I’ve always been a pretty laid back guy. Ask my friends. I’m annoyingly laid back. Like I’m so down for whatever that it’s sometimes tough to be around me.
A couple years ago, I was transitioning out of one job and into another and asked one of my mentors to kind of give me an overall eval. Exit Interview. What were my strengths while at that job, what were my weaknesses?
It’s tough to ask someone to evaluate your competence and character but I’m down for whatever so I asked.
“You let people walk on you and you never stand up for yourself.”
I was blown away. It seemed like pretty harsh criticism coming from a guy that was one of my best advocates. My first reaction was to casually defend myself in my own mind. See that’s what I do. I defend myself… to myself. Which is exactly what he had just identified was the problem.
I’m so frieking laid back that I never fight anybody, on anything. I just take it in stride. I roll with the punches but I constantly forget one very important thing.
If all you do is role with the punches you’re gonna get knocked the heck out.
A couple years later, a different mentor of mine, helped me work through this flaw with this simple phrase. He’d look me in the eye and say “You are a grown-ass man.”
This became his catchphrase for me and it was his subtle and humorous way of empowering me to fight back. Throw a punch occasionally. Stand up for myself.
Some of you may have my problem. You fight too infrequently for far too little. What you’ll find, is what I found. A lot of people like you, but not many people know you. You are the stranger, trapped and desperately lonely in the middle of a crowd.
But here’s the cold hard truth, like a stiff jab right between the eyes. It’s not the crowd’s fault. It’s yours.
Others of you have the opposite problem. You fight so often, for so much that your arms are like limp noodles. You’re like the guy at the gym that’s always hogging the heavy bag. Unfortunately you probably also tend to practice on your friends and what you’ve found is that though people know you really well… not very many of them like you.
You’re lonliness comes from a completely different place. You push people away because you just can’t let the little things go.
This whole blog is obviously way over simplified but I hope you see my meaning. Life is about balance. If all we do is duck and dodge, we never win anything and the bad guys just keep coming. But if we are always fighting, we are also always creating enemies.
To those of you who are like me, it’s time to stand up and be counted. Work on that haymaker punch and make it count. We’ve spent so much time choosing out battles that we’ve never actually stepped into the ring and touched gloves. No time like the present.
And those of you with a sick left jab and right upper cut. Maybe it’s time to step away from the heavy bag and give us roll-with-the-punchers a turn. We know that you could take us, and we’d probably let you, but maybe, I don’t know, just let us have this one.
Don’t forget to like, and share. Heck a comment wouldn’t hurt either. Thanks so much.
Photo by Cristian see it here.