When is it good enough? If someone does it different does that mean their way is better? If someone tells you that you should do it differently does that mean the way you are doing it is wrong? What if there is a better way but that doesn’t work for you, does that mean that your way is still enough?
Several months ago someone commented to me about hypocritical life coaches/ self help people. One of my priorities into stepping into the life coaching field is to make sure that I am walking my talk. When I worked at Discover card, light years ago, I had a supervisor tell me something that has impacted my life time and again. She said “I won’t ask my employees to do anything I am not willing to do myself.” This helped me for the time I worked there but even more so has it shown up in my life as a mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, and currently a life coach.
You may not know that several years ago I stepped out to be a life coach and shortly into the work had to stop due to feeling like a fraud. To sit with someone asking questions, and finding solutions for their life in a manner that I was unwilling to do in my own quickly exposed the hypocrisy. I don’t doubt that I was able to provide value, but in skipping the “self” portion I was cheating myself out of an opportunity to not only have sage skills, but to have gone to the dark places, the forgotten places, the overwhelming scary places myself. So I stopped the life coaching then and hopped onto my own personal life journey roller coaster.
Back to 4 months ago when the hypocrisy comment was sent my way: I realized that once again I had an area and opportunity for growth. I worked in the health and wellness industry, dishing out nutrition, supplement, exercise, breathing, suggestions several days a week. But what was I doing? I was a professed never taker of supplements. Not because I thought I didn’t need them, or that they weren’t beneficial, but, simply because I had overwhelmed myself with knowledge about supplements, thereby paralyzing myself into inaction. I decided it was time to pose a challenge to myself and actually see if I could do it. I took all of the rules off the table and asked myself what I could do to make this work best for me. I anchored this new habit I wanted to create to an existing habit: flossing my teeth. I am a devoted, dedicated flosser, so I knew that if I took the supplements at bed time after I flossed my teeth I increased the likelihood of it happening. My next decision was what was I going to take? After narrowing it down to the few that I felt were the most important I started on the journey.
And so it began. I decided to toss the all or nothing success mentality out the window and if I was doing this at least 3 days a week I was reaching 100% success. This is called backing down. Start with what you want to achieve, and then back it down to a place that you are most likely to be consistently successful and then slowly build upon that.
I didn’t notice any immediate change but I did find myself excited to take the supplements all day, and a little resistance to when the time came to actually taking them. But, one week in and I was at least 3 days of success, probably a little more. The next week similar results. Over the course of 4 months I have successfully achieved my 3 days at least, most of the time actually more. Why I ask if this is good enough.
I was happily enjoying the success of what I was doing and started to share my success with people. I was surprised at the reaction, and actually had to check in with myself to see if this is how I was meeting people’s success. I was told how I could do it better. How I could do it more like other people were doing it. Inadvertently I was being told that what I was doing wasn’t good enough. I don’t think people consciously thought that, but without recognition my huge victory was being minimized with counsel on how I could do it better.
I was being told how I could change my habit from the flossing time to the morning time. I was being told how dosing out my supplements the night before, or for the week, could ensure success. I was being asked what supplements I was taking and then being told what else I could add. What was missing was a celebration and acknowledgment of my success. How quickly I could have shut myself down because what I was doing wasn’t good enough.
Fortunately for me I entered into this as an experiment, so I was already giving greater awareness to what I was experiencing. I was not anticipating this type of response from others. I immediately started to check in with myself about how I was greeting others (especially my children’s) declarations of success. Was I celebrating? Or immediately and unsolicitedly (yes I just made up a word) telling them how they could do/be better, therefore insinuating that their success wasn’t good enough?
Oh the psychological rabbit hole to jump down in regards to the reasons behind these types of reactions, but that is a post for a different day.
And if you were wondering? Yes I am still successfully taking my supplements when I floss at least 3 days a week. I have actually, for the first time in my life, taken several whole bottles of supplements and had to buy more! And on the next level of success I am adding 1 day time supplement to the mix. Baby steps!
Are you helping others celebrate their success?