Their story isn't always your story . . . or the whole story
I’m really ticked off.
Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about self-proclaimed experts telling their clients – fellow coaches and solo professionals – that they can’t or shouldn’t pursue their passions and dreams because they don’t have a portfolio or the right experience or that they can’t teach people to do something they’ve yet to do (check out my gremlin post from earlier this year).
This is horseshit.
When we have a relationship with someone who has an air of authority, whether it’s a coach or a doctor . . . hell, even a parent, sometimes it’s really easy to accept their word as gold. We trust them right? So how could they be wrong?
Because they are human. And while they may know us intimately in some cases, they don’t know us as well as we know ourselves.
One of the boys in my neighborhood, Sean, was the first person I remember telling me I couldn’t catch a baseball . . . and his coach backed him up. At age 9, he was playing little league and I was playing junior girls softball. I knew I could catch a softball traveling at a good clip, but I wasn’t 100% sure I could catch a baseball at the same speed. A ball is a ball I reasoned – even if they were different sizes. So I slid my softball glove on and waited for him to hurl his baseball. “I betcha won’t catch it,” he laughed as he wound up and let it fly. The coach winked at Sean from the sidelines as if to say “you’ve got this all day long.”
I may have looked ready, but inside the doubt was creeping in. He’s an awesome athlete. He throws hard. Maybe girls really can’t catch as well as boys. What if this thing hits me in the head?
And the big one: His coach believes I can’t catch it (that air of authority).
I don’t even remember seeing the ball but I sure as hell felt it. My palm went numb when that little white-hot comet smacked the leather of my glove.
I have no idea how, but I caught it!
I could’ve accepted Sean and his coach’s opinion as my truth but I never would’ve known how true (or false in this case) it was without giving it a try.
Today, there’s a lot of things I (and likely you) can’t do. I can’t juggle, I can’t fly a plane, I can’t do a handstand, I can’t walk across the Grand Canyon on a 2-inch diameter steel cable (and I’m more than happy to let Nik Wallenda own that). But if I had a burning desire to do them, I would do everything I needed to do to change it. You can too.
People will challenge you; sometimes in envy or malice but I believe it’s mostly with good intentions. You’ll know the difference. If something rings true in what they say, acknowledge it neutrally. Ask yourself “What’s true about what this person is saying and how can I bridge the gap?”
So if a trusted advisor says something to you that isn’t sitting right – I mean it’s really gnawing at you – take that as a sign to trust your gut. Dig deeper, seek your truth and prove them wrong . . . instead of accepting their story as your own.
Have you proven the naysayers wrong? If so, I’d love to hear about it so leave me a comment OK?
You summed it up! Excellent take on this. We’re always more capable than we give ourselves credit for, and often the buildup (of doubt, etc) to something new is worse than the actual event, once it’s accomplished. Way to catch that ball!
Thanks Wendy. I know you’re speaking from experience too with everything you’ve accomplished recently.