This is 100 Things I wish my Dad Taught me. Episode 34. “If we acknowledge rejection we are being run by others.” Bought to you by the First Law of the Universal Laws of Nature. The Law of Balance.
This is definitely one law my dad did teach. He knew it well. Dad was humble. You couldn’t praise dad. He would always reject it and say “just doing my job.” He would fight strongly to make us appreciate other people though. He called that respect. Dad was big on respect. Self respect and other respect was one for him. But praise was not a part of his self respect. I think he knew he was doing well with what he did. It’s self praise.
Dad didn’t praise us much either. He left us to live with our own conscience. That’s often complex. When I half did something and knew it, Dad would ask “are you happy with that?” I’d often reply yes, even though I knew it was no. Then, the first chance I got I’d go re-do it. As long as Dad turned a blind eye to my lie, I’d own it. But if he’d assert his opinion on my half done job, I’d fight to justify how, the half job was a good job.
Praise a rejection belong to each other. I’ve worked with so many people who are ridiculously hard on themselves because their parents had infatuation with them. When a parent infatuates the child’s potential, the child tries to meet someone else praise in order to feel good. Sadly, the higher the expectation, the lower the self worth of the individual. The habit or reaching out to be praised stays with a person for life. And in reaching for praise, the opposite, self-rejection, becomes an internal dialogue, self-talk.
You change your life if you change your self talk. I’ve written so much about this. Trying to distill thousands of years of wisdom into three short self talk propositions. Motivation (parent), Instruction (adult), Reward (child), so I won’t review that now. But this is the ultimate key to personal development and success. Breaking the habit or seeking praise and reacting to rejection.
One thing I might add.
People can reject your expectations, they cannot reject your love.
Can you believe how powerful that is?
We spend allot of our lives thinking love is something we do with a significant other and we do it in safety of a relationship or family. That definition of love is the cause of 99% of all human suffering. Love is actually a lifestyle.
Love makes business teams function. Oh, no, they don’t call it love, they have another language because we can’t differentiate love in family from love at work. At work it’s called diversity, or life balance, or resilience. But it’s love if you drill down.
If you are going to not be affected by rejection you do need to bring love into the equation. People can reject your expectations. People cannot reject your love.so, if you want to lead, without rejection, you’ll really need to understand what love is outside a family dynamic.
What is love at work and how can you love people you just work with?
How can you love someone and have them not reject you? Can you master the art of love so that your leadership cannot be rejected?
People, including your children, can reject your expectations but not your love. Do you understand the difference between love and expectations? I didn’t.
When my three children sailed away on a yacht with their mom and her new partner, they were 3, 5 and 7 years old. They, as I’ve explained, were the love of my life, and enabled me to stay for a long time in a terribly overcooked relationship. (12 years and more). So, when they sailed away, for an unknown amount of time on an unknown route around the world, I was devastated.
I cried for 3 weeks. No stopping once. I stayed indoors. I couldn’t face the world. 3 weeks of shear pain and terrible loss. Those were the days that taught me the difference between love and expectation and more, between emotion and truth. Soul searching for 3 weeks, of course, produced no result, I was the cause and therefore couldn’t self-solve the cure.
Finally, some years later, I got it.
After spending a year in therapy delving into my childhood, flushing out my pain, seeking out a better mental space, in spite of being in a much better emotional space, I was no closer to understanding the difference between love and expectations than when I started. And that, as it turned out, was what was needed.
After several months of bemoaning my ex-wife for “stealing” my children and running off, in her words, “as far away from you as I can get.” I was sitting on Manly beach, chewing through another Zen, time wasting stillness exercise, when I looked up and saw the day moon. You know those days when the moon is still in the sky during the day. I had a flash of genius, maybe the kids are on the yacht somewhere in the world looking at the same moon. And then I suddenly got it.
Playing with the kids, teaching them, helping them, paying for them, taking them to school, going to sport, playing footy in the park, buying them presents, kissing them goodnight, they were all what I called love, but those are not love. Those are expectations. Wanting some result. Wanting them to be happy. Wanting to be a good me. Wanting their affection. Wanting them to be adventurous. Wanting them to learn. I suddenly realised I’d spent those seven years with my eldest son, wanting to teach him, wanting to inspire him. Expectations. And, everything I expected, I thought was love but I could hire someone to do. I could hire a person to play with the kids, teach them, help them, pay for them, take them to school etc. And that is therefore not love. If someone else can do it, they can probably do it better than me. And with my kids I believed there was something I was the best in the world at. Being Dad, their birth father.
It might seem weird to you reading or listening to this. But if you are put in this situation you will also learn that their step father can be amazing at all those wanting things but still can’t replace me. I am love. I am that single thing my children beg for their entire life. I am unconditional love, even if I can’t be with them physically, I can be with them spiritually. We are connected. This separation between expectations and love is really important in business as well.
I can say, in business, it is the key.
But we must change the language in business because love isn’t yet a business jargon, and may never be because the word means so much different to so many people. Cultural and socio economic background plays a huge role in defining love. So, that will make the word love complex in business. Instead we can say “support and challenge.”
If you support someone in business for their future they are indebted for life. That’s great leadership. If you challenge someone in business for their future they are also indebted. But if you support someone for their comfort and pleasure, or challenge someone regarding their performance out of context to the future they want, they’ll resent you for life.
Leadership and love are the same topic. People can reject the leader’s expectation, they cannot reject their love. But how do you love someone in business without the confusion of love in a family or relationship sense?
It turns out that it’s quite easy.
The person with the most certainty leads. And certainty is not hard headedness. Certainty is knowledge organised in such a way that it gives others a higher probability of achieving their goals than they had for themselves.
Certainty that you can help someone go where they’d love to be. The most important thing here is that you know where they want to go. In other words they know where they want to go and can communicate this.
A vision is the single most important gift of self-leadership and that vision will become conditional on being followed by the team that can make that happen. So, there is personal vision, team vision and the visions of the individuals in the team. If they are uniquely different it is easier because it is a matter of linking.
If you want to be followed, best demonstrate that you can improve the chances of an individual achieving their dream. One example might be a leader who enables their team to be self determined which, although not an outcome, allows the team to adapt their time commitments so they have the family life they wish for. The family life might be the highest priority of their vision and they enabler of that, for the long term will be the winner, leader or most sought after.
Buddha relieved suffering. That would be considered the greatest model of leadership. Suffering is a big impediment to achieving the vision of every individual because it comes with a bad bunch of friends called doubt.
That’s the end of today’s episode. 100 Things I wish my Dad Taught me. Episode 34. “If we acknowledge rejection we are being run by others.”