I used to never want to celebrate my birthday. I was shy and didn’t like the attention. Part of it was growing up a middle child and never feeling like I fit in. Part of it was that I felt awkward and uncomfortable in the limelight.
But there was a part of me that wanted the attention, that craved it because I never felt I had any. It’s a weird paradox.
I was introverted and scared to have attention called upon me in almost any situation but yet I yearned to be heard and for my voice to matter.
But what I didn’t realize back all those years ago (and even until just recently) is that I didn’t need to be heard by others to make me happy. What I actually discovered is that I needed to listen to myself. My innermost thoughts were the voice that was being suppressed all along.
I wasn’t looking for approval from the outside. That’s where I was mistaken. I needed approval internally. Approval that the decisions I was making, the things I wanted to do, and the people I wanted to be around were all my decisions if I just listened to myself.
What I have come to realize and respect is that the only way to discover happiness is we must first discover ourselves. We must be willing to gain acceptance from within before ever looking for outside validation.
We know what we want. We do. We’ve just let “society” do the play calling for us instead of being in the center of the huddle and scripting our own plays.
That’s where the game can change. We are in control of our happiness if we want to be. What we spend time doing, who we spend time with, how our attitude is every day, where we put our energy, and what we know is our “why”.
It’s in our control if we take the time to block out the noise around us and listen inward.
We don’t have to fear the limelight as long as we show up as our true authentic selves and put into the world what is deep inside us and makes us energized and driven toward a life full of happiness.
What we should all fear is suppressing that voice and following the direction of what others think we should do. What others care about. What others are doing.
Because their decisions don’t affect us.
The people who we want to be around the most and who love, support, and respect us are never making it about them. They are only asking us one question, “What do you want?”
Are we prepared to trust our inner voice and answer?
How many times do we look at others and think these sorts of questions…
What’s their life like?
Why are they here?
What led them to this spot?
Are they really happy?
How often do we wonder what others are doing? How often does the curiosity peak?
It’s easy to imagine what others are going through and create stories to make our assumptions seem real.
But how often do we turn those questions back on ourselves?
How often do we pause and question where we are at?
It’s always easier to look away from our situation and judge, critique, and imagine how others’ lives are going.
The harder thing to do is let others live how they live and use that energy to focus on where we are hurting or where we are feeling anxiety and frustration in our current state. It’s hard to look in the mirror and judge the person looking back at us.
But, turning those questions back on ourselves can open up a new dimension of clarity and lead us on a clearer path toward better decisions and better answers to these questions.
Answers that, if we work to change for the better, ultimately make us happier day after day.
I’ve followed Ray Dalio for many years and this is one of his cornerstones to a successful life.
Pain + Reflection = Progress
You need to go through bouts of pain and then add the element of reflection to the mix in order to grow to the next level.
As I pondered this more, I thought about my sales career and the sales professionals I’ve been around. We were always taught, as many in sales are, to find the “pain” with the prospect. Pull out the “pain” and you’ll be able to help them realize where you can help them.
But how many times do we take our own medicine?
A virtual show of hands… How many people have figured out where their “pain” is in their sales process or career and worked hard to improve that area?
I didn’t think so. I’ve been bad in this department as well.
What we found that “works” is solid and we continue to use it over and over. Same pitch. Same play. Same song and dance.
When have we stepped outside that comfort and got really nervous or awkward or silly in order to improve?
Maybe an SDR is struggling to get the right messaging on prospecting calls. When was the last time you did a role play and got really uncomfortable? When was the last time you actually asked a prospect what they thought of your approach? When was the last time…(insert your own curiosity)
Maybe it is someone that gets nervous with large groups in presentations. Instead of continuing down that road, have you considered Improv classes? Toastmasters? Volunteering at an event where you are thrust into speaking in front of people? Again, insert your own question here.
We are really good at getting to the “pain” of our future clients but have an extremely difficult time putting ourselves in that painful situation to improve first.
It sucks but it’s the only way.
My question to leave you with is this…
What one thing can you do this week to feel some pain but know that it will push you forward to new heights?