All of us should get to a point in life when we can sit back, take it for what it is and just accept things as they are.
Acceptance doesn’t mean ‘give in’, and it’s not an excuse to be satisfied with mediocre, but it is an allowance to be okay with where you’re at right now. It concerns me that some people are unable to get to that point of ‘okay-ness’. Four of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned have changed how I view the world and how the world treats me, so I thought I’d share them with you.
#1. Nobody cares and nobody is listening
We’re bombarded with so much information from those relentless online newsfeeds but the truth is, so many people these days are so self-absorbed with what they’re doing, that they couldn’t care less about what you’re saying or sharing. Once you can accept this fact, things become a little lighter in terms of your expression and whether or not you get anxious about how you’re perceived by others – I should know; I spent way too many years searching for praise and approval so can speak from experience! Now I just speak my message and appreciate when it resonates with others. The thing is, if you act with conviction, people will gravitate towards your offering – you don’t need to shove things down their throat in order to be heard.
Lesson 1: Be on point, be succinct and stop trying so hard to convince people you’re right and they don’t know – it looks desperate.
#2. It’s not what you know – EQ trumps IQ
Every major work opportunity I’ve had over the past 23 years has been the result of knowing the right people and having great relationships with them. I’ve leap-frogged and out-performed others who know way more than I do, but it’s always the relationship, integrity and work ethic that people appreciate most.
Lesson 2: Foster your networks, develop meaningful win/win relationships, and be aware how you sound in mixed company.
#3. Fear is helpful
I know it doesn’t feel like it at the time, but having a fear response to stimulus is actually a good thing. How you react to it might be another story, but fear is there for a reason.
The helpfulness of fear as an emotion harks back to pre-historic times. Being fearful of being chased by a woolly mammoth kept us alive – fight or flight. These days, without the dangers of being eaten alive (by animals, anyway), we put that fear response to use in the most ridiculous situations. Worrying about things you can’t change, for example, is useless; you can only control your response to fear after you realise its positive intention.
When I get fearful, I use that emotion to inspire action. So I’m scared, for example, that one of my upcoming keynote presentations is going to bomb, then I’ll do more research and ask more questions of the organisers to get the message and delivery exactly right for that audience. For me, I use fear as a motivator to take positive action.
Lesson 3: Look for the positive intention behind the negative emotion of fear for you. When it strikes, appreciate it, embrace it, and use it to your advantage.
#4. Comparison will be the death of you
Okay, maybe not physical death, but certainly mental damage, at minimum! The anguish we heap on ourselves when we compare our story to others, invariably creates questions about why we don’t have ‘enough’. For starters, you’ll never have ‘enough’, and secondly, you’ve lost perspective on what ‘enough’ is in life. People in Africa survive because they have ‘enough’ to survive and you’ve got more than they could ever wish for! If you surround yourself with ‘Fakebook’ declarations and use them as a benchmark for your own happiness, there’s only one outcome to the story – and it’s not a good one!
Lesson 4: Worry about yourself – who you are, what you do and what you stand for. If you’re happy with your reflection in the mirror, and you see a genuinely good person looking back at you, then be satisfied you are and have enough.
Article by OH! Magazine's Performance Coaching Expert, Greg Sellar