On a road trip to New Orleans this past weekend, one of my roadies brought along CDs by life coaches. She told me ahead of time that she would be bringing them and I had hoped that my iPod playlists and casual conversation would be enough to occupy us both ways during the 9-hour trip. I told her I wasn't into self-help things and motivational speakers (and by "not into" I meant "hate"), but she said she'd bring them anyway just in case. There was a third person in the car with us who, turns out, likes motivational things. So, subject to the majority rule, I had to listen.
By the end of the first CD, I was like, "Cool! Where's the next one!" I actually liked them. They weren't preachy or overly optimistic or religious. They were very practical and logical. The thing that put me off about motivational speaking/life-coaching before this ride is all the optimism and the assumption that the expert knows anything about me. I believe that sometimes life, relationships, people, jobs and situations just suck and no amount of positive thinking, affirmations, lists and action plans will make a difference. I still believe that. I didn't learn anything new from the tapes (and by "tapes" I mean "CDs"), but what I enjoyed about them was hearing my thoughts and anxieties and previous failed and successful plans of action addressed by folks who have a knack for putting things into perspective and (for lack of a less obvious and more appropriate term) motivating listeners to make some changes, try some things again and to try some new things. Y'all know I like to get personal over here, but I'll hold back on the details of exactly what life-altering plans I'll be working through. I am just happy that I was somewhat forced to listen.
We do such an efficient job of rationalizing ourselves into ridiculous actions/situations and talking ourselves out of reasonably workable, potentially successful ones, and getting the same unfavorable results, like gaining back the weight or ending up single again or married again or whatever all in the pursuit of happiness. We celebrate and take full credit for our successes, but for the not-so-shiny aspects in our lives, we find other people, situations, or circumstances to blame. There is nothing like the clarity you get when you realize that, yes, sometimes things just suck, but many times, when you're not pleased with the way some aspect of your life is going, you (not him, or her, or them or it) are what has been getting in your own way.
This trip was a good reminder for me that sometimes, we benefit from getting out of our own heads and relying on the guidance and advice of experts (and by experts I mean people who have done way more footwork and research on a topic than most), especially some of the life-coaches who are out there. Technically, I'm still not "into" motivational speakers, per se, but now I get why people are so into them. They really can get you motivated and moving in the right direction.
Tony Robbins was my favorite of the CDs we listened to. I googled him and found some videos of his presentations. He's very intense---glad I experienced him in the car. I can't take his distracting intensity on video. I could listen to him all day long though.