How can we make life less to do about performance and more about fulfillment?
What? Isn’t it all about landing the next project? Getting the next client? Writing the next blog post? Making more money? Hosting the next fabulous dinner party?
Help! Unplug me.
Recently the pastor in the church I often attend was talking about how our lives are all about performance here on earth. Then, there was the sad untimely passing of Robin Williams, indisputably a comic genius. Maybe it’s the point on the path in life that I’m on that makes certain words (messages) and sad events (dying) more relevant.
If we believe our lives don’t begin and end on earth then even the statement credited to Dr. Wayne Dyer supports both things like my pastor’s message and peoples deaths:
“I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do.”
Yet many of us continue to act this way, the doing way, me included. It’s not necessarily a more introvert or extrovert thing other than as an introvert myself, this is my view of the story.
Go with your strengths
Some of us often downplay our strengths. Maybe it’s because being in the kind of world of many macho man and wonder woman we’re a little tired of it. Many of us are strutting around, “Look at me…” “I’m number one…”
What I love about being more introverted is our strengths tend to come from our quieter side.
Still regardless of our preference, sometimes we can take our strengths to an extreme. Heck I even blog about building from or boosting ourselves from our strengths so we don’t zap our energy.
It seems there is a curse and a blessing to often being unaware of your strengths. The curse is, we have a weaker foundation in almost anything we undertake in that we are somewhat clueless.
For example, if we are more introverted and don’t recognize the power in being quieter we might struggle to get our voice heard the way the more extroverted do.
Yet, if we are more extroverted and don’t seem to understand our nature of being energized from outside ourselves, our need to connect more with others can be misread by others as just trying to be an attention grabber.
In the 1987 movie Moonstruck, after two slaps in the face without words, Cher says to Nicholas Cage, “Snap out of it!”
Give up overgeneralization
In one of my early years as a corporate trainer, with one of my first public speaking paid engagements, I wanted to gain the meeting planners approval so much. Actually, this was the situation more than most times. Operative word – was.
We met once, twice, three times. She asked for an outline I toiled over: my ideas, supported by research, leading to her messages.
I over prepared. Not memorized but practiced about twice as much as normal. With all of this, when it was time to appear on the platform, my passion about the topic was heightened.
At the end of the presentation there was applause. Hooray. A few of the participants came up to me after the program and either thanked me for the inspiration or complimented something they heard.
About a week later I was getting ready to talk with the meeting planner about giving me a testimonial. Surprise! There was a letter in the mail from her and boy was I excited about it as I opened it.
What a let down. It felt like I was a failure. “You missed the mark and did not deliver the message we discussed.” The letter wasn’t nasty, it did thank me but the message I’ve included here is all I can recall. It was horrible.
A mistake is just that – a mistake. We can destroy our beingness if we make a general conclusion based on one, two or even more experiences. These don’t mean your entire career or life is a mistake. As Robin Williams #RIP said, ““What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.”
Many of us who have to always be doing might lose a true sense of self. Not to mention the possible physical burnout and mental overwhelm.
We’re all human beings who might be able to know we have it all if we can do less and be more. We can find more strength in our life and peace in our being if we realize there is nothing to prove from performance to anyone, including ourselves.
Which do you value more, doing or being? (Hint: look at your calendar.)