I coach people and I do it well. I guess I am known as a bit of a hard-ass. I don’t coddle my clients and I do NOT tolerate inactivity or poor effort!
And apparently, I have a pretty strong leadership quotient. That’s a fancy way of saying that I often am asked to – or end up – leading projects and people due to force of personality and decisiveness.
However, a bi-product of dispensing with advice that is clearly in my wheelhouse – playing to my strengths – is that readers and those I coach get the impression that I do everything well; that I never feel down or depressed, anxious, fearful, lack confidence, get angry, or deal with frustration – at myself and others.
Oh people.. dear dear readers who might have ever thought that… It’s laughable but as my mom sometimes says, “I’m laughing so I don’t cry!”
Matt.. this is getting a little uncomfortable.. why are you sharing this?
Last night I was speaking to a friend who I’ve coached (and I would suggest she has coached me as well) and through that coaching has had some good breakthroughs and success. That’s awesome!! (she’s got some work to do still.. gentle nudge)
During our conversation, which had turned to coaching soccer, another thing I do well, she said, “You do a lot of things well but you should let people know that you don’t do everything well.” She knows some of my back story and suggested that it might help people to know that I struggle with some things….
I have a pretty strong sense of what I do well. However, lurking beneath all that is the stark realization of SO many things I do poorly. In fact, I am reaching out and getting coaching on a number of these items. It’s a process kids.. it’s a process! At least that is what they tell me – and God knows I tell my client’s that.
One of the facets of going through a pretty extreme adversity is a sense of guilt.. I’ll go further and say that it borders on a type of self-loathing! (thank you to those who have shared that vulnerable part of you) I give a presentation to employment support groups and others titled, “Overcoming Adversity and Revitalizing Your Career.” What I’ve discovered in this autobiographical and somewhat painfully transparent presentation is that I am not alone in feeling this way.
Recently, someone who attended the presentation sent me an email and said, “Thank you so much for letting me see that you have failed and, quite frankly, are not perfect! It made me feel normal!”
I wrote back and told them that they made me laugh out loud.. a true LOL. Perfect!!! I told her I sucked at so many things and that I often avoid them like the plague. No.. not perfect…good one… Of course, I also let them know NOT to use me as a basis for believing they are normal either!!!
NOTE: AND PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY AND TAKE IT TO HEART!!!
I’m not seeking consolation or encouragement. Believe me when I say, my confidence borders on arrogance much of the time. And when I say it borders, it is on the “arrogant” side of that line. DON’T ENCOURAGE ME!! :-)
Thanks, The Management
In fairness to myself, and in response to my friend last night, I pointed out that I’ve divulged some of my fear, misgivings, and sense of failure & loss in the past.. she hadn’t seen those blog entries. I submit for your (and her) approval:
Past: A personal discussion on fear and failure
Recent: I did my best and other lies
I am twice divorced, have failed at business, and have let those most dear to me down in some critical ways. In a recent blog my daughter, reflecting on 2007/2008 – the year of my first divorce, included this line… “while our father became a shell of the hero he’d been”
Let that sink in people.. that’s my daughter, which, in turn – following basic biology – makes me the father. Specifically, the father who had been (past tense) a hero! And let me tell you, becoming a shell is a drag!
I was asked by a friend who read that how it made me feel.
How do you think it makes me feel? Sad! Angry (at myself, not her)! Defeated! I would have grounded her but two problems.. 1) she’s an adult and has lived on her own since she was 18. 2) I don’t really like grounding my children, I’d rather talk to them.
But, I’m stubborn and I’m really competitive! I’m committed! I’m
arrogant…er.. confident! I’ve got some good mentors and coaches in my life. I plan to find my cape and beat my chest!
And so, the process started a few years back and continues. And it’s going well. New book, new business. Reestablished goals! Tempered with a clear understanding of how easily it, and I, can get derailed.
People, it’s not bad to take a clear assessment of what you do well and what you door poorly. And call it what it is.. I understand some want to say, “You mean things you do less well!” as if saying, “less well,” will make you feel better about them. Gag!! I get what they’re saying but there are times you might need to say, “I’m awful at this,” and commit to getting the help you need.
That’s my whole point with the above post about “you did your best.” A similar phrases that I hate is, “Everything happens for a reason.” Uhh… yeah, because I blew it! To re-purpose and alter a paraphrase from A Few Good Men, I CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH!!
The Truth and Nothing But
And there you have it, the truth! Know what is also true? I’m awesome! I really am! But only at those things I’m awesome at!
And so, to my friend I was speaking with last night… Did I do this well enough? Thanks for forcing my hand! Now you need to go write something!
EDIT: Added after posting. A song I wrote in 2008. 2AM
And back to my regular confident self!!