Wanting to be successful… being good at what you do… is that something you want?
Of course it is. And ‘Hand it to me on a plate” would be the perfect solution wouldn’t it just? Sorry: ‘no can do’. Worse still, I can’t even predict which way our fortunes might fall either. Shame, because that would save us all a lot of effort. Now I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know. But you’re curious and like me you might want to know the secret to how some find success and peace of mind. For lots of people, it might not seem to come by so easily..
We want to be on the winning team. Right?
A Google search reveals thousands of ways as to how others have achieved success in their field. But when it comes to actually finding the ultimate answer, don’t you find that there never seems to be one perfect, ideal match for where you find yourself right now? I want book sales, an effective marketing strategy and enough motivation and energy to control my eating and generate some muscles to die for. The internet can throw up loads of suggestions as to how to achieve what it is we want, which includes some bright innovative ideas accompanied by very convincing testimonies. In fact there are some great things ‘out there’, floating around for anyone to be inspired by and to get off on. I’ve even tried some… And yes, despite all the attention I’ve given it, success remains elusive. So which is it; more effort required or more patience? You need some of that too? Then we do have something in common, but I reckon right now you’d maybe rather we didn’t. :)
Ok… I hear the words… easier said than done… I know. Book sales are only part of the story, as I’ve already intimated. Body image is also where my attention is going. And to give you some idea of how it goes with me I invite you to take a quick peep.
I’m sitting slumped up against the end of the bed. Eyes are all red, and nose is snivelling. My bum and hips have spread out, in their attempt to take full advantage of the space given to them in these ‘who is there to notice anyhow’ shapeless ‘trackies’ that I settled on earlier. When I woke up this morning I wasn’t particularly preoccupied with my body image. But now I’ve let my head become monopolised with trying to resolve the conundrum of how to satisfy an invitation stating a ‘smart but casual’ dress code; made more challenging by the limited resources at my disposal. I can do smart at a push, but they’re ‘work’ clothes, while my casual is another man’s slobbish. The combinations I’ve tried so far haven’t worked to best effect. In fact the opposite has happened. I feel old and out of shape. The bedroom looks like a bomb has hit it. The wardrobe doors hang open, my rejected clothes… chucked off… lie strewn on the bed and across the floor.
Frustrated and overwhelmed.
‘You can clear it up later’ is the self-talk I listen to, while a ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude complements it into there being no immediate clear-up strategy in the making. I’m feeling bad with myself. I’ve made a mess and I feel a mess. The dividing line has blurred.
I have a mug of coffee in one hand and in the other a forbidden biscuit. Or at least there was one until a second ago. The packet, glancing to my left, is looking a lot emptier than I remember… which begs the question: ‘How did that happen?’ I ask it of myself in a surprised tone, as if I might not have had some part in the process.
Is the packet half full or half empty?
The answer that I favour will without a doubt support todays outlook. The reply is known before my hand involuntarily feels for the roll of excess midriff flab that is failing to keep a firm and low profile. ‘Guilty’… deduction: ‘Half empty’. Exit loud sigh
But you don’t really want to know how I feel do you? … I thought as much… and that’s perfectly fine. I understand that it wasn’t the reason you called. Perhaps you were hoping for something different; a little bit of hope or a push in the right direction. Or perhaps just something better. Hang in there… read some more… all will be revealed. So back to the story. I feel wretched. I’ve been thinking… asking myself a lot of questions that follow a general theme of ‘why’; the loudest and least attractive being:
At the back of my mind, apart from the immediate dilemma of what to wear, a collection of other thoughts are being processed in the same kind of negative vein. It’s distracting this type of thinking… drawing conclusions that tell me why things aren’t quite right. Also coming in at right angles, complementing the thinking process, are subtle signals and inferences that I’ve collected along the way. I haven’t told you about these. It’s not that I’m deliberately withholding information from you. It’s just because I’m not even aware that I’m thinking of them yet… or if I am I’m not fully appreciating the extent of their hold they have on me at the moment or why I think them important.
Dlling… dlling… Dlling…dlling…
It’s Frank on the phone, I don’t know this yet of course, but he’s calling for several reasons. He has time on his hands. A chat is one remedy. He’s like me; wrapped up in his own world and asking himself a lot of questions. Maybe like me, although I don’t really know… going round in circles, meeting similar problems and searching for solutions in the same but different places and contexts. I know that he wonders a lot, complains sometimes and draws logical conclusions that appear right… to him. He’s human in other words.
I roll over like a beached whale and pick up the phone. The line opens up and I hear:
Even before he has finished sounding my name I have made the connection; formed a mental picture of who it is and retrieved his ID…
“Frank… how goes you?”
“Good thanks”… pause… “And you? How are you feeling today?”
He chants back like a well-trained parrot of convention. I consider my response. I’m a size 12, which in the scale of national averages means that I’m not fat. I might think that I’m old, but with a life expectancy of almost 78 years in real terms I’m not that ancient either. So how do you explain to someone that you feel both of these when it’s likely to make no sense to anyone else but me?
“You don’t sound it.”
“I’m OK. Just feeling a bit down… exasperated and a bit frustrated with myself”. And hoping that was enough concluded: “You don’t want to know Frank… trust me.”
Frank has a kindly nature; well-meaning and hates to see others suffer. He likes to help out where he can. It makes him feel good, valued and worthwhile. He doesn’t like to think that he’s let someone down or that he’s failed:
“Oh dear”…. sigh…. “Doesn’t sound very good. Is it something to do with me? Is it something I’ve said?”
I can feel more frustration surfacing: “No.It’s just me”
“Well is it something I’ve done then”… nervously laughs… “or something I shouldn’t have done?”
“No.” The tone sharper, the volume louder, my response more clipped: “Just drop it Frank.”: anger beginning to form as thoughts arise.
“Look… I just rang you for a friendly chat!! What’s going on? It must be something I’ve done as you seem very agitated, reluctant to talk about it.”
“Frank you’re not listening to me. You wouldn’t understand.”
But how do you explain how you feel when they are not inside your head? Now wasn’t the time while I was in the thick of it; thinking, feeling and experiencing it.
“How I feel right now has nothing to do with you… you don’t have to feel bad… can we just leave it?”
I sensed his energy fall with the sound of an unguarded sigh released as he collected his thoughts.
“Well I do feel REALLY bad now, I don’t understand. Why are you behaving like this?”… brief pause while he rationalises another thought… “If you’re not telling me, it must have something to do with me, I just don’t understand, I feel like shit.”
“Frank… you are not listening to me. This has nothing to do with you. This is about MY feelings. Stop trying to hijack them. Let me deal with this. Trust me…” By this point I’m getting angry with myself and frustrated with him. “You know you do this a lot… It’s irritating.”
Long pause as message is taken on board.
“What is it I do a lot of?… sounding put out… “Then it is something to do with me then? Why don’t you just…”
Been here before. I’ve lost patience now. I didn’t think about it. I knew I wasn’t going to snap him out of it. Distraction won’t work, so I just broke away… mid-sentence… and put the phone down…
Finding success in the material world is a bit hit and miss and from my experience to date is somewhat beyond my control. But success in terms of our emotional world is another thing. If there is anyone out there who is close to someone who is accusing them of not listening, then are you? If you can stay calm and resist taking their words personally to heart; avoid reacting in accordance with your own insecurities, then you may become a better listener and a more successful and happier individual in the long run. Feelings are real to those who own them, and if you hear: ‘this has nothing to do with you‘, then they are probably right… even though it makes no sense to you at the time or is something that you want to hear.
I wish you well.
“We would be far better to trust that everything that is happening right now and in our lives is moving us in the direction of our goal” (Bob Proctor)
For more about what makes Jayne and Frank tick, see www.jaynefranks.com