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.
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?
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.