I hope I’m not dating myself (too much) here: but remember that little display of crazy back in 2011 when Charlie Sheen overtook Twitter and (a little bit) the world with #Winning? Oh, Memory Lane can be a strange place sometimes…
But #Winning was, for me, more than just a bit of crazy on display. It became a symbol of something bigger – of our celebration of the need to be winning – by hustling and killing it and crushing it (man, we can be violent when we’re inspired!).
I heard an interview this week with Sean Anderson, who lost nearly 300 lbs. It’s an astounding achievement that took him several years, and a few attempts. But his turning point came when he realized that he’d been taking something of a #CrushingIt approach to weight loss. He calls it “white knuckling.” In other words, he was working hard and pushing through the pain. And with that pushing came disappointment, self-punishment and shame. But finally he hit his breaking point. He’d had enough self-deprecation and decided it was time for a new strategic approach. Enter Extraordinary Care.
Sean ultimately had major success with his weight loss… AND he found a way to take pleasure in the process. And so much of what he had to say really resonated with me. Because whether or not we’re attempting to lose weight (and I’m not), we’re all striving and trying and hoping to achieve. But in 2017, let’s (gently) urge #CrushingIt off the stage, and give #ExtraordinaryCare the mic.
Here are a few of my take-aways from Sean’s interview, and where I believe Extraordinary Care can serve in any situation.
1. Ambition and acceptance aren’t mutually exclusive. I’m ambitious. There – I’ve said it. I believe work isn’t working, for so many of us, and I want to catalyze a change for the better. BUT… does striving for that mean I can’t take the time to appreciate some of what’s served me in the current state of work? It doesn’t… I now realize. I’ve built an amazing network of diverse and thoughtful colleagues; I’ve had the opportunity to solve problems; and I’ve learned in traditional and not-so-traditional ways. I’m taking the time to appreciate all of those things… while still striving to make work…work better. And these ideas can indeed coexist! Maybe 2016 was all about #Winning and #CrushingIt in pursuit of big goals… but maybe 2017 gives us some space to care (extraordinarily, of course) for what’s serving us, while still dreaming big.
2. Help is not a 4-letter word. OK, math whizzes out there. Technically, it may be. But it’s not a dirty one. I don’t care how smart, determined, or stubborn you may be… we can all use a little help. So just ask for it. What can someone do for you… even if it’s something you could do on your own? Wouldn’t some support make it just a little better? Perhaps in 2016 you’ve let yourself associate help with weakness. What if in 2017 you reframe it to represent bravery and humility? Knowing what you need, and being willing to ask for it can be a real competitive advantage!
Knowing what you need, and being willing to ask for it can be a real competitive advantage
3. Let community in. Help is great. But sometimes we just need some moral support and perhaps a bit of camaraderie. We need to share our challenges with others, and invite said others to do the same with us. Maybe we need encouragement, or some fresh ideas, or just to sit back and listen and appreciate someone else’s reality right now. Letting others in will broaden your perspective, give you new ways to see old challenges, and most importantly, remind you that you never need to be alone. If in 2016 you took pride in your ability to charge forth and conquer solo, then let’s focus in 2017 on embracing those around us, and bringing more dialog and diversity into our lives.
4. Failure can trigger shame or education: you decide. I know I know – “learning from failure” gets so much lip service. But what if we all let go of the bumper sticker, and really gave this a college try? When was the last time you really honed in on a moment when you landed a mile or two to the left of where you’d hoped to land? So you didn’t achieve what you’d hoped. When you relive that moment… and be honest… do your cheeks turn just a little red? That’s shame. And maybe you need to let it run its course. But when you’ve returned to your normal shade, can you find the space to really reflect – without judgment – on what, in hindsight, you might have done differently to affect the outcome? We’re all imperfect! We all make bad calls sometimes! Let’s leave the shame in 2016, and invite our new friend, Extraordinary Care, to lead the way to genuine reflection and learning.
I don’t know about you… but I am ready for a change. Out with the old and in with the new. #CrushingIt: you’ve served me, motivated me, and helped me set some ambitious goals. But you’ve served your purpose and it’s time to move over. #ExtraordinaryCare deserves its place in the spotlight.