By: Minda Harts, Founder, The Memo
The older I get, the easier it becomes to distinguish the true supporters of my endeavors (a.k.a. my "Who") from the others. Not long ago, I had the opportunity to go back to my hometown for four talks, including a storytime with my godson's second grade class. (May I add, they thought I was in high school - smile). It made me feel good that so many people - friends from high school, local friends and neighbors, and my family, of course - showed up to support, and that people left feeling inspired. This was my first time doing something like this in my hometown, and I could not have done it without the support of those who came (including those praying or cheering me on from afar). It was clear to me that having a good support system was crucial.
Over the next few days, however, I started getting in my feelings and thinking about all the people who I thought should have been there, but weren't. I sat in the United Terminal at O’Hare airport with tears in my eyes. I thought about all the people who "love me," and knew about the events, but didn't bother to come, or at least send a text. The ones that live 15 minutes from where I was speaking.
I was mid pity party, until I mentally came to a fork in the road. Do I:
1) Focus on the ones who weren't there, and cry more, or -
2) Focus my energy on those who were there - my parents, my brothers, my sister-in-law, my godchildren, my aunt, my church family, my prayers/texts from afar friends. When I looked out into the crowd, seeing them smiling back-- that was everything.
What is the moral of this story?
Focus on your WHO!
Three ways to help you focus on your WHO:
1) Protect Your Heart. Sometimes we want so badly for everyone at work to like us, or for the PTA group to accept us. The bottom line is that isn't realistic, no matter how nice you are. If you know that some people in your life are not supporting you or are not "for you," stop giving them opportunities to disappoint you. If they have always been disappointing in the past, chances are they will continue to be. You only get one heart. Don't let others continue to break it.
2) It's Not About The Numbers. We all have those people in our cheering section, that want nothing more than to see us win. If you have even one person in your section--you're doing well. Don't focus on the number of supporters, but rather focus on WHO is supporting you. This was a hard lesson to learn, but it helped me better guard my heart. Also, make sure they know how much you appreciate them. Be sure to be in their cheering section, too, when they look out into their crowd. Be someone else's "WHO."
3) Leave your "Petty Party." There's a line in Drake’s song Redemption: "Redemption's on your mind when you think about me." I can't lie and say I didn't have a few choice words in my head for some folks that call themselves family and friends. I stopped myself from being obnoxious and petty, and realized that some people are just who they are going to be. I can't stop being me because of someone else's decisions. I'm not a bitter person, and I was not going to become one. Finding redemption for these people isn't always necessary. As our First Lady said, when they go low, we go high.
Sometimes it hurts when the "obvious" people in our lives are not there cheering us on. Looking back, though, those people were probably never there to begin with. Sometimes we want things that we know will end up disappointing us. Over time, we can only blame ourselves for a damaged heart. Be good to yourself and focus on your WHO!