While aimlessly scrolling through social media this week I came across a motivational video featuring a man named Ed Mylett. He was telling a story about getting in yet another fight with the bully next door (which he lost) and going home and crying to his mom (who consoled him) only to have his dad force him to go back over and fight the kid again. He did not want to do it and was sure he was going to get his butt kicked again, but ended up besting the kid before the kid’s dad pulled them apart and forced them to shake hands. He walked home with his confidence intact and never fought with that kid again.
Regardless of whether you agree with the method, the point of the story was that he faced a fear that would continue to come up had he not conquered it. The video ended with a profound statement, “Life will give you what you fight for. Once and for all, you can find out what you’re capable of.” Just let that sink in.
There are two big gems I took from this five minute video:
We can’t always run away from difficult things in hopes it solves the problem.
You can’t move away from the bully next door when you’re seven. You have no control over the colleague who is miserable to you at work. And don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that these are difficult things to deal with. They aren’t problems easily solved. But they are solvable. It requires you to make the decision to choose your future happiness, over the short-term uncomfortableness of facing your fear.
The only thing we have control over is our own behaviour. If you allow the behaviour of others to make you miserable, then you are giving your power away. Things will not change and you will continue to gripe over what you could be if “so-and-so would just quit being such a pain”, or “if you could just find a better job”, etc., etc., etc., but you’ll never get there. How many people do you know that complain and complain but never take action? I talk a lot about “future fear” (read this post if you need a definition) and how it cripples us. Not taking responsibility for your own behaviour is like willingly saying no to who you could be.
When life beats you down, who do you run to?
Sometimes we need to evaluate who we go to with our dreams and our fears. In this case, Ed ran to his mom who hugged him and consoled him and told him how awful the kid next door was. But guess what, it didn’t lead to action. It didn’t lead to Ed having a bolstered self-esteem. It did nothing.
When something miserable happens at work or you get annoyed with something someone in your family did, who do you go to?
It’s important to take note who this person is because if you’re honest, I bet it isn’t the person who inspires you to take action. I bet it’s the person who rallies to your side and gets right in there for the bi*ch-fest. Sometimes we need a bit*ch-fest, but if you’ve been having the same one over and over it’s time to take your problem to another advisor, one who will be empathetic but who will also encourage action.
I like to use the following analogy to demonstrate this: if you were to find yourself in a pit, do you want the friend who is going to jump in the pit with you for company or do you want one who is going to throw you a rope? Evaluate who you go to with what problems and you’ll see this in action.
This analogy is how I explain life coaching to people who are new to the term or are unsure of how a life coach could help them. A life coach is a person who throws you the rope and encourages action toward a goal or outcome.
Complaining is easy; action is hard. If you don’t fight for what you want, you’ll never get it.
“Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen.”
– Doe Zantamata