I heard a really interesting talk earlier in the week that my friend, Josh Madden, prepared and gave…and the concept is worth a big share for all of us.
Josh’s audience was about 120 people large. He through out the question “If we’re being fully honest, who here is too hard on themselves?” Just about everyone raised their hands.
The next question was profound. “Who here would ever say the things they say to themselves aimed at other people instead of themselves?” No one raised their hands. Why would we? That would most likely be mean.
We as leaders are too hard on ourselves. We push ourselves, we scratch and claw and scrape and fight until we reach our unreasonably high goal. Or just before we reach that goal, we raise the bar even higher. Sometimes we never hit that ever-moving, ever-increasing target. Or we hit it…but don’t feel that success because we’re already focusing on the next level. This fire is often what makes us successful and effective, but it can grow into a maladaptive inferno and can cause us to beat ourselves up to a fault.
This morning, I was doing the morning workout and felt like garbage. It could be the newer Keto diet I’m on, the lack of sleep I’ve had this week, or just one of those days – who knows? My numbers and my form were uncommonly below my norm – and I could feel my positive dialogue waning. Those feelings of frustration grew and the statements about “why can’t you do this?” became louder and more emphatic (perhaps exacerbated by the embarrassing backward summersault I did when I failed to hit one lift). I was shocked when the frustration boiled over and I threw the barbell down – something unlike anything I’ve never done in my life. This literally has never happened to me. A good friend (the kind that tells you what you need to hear) put me in check and interrupted the non-constructive inner dialogue. “This is fun, it’s supposed to be fun. Stop it.” My brain snapped back into a more normal, healthy place and over the next 30 minutes of working out, I focused my energy less on the exercise and more on allowing my brain to accept those important words of admonishment.
Do you have a healthy inner dialogue? Do you allow yourself to accept grace, compassion, and patience as you grow into a healthier, stronger person? Or do you push yourself too hard?
I’ll close with this. When we were in preschool, one of the golden rules we were taught was to treat others as we’d like to be treated. Perhaps it’s time to also flip the script and to learn to treat ourselves to the kindness, decency, and positivity that we share with our closest loved ones.
Be good to yourself. You’re probably pretty awesome. And focus on the good stuff. I couldn’t lift how I wanted to…but I burned like 1200 calories in an hour and I pulled off a wicked backward summersault. 🙂