A friend sent me a link to another blog whose author, Andy Wibbels, posted a semi-coherent screed on the movie The Secret. You can read his review here, but in short, Andy didn’t like it. His stance has attracted lots of attention — when I visited there were 142 comments and he’s branded himself as the “Secret Skeptic” will be holding a 30-day “Pepsi-Challenge” on LOA, presumably to test if this stuff works. Godspeed to those who join. I’ve got a pretty good sense folks will find what they look for.
I scanned through a few people’s responses to Andy’s piece – some agreed with his take, some were totally against it. Either way, you could feel the charged energy with which they were written. (While I obviously do not agree with Andy’s take, I applaud him for creating a marvelous topic for his blog traffic.)
For a split second, I thought about posting my thoughts. I could write a brilliant retort, and boy, with that show ‘em. I’d show ‘em all! I’m brilliant, I tell you! BRIIIIILLL-YAAAAAANT! I’ll throw the Ph.D. out there and kick some major-league-attraction-ass —
But the impulse faded as quickly as it came. And I clicked away. The same way I click away from the acerbic political media where the whole point of the show is for the host to denigrate and berate anyone who disagrees with his/her point of view (this is progress for me: fifteen years ago, my favorite TV show was CNN’s “Crossfire,” the program that did much to launch the rant genre).
I am pleased that I was able to disconnect from the charged conversation because I am a “know-it-all-in-recovery.” Yes, my friends, in my dark past, among my many vices, you could put “enamored with being right” near the top of the list. To be more exact, I should say that my ego loves to be right. I have fought countless bloody battles over the years to uphold my ego’s honor. Looking back, they all ended up in a similar fashion: even if you “win,” in the grander scheme of things, you really lose.
I possess the skills to be an excellent persuader. I’m smart, I’m verbal and I have the kind of personality that dominates most people when given a point to argue. In other words, I think I would have made an excellent defense attorney and I possess many of the requisite qualities to be an extraordinary asshole given the proper environment.
Unconsciously, I operated this way for most of my life. I think the light bulb of awareness went on during the formative years of my coaching practice. To give you some context, ten years ago I set off on my own with no business experience. I had never sold anything before, so selling myself (and the nebulous concept of “coaching”) proved to be a daunting challenge.
For the first few years of my business, I spent a lot of energy trying to convince people how great a coach I really was and what a powerful impact coaching could have on their life. I went to networking meetings, talked to any group that would have me, and I would even discount my fee if you’d just give me the opportunity to wow you.
I’d talk to anyone who would listen to me and I’d do just about anything it took to prove that what I had to sell was worthwhile. I hustled.
I looked up one day and I had 24 clients, all paying me quite well.
Yet all was not perfect. Sure, I had all these clients and I was making much more money than I had ever before in my life. But my behavior told a different story. At my lowest point, as soon as I finished talking with my first client of the day, I run outside and smoke a cigarette. I’d get on the phone again, finish the session, and then smoke another. Things felt so bad that I continually pondered leaving the profession to which I felt so strongly called.
Finally, I asked myself the question: Why was I unhappy when I had created what I wanted?
The answer was clear and simple: I did not like at least half the people I worked with. Many times the phone ringing filled me with the dread. I wanted nothing to do with many of the people who were paying me to coach them.
Looking deeper, I dreaded those conversations because the people on the other end of the phone were not looking to create a positive change in their lives. They were sitting there waiting for me to “do” something for them to make their lives better.
How did I create this?
Remember, I can be a strong persuader and I used those techniques to sell many of my clients on coaching. I didn’t knock people over the head with a hard-sell, but I used my subtle powers of manipulation to get people to say “yes” and write me a check. Getting them to say yes was far more important than whether I actually wanted to have a relationship with this person.
At the time, I had little awareness of what I was doing. In my mind was just being successful, because you measure your success by the number of clients you have, right?
The absolute truth was that I did not know if I could help people. I did not know if I could really make an impact on someone’s life. I really did not know that I was worth the money I was charging these people. And because I had so much doubt about what I was doing, my ego (aka The Persuader) picked up the ball and starting running with it. The Persuader got me all these clients and so these clients reflected the energy of the Persuader.
With these clients, every session I had operated under the dynamic that it was my job to persuade them that they held the power to change some aspect of their lives instead of just complaining. Every session I felt like the barking seal on stage that had to perform so my client would “get it.”
This exhausted me and so after every session, I’d go smoke a cigarette, anxious as to whether I had persuaded them just enough so they would not fire me.
When the epiphany occurred (I just bottomed out emotionally), I consciously stopped persuading people to hire me. With much work, I dismantled many of the fears (not being enough, not having enough, not being right) that had been operating as my default points of attraction. Free of that fear, I began trusting (yes, you have to trust, there’s no way around it) that the perfect people would show up if I put out a clear signal as to who I and what I am about.
Over time, yup, you guessed it. The right people began to show up. People I looked forward to speaking with. People who pay me much more than the old clients who needed to be persuaded. People who do not expect me to do all the work. People who resonate with the Law of Attraction, even if they are not that familiar with it. People who give me energy rather than drain my energy. People who make changes and see results without me having to "do" anything. People who get tremendous value from our work together.
I learned to stop trying to convince anyone of anything. The energy of convincing is borne out of fear – the fear that you are wrong. It is impossible for anything great to be created from the energy of fear.
Do you believe that the hoopla about the Law of Attraction perverts the word of Jesus the Christ Our Lord and Savior?
Do you believe that the Law of Attraction is the zeitgeist for us hucksters to make a fast buck off the self-help junkies who are so gullible/desperate that they will pay for anything?
Do you believe as Einstein did that "God does not play dice" and the universe is an organized place with rules and laws about the physics of experience and creation?
Fine. But you are also welcome over to my porch for a beautiful sunset, a cold beer, and some good conversation.