If there is a lesson I SHOULD have learned before the age of 32, but which I’m totally getting right now …. it’s about when it’s better to just shut the fuck up.
When I was little(r), in my early twenties – before I had a successful business and when I was a total mess myself in my life – I used to HEART getting on the then version of social media (forums, chat rooms) and giving unsolicited advice on all kinds of things … from business to relationships to careers and self-esteem … advice I hope to hell no one ever took too seriously. I would wander around saying …
“I’m SO good at giving other people advice … I just don’t know what to do with my own (whatever topic was annoying me).”
The fact is, I was good at giving advice, but I wasn’t giving GOOD advice. Spouting crap allowed me to feel powerful and like I was achieving something, even though I wasn’t. When I discovered Tony Robbins and started working through Personal Power and then went on to start a business, I got too busy to dispense advice.
These days, I only give advice to people who pay me for it. Not because, as some would have you believe, I’m greedy and selfish. Quite the opposite. I’m never going to assume that YOU or anyone else wants the benefit of my opinion. You have to specifically ask me if you want personal feedback. I NEVER give it without request. And the most REAL request I get accompanies credit card details. When people give you money they (normally – although not always) want to hear what you have to say. Or think they do.
Over the last few days a “life coach” has been commenting on Thor’s posts. The first time she started to coach without asking, I resisted the temptation to do the normal Leela thing and slap her silly. Instead, we gently pointed out to her that she was thread jacking and then changed the topic.
The next day she came onto another post on which we were discussing the link between money and self-esteem and started ranting about how money means nothing … and having been through what we’ve been through recently, having all of the money we needed and having a sudden crisis of “Is this what I really want?”, I completely agree … money, on it’s own, means nothing … however, money, spiritually and self-esteem are NOT mutually exclusive … rather, they are inextricably linked. Getting all of those ducks in a row is the goal. I said something to this effect and she started ranting about how money isn’t the most important thing … which I’m pretty sure I had agreed with – then went on to talk about how she was unsurprised that we were “stuck” (where she got that I’m unsure – 6 months ago, yes. Today – I’m more unstuck than I EVER have been) because our energy was so “bitter”.
Then she said something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about – she said that she had every right to “speak my truth”.
Okay – maybe you do. But when is it “truth” and when are you being judgmental of two people you’ve never met before and don’t know anything about?
How is your “right” to speak YOUR “truth” more important than MY right to live in my truth and to quite enjoyment of that?
Are there times when speaking the “truth” you perceive is NOT the right move and maybe you should just Shut The Fuck Up?
I know it sounds like I’m giving this more energy than it deserves, but I’m bringing it up for a very specific reason – one of the biggest things I see on Facebook … one of the things that has lead me to lose my temper on a number of occasions …
If I’m going to be coached or mentored by someone, I’m going to search out someone who I feel aligned with. I’m going to spend time with them, getting to know them and most importantly – letting them get to know me. And then I’ll decide whether I want to take on what they have to say.
I’ve got a mentor. She hits me with some HARD truths sometimes. But I’ve given her permission to do that – and I do everything she tells me to do, because I know her feedback is coming from a place of Truth, not of fear or of trying to control me.
Some random chick posting at me on Facebook about what I should Think, Say or Do is going to be MORE than ignored … I’m what’s known (in NLP) as a mis-matcher (OMG is she using NLP terms?!) … tell me what to do and I’ll do the opposite.
Anyone who considers themselves a Master NLP Practitioner should easily be able to read that from my Facebook page and blog! My mum used to call me “Mary, Mary” – but hey, I know all about my mis-matchery and I’ve been able to use it as a really good tool in my business … you know what they say – there are no negative personality traits, so long as you understand and harness who you are.
I’ve had many people over the years try and “coach” me.
One who told me I had to stop being affectionate towards Gulliver in public because it would make certain people not want to buy from us (pft – it’s not like we’re having sex on the seminar stage … anyone who dislikes that I love my husband is quite welcome to take themselves elsewhere).
One told me that I needed to use NLP to “reframe” my “stuff” around sales – because then I’d be able to just do marketing and not sell (oi vey – I work so hard to eliminate this myth that you can run a business without sales … surely your NLP would be better used curing your own fear around sales rather than trying to change the fabric of reality to conform to your fear).
One told me I needed to be authentic “with edits” – that to me would be not actually being authentic. You can love me, hate me or be indifferent to me but the one that can’t be denied is that, positive or negative, good mood or bad, I’m honest about what I’m feeling. You know when I’m in a bad mood. You know when I’m happy. That’s not the way everyone chooses to do business, but I’m certainly raw – in what some people would call a grating and extremely annoying way.
Here’s the thing.
All of us have opinions – and all of those opinions are informed and coloured by our own experiences, fears, pain and personalities. That’s cool – that makes you HUMAN. And none of us can escape that …
The problem I see is largely with this whole “coaching” thing. Psychiatrists are trained NOT to coach … to ask questions … to keep themselves out of the equation. Coaches are NOT taught to do that … and the difference is obvious.
When was the last time a psychologist or psychiatrist came on Facebook and started analysing you? I’ve never heard of that happening … but several times a day I see people with lesser qualifications, running around handing out free and unrequested advice.
I think Coaching needs to be a regulated industry – but in the meantime, I’d love to see life coaches having a bit of integrity around what they do.
What would that look like?
Well, for starters it would look like ABC – Ask. Before. Coaching. At the very least. Personally, I would prefer you to wait until you were actually asked.
But more importantly – with your clients and within yourself – it would mean taking the time to look within rather than just reacting. WHY are you telling people they don’t need to sell? Is it because you think sales is evil? Is that something you should be pushing onto other people or is it something you should be reframing within YOU …
BUT #1 Absolutely Most Important would be … when in doubt or when someone hasn’t specifically asked you for your feedback or analysis … or when speaking YOUR truth is used as a weapon to attack someone else:
Your life coaching certificate and NLP mastery doesn’t give you the right to force your view onto other people – and it certainly doesn’t give you the right to attack other people because they are breaking YOUR rules of how YOU think they should be living …
And I hope the few people who I know are reading this to prove further to themselves and others just how much The Leela sucks REALLY take some time to think about this. I see them on Facebook talking about live and let live and how everyone has the right to speak their truth … and then I receive emails from them berating me for my language … live and let live, so long as you follow my rules.
I really think the world – and certainly the online world – would be better served if people STOPPED “speaking their truths” so often and took a second to …
Shut. The. Fuck. Up.
If it’s not something you’d say to someone’s face … if it’s unrequested feedback on WHO you think someone is … or how you disagree with their behaviour or personalities … just Shhhh.
Shutting. The. Fuck. Up.
A lost skill it’s time to resurrect.
originally published 2011 at leelacosgrove.com