We have to grow the hell up
It is always within our power to make ourselves indispensable.
Nobody is standing in the way of our ability to create value in the world. If we want to operate at our highest point of contribution, the onus is on us.
But the challenge is, something inside of us exerts an enormous gravitational pull against the achieving our full adult potential.
Moore’s superb research on the psychological foundation of a mature, authentic and revitalized masculinity claims that this struggle is fought against infantile within us. He writes that we must get to work laying courses of stone over old boyhood terraces and stairs. We must build brick by brick toward the goal of maturity, until at last we stand on the high top, surveying our adult realm.
In short, we have to grow the hell up. We have to act like real men.
Allow me to use a case study from my own experience.
My family role as a child was that of the mascot. When confronted with the stress in the household, my goal was always to break the tension and lighten the mood with humor or antics. Being funny and acting silly was my way of diverting attention away from the tension.
And it worked quite well. The only problem was that it was a struggle learning to trust that my presence provided more than just entertainment value. Especially at the workplace as an adult, the insecurity looming in the back of my mind was that my existence was merely ornamental, not useful.
An amusing clown boy who’s easy to watch, but ultimatley, couldn’t be counted on for real adult tasks.
It was a shitty feeling. Occupying space without contributing ate away at my soul.
But thanks to the help of friends, coaches, therapists and a mountain of books, I learned how to use a mix of affirmations, incantations, meditations and other psychological strengthening tools to restructure the dynamic of my brain. Telling myself a newer and more mature story about my value as a person, beyond that of the mascot.
Like when a paycheck would arrive in the mail, instead of immediately depositing the money and getting back to work, the new response would be to affirm to myself that this piece of paper wasn’t just payment, it was proof.
That my skills created real value for others. That my contributions were worth paying money for. And that my presence was needed within the organization beyond just the office clown.
This ritual was the highlight of my week. Saying these mantras made me feel confident, competent, professional and powerful. Like the kind of person my younger self used to dream about becoming one day.
Brick by brick, I learned to be comfortable with my own power to make an impact on the world around me.
Lesson learned, each of us has the chance to craft a life best suited to our own abilities and temperament. Each of us can find a place where we can satisfy our need to make a meaningful contribution. Each of us can bring the full weight of our intelligence to bear on our work. And each of us can reach the broader audience that our talents merit.
But only if we’re willing to change the way we talk to ourselves about ourselves. Only if we’re willing to fight against the infantile within us and become the adults we have only pretended to be for so long.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you have a slim grasp on your own sense of worthiness, or is there a central calmness about your value?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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