It is interesting as my time as a coach has gone on, I have learned some things about achieving, or some tendencies when people achieve. I have the blessing of being involved or at least aware of many troubling times in people’s lives, however I also get to be a part of the times people achieve or something good happens to them. When something positive happens in people’s lives, I have noticed how little encouragement they get, how little anyone actually celebrates the good thing happening to them. People need such little encouragement yet we at times refuse to give it. Why?
My opinion, take it for what it is, is that the successful moments for others is a judgement on ourselves. That when someone fixes a part of himself or herself, it is a reminder that we have not yet built the discipline to achieve that result for ourselves or worse yet, we don’t know where to start or what we want. You see I think the freedom from judging yourself against others is pursuing something meaningful.
People who judge and criticize others. People who resent others when something good happens to them. Those people who are publicly positive but behind closed doors tear down and criticize other people, are not pursuing something that is meaningful to them. When you are striving to accomplish a transformation in yourself that you know will be a positive effect on your family and friends and community, you are encouraged by the growth of others and you are acutely aware of your own flaws and slow to judge others. However if you have stopped growing and are not creating meaning, then someone with purpose is a judgement on you and when you feel judged, you judge.
Life is a challenge. It is not an easy thing to exist as a person. However, it is infinitely more painful to live a life without meaning and a life of tearing others down. If you lack a sense of meaning or purpose begin to look inward, resolving issues within yourself is the first step toward finding where you can contribute in this world. Where you can start to make a difference in others’ lives and ultimately relieve some of the suffering that life can be. I said it earlier this year to you all and, it is still a question I ask myself often, “am I adding to the joy of Uncommon”. You could take this out a layer and say am I adding to the joy of my family, my friends, my community, the world. Is my speech and actions adding to the joy of the world?
Therefore, that is the starting point. I do not have meaning, I pretend to be excited when others achieve but secretly I despise it. I despise it because it is a reflection on me and my lack of direction and I don’t know where I’m going or what’s important to me. Ok so start with your speech. Jordan Peterson, in his book 12 Rules for Life outlines in rule 6, Stop Saying Things That Make You Weak. What this means is, are the things you are saying aligning you with what you want to be, or taking you further from your ideal? I also believe that when we say things that make us weak, it takes us further from being able to speak from a place of authenticity when we are trying to do the right thing and say the right thing. Imagine if someone achieved something and you and your friend hopped on the phone and bitched about him or her. You mentioned all their shortcomings and why you do not think they should have gotten that opportunity or that you hoped they fail or whatever snide thing you could come up with to knock them down a peg. Now, in the friend’s eye that you just commiserated with, that is who you are. If you decide to be different, those things you already said will hinder your ability to change. You have created an identity in that persons eye that is not who you want to be, and if you say anything contrary you will feel the judgement of being unauthentic. Now you are weakened, and most people will not admit when they are wrong so they double down on the negative speech, and that is when life goes from difficult to miserable.
We have the power to change but so few people actually change. Imagine if you said things that made you stronger, things that built you up and empowered you to be what you dreamed you could be? Imagine if you didn’t carry the weight of all the negative things you had said behind others backs and the endless criticism of those trying to be better? Well I give you permission to be better, to change. Not that I hold some special power but instead because I know you have created an identity that isn’t serving you and you need a way out. Well now you have it, here is your way out. Stop being who you were and speak words that propel you to who you want to be. If you have been nothing but negative and today you decide to be different, I will never bring up the old you. I will only encourage and hold you to the standard that you want for yourself. So if this is you, have the guts to tell me and I can give you resources to help get your life moving towards meaning, towards purpose. We all fall but with a community of people who care, we don’t have to stay there.
I will end with this. When I was a child, my mother constantly told me I was encourager. I liked her calling me this because it meant I made people feel good, that I could make people happy with what I said. From kindergarten, I identified as this and it made me really start to pay attention to people. I would look for moments when people’s faces would change. Maybe someone said something and while the room was laughing, I would watch to see who wasn’t or who was forcing it. I watched to see how words affected people, and when I saw a chance to say something to lift them up, I would. This identity of what I wanted to be, this encourager ideal fueled my speech. I actually said encouraging words because that is what I wanted to be known as. Over time I fell into the trap of being negative, mostly because I was doing nothing towards finding my purpose, I was not creating meaning and therefore got negative. I know how that negative talk actually weakened me. It moved me further and further from what I actually wanted to be, an encourager. When I wanted to say the thing I knew the person needed in that moment, I couldn’t because I wasn’t authentic. They didn’t know me as that, they only knew me as the one who pointed out the flaws, poked holes in people’s game and criticized behind their back.
Fortunate for me I found resources and mentors that showed me the way out. That my words should strengthen me and propel me towards my purpose. It is possible to change and I encourage you to put action today towards your change.
If you are interested in some of these resources or you need someone to hold you accountable to your new standard, let me know. I had the guts to tell you where I missed it so have the guts to tell me, and together we can build a community of authentic people adding to the joy of the world.