that people don’t have time to answer every email. We all have a lot on our plates. It’s not personal if you have to try someone twice or three times! (Revisit #1.)

4 – Email is instant. Use accordingly.

The rapid pace of our culture has removed much of the etiquette that some might normally expect. Most people just “fire off” email without thinking.

If you get an email that hurts or feels personal, take some time to chill out. Then re-read the email in a kind voice. Be careful with the temptation to over-dramatize someone else being in a hurry.

5 – Begin each day with presence.

How you begin your day sets the tone for the day.

Learn to start your day by getting centered with creative and proactive activities. Some possibilities: meditation, yoga, going to the gym, writing down goals and intentions, visioning your day in advance. Start with a strong foundation each day.

6 – Eat enough. Sleep enough.

Being tired or hungry will make you more sensitive or irritable. Don’t try to function well in these draining conditions.

7 – The power of lists.

Are you hoping for the ONE BIG THING that will be your “saving grace?” This is a veritable petri dish for taking things personally!

Examples: Applying for a scholarship to one single program. Submitting your article off to one magazine. Waiting to hear back from one single new client.

There’s a better way. Before you send yourself out into the world – be it resume, grant, publication – make a list of many options. Then, move down the list if someone says no. Find the someone who’s waiting.

8 – Shut up and listen

When you quietly listen, you may actually see humor in how you can take everything so personally.

When you’re in a conversation with someone else, stop and listen. Really deeply listen. Try practicing this first in everyday conversations that aren’t emotional. This will prepare you for more highly charged situations.

9 – Communicate without Emotion

Do you use phrases like this?

– “Well, you’re the one who…”

– “You took that all wrong!”

– “You ALWAYS do that!”

– “I’ll NEVER make it!”

Notice that this language is laced with drama and blame.

Language is a very powerful tool. Learn to use words that aren’t about the emotions and pointing fingers.

“I didn’t communicate this well so let me try again.”

“I’m not sure I understand you. Can we discuss this on the phone?”

Learn to take a “Here’s the facts ma’am” approach. Write out your desired outcome for the conversation. Get clear inside yourself, and then talk with the other person.


Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her ‘LiveCreative’ weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.

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Do you take things too personally? Do you have trouble with the notion that having our buttons pushed says more about us than it does about the other person? Please share with us how you’ve learned to get a sense of perspective.

14 thoughts on “Back Up, Pass On…

  1. I want to write a long comment about those wonderful laws you’ve so kindly shared. I want to put my witty response to your question about taking things too seriously especially in light of my own recent rant but all I can think of is this part of a song by James Blunt, Shine on

    (in relation to all your blogging let downs)

    they can scream and shout, that they’ve been sold out
    but it paid for the cloud that we’re dancing on

    Shine on Janice.

    Marc´s last blog post..Aikido in My Daily Life – Leah’s Story

  2. Thanks, Marc. Leah’s story was another humbling lesson to stop me taking things for granted. Like Sir Ranulph Fiennes said last week about getting to the top of Everest aged 65, sometimes the only way to get through a hard part of any journey is to just keep “plodding away”, one step at a time.

  3. Janice and Christine, your strands of caring, wisdom, pointers intertwine elegantly to awaken me twice this morning.

    “Learn from others’ mistakes’! Now I truly feel the potential in such advice.

    Thank you both for offering some of your Life Nutrients!

  4. Janice and Christina: I love # 1. The golden nuggets you offer us rings loud and true. I am an observer by nature. I watch, listen, take note and then procede with comments, creations, or actions. In times where harmony is deficient, I have learned from the classroom that I can gather more information by listening and observing before making the next move. Starting my statements with, “I feel________ disarms people and sometimes stepping back to reflect and then reconnect gives me more positive results and if not, I am going to resort to SwSwSwSw rule #1. Brilliant.

    Cindy´s last blog post..Knock, Knock…

  5. Thanks for the backup nowreminder (I hope I’ll still remember when I’m finished with this comment!), and for the acronym SWSWSWSW – first time I’d seen that. A big help when trying to remember not to take things personally – and also a powerful motivation to keep on keeping on.

    Your Aikido connection struck me, since I awakened this morning – or maybe fell asleep last night – thinking how two of my most favorite practices are Aikido and Focusing (a style of listening). Both involve being intimately received by another person. I feel an urge brewing within me to write about this. Thanks for the opportunity to comment and get my writing juices flowing toward another article about intimacy (into-me-see).

  6. Hi Janice
    I spend so much time on the computer that I’ve come to feel in harmony with my crashes, viruses, 404s, dead links, misdirects, etc. I think of them as the work of my own little personal computer daemon looking out for my best interest. Recently, I picked up a nasty virus that was like watching my daemon do battle with someone else’s daemon. In the end the interloper was vanquished by reinstalling Windows. Now it feels like I’ve moved to a new country and would have to travel far to see my old familiar landscapes. I’m enjoying all this newness. With my old landmarks gone, I’ve had to discover new ones, one of which is your site. That’s pretty cool I think.

    Brenda´s last blog post..Supreme State

  7. I feel your pain with the laptop crash. The same thing happened to my laptop last year. My hubby was always telling me to back up, which I had done on some of my things, mostly photos (thank goodness!) Other things, like personal documents, my fave bookmarks and e-books though, are gone. I about cried when I read above that the same thing had happened to you. It is sooo disheartening.

    On the other hand, I am so in awe of the beautiful way in which you handled your loss. I’ll admit when I suffered the same loss last year, I did not suffer as graciously as you have. I ranted. It was not pretty. You, on the other hand, take what happened and turned it into an amazing post, nurturing and inspiring us all! Janice, you are truly one of life’s treasures.
    (And Marc, you touched my heart too, when Janice mentioned how you sent her your own favorites. What an incredibly sweet thing to do.)

    And now I MUST say how much I loved the 9 Laws. SWSWSWSW is an acronym that I want to carry around in my head for always. I also loved rule #3–to remember that people are busy. In my early blogging days I got my little feelers hurt on a couple of occasions when I sent email to someone and never got a response. Then I found out that someone got their feelings hurt when *I* didn’t respond to his email. I truly had not even seen the email because gmail sometimes sends the new email as a response to an older thread, instead of showing up at the top of the list as a new one. Sure enough, down at the bottom of the page was a reply from him that requested a response from me. And to have not responded would have indicated that I was not interested in maintaining a friendship. AARGH! I was so upset with myself. And by the time I went on and on explaining what had happened, the person had “moved on” so to speak. So now, when someone doesn’t reply to one of mine, I try to think of all possible reasons, instead of assuming they hate me. I have noticed on my spiritual journey, that when I get upset with someone or something, God usually causes me to commit the same “sin” to someone else. It’s always a humbling, yet necessary lesson for me in compassion toward others.

    Lastly (finally, huh?) I loved your suggestion on building an address book of people who would miss you when you didn’t post for a few days. When I was unpacking from my Seattle trip and trying to get my house back in order, I was delighted to get a lovely “just checking in” email from you, Janice. It made my day! So you definitely are on my list!

    Again, Janice, a quality post, full of insight and value.

    Love,
    Randi (who is now going to search for that song by James Blunt that Marc mentioned.)

    Randi´s last blog post..My Bucket List

  8. Thanks everyone,
    Sorry for not replying sooner but I got a bit overwhelmed yesterday. No big tsunami hitting, just a weird, silent grieving phase. I really appreciate you making me feel like this post wasn’t as dry and strained as I feared it was. I almost didn’t post it.

    @Positively Present,
    Thank you for always finding something positive in all the posts you read – and I know you read a lot. I appreciate that you visit here.

    @Connie,
    Thank you. I always hope you find something that makes you glad you checked in here. I know you explore an amazing range of sites and resources in the course of your online day. Thanks too for the offer of files and links we both love. I was touched.

    @Cindy,
    Sometimes I wish this was a beta blog; when two or more people like the same quote or wee piece of usefulness, I learn what’s worked. I keep wondering if each post might have been lighter, more refreshing if I’d just filtered it first and used the very best. Like you, Randi and Danielle, I love SW SW SW SW too. That’s what made me decide to include Christine’s article. If this was a real café, that would have been one of those things I point out to my pals in a magazine I’ve been reading.

    @Diana,
    Nice to meet you! I’m glad you found something useful or inspiring – that’s what I hope to achieve. I hope you enjoy a visit to Marc’s site too.

    @Brenda,
    I empathise with your daemon wars. Thank you for showing me a glimpse of how things might be when I’m out of this current phase. I’m also enjoying new vistas, new sites to visit and people to meet, but I didn’t want to have to say goodbye to so many old friends so suddenly. It’s a quietly big challenge but I’ll be fine soon; I know this is just a grieving phase that calls for mindfulness and change.

    @Randi,
    I’ve discovered through comments like yours and emails from friends, that computer loss happens scarily often. Before I slipped into low grade chronic depression a few years ago, I would have ranted, too. While I was in those grey days, I would have just let it drag me down. (An undiagnosed mineral deficiency caused by thyroid meds resulted in my brush with depression; I caught it in time.)

    I enjoyed your specific example of how we shouldn’t take things personally, or let assumptions make us judge people. I do it frighteningly often, even though I should know better.

    Like I said in the post, if you’re a writer or a coach, nothing – no pain, no loss – is ever wasted if it can be filtered through us and passed on to help others in some way.

    Thanks, Randi, and everyone else who’s written. I love these boxes.

  9. Hi Janice,

    I experienced something similar with one gadget I have and it was not fun. The ironic thing is that the information I could not retrieve, I ended up not needing. The Universe works in interesting ways. 🙂

    As for taking things personally, I used to be really bad at that. I used to take everything personally. What helped me to deal with that habit was to really listen without judgment to what the person is telling me and see if what they say has any merit. I also look within and see what is it that upsets me about the comment or whatever. I now can tell if the person is giving me genuine and constructive criciticism or if it is just a mean comment that has no importance.

    Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog post..When The Time Is Right

  10. Janice,
    Marc is awesome and I love his shine on! Because we know you will!

    This is what I think once you’re finished grieving and put closure on the situation you won’t miss a thing. Because what you need will come back to you in one way or another.

    I love the log off more or love your family better! You’re wise to make a list of your lessons you will learn and not make the same error next time.

    Keep the words flowing. And Marc I wrote the name down and plan on buying the music.

    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..A Bold Technique That Creates Miracles

  11. Oh and 1 more thing. The reason you and everyone else got Monday’s message more than once is because I was trying to put a video on a post and forgot how.

    So consumed in this I tried a few times and published a few times and then deleted them. Not realizing it was getting published anyway so my old post showed up. But hey I learned how to do it!

  12. @Nadia,
    Thank you for all your email support these last few days. I’m glad you worked through and got past your setback.

    As well as the emotional loss (some of those things I kept were like art, just there to make my soul happy when I looked) I think what makes this phase harder is being constantly reminded of the practical inconvenience, every time I go to post an email and have no address, or want to access a link that’s no longer there. Our neural pathways are wired to make things easy for our short term memories.

    I’ve also lost all the material for a life coaching course I was supposed to be running at a local college in the autumn. That isn’t possible now as I’ve missed the deadline for submitting it to the curriculum manager.

    But as they say – and my daughter loves this one – This too shall pass.

    @Tess,
    I enjoyed the accidental post you put out yesterday – it was one I’d missed first time round, back in early May!

    I’m glad Marc touched you, too. That “Shine on!” of his got me sniffling again. It’s been a soggy week, but these comments will help me recharge a new power source. And the beauty of WordPress is that all the wisdom people share in these boxes will be stored, safely (I hope!!!)

    Thanks, Tess. I know a new phase must be coming, even though I’m not quite sure what it is yet. And you’re right, the universe will make sure I have whoever and whatever I need for the journey.

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