Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The hazards of friends who believe

Coaches are people who get paid to believe that you have what you need to be more successful at work or at life. They can do lots of good work, but there is always a sliver of an out: they believe in you because it's their job to believe. That leaves just a little room for doubt.

Friends are people who just believe that you have what you need to be more successful. There's no wiggle room.  They don't get a payoff for believing: they just do. This is why people who want to be depressed have to hide from their friends.  Friends would look at them and see possibility and hope and strength.  Accepting their belief would take so much attention and energy that there would be none left for being depressed.

It's also hard to give up, quit, or walk away if you hang out with people who look at you and see strength and skill and resilience.  You might change direction or you might change activities but you would have to be very strong to overcome their belief in you and just give up.  Instead, you would dig deep inside to find a glimmer of what they reflect back to you and you would just keep going.

And so every day you have a choice. You can achieve at the level that you expect, doing what you know you can do and not doing what seems impossible to you at the moment.  You can achieve at the level your coach believes possible, which is more than you could do alone. You'll pick up techniques for discovery that will be helpful and you will have to admit that there is more choice than there seems to you on your own.  That's all good. But you can always decide that the coach is smarter and stronger than you and coast on their belief.  Or you can always decide that the coach is not smarter than you and slide back into the limits of what you know to be possible in this moment.

Or you can hang out with friends who believe in you. Yes, you do have some and you even know who they are.  They may be worried for you. They may say exactly the right thing or say exactly the wrong thing. They will push and pull and prod.  They will hold the knowledge that you really do have what you need to get through or past or over whatever is holding you back.  They will believe that you are capable of being well and doing well.  They will persist in that belief when it seems obvious to you that you do not have any of that.

So be careful who you choose.  Because the friends that believe in you will not let you off the hook. Their belief will carry you forward.

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