It’s not working …. Try harder?
Besides completely shifting how I viewed life, my approach to life, and how I desire to interact with people; this two-decade journey taught me a couple of other things about me and how to I move towards goals.
I have always had big goals, wanted big things for my life, and pushed hard to make a big splash in all situations. One of the team retreats I was on when I was in my early thirties, we had an exercise that was very unique and very revealing in retrospect.
A few weeks before the retreat we were secretly given a member of the team’s name with an assignment. We were to find some small toy or trinket that represented that team member to us.
I remember clearly opening the package as the person who had been assigned me began a presentation as to why she had selected the item she had.
“I picked a Bull-dozer,” Annette said. “Because David pushes towards his goals no matter what. He pushes through obstacles and makes the goals happen.”
I remember smiling, proud of that acknowledgement of my drive and focus on goals. Now I view things differently. Then I was proud to be known as someone who would push through things to accomplish something. Now I recognize that pushing through someone or something, damages it. Since most obstacles to achieving a goal is a person, a mindset, or a personality pushing through, really is about breaking it. So as I look back I recognize that I was proud of breaking people.
Additionally, when a bull-dozer pushes through something it is damaged as well. The engine gets worn a bit, the blade gets battered and dulled, and the hydraulic hoses and lines are stressed. I was proud of the battering, the damage, the stresses … I thought that’s what was required to accomplish a goal.
I viewed obstacles, challenges, things that slowed me as things to be broken apart and pushed through. If it wasn’t in line with what I wanted I viewed it as an obstacle. How that manifested; someone disagreed with an idea … obstacle. A different idea … obstacle. Different target … obstacle.
This applied to my personal life as well. I tried to push harder against anything, idea, or behavior that I decided was in my way. Many of the things I determined that were ‘in my way’, were deeply embedded in my soul and psyche. So the bull-dozer was turned upon himself. I grew harder and more destructive month by month. Pushing against parts of who I was with other parts of me. Both equally stubborn, hard headed, and pushy.
I was breaking myself apart. Violently, harshly, aggressively, breaking myself into jagged pieces.
Before writing this part of my journey I knew what I was going to say. I knew I was going to regret and condemn the ‘Bull-Dozer David’. I was ready to break down and break apart my behavior and attitudes. But as I put these events, thoughts, and ideas in writing I am beginning to understand that is not entirely right for me.
Being Bull-Dozer David didn’t work for me. But, Bull-Dozer David DID help free me from the chains I had forged myself in. He did help me understand more about the positive parts of me, and he did help me understand that I could find ways to change who I was.