The buzz of the first day of school always kicks my love of learning up a notch. In my book, it’s way more of an ass-kicker than January 1st. There’s more straight, and action-oriented goals than obligatory pipe promises that the annual hopped up countdown creates.
This year, though, I felt different.
I wasn’t jonesing to take a class or jazzed up to pick from my Amazon reading wish list (aka my adult version of the thrill of buying a new Trapper Keeper).
I wanted to challenge myself differently. I stepped away from thinking about it which, not surprisingly, is when the answer came to me.
I’m prepping and researching for a bunch of workshops coming up, and the one theme that kept popping off the page was the same. The reason that this matters is that the workshops are for as diverse a group of folks as you can imagine: teen girls, business owners, college students, corporate employees, and at-risk youth.
Are you curious?
That’s it. That’s the theme: Are you curious?
What kept showing up is that as a society we are giving up our innate gift of curiosity just to win.
Looking for the soul crusher of genuine communication? You found it.
Being curious and focusing on winning at the same time is about as easy as sneezing with your eyes open. It’s nearly impossible. When we shift our focus to being curious, it allows us to lighten uncertainty’s grip and understand people better. Our agendas, thrown out the window, make room for creating some incredible life moments. Sure, we may end up winning – but it will feel different. And, hey, we will lose too – again, it will feel different.
So, I became curious about curiosity.
And it kept bringing me back to one question:
What’s the deal with us all buying into this obsession with winning?
Having a competitive edge has its advantages. It creates drive, focus, and yes, it feels good. But, winning for the sake of winning loses its value and its high over time – not to mention our credibility and trustworthiness. This goes way beyond survival of the fittest. Ironically, we’re on the edge of wiping ourselves out just to get ahead. We’re not just talking about winning sports games or accounts anymore. We’re in it to win it with everything.
We’re that headstrong to be right that we’re willing to risk our happiness?
Our self-worth needs to go waaaay beyond winning conversations, people over, followers, comments, or fights. When did we find ourselves so far off course that being right bulldozes everything and everyone in our path? We’re all playing the same loop in our head: We’re on a mission so you better just listen, without really knowing why.
We’ve become so brainwashed having to be the best, know the answer, prove him wrong, or judge her harshly, that our wanting to win is making our relationships suffer – often beyond repair.
I faced this truth hard recently. Who better to hand you a “suck it” sandwich than your sibling? (Albeit, kindly.) It shook my world for a hot minute.
When I went back to work, I found myself sitting in a pile of books feeling like a total hypocrite. How am I possibly going to ask people to put themselves out there when I’m not willing to fully do it myself? Cue: big ol’ horse trill.
We all have our triggers and mine is feeling like a bullshitter.
So, my promise to you is to go out into the world and do what I ask of you. To slow down. To catch myself. To see how incredibly, ridiculously uncomfortable it feels not to force myself to be right. I will resist screaming “Uncle!” the moment I feel that it’s getting a little hot in here, and learn to build up a resiliency to not knowing the answer.
I will come back to you and share real life stories – big and small, in hopes of making us all a little more courageous to call ourselves out.
If you’re ready to jump in with me – start paying attention. We need more human stories of people who are willing to be seen.
put your idea out there at a meeting?
stop apologizing before talking?
take a big business leap?
put a creative project out into the world?
stand up to that person?
sit down and listen to that person?
let your kid feel a little bummed out without flying in to fix it?
Courageous actions (no matter the size) beget more courageous actions.