Hi, team! It’s your friend, Mary, with The I in Team series where you can find, be, and build your positive influence. One of the topics we talk about in Be the I in Team is burning bridges, but even though we talk about it in our book, it feels harder to write an advice blog on the topic. I’ve read several other articles and even elicited the opinions of my team. To preface this writing, I will say that burning a bridge is extremely personal and the reasons for doing so are far more diverse than I will be able to mention. Please know that this blog will do its best to give a well-rounded view of when to burn a bridge (or when to let go). Your experience is unique, and my hope is that this blog will provide some guidance on your journey to discover whether or not it’s time to burn a bridge.
We talk about slowing down a lot at The I in Team series, typically because slowing down allows us to gain more control of our emotions and thoughts. When you’re considering whether or not it’s time to burn a bridge, the first step you need to take is to slow down. This can look different for everyone. For some, it may mean taking some space and time away from the person you are considering burning a bridge with. For others, it could just be a night of your favorite activities and showing yourself some love. The biggest thing to remember here is that slowing down means giving yourself time to process your emotions and get to a place where you can think logically.
Once you’ve slowed yourself down enough to think clearly, you can start asking yourself questions to determine if the issue you are experiencing with this person is because of you or them. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but there are times when you will experience issues with others that are not because of them. These are typically due to a fear of intimacy, so you may push others away before they can push you away. These feelings are valid and may be rooted in some trauma, but burning a bridge with someone because of your fears (rather than their behavior) can often deepen and exacerbate those fears and emotions. Regardless of what you discover while slowing down, the best second step after you’ve gained conscious thought is to communicate your perspective.
Communicating how you feel to another person isn’t always easy, but it is necessary for your own growth and the growth of your relationship with that person. In most cases, it’s only fair you give this person a chance to change their behavior by being honest about your perspective. However, there are exceptions to every rule. For example, if you’re experiencing physical abuse. There are some times when even communication can’t help you and you need to move immediately to step three (which we will cover in a moment) which is putting yourself first. But, in most cases, communicating and being honest about your perspective of the relationship is the best second step.
Even if you are afraid of intimacy, you should be able to be honest about that. Whatever your reason is for setting some boundaries and having communication with this person, they should respect that. If they don’t, that might be a sign that it’s time to let them go. If you’re discussing an issue you have with how they treat you, you need to give them some time to adjust their behavior. Keep in mind that people will only change if they want to change, but you can’t force anyone to change. If you find that, even after communicating, someone isn’t changing how they treat you, it may be another sign that it’s time to walk away. You deserve to be respected and surrounded by people that give you positive energy more often than not. The life you are living is your experience, and, ultimately, you must always put yourself first.
Put Yourself First
For some, it’s easier said than done. Putting yourself first is the ultimate act of self-love and is necessary, even if it is difficult. Here are some things you might want to be on the lookout for in your relationships when you know it’s time to put yourself first and start letting that other person go (after you’ve tried communicating): they are constantly weighing you down with negativity or drama no matter how much energy and support you give them in hopes they will be content, they are an attention hog and show no interest in you, they lie or withhold information from you, they expect too much from you without giving anything in return, they gaslight or manipulate you, they don’t treat your other friends or family well, they don’t allow you to be yourself in front of them, or they try to hold you back. While this is not an exhaustive list, it’s a good starter list to get you thinking about who in your life doesn’t respect you enough to keep around. Letting someone go, or burning a bridge, is ultimately an act of self-love.
One question that came from my discussion with my team: Is it possible to let someone go without burning the bridge? The consensus was yes, that it is possible. Letting someone go is simply putting distance between yourself and that person. It could mean talking or seeing each other much less, or even not at all. Burning a bridge is ending the relationship forever for good, severing all ties to that person. Sometimes, all you need is some space from someone to slow down, cool down, and evaluate what kind of relationship you want going forward. In the end, you need to do what is best for you. Always put yourself first. If you don’t put yourself first, you can’t be your most positive influence. As we always say here at The I in Team series, your influence is your single greatest responsibility. Treat yourself well and influence responsibly.
Hi, team! It’s your friend, Mary, with The I in Team series where you can find, be, and build your positive influence. Brian and I were recently in Hawaii with our new publisher (Made for Success) drafting the content for our third book when we had an interesting discussion centered around what it means to understand that the world is “gray.” This “gray” world is rooted in objectivity and pragmatism, as well as the understanding that for everything that exists, the opposite also exists. It became a discussion about the puzzle of perception, how we each perceive the world in vastly different, and perhaps even opposing, ways. While there is no definitive answer to the question, “Who is right and who is wrong?” we are going to attempt to tackle this puzzle so that you can begin to ponder what it means to be objective while remaining confident in your perception.
Four Sides to Every Story
Our discussion started with the idea that there are four sides to every story: 1) Yours 2) the other person’s 3) the perception of anyone you tell this story to 4) the truth. The fourth side is the side that caused much debate because “the truth” is nearly impossible to know. Every bit of information that we take in becomes tainted by the lenses through which we see the world (our perception). When we describe our experience, our communication is filtered through these same lenses, which is, again, filtered by new lenses of the person listening to us. We each form our own “truths” based on how we perceive and interact with the world. However, that doesn’t mean that our perception is the “true” perception; there is no way to say what is the “truth” because our mind warps reality to fit with our perception.
Does that mean we are all liars? No, it just means that we need to remain mindful that others may perceive the same situation differently based on their unique lenses. Does this mean that we can’t root ourselves in our own “truths?” No, we can still choose what we anchor ourselves to (our values) and strive to remain consistent in our beliefs through self-reflection and logical reasoning. However, this also means that we need to understand that whatever values we choose to root ourselves in, there are people who will directly oppose us. This is hard to wrap your head around because your mind wants you to believe that your way of perceiving the world is the only way…the correct way.
If you’re interested in reading more about the four sides to every story, click the link to read our blog on IA Business Advisors.
What is Truth?
If we cannot ever be sure of what is true, how do we know what the truth is? Unfortunately, we don’t. The truth we come to terms with in our mind is based on a variety of factors, including trusting others, how well we know ourselves, and our perception. We must put our faith and trust in others that they will tell us their perception truthfully, but we must also understand that their perception is tainted by their personal worldviews. This allows us to remain objective and listen with the intent of learning more about the speaker. Does that mean what you are hearing is wrong? You will have to decide for yourself based on what you know about the person and how much faith you have in their ability to communicate with you honestly.
When deciphering what you will believe to be true, you need to know yourself and understand the lenses that influence your perception. This will be a little difficult as we all have lenses that taint our view that we might not be aware of: bias. Nonetheless, the more you know yourself, the easier it will be to understand how you interpret information. And while it might seem that this writing is trying to confuse you, we only mean to help you understand that there are opposing views anywhere you look and that you must remain mindful of this fact by understanding the nuances of “truth.”
Good vs Bad
This section is going to be quite philosophical and possibly triggering, so I will do my best to explain linearly to aid in supporting the claim that we cannot know the only “truth.” The idea of good and bad is completely subjective, meaning, what one sees as bad another may see as good and vice versa. I’ll use a personal example to help describe what I mean by this. I am vegan and personally believe it is wrong (bad) to kill life; I see doing everything we can to prevent killing life as good, hence why I am vegan. In opposition to me are those who may enjoy hunting, fishing, and eating meat; they do not see taking a life that doesn’t belong to them as wrong. So, who is right? Neither of us because we each root in our own values and perceptions of the world. Both ideas exist on the same plane.
Let’s take the example to the extreme and discuss killing humans. Is it okay to kill humans? I would say no because that is my belief. However, what if we could sacrifice one human to save many, would that make killing okay? Say, for example, if Adolf Hitler had been murdered before taking reign of Germany, his death would have saved six million people (at least). Does that make killing Adolf Hitler (before knowing how truly devastating he was for our world) okay? Is it right to save the many for the few? Additionally, there are laws in place meant to deter us from killing our fellow person. However, we still have war. We still have mass shootings. We still have people on death row, some of who are completely innocent. I cannot say for you where the good and bad is rooted in these scenarios because I can only describe how I see the world from my perception, but I challenge you to remain objective and try to come outside yourself to understand the world from new, often conflicting, ways.
If you made it to the conclusion, you probably feel a bit confused and overwhelmed. That’s okay and completely normal. I’m trying to explain concepts that are hard to grasp, hence why our discussion centered around the “gray.” My goal with this writing is to challenge your ego to help you understand that there is more than one way to see the world, and just because you feel you are right doesn’t mean that you are. In the pursuit of growing in your positive influence, challenge yourself to be objective while holding compassion for those who oppose your way of being, thinking, and living. We all exist on this planet together, so the least we can do is be understanding of the diversity of life. In fact, it should be celebrated. Without your opposite, you wouldn’t be able to define yourself; light cannot exist without the dark.
Hi, team! It’s your friend, Mary, with The I in Team series where you can find, be, and build your positive influence. Many of us have heard the theory that if a butterfly flaps its wings at just the right time and location, it can cause a hurricane on the opposite side of the world. This theory is known as the butterfly effect and it stems from chaos theory. The butterfly effect is a complex idea that when explained in simple terms may sound like this: everything, no matter how small or large, has the potential to influence actions that are seemingly unrelated.
In more complex terms, Jamie L. Vernon writes, “some complex dynamical systems exhibit unpredictable behaviors such that small variances in the initial conditions could have profound and widely divergent effects on the system’s outcomes. Because of the sensitivity of these systems, outcomes are unpredictable.” (And if you’re interested in learning more about chaos theory in an easily digestible way, check out Fractal Foundation.) As you may surmise, the butterfly effect is much like our individual influence, and this blog will help you understand the power of your influence.
The Influence Ripple
Much like a butterfly flapping its wings and influencing the weather, your thoughts, words, and actions influence all who are around to witness those things. You influence yourself through internal self-talk, whether you align your words with your actions, and more. You influence others by interacting with them, and these interactions (influence) cause ripples that you may or may not be aware of. For example, if you hold the door open for someone, it may seem insignificant to you because you were already there, but you don’t know how the person you held the door for perceived that action. They could be having a terrible day and that small act of kindness influenced them for the better. Conversely, if you yell at someone, you never know how that person will shape their perception of you or how they may handle your negativity. It’s possible, in both scenarios, that those people could go off to spread their own positive or negative influence from your positive or negative actions. This ripple that you don’t even see is what makes your influence matter.
You matter because your influence matters. You are the rock that causes ripples in the pond after it is thrown. The butterfly effect says that one small act can influence a major event just as your thoughts, words, and actions influence other thoughts, words, and actions in ways you could never fathom. You will never understand how you influence someone because you are not them, but you matter because you do influence them. And when you influence someone, their influence impacts others (which you become a small part of). Some say that we are all about six degrees from everyone in this world, meaning we are each six people away from knowing everyone. That means all our influences are connected to one another, and it’s through our influence that we create positivity or negativity. When you understand that you matter, which path will you choose?
Being more aware of your influence and how your influence relates to the butterfly effect allows you to live life more consciously. Consider how your influence ripples out from you to alter the influence of others, does that change how you behave? Or, consider how you speak to yourself and the perception you choose to see of the world, does that change how you think? When you start pondering your influence, be sure to employ some empathy and compassion for yourself. We are all human, so we all make mistakes.
If a butterfly flaps its wings and can cause a hurricane, imagine what your small acts of influence can do. Imagine what kind of impact you can have when you give someone experiencing homelessness a few dollars, or when you allow someone to merge into traffic easily when the highway is backed up. Think about the last thing that positively or negatively influenced you. How are your thoughts, words, and actions influenced by others?
Hi, team! It’s your friend, Mary, with The I in Team series where you can find, be, and build your positive influence. Our gratitude group just celebrated one year of showing gratitude together every week, so we reviewed everything we have learned together over the past year. One of the topics we learned about was inclusive language. With our world growing in ways to connect and modes for communication, it is important to open your mind and do your best to remain inclusive, both in your actions as well as your words. However, culture dictates the language we use so it becomes first nature—we don’t question it. In this blog, we are going to discuss what inclusive language is and why it is important, some examples of inclusive language, and how you might implement it in your life.
What is inclusive language?
Inclusive language is when we use words, whether verbally and written, that attempt to include everyone who will read and/or hear it. It is language that aims to not exclude groups inadvertently. Traditionally, it is meant to be inclusive of underprivileged or minority groups. When implementing inclusive language, the goal is to bring harmony to speech and writing through avoiding demeaning or offending people or groups. Additionally, using inclusive language is important because you never know if someone who is seemingly included may have strong ties to or a passion for any given underprivileged or minority groups. Those who work on developing their inclusive language, while not always perfect, show an open mind and willingness to understand that which they are not part of.
Why is inclusive language important?
Communication is powerful; whether it be our internal thoughts or thoughts which we put out into the world through spoken word or in writing, communication is how we interact with and respond to the world. So, the words we use are important and they tell people who we are on the inside. Using inclusive language creates spaces for those that may otherwise feel uncomfortable or unwelcome for individual characteristics, many of which they often have little control over. We are all born as we are. Therefore, acknowledging the vast diversity and beauty of humankind through inclusive language is one way we can demonstrate our acceptance of different perspectives, identities, and ideas.
Examples of Inclusive Language
First, I will discuss the difference between person-first and identity-first language in terms of those who experience disabilities. Then, I will provide some examples of ways in which you can change your language to be more inclusive for all in today’s society.
Person-first language (PFL) is when you acknowledge that the person you are speaking to or about is first a human being and second has a disability. This shows respect for that person and allows them to be seen as a whole, a human, rather than a singular part, their disability. For example, using inclusive language, you would say “a person who has a disability” rather than “a disabled person,” or, “a person who is blind or visually impaired” as opposed to “a blind person.” PFL aims to acknowledge individuals as humans first and foremost and seeks to eliminate the practice of reducing an individual to a defined disability.
Identity-first language (IFL) is the opposite of PFL; it puts the disability before the person. While this is likely self-explanatory by now, an example of this would be describing someone as “a bipolar person” rather than “a person with bipolar disorder.” It is noteworthy to say that when you meet someone who has a disability, it is kind and compassionate to ask them if they prefer PFL or IFL. This shows that you care, recognize their worth as an individual, and would like to use language that makes them feel comfortable and included. In some cases, that person may prefer IFL. This has been found true with a larger population of the Deaf/hard of hearing and Autistic communities. Don’t make assumptions; use person-first language if you aren’t sure and if given the opportunity to ask their preference, ask!
Examples of Inclusive Language
Below are some examples of inclusive language based on underprivileged and minority groups.
Developing a Habit of Inclusive Language
Like all habits, you must show patience and compassion for yourself as you work to develop and improve your language. Because a lot of the language we use is cultural in nature, for example, “Hey, you guys!” (when talking to a mixed-gender group) it can be harder to recognize when we do it and therefore more difficult to change that language. Additionally, you may find that some women don’t mind being called “one of the guys” but you will also find that some do mind. It’s best to err on the side of caution to ensure everyone feels included by you in the spaces you create and occupy.
To develop this habit, start with one sector you know you can work on with room for improvement. It may be that you want to be more inclusive in your religious or gendered language, or perhaps how you refer to families or perceived class status. Choose one to start with and work on incorporating that language into your everyday thoughts and speech. It would be beneficial for you to come back and review these examples or conduct an internet search of other examples to keep the new vocabulary you hope to instill at the forefront of your mind.
Overall, the goal of developing more inclusive language is to ensure that your audience, no matter how small, feels included and safe with you. The safer you make others feel, the more your positive influence grows. We all show the world who we are each day through our interaction with each other, and how we respond to positive and negative situations. By developing healthy habits in hopes of making others feel included, we demonstrate our ability to value and appreciate diversity. Like with all habits, have patience and compassion for yourself as you grow. We believe in you!
Hi, team! It’s your friend, Mary, with The I in Team series where you can find, be, and build your positive influence. One of the main topics in my weekly conversations with team members and clients is emotional intelligence. They want to learn more about it and develop habits to increase their emotional intelligence abilities. Emotional intelligence encompasses two huge aspects. The first aspect is the self; being able to accurately identify and manage emotions is a key part of emotional intelligence. The second is with others; being able to accurately identify and respond to the emotions another individual is feeling. Some researchers even believe that emotional intelligence, or EI, is more important for leaders and managers in the modern era than IQ. If you’re looking to control your influence, here are some ways to cultivate emotional intelligence.
Before you attempt to understand and respond to others’ emotional states, you must understand your own first. One of the hardest things to do is transparently evaluate yourself with 100% honesty. Something our mind tends to do to protect us is to lie and tell us a story that fits into the reality we want, but these stories don’t serve us in our ability to be truly emotionally intelligent. Instead, challenge yourself. Ask yourself how others may perceive you and your ability to be emotionally intelligent. What might they say? Would you agree with them?
There is no need to judge yourself in this process. Judgment will only hinder your growth, not help it. Instead, evaluate yourself with compassion and try to understand where your emotions come from, what they are triggered by, how often they come up, and if you feel they are appropriate responses to your environment. If you struggle to understand what your emotions are, where they come from, and why, try starting with an emotion wheel. When you feel an emotion, try to correctly categorize it. Doing so will lessen the negative effects of negative emotions as giving a name to something often makes it more manageable. Once you know what the emotion is, consider where it comes from and in what other situations it has presented itself.
Observe and Listen
A key part of emotional intelligence is observing our mind without judgment to better understand where emotions come from, as well as observing how our words, actions, and emotions affect others. To cultivate emotional intelligence in both ourselves and with others, we must slow down, observe, and listen. Those who are emotionally intelligent know how to respond to others who are feeling emotions as well as how to handle their own emotional response to dealing with the situation. They do this by observing, correctly analyzing the emotions, and listening for opportunities to help alleviate the emotional suffering. Conversely, they know when there is nothing they can do to help and call upon their skill of empathy, which will allow them to respond to the situation without creating a barrier.
Those looking to build skills of emotional intelligence should spend twice as much time observing and listening than talking. The more information that is discovered, the easier it will be to respond accurately. The same is true for our own emotions; the more we observe and listen to the emotions we feel—correctly categorizing them—the better we can challenge or have compassion for our own state rather than immediately acting upon them. Again, the better you become at understanding yourself, the easier it will be to observe and listen to others who need you. It’s akin to the classic airplane safety tip: Always put your mask on first before helping others (or always understand your own emotions first before helping others).
Curiosity Over Judgment
Leaders and managers must choose curiosity over judgment when dealing with themselves and their team. Curiosity allows us to explore, ask questions, gain a better understanding, and meet ourselves or the other person where they are in the process. If we immediately choose judgment, we create a barrier between us and what we want to understand. Judgment will always hinder your ability to be emotionally intelligent. In my experience, judgment tends to come from a place where we don’t feel good about ourselves, so we project that onto others (or ourselves) as a means to alleviate our stress without self-reflecting on what is truly wrong.
Conversely, choosing curiosity is a form of emotional intelligence in that we accept that not everyone is perfect, and we continue to want to respond in a way that is helpful. When we have curiosity for ourselves and others, it becomes easier to explore the complexities of emotions as we train ourselves to want to explore them. If you are used to judging yourself and others, you will need to challenge yourself to grow the habit of being curious and asking questions. In doing so, you may find that your own stress is alleviated as this tends to help soften the judgment of yourself.
Perhaps the largest component of cultivating emotional intelligence is self-awareness, but self-awareness doesn’t come out of nowhere. It takes patience, observation, and curiosity to develop an awareness of oneself. You must become aware of your emotions, how they feel in your body when they arise, how you respond to them, and how you project them into the world. But your self-awareness doesn’t end with your emotions.
To be truly emotionally intelligent, you must be wholly self-aware. You must understand your strengths and weaknesses, your preferred communication style, how big your tank of willpower is, what leads you to burnout, and so much more. Self-awareness is born out of transparent self-evaluation. The more truthful you are, the more self-aware you will become.
If you wish to cultivate emotional intelligence because it is something that doesn’t come naturally to you, the key will be to have compassion for yourself. This is not an easy process, but it is worth it. Only you have the power to control your mind and change the way you see and respond to the world. In doing so, you will not be perfect. Most emotionally intelligent individuals understand that imperfection is part of the human condition, and it is having compassion for yourself and others that allows us to enter a world of true emotional intelligence. Controlling the mind is a journey and one that must be forgiving. Always choose curiosity over judgment and continue showing yourself compassion as you grow.
Hi, team! It’s your friend, Mary, with The I in Team series where you can find, be, and build your positive influence. I have mentioned a few times in past blogs fixed versus growth mindsets and it seems to be a topic that many people are curious about (which is awesome!). At The I in Team series, we strongly value a growth mindset and believe that a growth mindset is imperative to securing your positive influence.
The growth and fixed mindsets are terms coined by Stanford psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, who studies human motivation through psychology and sociology. Her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, expands upon her theory of the growth versus fixed mindset. The brain is just like any other muscle in the body; it can be grown and developed with some patience, hard work, and mindfulness. However, if you convince yourself that you cannot grow your mind, then you won’t.
Those who experience a fixed mindset believe that they cannot grow. They believe their abilities and intelligence are stagnant; essentially, that we are born with what we have, and we can’t do anything about it. A fixed mindset becomes a vicious cycle, one that is difficult, but certainly not impossible, to break. There are several factors at play in this cycle. It starts with the belief that you cannot grow, learn, or develop. Enter: Confirmation Bias. Once you believe something, your mind will look for information to confirm that belief and reject information that doesn’t fit. So, anytime someone with a fixed mindset fails or doesn’t live up to their or others’ expectations, their minds reaffirm that they cannot grow, learn, or develop. This pushes those experiencing a fixed mindset further into this belief.
Another reason confirmation bias plays such a huge role in the fixed mindset is because those who have a fixed mindset put limitations on themselves. They develop learned helplessness because of this belief. They cannot recognize their own deficiencies, meaning they cannot correct them. You would need to believe that you can learn and grow to correct behavior, so those experiencing a fixed mindset cannot even admit to themselves that they have faults because that would require them to do something about it.
Qualities of the Fixed Mindset
Below are some qualities of those who are currently experiencing a fixed mindset:
- Believes that failure is an end
- Very resistant to change
- Rejects new ideas immediately
- Views feedback and criticism as a personal attack
- Less likely to take creative risks and be innovative
- Avoids problems out of fear of failure
- Documents and attaches self to past achievements without striving for new ones
- Lacks open-hearted kindness, meaning they feel that encouraging others to succeed or be happy could make themselves look bad in comparison, so they avoid empowering others or being genuinely happy for their success
Those who are experiencing a growth mindset are, essentially, the opposite to those who are experiencing a fixed mindset. These are the individuals who believe, and know, that they can grow, learn, and develop. They recognize the brain as a muscle that can be worked. When individuals experience a growth mindset, they believe that they can master any skill or talent as long as they put in the effort to do so. Like the fixed mindset, confirmation bias plays a huge role here as well. When individuals believe that they can grow, learn, and develop continually throughout their entire lifetime—no matter their age, abilities, talents, skills, or intelligence—they perpetuate this belief through confirmation bias.
When those who experience a growth mindset fail, they view it as an opportunity to learn and try again. They do not become discouraged or use negative self-talk to bring themselves down. They uplift themselves, and through their confirmation bias they solidify their belief that they can grow, learn, and develop. Individuals who have a growth mindset make excellent leaders as they are the ones who are continually working on themselves and their positive influence. They know that they cannot be their best influence if they believe that they cannot grow. Additionally, those who experience a growth mindset believe that others can grow too, often encouraging others to take on challenges, fail, view things in different lights, and develop themselves.
Qualities of the Growth Mindset
Below are some qualities of those who are currently experiencing a growth mindset:
- Believes that effort can cultivate new intelligence, skills, and talents
- Views failure as an opportunity
- More likely to take creative risks and innovate
- Embraces problems as opportunities to learn
- Views feedback as a chance to improve
- Views life as an exciting journey for continuous growth and practice
- Has open-hearted kindness, meaning they encourage others to succeed and find happiness while feeling genuine happiness for another person’s success and happiness
Switching Between Fixed and Growth Mindsets
It is absolutely possible to switch between these mindsets. While it is less likely for those who have a growth mindset to switch to a fixed mindset, it is possible. There are circumstances in life that could lead someone to break a belief in themselves and stop growing, learning, and developing. More likely is that someone would switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. The tricky part is that nobody can do this except for the individual. By this, I mean that those who are experiencing a fixed mindset will need to muster up the courage to face their ego and say they are wrong to believe that they cannot grow, learn, and develop. Developing positive self-talk will be imperative to moving from a fixed to a growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset can help those experiencing a fixed mindset by providing guidance, insight, and encouragement, but until those experiencing the fixed mindset change their own internal self-talk, they won’t change. It all starts with you and only you have the power to change yourself and your mind.
Our world is full of individuals experiencing either a fixed or growth mindset. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is better, but I certainly know which I think is better to perpetuate a positive influence. At The I in Team series, we believe that cultivating the most positive experience for yourself and those around you includes believing in yourself and encouraging others. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re tearing yourself down. If you don’t encourage others, you harbor feelings of resentment. These do not put any positivity into our world. You deserve to enjoy life, to laugh at mistakes, and to get to know yourself and how far you can go. Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” If you don’t allow yourself to grow, how can you truly know yourself?