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Ask Sparky: Hey now, you’re a rock star!

May 26, 2012

Dear Sparky…

How do you deal with well meaning friends who see more potential in you than you see yourself?

First, smile and say thank you.  No matter how you feel about what was said, everyone likes to know that their words were heard, and you are affirming the speakers just by acknowledging that you heard them.

And then consider…are these friends whose voices carry significant weight in your life?   Or are these the sort of friends that leave you feeling pressured by their expectations?

If you are dealing with pressure-ers, then the smile and the thank you was enough.  Carry on.

If you are dealing with people who have spoken value into your life in the past then it’s time to pause, because it’s entirely possible that they are seeing something that really is there.  And it’s also possible they have insight into why you don’t see it and what is holding you back.  It’s worth opening up a dialogue and asking them about that.  You may get a very surprising answer.  But don’t ask unless you are really ready to know, because they may say something that rocks your world, and rocking worlds usually inspire a bit of motion sickness before one becomes acclimated enough to roll with it.

Sometimes it’s not that we don’t see the potential our friends see.  Sometimes it’s simply that it seems too big and too scary, and we’re terrified of the cost of failure.  Plus, once we admit that we know that potential is there, we’re responsible to do something with it.  It usually feels safer to hug the trunk instead of dance out on a limb, and until we come to terms with the idea that the joy of flight is worth the risk of a spectacular crash, we’ll tend to live smaller lives than we were designed to live.

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