One of the things I see constantly in my clients is people holding themselves back based on their own self-concept rather than the external factors in the world around them.
Throughout life, people make decisions about themselves that may or may not be true. Or they are true some of the time and people extrapolate that idea to their entire life.
How many people do you see that would tell you they are “shy,” but then you’ve seen them be the life of the party one or more times? How many people seem quiet, but then get up to give a presentation at work and magically find another gear where they are commanding and inspiring? How many people think of themselves as a total bad ass at work, but then come home and are easy-going sweethearts with their children and spouse? And I’m sure everyone is familiar with the often celebrated lady (or gentleman) in the streets who’s a “freak” in the sheets.
All of us have these apparent contradictions in our personalities if we look for them, but most people never stop to investigate these beliefs that sit in the back of their heads and filter all their decisions. We all have dynamic personalities and we all “perform” differently depending on the setting and who we are with.
If you want to move up in the world, level down, or pivot in a different direction, one of the best skills you can develop is to gain control of the different parts of yourself so that you are capable of calling whichever version you need at the time you need. Here’s how to get started:
There’s a lot of clichés in the personal development space. I will often repeat them because clichés are often overwhelming truths that we should pay more attention to than we do. One such idea, which doesn’t get nearly enough attention, is that empathy and forgiveness is the root of happiness in yourself.
If I could impress one personal development lesson it would be this: Have empathy for yourselves and others because we are all doing the very best we can.
It’s at this point that you are inevitably thinking about the co-worker you hate, your sexually harassing boss, your ex best friend who has been long written off, or any other number of people that you absolutely DON’T think is doing the absolute best they can.
Believe me, I know the feelings you have towards those people. The feelings are dark, cynical, and seductive. They will take over your life and leave you alone if you allow them to live in your head or your heart.
I was listening to Pope Francis address a giant crowd of Catholics on Christmas today and I was moved by a lot of what he said.
His eventual point was interesting in that it was very close to the guidance I try to give to my clients. He talked about how we need to accept the gift of Christ so that we could in turn be the gift for others.
This is a Christian way of saying what I have thus far found to be one of the best directives in life: be more so you can give more.
As Francis discussed the idea of Christ coming as a gift for those who didn't “deserve” - he made it abundantly clear that we will receive the gift anyway and as such we should accept it gracefully and move forward in giving ourselves to others. Whatever your religious affiliation, we can all recognize that we are often extremely hard on ourselves to the point where we feel we don't deserve love and grace, let alone feel like we can contribute to the world around us.
That being said, in the personal development space there is no shortage of people obsessed with their own growth. People spend countless hours sculpting their physique, padding their back account, finding that strategic edge in their business, or sharpening their mind with the next best idea.
But for what?
I’m not a reality TV watcher, but somehow a recent argument between Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got served to me by YouTube and I found it fascinating. Their famous argument is something that EVERYONE in a relationship is going to go through, so we can all learn from what is going on with this celebrity couple.
Here’s the often unspoken truth about personal development: When you grow as an individual, it’s going to put strain on your relationships - often to disastrous results.
For background’s sake, Kanye West is one of the most prolific rappers on Earth who has previously promoted all the trappings of rap music - derogatory language, objectification of women, self-worth derived from material things, and so on.
Recently and famously he has re-devoted his life to his Christian faith. He has sworn off creating negative content and music for “the culture” and is only going to make music that celebrates his love of Jesus Christ.
When an individual makes a dramatic turn like this, it is unavoidable that there will be conflict with those who have loved the old you. Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, expressed this beautifully in an argument over whether or not she should dress sexy for other men to see when she said “your transformation doesn’t mean I’m in the same spot with you.”
My mom and I were recently talking about whether or not someone who is trying to lose weight should weigh themselves every day or not.
She took the new popular position that no you shouldn’t. And I get why. True weight loss is pretty slow (maybe dropping 1 or 2 pounds per week if you are doing it healthily and normally). Seeing moderate changes along the way are discouraging for her and others who don’t want to see the slow progress of weight loss. Or worse, people who give themselves cheat days don’t want to see the damage that their 6 beers and basket of fries did to their goals.
I’m quite different. If I have a weight goal, I want to know exactly what is happening. Was my day of eating good or bad? Am I eating something that is making me hold on to weight the days I am eating it? If I sleep less does it affect my weight drop or gain overnight? If I cheated and ate something bad how much did it set me back? And there are numerous other questions that I can only know the answer to if I am gathering data.
There's a fine line between knowing yourself and creating limiting identities or beliefs.
In the coaching world and the corporate HR world there is a lot of hype around personality types, enneagrams, introversion/extroversion, and other tools used to put people in neatly ordered boxes.
These tests can be useful for us individuals because it helps us feel understood, can point us in the right direction for our current skill set, and even point out our weaknesses and limitations so we can improve.
Managers and executives like these tests because they help them put people into boxes and order us appropriately so that we flourish under their leadership.
So on the surface everyone wins with these tools.
Like everything, there is a downside and these tests often become a problem for people. It becomes a problem because when you put people into behavioral boxes, they tend to accept their new confines and their growth becomes stifled.
For those that don’t watch sports, Adam Vinatieri is a 46 year old kicker in the NFL who is widely regarded as the greatest kicker to ever play the game. Much to my town of Indianapolis’ chagrin, the last two games he has missed a career worst number of kicks. Out of 8 kicks, most of them being routine kicks, he has only made 3. That would be bad for a struggling high school kicker, let alone the best to ever play the game.
Most people think that Vinatieri hit some age wall where he suddenly can’t make a routine chip shot - as if his leg deteriorated to the point of being inaccurate from short distances overnight. As such, many think it’s time for him to retire.
In reality, if you go grab Vinatieri when he is 60, I bet he’ll be able to kick 10 extra points in a row without the kind of problems he is having now. It’s not his age. It’s just a typical slump. Slumps happen to everyone, but when you are a baseball player or a kicker in the NFL, your slumps are obvious, measurable and compounding.
The real question is - why do slumps happen and how on Earth do we make them stop?
It is well known that popular styles of exercise like CrossFit or Yoga have developed cult like religious followings.
It has also recently been thoroughly reported that religion is on a decline in America with the thoroughly-reported “rise of the nones” - a spike in people identifying their religion as “none.”
As my clients know, or fans of Tony Robbins know, anything that improves your state and meets your six human needs at a high level is going to create a happier, more fulfilled human being with fervor for whatever it is that is meeting those needs.
CrossFit, Yoga, SoulCycle and other secular very often are doing a far better job at meeting people’s human needs than the previous standard bearer of fulfillment: religion. This isn’t an investigation into the truth of God or the afterlife, but a practical look at why you love your workout or your church - OR why you may have given up on one or the other. Whether it is your workout or your religious life, you’re only going to be happier if they are doing these things for you:
On top of coaching highly functioning adults, I also spend a significant time with my own kids as well as coaching their teams whenever I can. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching soccer for 4, 5, and 6 year olds, you may know that it is by far one of the most challenging things on Earth to effectively engage a group of young people.
If you’re a parent of young children, you may want to master the art of getting kids to comply with your requests.
Here are some things to consider if you want to step up your parenting game and have a more peaceful home with less conflict and more harmony.
Prominent NFL quarterback Andrew Luck recently retired abruptly from the game of football at the age of 29 - leaving my hometown of Indianapolis in shock and disbelief.
As a life coach who pays attention to the best competitors in the world, I’m not as surprised as most. What I see out of Luck is a person who is actively paying attention to what he values - something most of us struggle with - and making sure that his life conditions line up with his life blueprint.
At the same time the 29 year old is stepping away from the sport, the 42 year old Tom Brady is stepping into another season looking to defend the Super Bowl title he won at age 41 and trying to prove that he has found the fountain of youth.
Brady, like Luck, pays attention to what he values and lives his life accordingly. They just both came up with completely different answers to the question of “what really matters?” in life.
Your life coach.
The Andrew Warner Podcast: