Now that we have started our talks about motivation, I think this would be a good place to talk about our fears and our distractions. Our thought machine stores these things and keeps them in different compartments. Perhaps now is a good time to empty these bins and let go of the unwanted materials that keep us from reaching a better level of awareness.
It’s time to put everything into perspective, why people shine and why people fade. I think this is the right place for this chapter. This is where we talk about fear and our doubts, what holds us back, what sets us apart and what distracts us from being our best.
There is a spark within us that can either dwindle or dissolve. There is a light which we call hope. This is where our dreams come from. This is where our truth lives; yet, there is so much that hides the light. There are worries that we are somehow inadequate or less-than and not enough. There are the ideas that suggest we are odd or strange or too different to fit in with the social flow of the world. There are ideas that cloud our dreams and block the sun from feeding us light. Somewhere, somehow, we learned that there was something wrong or imperfect about us. These are fears. These are taught ideas that whisper thoughts of insecurity. However, I urge you not to listen.
There is a trained picture we have of what success is. There are these blueprints that teach us what happiness is and people who we aim to be like because we are taught that they are examples of achievement. There are people whom we strive to seek the attention of because perhaps if they paid attention to us, maybe some of them would rub off on us.
But why? Why do we give so much to the status of someone else and allow this to overrule the status of ourselves? Why are people star struck?
Is anyone better simply because of their role in the world or their ranking on the Forbes List?
Are we not enough? And, if we believe we are inadequate because of our differences, then where does this belief come from?
For years, corporations have been touting their efforts to both celebrate and endorse the better models of diversity, equity and inclusion. Yet somehow, people are stuck in an image-conscious mind. There is the idea of what success looks like or talks like. No differences are allowed. There is an idea of what success dresses like. Where do successful people live? Where do they come from or do they speak a certain way? Is there room for variation or do people have to conform to a look, culture and style to be successful?
One of the amazing privileges that comes with celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion is that we have the right to be exactly as we are. This means we can be culturally, physically and mindfully aware that within us all, no one has the right to take away our success simply because they disagree with the way we look, talk, dress or sound.
I spoke about the dangers of dream killers in the previous chapter. I suppose now is a good time to go deeper with this. Also, I would like to offer a suggestion. Upon finishing this page, take a minute and ask yourself a simple question. “What are my dream killers?”
What has stopped me from reaching out?
What has stopped me from taking a risk?
A dream killer is a weed-like substance that suffocates our best interest. This is what dulls the spark or dims the gleam of a person’s charm or charisma.
A dream killer is anyone or anything that deflates the hopes of our truest self. This is a person, place or thing that for whatever reason, the dream killer looks to expose doubt. This looks to instill a steady toxin that weakens our energy.
This is inventory time. Here’s where we take a look at ourselves and face our fears to destroy our insecurities. And please note: I offer myself here to honor as an example. To each their own, which means this is how I applied my own personal understanding. We all have our own strengths and challenges. We have different backgrounds and cultures. And that’s fine.
In fairness, I am not someone who is comfortable listening to tapes or playbacks. I do not like the sound of my voice. I have an accent. I speak the way I speak. I look the way I look. I stand only so tall. The shape of my body is the shape of my body. I am tattooed, which to me is an art but to others is something that can be seen as professionally destructive. My levels of education do not match someone who sits high in the corporate structure. I have a few crooked teeth. I have a scar on the back of my head. One of my eyes is shaped differently from the other. Oh, and so is one of my ears. This is me; yet, I am a public speaker.
I have lived with social anxiety and discomforts for as long as I can remember. I am not comfortable in crowds. I am petrified of public speaking. More than anything, I am afraid of being revealed as a fraud or an imposter. I have doubts. I have discomfort. I have disadvantages and thus, there are times in the game of life where I stand up at the plate and I begin to think to myself, “I’m way out of my league.” I am all of these things and yet, I am a program creator who provides wellbeing content and delivers this in corporate settings.
Before assuming any judgment, the above is only an honest inventory. I expose this which is interesting. I call this interesting because I just explained one of my biggest fears is to be exposed and humiliated; yet, I expose this to you. Once this is finished, I will send this out to the universe where anyone can see the truth. And the truth is I am me.
Back in my early months of sobriety, there was a speaker who talked about the difference between admitting to something and accepting it. The speaker explained that admitting something is true is only saying that it’s true. The speaker explained, “Admitting is saying it and accepting is feeling it. That is the difference.”
Rather than lose to comparison and admit our differences between us and those who are so highly successful, what would it look like if we accepted our differences and learned to use them to our advantage? Rather than try to fit into a mold and be more like others, imagine if we became the standard. What if we became the system of measure? Rather than being like them, people strove to be like us.
Rather than be the next best thing, what would happen if we became the first best thing.
For example, when someone from my professional environment heard that I was changing my life to become a writer, I was asked, “Who do you think you’re going to be, the next Shakespeare?”
My answer was simple.
I told this person, “Nope” and then said, “I want to be the first Ben Kimmel.”
I use this person as an example of a dream killer. This is a person who wants to point out flaws and look for the cracks in my story. Rather than celebrate the dream and cheer, this person looks to divide and conquer, which in fairness says more about them than anything else. This person is someone who never dared, never tried yet they have an opinion of other people who look to better themselves. People like this look to shoot others down but they’ve never tried to be better on their own.
This is a perfect example of a dream killer.
The question comes up, however, what can you do when faced with a dream killer? As simple as the answer is, I admit that I needed to be reminded of this.
Question: Who is the fool, the fool or the one who argues with them?
Who is the stronger, the person who stays and argues and fights with the world or the one who is comfortable in their understanding of who they are and because this is so, they simply walk away?
Hope is a living, breathing thing. Our hope is our emotional garden and whether our garden grows or wilts is up to the way we nurture our hopes and dreams. This is dependent upon our personal maintenance. This depends on us taking care of our best interests. And yes, in the case of dream killers, this is where we learn to utilize our cancellation statements.
What’s a cancellation statement?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
Rather than interact with the statement about me wanting to be the next Shakespeare (which, by the way, came from someone who doesn’t know anything about Shakespeare or couldn’t even quote a line) instead of entertaining this, I created a cancellation statement to stop the flow of the conversation.
Rather than suffer the attack of someone’s sarcasm, I stopped the emotional bleeding before it started.
I didn’t have to do this with a tired means of self-preservation. Instead, I allowed myself the dignity to realize that no one has the right to deflate my dreams.
Cancellation statements stop the flow of a conversation before they reach the level of emotional bleeding. This honors our best interest and protects us from interacting with conversations that degrade our potential.
Rather than focus on my differences or be insecure about what anyone thinks of the way I speak and instead of worrying about the way I pronounce a word that has a “th” in it or say something that ends with the letter “r,” it is better for me to accept myself as I am. It is better that I celebrate my differences. I am not here to please anyone or fit their mold.
I might not be comfortable and I might not like the feedback. This does not mean everyone is going to accept me or approve. But, I have to recognize that people judge. People have opinions. People have beliefs. And so do I. This means that if we focus on others and their beliefs, our dreams can be deferred while we try to be more like someone else.
Is that what we want?
The biggest dream killer is when we lose sight of our ability through either comparison or the belief that we are incapable because we are different.
I don’t write like Shakespeare.
Then again, he doesn’t write like me either.
Not even on his best day . . .