Saturday, October 30, 2010
Acts of Love May Sometimes Be Scary
In our 21st year, my college sweetheart was brave enough to attend a college sorority/fraternity Halloween party with me, dressed up as a timeless piece of candy, where he actually wore green-tinted hosiery. What 21 year old male would do that? Someone who: a) is an adventurer b) is madly in love c) is secure enough with himself to embrace the joyousness and fun in life d) all of the above. In this case, the answer is, d: all of the above.
Last week’s Coach Poppy newsletter touched upon the ego – the part of ourselves that can sometimes override our best intentions to have fun, do something kind and thoughtful for someone else, or to step out of our comfort zones. 33 years ago, this photo represented a definite stepping-out-of-one’s-male-comfort- zone, to don this handmade costume and to attend a dance with his girlfriend, whom, as he often said/says: he “adored.”
And Halloween aside, let’s be honest: moving far away from our routines, areas of order and organization, and positioning ourselves in a situation where we are assuredly going to be taunted and judged, is a scary proposition. The ego does not like to be tipping the scales away from the center, where life has order, balance, and expected (and socially accepted) perceptions of thought, attitude and behavior. I mean, guys did not wear hosiery – even on Halloween – 33 years ago. They dressed as pirates, spies, and gangsters; convicts, sports personas, and Frankenstein. Only if male libido was accented, would they agree to wear testosterone-appropriate costuming; certainly not m&m cutouts, and definitely not tights.
So what makes a guy agree to wear a ridiculous outfit? One possibility is the ego’s silly willingness to be different, to step out – (think: outrageous), for a short time. Another is the ego’s desire to please someone about whom they care and love.
This is the crux of what I believe, makes any relationship healthy and magnificent. Placing ourselves out there in a scary way – mindfully and completely for the sake of someone else’s wishes – is a grand and gracious gesture. It says: “I care about you enough to take a risk, to take a chance that my ego will take a lashing; to let others know that I am so happy, that nothing I do, or say, or wear, will diminish that.” Being scared to put ourselves out there, is, in the long, run so detrimental to our well-being and life purpose.
Oftentimes, my clients will share with me that they did not speak up in the corporate meeting; they did not step out in gracious honesty to their co-worker or supervisor. The regret that accompanies their fear, many times comes, as both emotional and financial loss. The boss or employer today, is looking for people who are comfortable in their own skin; who are not afraid to speak their thoughts and share their ideas, even if those ideas are perceived as risky and rock-the-boat-like. This desirable leader-person is someone who will take a risk – sometimes viewed as an act of love - for the betterment of another or others.
While possibly a spooky thought, those risk takers – the ones who place themselves out of their comfort zones, and who collaborate for the enhancement of the company, the team, and others about whom they care - are the leaders of today. These are the ones who will win, not just your mind, but your heart.
I would know. 33 years ago, the green peanut m&m won my heart as he continues to do today.
What scary action might you consider taking today for the betterment of another? About whom do you adore enough to take a risk and offer your egoless best?