During my coach training, the leaders of our program urged us to say the thing that will get us fired. When I first heard this, I was horrified. You see, I was always the “nice” one. I prided myself that no one could get to me. No matter how anyone reacted, whether it be anger or arrogance, I would be “nice.”
Then it was pointed out that my “niceness” was simply a manipulation. At first, I became incredulous. How could they say such a thing?! Me, manipulative?! Never!
Once I calmed down and took a look, I realized they were right. I used my “niceness” to get what I wanted and to make myself feel better than those who couldn’t control their egos or their temper. Wow, was that a wake up call!
From that one powerful reflection, I also realized that if I was always “nice” with my clients, I wouldn’t be providing them with the best coaching I could offer. I would only be getting my need to be liked met.
I began practicing saying the bold thing everywhere.
I recently had a friend call me out of the blue and tell me that she needed me to come and be with her because she could not breathe. I immediately suggested we call 911 but she was resistant. She finally agreed and I met the ambulance at her house.
It turned out that she was having a panic attack and from what I understand, they really can make you feel like you’re going to die. I ended up taking her to be checked out by her doctor and they said that she was physically okay.
My friend, Kelly (not her real name), had been self destructive in the past and had cut herself off from her friends, me included. I always told her that I would be there if she needed me. And that morning, I had been. And Kelly was extremely grateful.
However, I found myself telling her that she got lucky that morning. I travel for work and am out of town on occasion and I sometimes have early morning client calls. I told her that I am not always able to drop everything to come and be with her.
I reflected her self destructive pattern and I told her that I cannot make her live. I told her that I would be heartbroken, that I would carry my love for her in my heart forever should she die but my life will go on. I couldn’t believe these words were coming out of my mouth.
Her reaction was to give me the biggest bear hug and thank me. She said she felt free in that moment because of my honesty.
We met a couple of weeks later and Kelly thanked me again. She said she finally realized that it was up to her whether she lived or died and it was her choice what kind of life she lived. She thanked me for my boldness because she said it saved her life!
So consider the practice of saying the bold thing. Yes, you may have to apologize and clean things up with some. With others, you may change their life forever. And who knows, you may even save a life!