This question came up for me this week, as it’s a shift I’ve struggled to make for a long while: being open and willing to follow, and be led by, others.
I have successfully made this shift in certain (important) moments, but most of the time I’m in my automatic: pick and choose who you allow yourself to be led by, and summarily reject any feedback, advice or otherwise from anyone else.
As an example, in Advanced, I determined (based solely on my experience in the first day or two) that Jimmy was on a different plane than the other coaches. As a result, I singled him out as the (sole) person to listen to, even over Kathy (who I viewed as highly talented, but occasionally allowing her personal judgments and biases into the training room–as far as I could tell, Jimmy never did).
This is the curse of being an analyzer. You put people through the ringer based on limited information and then form rigid opinions you’re convinced are 100% correct.
So I chose Jimmy to coach me in the week after Advanced (I made a bee-line for his coaching sign-up sheet), and signed up for LP only upon Gloria verifying he would be there (though I didn’t tell her that).
Well, a lot of you know how this story went (and the rest of you can guess based on current events). I was thrown a major curve ball. The sole person I was relying on to get me to my breakthroughs ended up expressing romantic feelings for me before LP began, and therefore could no longer be the guide and the mentor I was counting on him to be. Now in many ways he still was, and it’s not as if I would change anything that happened (obviously), but all of that is for another day.
My point here is after Jimmy became unavailable, I was done with LP; there was no one else I was willing to be led by. As a result, while his and I’s relationship blossomed (which in and of itself was huge, don’t get me wrong, especially considering I had a deep, deep distrust of men), my actual goals in LP saw almost no progress at all.
This same pattern comes up for me still all the time. I am only open to certain people; I will only allow myself to be led by certain people (regardless of the content they’re offering).
In some ways, I don’t view this as wrong. I think it’s important to choose your mentors carefully, and with intention. I think that’s actually a significant factor in whether you’re successful.
The problem is, though, that often my opinions are too rigid–I choose who I think is “worthy” of following and shut myself off to everyone else, wholesale.
Jimmy has pointed this out to me numerous times. He’ll tell me it’s not that so-and-so isn’t a good coach, or isn’t giving you worthwhile feedback, it’s that you’re completely closed to that person and determined to reject everything they say.
The price I pay for this is the Universe is trying to give me valuable guidance and feedback through numerous people in my life, but I’m only willing to receive about a tenth of it.
I think being someone who allows themselves to be led by others starts with having a wide openness to receive feedback and guidance from all available sources. That doesn’t mean you blindly follow it all; it just means you actually receive it, consider it, and then choose whether to follow or not (biases or judgments aside).
This is something I’ve decided to take on this cycle. I want to ditch my assessments of others that cause me to close myself to them and shift into openly receiving whatever guidance comes my way (again, not necessarily follow it, but receive it–there’s certainly something to be said for trusting and exercising your own judgment when it comes time to choose your course of action).
The truth: if I knew how to be where I want to be with my goals, I’d be there. So there’s a big element of humility here, too. I don’t have all the answers and I don’t have it all figured out. I need others’ feedback and guidance to help me get there.