Let’s assume you’re not wrong

My clients spend a lot of time telling me how truly, deeply bad they are.

They are, apparently, the most undisciplined, unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic, flawed people on the planet.

And, eventually, I just have to want to slap them. But, since I know that violence is never the answer, I tell them this:

Let’s stop, really.

Just this once, let’s assume you’re just who you were meant to be.

That you don’t need to be more disciplined, more focused, or have a better attitude.

That you don’t need to just grow up, be more motivated, or learn to be like anyone else (particularly that annoying kid from the eleventh grade on track for the Supreme Court).

Let’s assume that all your traits are there for a reason.

All your gifts and all your weaknesses. That God or the Buddha or the universe or yo’ momma designed you to be exactly the way you are.

Let’s stop reviewing all your truly awful character flaws and the terrible decisions that kept you from spending the last 20 years building your career at the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe or the We Make World Class, Best in Breed, Game Changing Important Sounding Stuff Company.

Let’s assume that you chose a different path because that was what you needed to express your unique gifts.

So, you have had different jobs in different fields and now feel that you don’t have a “real career.”

Let’s assume that this is because the careers on offer haven’t been able to give you everything you needed. And that you have had enough of a sense of self-preservation to not cram yourself into one of them.

Even if you didn’t know that about yourself at the time.

Let’s assume that you are not some crazy masochist who enjoys being hurt, but actually had good reasons for each of the choices you have made.

Even if it is not what everyone else did.

Especially if it is not what everyone else did.

Speaking of comparison, don’t EVER compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.

You really have no idea what is really going on there.

Don’t go believing that the lawyers, and bankers, and candlestick makers have it all figured out, that they have some super special key to the universe that was handed out that day you were home from school with the chicken pox.

Maybe they are actually dead bored or trapped by circumstances.

Maybe they would love to have tried French speaking, shrimp farming, cupcake baking, clog dancing, and mini Schnauzer breeding like you, but, after 25 years of slogging, they can’t bring themselves to forfeit the money, the prestige, etc. to follow their hearts.

Sad, really. Them, not you.

So let’s stop beating up on your for your past. And let’s stop asking you to fix yourself.

Let’s assume that you don’t need to be fixed. Of course, there is always more stuff to learn in life, but I’m not talking about learning; I’m talking about fixing. Like you’re broken.

You’re not broken.

So if it’s not you, what is it?

You’re in the wrong environment.

We don’t put a Schnauzer in the Arctic and ask why it just can’t learn to enjoy the cold and acquire a taste for raw fish.

We don’t stand there and criticize it for not being disciplined enough. That is not what it is made to do. And we respect it enough to say that.

You too are a perfectly fine animal.

We just need to figure out what kind of environment that animal will thrive in.

So you feel like you lack focus or lose interest too easily. Let’s assume that you have a good reason for that. You like lots of different things, take what you need from each area, and move on.

A honey bee does the same thing. It goes from flower to flower, takes what it needs and moves on.

No one says: listen, Bee, you lack focus and lose interest too easily-why can’t you just settle down and commit to one flower, dammit?!?

No, because everyone knows that there is a really good reason for the bee’s behavior.

Also, lecturing a bee? Not something you want people to catch you at.

So, I can see how you might have trouble being a neurosurgeon. But how amazing would you be at creative brainstorming? Or in a position that requires multitasking?

See, your weaknesses are just strengths in the wrong environment.

The bee is great at what it does naturally but it would totally be fired from the position of bloodhound.

Why would we assume that you’re not as naturally gifted as a bee? That you don’t deserve the respect we would give to a schauzer?*

I have a friend who has been fired from every job he ever had. Every single one.

Sad story.

Finally, FINALLY, he found the right work environment with the best boss ever. Himself.

He started his own company in Barcelona, and over a decade later, he has a great team, multiple offices across Europe, is hugely respected, crazy successful, and ridiculously happy.

Not such a sad story, actually, as it turns out.

I know what you’re thinking. We aren’t animals. We are more capable of adapting to an environment than an animal (though not as good as some, have you met the cuttlefish?).

Ok, I get it. Maybe you can change yourself, maybe you can’t. But, really, why would you?

Why would you sacrifice your uniqueness striving to become part of the herd?

After 30 or 40 years of being who you are, why are you still trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and telling yourself that you are the problem?

Despite the amazingly great songs, didn’t you find the Little Mermaid really, truly disturbing?

So, what am I telling you to do?

Just love yourself more? Stop whingeing, accept yourself, and be grateful for what you have?

Absolutely not.

I want us to go flat out to get whatever it is you want, that you love, that you were designed for.

But, let’s stop with the assumption that you have inherent design flaws and need to be fixed first.

You need support, structure, accountability, and some great ideas. And we can do that.

But we also need you. The real you, not the mythical, improved, fixed you.

Just this once, let’s assume you’re not wrong. And let’s fix everything else.

Interested? Find out how we can do just that right here.

*I really do not know where all the Schnauzer stuff is coming from. Personally, my heart belongs to dachshunds. Schnauzer just makes me laugh.

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18 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Fantastic post Wendy — high fives!

    Reply
  2. Natalie

    Great post! Made me smile several times. And the finale: “We need you, the REAL you”, so true!

    Reply
  3. Laura Smith

    Please put this in pill form so that I may truly internalize it. Remarkable and kind. And true.

    Reply
  4. Wendy White

    I will get my dealer right on it. I mean, my pharmacist. I mean, um, never mind. If you want, I will come to your house and whisper it into your ear every night while you are sleeping. Or would that be creepy? Love that you loved it. And it is true!

    Reply
  5. Audrey Groeschel

    Love this post! I see myself in there all over the place. Thanks for writing it. Always nice to be reminded we are not broken…

    Reply
    • wendy tells all

      I am thrilled it spoke to you. Why IS it we always decide that the problem must be US? That we need to be fundamentally different that we are? Gets my dander (or something) up, dammit!

      Reply
      • Andy Van Ness

        So happy to have discovered you, and on this topic alone, yeah, my entire life has been people telling me that the square peg that I am will never fit in. Of course I swallowed it all. I’m 51 and this is the first time I’ve heard anyone say that I am not the mis-shaped problem.

        Reply
        • wendy tells all

          Send me their addresses! I have some glitter to send them. Or, maybe some snowballs, since we seem to have an overabundance of the white stuff here. Yes, absolutely, going your own way loudly and proudly is a theme of my life and, as as result, my work. So, I do write about this a lot-glad you like it-you’re in for more! Our differences are what make us genius. Glad you are here!

          Reply
    • Karen J

      Hi, Audrey! I’m sooo happy I just “followed you over here” via Disqus, from Ash’s TMF Project! Thank you, Lady!
      And Wendy – I *will* be reading around here! (Most likely subscribing too 😉 )

      Reply
      • wendy tells all

        Karen,

        Glad to have you hear! How on earth did you follow Audrey here from Ash’s? Such a funny thing the internet. Please do read around (and subscribe)!

        Reply
        • Karen J

          I looked in on her Disqus profile, and she comments here a *LOT*, so I figured I’d check you out, too 🙂

          Reply
      • Audrey Groeschel

        Hey Karen..funny old world ain’t it? lol I got my new website up and running. First run and you can take a look.

        Reply
        • Karen J

          I just spotted this reply, a month on!
          Looking good, Lady! Signed up and ready to go (sorta) – but definitely subscribed. Many days, I’m that “just doesn’t want to do the work” client (fair warning). 😉

          Reply
  6. Karen J

    Thank you, Wendy ~ I’ve “brain-kknown” that “I’m not broken” for a while; but truly, deeply getting it in my Heart and my Guts – another thing altogether. It’s been keeping me from even *looking* for gainful employment for such a long time –

    Reply

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