Margin time to think…

Dr. Martin Seligman is known as the father of positive psychology. His book, Learned Optimism has helped me and countless others change our negative explanatory style to something more positive and in the process, more resilient. He’s also, it appears, a fairly tough builder.

During Angela Duckworth’s second year of graduate school, she sat down with her advisor, the good doc Seligman. As she explained her research, doc interrupted her mid sentence – “You haven’t had a good idea in two years,” he dead panned. She wanted to die. He crossed his arms and kept going. “You can do all kinds of fancy statistics. You somehow get every parent in school to return their consent form. You’ve made a few insightful observations. But you don’t have a theory. You don’t have a theory for the psychology of achievement.”

“Stop reading so much and go think.”

Angela went home and cried her eyes out. She cursed the good doc. She cried some more and told her colleagues what a jerkusdelictus her advisor was. Then she got to work on his challenge. She came up with her theory on achievement and wrote a book about it titled Grit. 

It’s kinda funny that the father of positive psychology isn’t described as super cheery but, instead, is fairly matter of fact. He doesn’t see things or people through rose colored glasses. Thank God. Angela needed a builder who saw more in her than she saw in herself. Angela needed a builder who was willing to make her do what she can. You, friend, need a truth teller too. Someone who studies you and knows the next step for your development and growth, oftentimes, before you do. So, next time a trusted advisor/friend hits you with hard truth, be grateful and let it in before dismissing it out of hand. Who knows what you might achieve with a little less busyness and a little margin time to think.

Slow down and reflect. Think. Good…

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Margin time to think…

  1. Katie Lee

    6 years ago I had finally had enough as they say. I had come to a point where I would do anything to get sober. If you told me jump out of a plane or walk on coals I would’ve done it. I had tried everything on my own and nothing had worked and I was literally about to die. As emotional and scary as that time was, it was also the most honest and spiritually whole I’d ever been. I had ended a long hard road of my best judgement. I was ready for help. I met a pivotal person during that time, my Dr. Seligman. She was a recovered alcoholic who ran the treatment program I was in named Marsha. In very blunt straight forward words she told me I was a f’d up mess! I was a selfish, self serving ego maniac who had no one to blame but myself, and if I didn’t change I was going to die. As you can imagine in my fragile state this tore me up! I had NEVER heard this before. In my previous attempts at sobriety I was coddled with empathy….after all I had a disease that was killing me! How could this possibly be MY fault! I cried for days. Every time I saw her I would physically shake from fear about the TRUTH she was going to tell me. It went on for weeks. What was this woman doing to me? I didn’t realize it until years later but she was humbling me to turn to others and God. She was humbling me to look at the world, my faith and the people around me as transformational instead of transactional. She was taking me to the place where hopelessness and hope meet. To make a long story short, the work she did on me opened me up to change. I found God, built my faith, asked for help, relied on others and stayed sober. Today I sit here 6 years later sober. I have a very successful business and brand that I built the same way I almost died….on my own, my way, as an achiever and a survivor. While I will give myself credit for becoming a better person over those 6, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that I have slipped back into ME. I’m not a leader, I’m a boss. Just like before, I’m a user. I leverage people to my benefit, not caring about their needs or gifts, after all, I’m paying you! When I met David from BTL last month I was very receptive to his help and guidance, which was unusual. I had come to a place similar to the day I got sober. I had reached as far as I was going to reach on my own. I was at a place in my business where we are about to expand exponentially and I was scared to death because there is only one ME. I knew in my heart that one person could not do everything we had planned to do. So in this place of fear and hopelessness I let David begin to mentor me. My hope was that David would have the tools and answers to help ME expand MY brand. He was going to give me supernatural powers so that I could do this on MY own. Ha! Well the good news is I was receptive to his help because I had hit a wall. The even better news was that just like 6 years ago, I was the problem. I’ve been working with David for about a month now. I’ve been working hard. I’ve been a high achiever per usual. I’m seeing results, but I still am working in a very transactional way trying to solve my issues. Then last Friday at our practice I had a breakthrough. David began peeling back the onion of the issues I was having, he began telling me the same things Marsha was telling me, that I was transactional, or selfish in blunter terms. We then started talking about mindfulness and confidence. He noticed that when I talk about food I speak with confidence and passion, from my core. When I talk about myself I don’t…I’m very insecure and fearful to let people in. Why am I more confident about food than my self. Because, I have no clue who I am in my core, and what my purpose is. I have created an image that is what I think people want to see, an image of perfection. Unfortunately that is a lie, and no one is perfect, and just like any lie, it’s stressful to keep a lie going. Then I replied, there’s actually a topic I’m even more confident about, addiction recovery. I’m so confident that I don’t care about offending anyone. It’s a life or death matter and I am one of the very few that have recovered, so when people ask what to do, I’m so convicted in my beliefs that I never waver in the topic, my beliefs, and the solution. The solution is God and helping another alcoholic. He asked about what thats like to help another alcoholic. I told him, its sad. Only 1-2% recover. While the goal is help them recover, thats not the purpose of helping another alcoholic.The purpose is to get out of yourself, to be of service, to give them your experience, strength and hope, so that you can keep yourself saved, and continue your journey to wholeness and peace. I immediately started crying. In that moment of explaining my deep conviction of how an alcoholic recovers, I had a breakthrough. I realized at that moment that the similarities in recovery and transformation to mindfulness were one in the same. I’m not going to study and achieve my way out of this one, just like I didn’t when I tried for years and years to get sober on my own. If I am to be a great leader, then there is only one path. I’ve already done it, it’s inside of me, and it’s convicted with strength and love. Just like my journey to recovery from alcoholism, my journey to mindfulness and leadership will be the same. I will work with others. I will trust in God. If I am to get better I need to get out of myself and work with other struggling leaders. Where are those leaders? They are all around me. They are the hosts and the servers, and the dishwashers and the bartenders and the managers of our restaurant. They are my friends and family. The feelings I have right now are eerily similar to those early days of recovery. There is a real sense that I know nothing. A real sense that this work will be hard. I don’t feel very strong right now, but at the same time I don’t feel scared. I’m hopeful. My journey to mindfulness and leadership will be just like my journey to recovery. I will lean on others, I will work with others, and I will pray for guidance and trust the process. I will mess up a lot, and I will fall back into old habits, and then I will be held accountable and learn. I will also find myself, discover my beliefs and learn my truth. The craziest thing about my last practice with David is that my agenda has changed. The goal was to have David help me grow my business and help me whip my employees into shape. Now the goal is to whip myself in to shape, find my purpose, and help my team and my loved ones. The truth is the most positive advice you’ll ever get. Here is to truth.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Katie Lee you are long on strength and love well beyond your years. Thank you for your trust in David and for putting yourself out in front of the BTL band. You represent what we’re all about – transparency, transformation, and togetherness. Thank you for sharing a part of your story. I look forward to hearing more…

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