Reading this morning about how we’re a diamond, covered in horse crap, coated with nail polish to make our appearance appear like we’re ok and it got me thinking of how not ok with failure, or perceived failure, we are.
We often hold ourselves to these crazy ideals of perfection that are unattainable or at least not achievable overnight anyway. We wonder and question systems for success that don’t lead to the immediate outcome we want instead of our application of these tools and strategies. We don’t want to take the time to practice to greatness and instead pay money for these quick fixes, or nail polish, to get the results we want.
Don’t get me wrong – if there’s a shortcut I’m all for it to avoid mistakes, incorrect and inefficient steps. I don’t like the idea of wasting the same time that someone else has also wasted, and not learning from this. However there’s a difference between expecting ‘no effort’ results and wanting to practice efficiently and effectively to get the outcome.
Reading this morning it struck me how simple one of the concepts was and how I need to make sure my focus in coaching is on showing people their diamond rather than coming up with nail polish to make them appear better or see themselves better.
The story was of a father who’s son turns to him and says “I’m terrible at baseball.” The father could’ve said “No you’re not, go get ’em tiger” or some similar kind of pep talk. Instead however he said to the son “Yes you are crap, but do you want to become better?” This immediately focused the son on where he could take responsibility, removing the need for the approval of external factors for his self-worth and gave him the power to make the choice to improve himself.
I think this is so powerful and something we can all learn from. We have this public persona where we can’t be seen to be bad at anything. We can’t be vulnerable. We can’t be emotional. We can’t fail. We need the approval of people around us and so come up with this persona to represent what we think people want us to be, do and have. And so we often avoid taking the steps to achieve anything worthwhile because of keeping up with this persona.
Where this could come from if you think about it is when you’re a baby you can’t provide for yourself. You cry and the adults around you provide for you. They give you abundant love and affection, and satisfy the needs you have. As you grow up, you then do something that your parents don’t like – let’s say they’re stressed after work and you spill your dinner all over the floor – and they get angry or frustrated with you. You then realise their love has conditions, and so base what you do on keeping your parents happy. This leads to you doing things for their approval so you get what you need. As this evolves into your teenage / young adult years – you focus on this approval persona rather than who you are – and get so distracted by it that it’s hard to figure out who you really are.
We feel we can’t be bad at stuff, can’t be seen to fail or we don’t get the love and affection we crave. And so this persona is based on what other people want, or at least what you think they want. If I [insert action here: go to clubs, drink, do drugs etc.] then they’ll like me. If I am [insert word here: skinny, popular, muscly etc.] then they’ll like me and approve of me.
Instead, it’s worth focusing on what you actually want, for you. Maybe you want to be a person who creates art, instead of clubbing with your friends. Maybe you want to be a dance teacher, instead of out drinking every weekend. You have to be bad at stuff here to get to this outcome. You have to practice your art, or teaching of dance steps, and be bad at it at first. You may not have the approval of others who think you’re crazy for giving up the good times. Inside however, you’re at peace and feel fulfilled internally. You rely on yourself for your approval, and love the journey you’re on in achieving what you want to be good at.
What part of you are you willing to fail at? What are you willing to practice and become brilliant at? What about you would you like to improve? What are you willing to take the time to be bad at, to then become better at? How can you focus on yourself, your resources, your brilliance to apply this to something you want to improve?
You have gifts, and your personality is something the world needs more of. We don’t need more fake persona’s, we need you, your vulnerability, your failures, your authenticity.
You have all you need to change your life – go get ’em tiger!