This was a hard blog post to write… but was necessary for me. Over Thursday and Friday, December 8 and 9, I attended a course on Interpersonal Communications in Las Vegas. The course is designed for auction professionals to become more effective communicators by breaking bad habits, learning new methods of communication and finding personal pitfalls. Through discussion in the course and interaction with classmates I discovered some of the things I already knew and discovered a few others than need addressing.
Outside of what I already knew before the class, I learned that internal struggle can be the catalyst for outward appearance and communication with others… meaning (from a general level), what is going on inside is going to show on your face. One of my issues is I am constantly competing with myself… never being content with who I am, what I am and what I have. I am not speaking from a material standpoint because that has never really been a motivating factor with me. I am speaking from a success standpoint – I have never allowed myself to accept a level of success – I keep moving the measuring stick. You read that right… I keep moving my own measuring stick. Let that hang out for a moment…
This morning, our message in church was another in series of messages leading up to Christmas. It was focused on the materialism of Christmas – STUFF, if you will. My toes were stepped on as I thought through this from my point-of-view. It spoke to me and I feverously typed notes to construct this blog post… some of which I have included here.
We can’t really appreciate what we DO have until we stop focusing on what we DON’T have. Contentment is hard for people in the United States because we are constantly bombarded by new, better, faster… there are magazines, TV shows, books that constantly show what others have – materialism is an antagonist in the story of contentment.
Contentment doesn’t just deal with materialism… it also affects our level of perceived success. We constantly compare ourselves to our peers and this skews our vision of WHO we really are. We lose focus of what we have and what we have achieved. This skewed vision does not allow us to see what we HAVE attained in our lives… this leads to missing deadlines, putting things off, not following through or not performing 100% in the present.
For example, Mick Jagger is the front man for The Rolling Stones and has always been remembered for their hit song, I can’t get no satisfaction. Few people know that he also led a solo career that ran parallel to the tours and album releases of The Stones and none of his individual hits were ever as successful as those of The Stones. His net worth is over $300 million and he still felt that he needed to prove something else.
“Peer pressure” has been the catchphrase of parents and teachers for years… from a fear standpoint, it has led children to the ‘dark side’. It is the perennial excuse when a boy or girl goes astray – “they succumbed to peer pressure”.
So… peer pressure goes away when you hit a certain age?
Oh, that’s a joke! It feeds itself, lives and breathes into a larger monster… shadow… cloud over us… it is right there in front of us, but so transparent that we see right through it.
Adult peer pressure is as evident as the air we breathe. It pushes us into situations that pull us off our chosen path… adults have the mechanism to reject peer pressure because the adult brain is fully developed with an arsenal of thinking skills, rationalization skills and need/want-based analysis… but yet, when someone lands a big deal, achieves a new position, pulls in a huge bonus peer pressure kicks in and takes our eyes off of OUR prize. OUR prize is the finish line we have established for ourselves – that goal we have set to let us know we have accomplished something.
The Finish Line:
A finish line is established with clear-cut goals. “I am going to do XXX by XXXX”. You know in your heart the goal is not complete until you cross the finish line… whether this is a date, a success point or some other measurable item you establish when you set the goal. Point-of-reference: I said ‘clear-cut’ for a reason – if you are setting a goal, you need to establish some type of measure to make yourself accountable to complete the goal. This is essential for both short-term and long-term goals.
The finish line is important because it gives you something to look forward to… not just ‘look forward to accomplishing’ but also to actually MAKE you look forward… this keeps you from backsliding and getting off track.
Until, of course, WE move our own finish line… WE get in our own way and decide to dangle a larger carrot further from our reach because WE cannot be happy with any measure of success. WE don’t believe it when others congratulate us, tell us how awesome we are… or tell us they want to be where WE are. (There are many of US out there with this same issue – which is why I highlighted we in those sentences).
That last paragraph is what I have been analyzing since Friday. I know I have to get out of my own way… and it is going to take baby steps to make it happen. I have to fight the resistance.
The Lizard Brain/Monkey Brain/Resistance:
You’re not good enough. You can’t do that. Why do you think you can do that?
You’ve heard every one of these… and the other iterations. Adults have a fully developed brain – capable of multiple thoughts at once, capable of huge computations, capable of beautiful feelings, capable of rationalization… until the resistance kicks in! The resistance has also been labeled Lizard Brain or Monkey Brain. Whichever name you use, it is still the same deal… it is there to make you second-guess yourself. It holds you back. It makes you backslide. It keeps you from being the most you can be.
The resistance causes you to say one thing and do another… We want to be successful then we sabotage the process… The resistance is the voice in the back of your head that tells us to go slow, back off, be careful, compromise. It is in all of us – the amygdala isn’t going away – it is the prehistoric lump on your brain stem responsible for fear and rage and reproduction.
The only way to be your true self is to learn to quiet the lizard brain… ignore the resistance!
So… now you know a little of my personal struggles. Hopefully you have seen some of your own internal issues in this post. From the time we discussed my issues in class this week, I have come to realize I have so much to offer – RIGHT NOW. Beginning with throwing the business hat to the side, ripping off the armor and discussing these issues in the open… so I can help others become their better self.
You have seen my hashtag #GSD (get shit done) on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts for years… now you are going to see a new one: #ownit. Too many people DON’T own what they do or say. If I write it, I’m going to own it… good or bad.
FYI: I am posting this without edits… I am kicking the resistance in the ass and, as Seth Godin says, SHIPPING this to you!
Feel free to post your comments below!