I had a conversation last night with an amazing woman who gave a me a piece of advice that a life coach gave to her: You have to give people what they need, nothing more. We had been geeking out about brain science, our passion for sharing information with our followers, and how they don’t want, or perhaps can’t handle, that much information. Naturally, I am generalizing; don’t wig out on me. But my convo last night really got me thinking about the needs of others, my own need to help others, and how my need to share all the knowledge in my crazy brain is perhaps doing more “harm” than good. Lemme’splain…
If you were teaching a child to read, you wouldn’t begin with Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, let’s not be silly. See, I can’t help myself. I could’ve referenced the Harry Potter books, but no, I went full-tilt Kant. Yikes.
Would we suggest that a teenager in Drivers’ Ed enter the 24 Hours of Daytona?
I wouldn’t give a beginning piano student Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavichord unless I wanted that student to shut down and never even start playing piano.
Why, then, would I think that anyone who is searching for clarity or guidance in their life would want to know ALL of the things ALL right now? Well, they wouldn’t. No one would. We have to ease into learning new things. Even those of us who are voracious for information, no matter how scientific or “heady” it may be. Again, though I’m speaking in generalities here, I think it’s safe to say there are degrees of “readiness” in any given person when it comes to working on themselves.
My degree of readiness is literally “Rip off the Band-Aid, pedal to the metal, balls to the wall.” I’m not most people. I have had clients and friends who run the gamut from the place I reside all the way to “wrap me in a Snuggie and hold my hand.” There is no right or wrong way here. HOWEVER, I will posit that if you’re going to ask for help in understanding your dilemmas, your constant state in the quagmire of your life, or how to find your inner purpose:
Ya’ gotta’ do the damn work. If, for you, “do the work” means sugar-coat reality and don’t make it sting, I am not the helper for you. I don’t even approach my high school students in that manner. If, for you, “do the work” means you know it’s gonna’ sting sometimes, and you know you’re going to get frustrated and break down and probably angry cry, and you know these things are necessary for your own growth… then I’m your girl.
There are a few things I want you to take away from this:
- I can’t lie to you. For some crazy reason I just care about you too much. It’s a waste of my energy, and your time and intelligence to tell you something about yourself that isn’t true.
- I won’t be gentle with you; it won’t break you from your status quo (gentleness certainly didn’t help me to break out of my own status quo).
- I will ALWAYS be here for you: when you falter, when you’re frustrated, when you need to scream and cry, when you celebrate your victories, when you teach someone else what you’ve learned here, when you don’t need me anymore.
- I’ll “give you permission:” to do the things you fear, to try the things you’ve always wanted to try, to leave what you know, to be the person I see that you don’t see yet, until such a time that you blossom into being fully you and don’t need me anymore.
A colleague of mine once told a group of our high school students that our job as teachers is to ultimately become obsolete. Think about that for a second. We teach to relay skills to students so that they can put those skills into their own toolboxes, to be drawn upon in the future, and in combination with all the other tools given to them by every other “teacher” in their life. Our job, MY JOB, is to coach, to mentor, to teach to the point that I am obsolete in your life. Does that mean I don’t want to be part of your journey? HELL TO THE NO! I want to be a passenger on your ship for as long as is relevant for you. May I get a prosecco, please? I’ll be on the lido deck.