I’m fascinated by the reasons that professionals who are feeling stuck, frustrated, or burnt out—or who are not where they want to be in their practices, businesses, or lives—don’t reach out for the help they need.
These reasons include:
1) The John Wayne Syndrome: “Real men [and women] don’t ask for help. They figure out how to do it themselves.” Need directions, anyone?
2) The Don’t-Admit-You’re-Human Syndrome: “I want the world to believe I have my act together, and I can’t imagine letting anyone know that it isn’t.”
3) Insanity: “I just have to keep doing the same things over and over again and I’m sure that eventually, I’ll get a better result.”
4) The Death Wish: “Shhh…maybe if this fails, I’ll finally be free of all this trying.”
5) The Money Fear: “This is going to be more than I can afford…”
I’m familiar with all of these reasons not to get help, not just because I deal with clients who use them every day, but also because I’ve used each one myself, at one time or another.
I’ve written in the past about the first of these “syndromes”, mentioning not only the long history of characters played by John Wayne, but also, by tough-guy-types such as Gary Cooper (High Noon) and Joe Pesci (My Cousin Vinny). The fact is that real men and women—the most successful of them, anyway—don’t go it alone. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both worked with partners. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, and the other Industrial Age giants that Napoleon Hill wrote about had a Mastermind Group that met to share ideas and to guide one another.
The story of the second “syndrome”—“I have my act together!”—is a sad one, because people will defend that story to the death, rather than admit imperfection and go to work on their problems. Which would you rather have: a great business and a great life, or the story?
The Death Wish is one I hear all too often. To delve deeper, it can sound something like this: “Maybe I’ll get laid off and then I’ll be able to figure out what I really want to do.” In many cases, if we have this wish for our careers, we actually commit self-sabotage. I used to do things that—on some subconscious level—I knew would damage my business. But when my job would suffer, I’d have to face the whole new fear of being without it, and I’d still be ‘dealing’ all on my own.
Now, Money Fear may be the most common. People often like to tell me what I told my prospective coaches before I finally started to “walk my talk”: “I really don’t have the money…or any money.” But somehow, there always seems to be just enough money for other necessities—like groceries—or even other non-necessities—like the occasional restaurant, movie, gift, or weekend getaway.
When someone uses money as the reason not to get the help they need, they’re either saying, “I don’t really see the value in this particular service,” or, “I’m not committed enough to changing my situation, no matter how much I’m suffering”. If it’s ‘life or death’, or even ‘fun or no fun’, the money generally [magically!] materializes.
I once needed help to get out of a career that made me unhappy, but I used all of these reasons not to obtain it. How many years of suffering would I have prevented myself if I had set my stories aside and committed fully to the changes I needed?
How about you? If you’re stuck, frustrated, or burnt out and haven’t done anything to change your situation, which of these factors might be working against you?
If you want to stop telling stories and start doing something about your situation, contact me. In the meantime, keep REACHING…