There’s a line in the movie Gracie that I love. Gracie is a teenager in the 70s who is competing for a spot on the boy’s high school varsity soccer team. In one scene, dejected and on the verge of giving up, her mother, played by Elizabeth Shue, tells her, “If you want to limit yourself, that’s fine. But don’t let other people do it for you.”
Most of us do an impressive job of impeding our own paths with our detrimental self-talk, minimized confidence, and self-esteem doubts without any help from naysayers. Still, too often we blame those others, not ourselves, for shrinking our dreams, aspirations, and goals. We don’t realize that sticking someone else’s critical words or limiting labels to our life potential is our choice.
It’s easier to let the people who challenge us determine our resolve; easier to relinquish our power to the boss who reviews us, believing somehow what she says we’re capable of achieving or not achieving is truth, not opinion. And it’s easier to apply societal headlines that equate money or title or possessions with personal value, than to establish what matters for our own lives.
It’s true that piercing words, harsh feedback, or demeaning critics can diminish our courage or cause us to change direction. That’s why in this age of instant messaging, anonymous blog ramblings, and self-appointed “experts,” thick skin is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to be winning at working.
In virtually every work situation you face, there will be 30 percent of people who (continue reading →)