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Stunning essay, Rick. A great reminder (for me, especially) to get off the people-pleasing hamster wheel. "For my vision to remain clear, and to proceed with integrity, I can’t be navigating through a rear view mirror, overly concerned with what others think of me. That’s not leadership. It's just a recipe for an eventual fall."
‘I had yet to understand that a strong need to impress others weakened my capacity to lead myself.’
Amazing Rick. This essay is so powerful for everyone who takes it in and internalizes it. Even more so the second, third, and fourth time.
Thank you. 🙏
Rick, it’s been incredible to watch you grow and evolve as a writer. Your storytelling has gotten insanely good.
Especially loved “We literally lose our vision—and lose sight of our way—when we try to follow the direction of others while pretending to be out in front.”
Thank you for sharing :) brilliant, as always
This is at the center of most of my thoughts these days. There is the content and the complexity of responses people can have to the actual words and their meanings. But there is also the sonic experience. The sound of the voice can be just as powerful if not more so. So in other words, talking out loud can be deeply impactful. And if the storyteller is embodied and conscious while doing so, I believe they can literally perform magic spells.
So there is a lot to unpack and unfold and perhaps we can do that in community!
I'm having, I suppose, a meta response to the story and its contextualization. First of all, gratitude for being able to enjoy a morsel—something we don't often receive. This is why going to a tapas restaurant is such a treat: we are often given too much. I love the need to pee, the misreading of the directions (or exact right interpretation) and then the fall. You contain it for those that need it contained, but for me I just needed the feeling of self satisfaction and then the complete surprise. Those two things. I can see the almost smug smile on your face followed immediately by a look of utter shock and unknowingness. And I relate to it.
Someone told me this phrase "karma yogi" once and it seems relevant. My understanding is that there are people who become yogis by way of living their lives. I'm sure I have that wrong, but the point is that your story relates to my interpretation. You needed that morsel. You probably knew, even before your body hit the basement floor, that you needed this story. Not even the lesson—the story. You might have even felt a measure of gratitude in that moment, even as you felt the shock and pain. The thought: "I will remember this for a very good reason".
And it was for us. You saved it for us.
And now I feel the gratitude too.
I laughed so hard when you wrote about falling down the stairs. I too feel (as I'm sure maaaaany others do) that tension between pleasing others vs. acting in my best interest.
Thank you for sharing Rick, this is a powerful essay
I don't know if I was meant to laugh, but I did crack up a bit when I imagined you tumbling down those stairs. Sorry XD
I do resonate with the message though. I feel like we try to please people wherever we go. Being myself is one of the few principles I don't compromise on, and this story reminded me of that. Nicely done!
Well written, I was there when you were telling the story and half imagining it as well as half remembering my own awkward situations like this.
I like your "what's the point" section as well. I think that for many people it's difficult to make a distinction about generally being amiable and good natured, even joking, and when we are indulging a coping mechanism. Personally, I believe that the same action or interaction depending on where it's coming from can have two very different outcomes, both for ourselves and also for the people we are interacting with. I guess this comes down to presence and authenticity vs indulging a need to be liked or another type of coping mechanism. Anyway, thank you for the thoughts and the quality of your writing, I enjoyed the read!
This is an unforgettable story.
Your story-telling talent is off the chart.
What an interesting journey this is. I so appreciate everything you have to teach.