Tag Archives: jsjtherapy

Personal House Rules

I think often we have unspoken rules about how we want to conduct our lives. It can be confusing for someone to automatically know that -you-should-take-your-shoes-off-when-you-come-inside-the-door.  Then when the person doesn’t quickly act in the way we are expecting, we are confronted with a choice. We  let the new person know the expectations directly or we sadly can  stay silent and be upset that they didn’t do it right.

This is the same thing that we do with the rules of self, we expect  that everyone will know how to we want to live our lives, what works and what doesn’t, how to treat us, what our boundaries are, and the very best way to show us love. This is mind reading  at its best. It is all so obvious to us.

I have a saying that I use with clients a lot “If it is obvious, then you need to say it out loud.” We are so accustomed to our own mind and beliefs that it seems a given, but if it is that ingrained within us that means it is pretty important. Hence, saying our ideas, expectations, and  boundaries out loud not only makes sense but also creates a much more open dynamic.

The approach of letting others know what your personal house are allows everyone to have a framework of interaction. You get to avoid a lot of the messy parts of stepping on each other’s toes.  Everyone decides if the structure is workable and provides an understanding of the boundaries. It sound so simple but that is exactly what we so often miss, stating that which seems like a default to our own system.

I really love the idea of putting your house rules out for everyone to see  (physically like photo above or state directly). Consider wearing your expectations with a badge of honor that you want others to know about from the start. Be proud of who you are and what you want from yourself and others!


Social Engineering

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Chris Hadnagy (and the rest of the crew) on the Social Engineering podcast. The conversation centered on the nature of how we become comfortable around others, understanding  microexpressions, and how neuro linguistic programming (NLP) can be used as a way to set people at ease.  It may not make sense as to why a therapist and social engineer would debate the finer points of interactions, however it all becomes clear when you realize how much overlap there is between the two disciplines.

Each takes a detailed look at how private information can be most  efficiently and painlessly gathered. The goals often in therapy and onsite hack are to gain rapport, uncover information, and provide a plan for a stronger secure foundation . Both are interested in the details of human interaction and helping people create a clearer path in reaching their goals.

Some of the basics that these individuals use from a psychological perspective can be found on Social Engineering website.  Also, I briefly talked about SE in a previous post which speaks to lessons that can be learned in life from an SE perspective.

If you are curious to learn more, you can listen to the podcast No Hype NLP for Social Engineers. Enjoy learning how to hack the human operating system!

Zero-day Vulnerabilities

In the computer programming world there is something called “zero-day vulnerabilities” which is a concept that refers to a new product or patch that has just been released. The developers have tested everything they can think of to make sure there are not any problems. However, like most things in life, there are unknown areas where limitations and problems occur. It is this very moment where most vulnerability is found as there hasn’t been any time allowed to correct the issues.  Emmanuel Carabott explains it like this:

Zero-day vulnerabilities, as the name suggests, are new vulnerabilities that have been just discovered.  As such, a zero-day vulnerability will have a period of high exploitability until they can analyzed.

Programmers often use terms to describe their work. A quick generalization might be like the word update: which in this context means to use the known, up-to-date, information within the program for release to others. Hacking or to hack often means technical adeptness and a delight in solving problems and overcoming limits. Patches usually refer to the idea of fixing an error in the software. These ideas are easily cross-applied to how one would deal with change within their life.

When considering change within yourself, zero-day vulnerability might be an important concept to use for better understanding your process. Let’s say that you are working on becoming a more emotionally direct person. You consider areas where you want to share more of your feelings with another person. You have assessed that doing so will bring you much more connection, intimacy, happiness, and all over more positivity for your life. You look at all of the areas that you could or could not share vulnerabilities and with whom you would want to share such details.  You choose your time and begin to disclose your feelings.

It is within that very moment that you are most likely to feel scared, nervous, afraid, and well… vulnerable. The other person can misunderstand, misdirect, misinterpret, dismiss, or even reject the very thing you are so carefully and cautiously expressing. There is a risk no matter how many precautions you have taken. Just like with creating new software there are always inherent areas that will be a bit raw. It is impossible to know exactly how the other person will respond.

What happens when you are pouring your heart out and sure enough – BAM! the other person reacts poorly. You have holes in your approach and your delivery method sucked. All you wanted to do was share your feelings and turns out you have huge emotional mess on your hands. You could just totally shut down and never venture forth with emotional expression again or you could consider what developers do when these things happen once they have produced something new. Dave Piscitello discusses the best method for dealing with these vulnerabilities as:

Make sure you have mechanisms in place that can allow you to take quick corrective action should you become aware of a Zero-day vulnerability. Prepare a plan to initiate recovery and restore systems to a known most up to date state and then reconfiguration.

This appears to be sound advice even in the personal change arena (hacking your own psychological process). When you come across this area that you are looking to shift, it makes sense to have a plan of action ready just in case it doesn’t work out as you had planned. Back to the example of sharing your emotions, if you find that it is unfolding in a way that isn’t as you had hoped you can easily do what developers do. You can begin to save the discussion by letting the person know that you are going to stop the conversation. Then you can explain that the discussion was not coming out as you had intended and that you need some time to regroup. You would then come back to your emotional center and find a secure place to talk about this subject (a patch for fixing the areas you are not secure within yet). You would still keep in place the higher level changes you have made in regards to sharing your emotions. However, you would take a bit more time to look at how you want to take a second pass at sharing the feelings.  Let the person know when you would like to try to share on the subject again and give it another go (updated software that you feel comfortable with others viewing).

Hence development of personal software is going to be vulnerable to hacks just like anything else.  The developer is in large part creating the program for the benefit of themselves. While they do care about feedback, changes, and problem areas… they are mostly sharing with the hope and expectation that they will enjoy the rewards from their work as the creation is coming from a desire to connect. In a sense they do it for themselves beyond whatever risk they take.  You as well, begin to make changes within your life because you want to benefits those changes bring about. You will feel vulnerable, you will experience problems, however the rewards you will obtain from the shifts you make in your life far outweigh the zero-day vulnerabilities.

And just in case you are not feeling comfortable enough to take the risk all on your own. You can seek out social-engineers to hunt down the vulnerabilities and help you strengthen your work. In other words, you can get into see a therapist who can help you hack your own system and make the changes necessary to reach your goals quickly and safely.

From Impostor Syndrome to Authenticity

Apparently just about every conference in the universe needs to be held back to back weekends in April. Okay, I’m obviously exggerating! However,  doing three  presentations on differing topics, for vastly opposite audiences, in numerous locations can make me a bit anxious and dramatic.

This isn’t anything new. We all experience a variety of emotions when we are to present in front of others. It can be a conference, a meeting, or friendly group but the nerves are similar in large part to a reaction to our self worth and the expectation of others.

I’m not a person that gets stage fright. However, I do experience some features of impostor syndrome.  Don’t know what that is? I’ll break it down for you, basically the person feels like a fraud. The individual is fearful that they are fooling themselves and others into believing they are as strong in an area, when they really are not.  Apply self doubt to a work situation and you got the making of some awesome Wizard-of-Ozness… pull back the curtain and boom all is revealed.

Everyone I know begins to experience insecurity before they present. It is natural to wonder if you are going to explain things correctly, be interesting, or well received. We are social creatures and we want to be thought of positively. However, much we tell ourselves that everyone experiences fears of being judged we cant’ seem to shake the notion that it is just us.

And this fact is normal as well. We project all sorts of qualities and defeciets on to other people. We generalize and categorize others on a daily basis. It is a requirement for humans to judge safety. Hence, it is also natural to be concerned that others will think of us as unworthy.

We get stuck in a spiral of feeling  inferior, incompetence, and fearful.  What are we to do in these situations? I have the answer… although I admit you probably won’t like it. For that matter, I don’t like the answer it. But the truth still remains… the best way to deal with these feelings is to acknowledge them as real, put them into context, and express them.

Yeah, I know.  It is so much easier with our illusions of control that we just have a step by step approach to conquering all. Yet, that is kind of the point. This isnt’ about conquering. It is about being authentic with yourself.  If you know you are scared… don’t push it away. Realize that you are having the emotion, understand that it is natural and normal and understandable that you have these feelings, and then share them. It really is the last one that gets at us..isn’t it?

Why would we share the exact thing we are fearful that people will find out about us?  Well, first off you take away the power the situation holds by pretending. You acknowledge the truth and it will set you free… or some such saying states.  And then when you allow yourself to normalize the situation you come to a contextual understanding of how common the feelings are… and again the power that fear holds over you begins to diminish. Finally, when you express to someone else what is really going on, you and others start to realize how to support one another rather than pretend.

We all know that we get scared but why don’t we talk about it? We are afraid we will appear weak or judged yet if the emotion is really no big deal like we pretend then it wouldn’t be a problem to mention it. Ah, logic is sound but emotions are tricky. Wouldn’t you rather just be who you are and be honest about what is going on? Wouldn’t you rather a world around you that didn’t pretend but instead acknowledged human nature as it really is?

I know that I’m nervous about if I’m going to present well at conferences. I know that people are going to judge me, my ideas, and my style. I know this is natural and I know that I want to live an authentic life rather than pretend. So that means I might mess up, people may dislike me, and that is just part of the process. However, it also means I might do really well and people may enjoy what I have to say. There is a wide variety of options but beyond all else I know that I’m not a fraud because I’m direct about who I am. With that comes a strong sense of self and what more could any one of us ask for in such situations?

So you are welcome to join me at the next convention where I’ll be presenting twice at SINSation in Leather in Chicago on April 2nd and 3rd.