When Your Advice Comes Back At You
(Originally written in 2019)
It is so damn true the saying that the advice you give to others is so often the piece you need for yourself.
Let’s rewind to this morning. Scene: the local soccer complex after my nephew’s game ended. I’m walking with him and we were talking about the game and really complementing him, because he played a great game on defense. I observed that every time I did, he would deflect the compliment. Every time. The last time was when he mentioned that he had picked up on a couple of little things that the forward he was defending was doing at the end of the game. I praised him and told him how great it was he was seeing it, and now he knows to look for this right off next time. He tried to push that off, giving a teammate credit for pointing it out.
I finally just turned to him and said, “It’s okay to take credit, stop deflecting.”
After the game, I rewound about 36 hours to a moment I had with his older sister. She was upset because of something in the moment, that was rendered moot by the next morning. Let’s face it, most of us adults do that same exact thing, get gummed up in what’s ultimately meaningless, forgettable junk. I was able to talk the crisis down to “Status: Manageable”. A little bit later she says to me, “thank you for being my life coach again.”
My response: “I’m no life coach, nope!”
Her: “You’re MY life coach”
Me: “Nope, I’m not a coach!”
Returning to the present, I saw my own words coming back to smack me across the face.
(Author’s note: Go figure, a year later with a lot of time to kill-thanks Covid-I ended up jumping into life coached, getting certified and trained and legit and stuff. When I told my niece that’s what I was doing, she responded-”About friggin’ time, you’ve been my coach for years!” Kids.)
I know exactly what my trigger was from. A couple of years back I considered going into life coaching. I took some courses, and started to look for some “guinea pig” clients to work with before I started charging. I had three people volunteer to work with me. And right after volunteering, each of them bailed out. And it wasn’t like a gentle blowoff. Literally each one was like “I don’t want to do this.” Literally ran. Of course I took it like I did most things, as a referendum on how much I suck. So I not only decided not to bother but to never, ever even consider this as a possible life path ever again.
What’s funny is that every so often someone mentions that I would be a great coach and I have the same reaction I did with my niece: a strong HELL NO , WE ARE NOT EVEN GOING TO DISCUSS THIS!
In the end it’s a blessing, because I really don’t feel like it’s a real deep calling to me to do that. I would rather do my thing on a stage in front of 30,000 than any sort of one on one setting. So I’m grateful that the rejections happened and opened my eyes to that, my ego still feels raw around it.
Which was the whole backstory to my reaction to her. I mean, I could have just said “thank you” and owned my gift of being able to connect with others in a way that resonates with them deeply. Especially with teenagers. That’s a thing too many of us adults don’t even want to be bothered with, if we’re being honest.
I could just have simply owned my shit and said, “thanks, I’m glad you see my gifts.” I could stand to be better at that going forward. It doesn’t make you an asshole to admit you’re damn good at things, even if the world likes to tell us differently. In case you haven’t noticed, society is kind of a FUBAR operation.
That’s what I wanted for my nephew, for him to own that he did some great stuff that he can be proud of in the moment. That it’s not only “okay” but encouraged. Appears his uncle could use a bit of a reminder as well on this subject.