The other day one of my clients was feeling frustrated–I have seen this before, of course. There is always a point in the coaching process where one backslides a bit, where one gets frustrated that changes aren’t happening fast enough. It’s hard to see all the small wins when we have expectations, we’re impatient, and/or riding a wave of emotion. Fast forward a day or two, as I was on the phone with my coach. I was feeling frustrated that some aspects of my business weren’t growing…you guessed it…as fast as I’d like! My expectations weren’t being met, and I was feeling like a failure. What a helpful–and somewhat annoying–reminder. 🙂
I also recently sent a close friend who is struggling with her career a book that seems to be pretty high in popularity these days: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. I sent this book to my friend because it was the kind of friendly, slap in the face motivation I thought she needed (she loved in BTW).
So when super helpful Amazon suggested I also take a look at The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, I bought it for myself. I didn’t know much about it other than the title totally spoke to me. 😉 I finished it in 2 days, and only because I had commitments to keep: otherwise it would have been a one-sit read. All I can say is, it made me laugh out loud (several times), it inspired and motivated me, and it really did encourage me. Let me tell you just some of the ways.
“Happiness comes from [taking actions to solve] problems. Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.” Manson goes on to talk about the ways we avoid our problems (denial or being a victim), how negative emotions can motivate necessary action, and how it’s important to choose which problems / pain you really want to struggle with, because they’re what help you learn and grow. It was helpful to remember that I chose the problems and pain of being an entrepreneur, because I value helping people and having time for my own self-care. I could certainly still have the problems of working for someone else, and not having any breathing space (if I wanted to)!
Many of you know I love The Work of Byron Katie: she’s gotten me out of many a thought jam in the past through her thoughtful line of questioning. In this book, Manson has a similar approach in that he shows readers how “self-awareness is like an onion” (of course it is–many times it just stinks!) and that asking why something makes you want to flat out lose your mind can be really helpful. Most of the time the answer is about the big F word: Failure. Yet failure is something we define based on what we value. Do we take on others’ values? Do we accept others’ measures? Taking some time to really consider our values and customize our measures–while not giving a flying f*ck what other people think–can make us realize we’re way more successful than we’re giving ourselves credit for. (I also love that Manson uses a story about Dave Mustaine and his endless competition with Metallica as a useful illustration about how we can be successful and yet really miss it because we’re so focused on the wrong measures. Rock on!)
After helping readers understand the difference between good and bad values, Manson uses the rest of the book to present what he calls “five counterintuitive values that [he] believe[s] are the most beneficial values one can adopt.” These are: radical responsibility, uncertainty, failure, rejection, and mortality. Honestly I’d been thinking I’m pretty cool with the last one (an oddity about me you may not know), but then again if I really were, I’m not sure I’d have so many issues with the other 4. Time to really go live and act without those irrational fears! 😮
Lastly, there’s a great section in Chapter 8 where Manson talks about boundaries in terms of relationships. I won’t give that away, except to say that it’s extremely on-point and useful if you’re in any type of relationship and are having trouble communicating.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck has certainly inspired me to act in ways I might have feared prior to reading it. Time to make all those phone calls to strangers I’ve been putting off! I’ll also leave you a sentence that caught me early on, while Manson is explaining that not giving a f*ck doesn’t mean not caring about anything: “[It’s] the willingness to stare failure in the face and shove your middle finger back at it.” Yeah…I can totally see myself doing that next time I fail at something! We’ll see which of those calls gets my finger.