Over the past several months I feel like I have been on a fast track towards self-education through personal development. I was disillusioned into thinking that I would get my degree and somehow have a deeper understanding of who I was and how I was going to get where I wanted in life. However, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. As I got closer to graduation and felt no more sure of who I was or where I was going than when I started I realized I needed to further my education about WHO I was and WHAT I wanted from life.
Last summer I became an avid reader of personal development books. I have enjoyed reading for some time now, but I used to fill my time reading fiction books that would only serve to point out my shortcomings even further. In my quest to become the best possible version of myself (this side of heaven), I branched out from books to podcasts and eventually to YouTube videos. I ended up getting exposed to a motivational speaker named Eric Thomas through a friend I had met online (if you haven’t heard him you should d go check him out). Every time I hear him speak I know that he speaks from his heart and is filled with passion. He has not only motivated me to get real about my dreams and my goals but he also struck a sensitive nerve that got me thinking.
You see, I am really good, like REALLY good at holding other people accountable, and making sure they hold up their end of the bargain. Which is a good thing I suppose since that is part of my job, and not to mention one of the things I love most about my work. As a coach I get to help people stay true to themselves and their goals. I get to be their cheerleader and confidant as they navigate the sometimes painful and tough road to a healthier life.
However, this desire to hold others to the fire is not always a good thing. Especially when I realized that I don’t always like to hold myself to the fire. I am good at going along with my plan until it gets too hard or becomes too inconvenient for me.
When I am required to stretch my comfort zone too far I am the first person to try to let myself off the hook. I revert back to my old ways of wanting to quit and throw in the towel. I will often tell myself that it is OK if I don’t follow through on this..I mean after all I have failed so many times in the past and have just walked away thinking that my failure was a sign I wasn’t cut out for that kind of life or I wasn’t meant to have my dreams come true. That kind of negative thinking is poison and will always hold me back from getting what I want out of this life. And it will hold you back too if you let it.
I realized that I had been doing a good job of living my life as a full blown hypocrite with my husband and kids. Clothes would be left on the floor and I would be quick to correct them to pick up after themselves, or dishes would get left in the sink and I would hastily remind them that the dishwasher was right there. I am sure that part of my frustration came from feeling like they were expecting me to clean up after them (which now I realize was only my perspective). I was quick to get angry and quick to not-so-subtly put them on the same hook I have been desperately trying to avoid myself.
My pride took quite the hit when I realized I was justifying my own behavior which was the exact behavior I was getting so frustrated with them about. Isn’t that often how it goes? The thing(s) in other people that tend to drive us so crazy are usually things about us that we don’t like whether on a subconscious or conscious level.
In life there are so many products or programs that offer a 30-day money back guarantee. This is great for the consumer because it puts the guilt and the blame solely on the merchant. If something doesn’t work quite the way I have it in my mind, then I am the first person that is taking it back. But what happens when I am not willing to give my all or 100% effort. Should I still be asking for that money back guarantee? It is so much easier in life to point our fingers at others and put the blame on them isn’t it? It is scary to put ourselves out there and to really put ourselves on the hook.
What happens if we give 100% and the outcome is still not what we wanted it to be? Do I still get to blame someone else, or do I look at myself and take an honest inventory of what I did and whether or not it was enough. And if you did give 100% even if the outcome isn’t what you had desired, isn’t there still victory in throwing yourself completely at something whether you failed or not?