Note: There’s a chance to win two excellent books at the end of this post, so you’re going to want to check that out…
We tend to avoid difficult truths about ourselves. We go to unimaginable lengths to hide from them. We find palatable ways to couch our challenges and focus on enhancing our strengths rather than tackling our weaknesses. We ignore our real problems and overcome the easy ones. For some, this is a successful technique, but for many it’s what holds us back. For us, the lies we tell ourselves shape our lives more than any of the choices we make.
Lately I find myself gravitating towards the work of those who put themselves out there. Their honesty encourages my own. And while many have honest moments, two stick out amidst the rest.
The first should be a given to readers of the site; I’ve always been in awe of the honesty that Yuvi Zalkow infuses into his work. While he goes about it with humor, he always manages to do so without letting the self-deprecation get in the way of the self-actualization. Many, including myself, tend to use self-deprecation as a deflection, but Yuvi has a gift for using it as a driving force. It’s a tool that helps him move his work forward, no matter how terrifying it is to him. His willingness to talk openly about his crippling fear helps him overcome it. His ability to talk honestly about failure helps me push through my own fear of it.
More recently, I had my life impacted by the honesty of David Finch. David’s examination of his struggles with Aspergers, and the effect it on his capacity for empathy, was eye opening for me. His willingness to share how this (and other) shortcomings were contributing to the destruction of his marriage forced me to face something that I was successfully ignoring: my own ADHD was impacting more than my focus and follow through, the same impulsivity that creates professional challenges was also creating serious personal ones.
Getting over or through your challenges doesn’t start with action (although at some point it’s required), it begins with acknowledging them. You have to know what you’re dealing with or, oftentimes, you end up solving the wrong problems. You have to be aware of the obstacles that you continue to throw at yourself. The more I face and talk through my challenges, the closer I get to the real problems, the underlying struggles that keep me from getting where I want to go. The more I deal with these, the farther I find I’m able to go.
Guys like Yuvi, David and, hopefully, myself choose to do this openly. While I certainly wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, I can tell you that it starts by being honest with yourself. And if you really want tackle the terrifying parts, you need to be honest with those you love. It’s already difficult enough to do this with their awareness and support; it’s impossible without it.
You’re Not Alone
I also benefit greatly from finding people who are willing to talk about their struggle and find courage despite it. Since I’ve been so inspired by both David and Yuvi’s work (and to celebrate the fact that David’s book is now available in paperback), I’d like to share what they’ve created with one of you. David’s Journal Of Best Practices was a game changer for me; it helped me accept the effect my wiring was having on the relationships that matter to me most. Yuvi’s Brilliant Novel In The Works, while only a quasi-memoir, shares just how challenging it was for Yuvi to get out of his own way and get his creation into the world; it’s a constant reminder to push through, even when I think I can’t or shouldn’t.
Need An Example?
If you’d like to win a copy of both of their books, here’s what you need to do… Put yourself out there, share something, anything, that you have’t been willing to put out into the world. You can do this below in the comments, privately in the contact form or if you want to do it on your own site (just share your post with the hashtag #JustSayIt, mostly so I can be lazy when looking for them). Give a voice to whatever it is that’s been nagging at the back of your mind, but that you’ve been unwilling to say. At the end of the week, I’ll randomly choose one person to receive a free copy of two books that have gone a long way towards helping me deal with a few of the challenges that have been nagging at mine. Hopefully they’ll help you to overcome your own.
This post includes affiliate links, because I’m shameless and because I think you’ll like the things I’m linking to.