Below are 5 random things I have heard my friends say to me in the last year and the impact these words have had on me.
When I recently mentioned to Tony that I had started dating someone, he was happy for me because he knows that I have a lot of love and positive energy to give and that it was probably time for me to just get on with giving it. He initially said “just take it slow” but he paused for a couple of seconds and then said “actually, go as fast as you can.” I laughed and said that full speed was more my thing and he said “it needs to be, you’re almost 40. You have a great track record of knowing what doesn’t work so maybe you’ll be able to use that to find something great.” Rare advice from someone who is usually so calculated with their actions that their forward progress is rather uneventful. Fall in love recklessly, completely and quickly.
Historically I have been able to identify something in every girl friend that bothers me. The stuff isn’t much of anything yet I seem to hold onto it and keep it in the present. When I finally said it out loud to Sharyl she replied with “that’s not good” then “you need to stop doing that” and finally “that isn’t fair”. I knew when I was telling her how ridiculous it was but having not said it out loud, I hadn’t actually made the thought real enough to experience it as ridiculous. It’s not a comforting feeling to have that thought-stream flow out of my brain. Yuck! I felt shame as I accepted that this line of thinking has been in me for a very long time. However, when I got back to life a few minutes later I realized that the intrusive thoughts that I had been having were gone;which is great because they taxed my creative and positive energy. When someone like Sharyl becomes bossy, it’s time for me to just do what she says because she doesn’t tell people what to do.
Sean gave me some performance coaching in the summer and throughout the fall. Through talking to him I discovered that I tell stories to myself. The stories aren’t crazy, but they are problem or historically based vs. solution or future based – X happened because of this reason vs. I’m going to do X because that is what I need to do. They show a tendency towards shrugging responsibility and taking action that is costing me success. We can control only ourselves. Whenever something happens and we perceive ourselves as the victim, we are delaying or completely ignoring responsibility of taking control and making the situation better. Either way, we suffer needlessly for some period of time and we prevent progress towards important things. For example, “MY BOSS is MAKING ME do new consultations to get 2 new clients” is not the same thing as “my boss is holding me to the contract I signed stating that I would work a particular number of hours per week or be doing something to get to that number of hours”. I don’t have to like it, but if I want to keep working there, I need to do it. Sean gave me some homework for the weekend, to try to see the lies you tell yourself, and we would chat about it the following week. There were a lot of them and I need to rephrase each of them to put me into a position of influence or power. The lies continue, though they’ve lessened which seems like an improvement.
In January Rachel gave me a shoulder assessment because I’ve been having shoulder pain for a long time and she needed to practice. What was great about her assessment was that I got to see her doing what a clinical athletic therapist would do, which was the culmination of all of her hard work at school and clinic. And she was fantastic. She made no predictions about what the issue was and just worked through a checklist. Before the final test she said “there is a very good chance the following movement is going to hurt you” I said okay and she hurt me. She had identified the shoulder issue that I’ve been dealing with for a long time. Then she explained what it was, how it likely happened, what I needed to do to correct it and the consequences of not addressing it now. She gave me 2 or 3 rehab movements, instructions and a parting thought “it won’t effect me if you don’t do the rehab“. I still continue to do the movements and I continue to feel improvements in my shoulder pain and mobility. This was a great experience because Rachel worked her ass off to learn as much as she could and to become the best therapist she can be. Seeing it all come together was fantastic. Her success was coming after long and tremendous effort. For me, it was the best day we shared, very satisfying and very complete.
During our coaching sessions, Sean realized that he had to push kinda hard to get some information out of me and to get me to talk in terms of what was going on in my head. Regardless of my reason for not being more forthcoming, he got me to see that this was not working for me. “If you want to be indestructible you need to talk to people about the dissonance in your shared life and your expectations and understanding of things so you know you are both on the same page. They may leave, but that is a step in the right direction if the truth makes them go.” This was in early March 2011 and I have found that just saying the tough thing quickly saves a time and emotion. I spend a lot less of my mental energy thinking about a future conversation and can spend energy on things that move my life forward. The other people seem to appreciate it because they know where they stand with me. All in all, it makes life simpler.