Ever tried to relate to someone successful?
No, no, sorry. I mean someone really successful?
Anyone else excited for baseball season? (Picture from facebook.com/davidortiz)
There we go.
I love reading books by inspiring authors and listening to powerful speakers. Yet I’ve been guilty of just “hearing” their messages in the past without fully digesting their message. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
I find there’s a couple reasons why we can’t relate to some of those incredible, ridiculously successful people:
They seem perfect. Their level of success is more than “I quit my day job.” They did quit their day job. Then made six plus figures at their dream job, plus have a drink waiting for them upon entering Starbucks. Sometimes it’s hard to relate when we’re still waiting tables, plus get our names spelt wrong on our coffee cup.
They seem condescending. Take Eric Thomas, for example. He doesn’t just share his message. He shouts it. And he’s not afraid to call you out on your poor habits. When we hear a lot of messages like these, we sometimes take it personally. Kind of hard to listen to a message when we’re busy being offended.
Here’s the thing: Whether it’s in a classroom, at a presentation, or in our apartment as we’re reading, there’s a powerful message being delivered to our ears. Yet when we think about those themes I just mentioned, we’re really replying with “You’re too perfect for me to relate to” or “You’re being mean, so I don’t want to listen.” Kind of a negative response, isn’t it? But let’s not kick ourselves for our thoughts. That would be silly. Instead, let’s refocus them.
Think about this instead:
They’re trying to help. They didn’t just roll out of bed thinking, “Maybe I’ll go onstage today and tell people how to be better.” They’ve dedicated their lives towards helping others. They don’t just want to help – they need to!
They’re genuinely concerned for us. Many of the best speakers and authors went through some kind of struggle – usually a big one. The “harshness” of their tone or message isn’t because they’re mad that we’ve slacked or neglected our goals. Rather, it’s because they don’t want us to go through what they went through.
They’re like, really excited. Again, they do what they do for a living is because they need to. Yes, it’s also what they love. Combine the two and you’ll get a very excited person who can’t wait to share their message.
“But Tony, what if I really don’t relate to this successful person?”
The cool thing is that there are a lot of speakers and authors out there. It’s all about finding which one best relates to you in terms of style and personality. What also helps is learning about their past and upbringing. While I didn’t always love Eric Thomas, I become much more attached to his work after learning about his story.
As you learn from other successful and inspiring people, remember that they’re trying to help. Start looking for which ones have a style or story that relates to your own.
And then….start your own journey. Maybe you’ll be able to inspire others in your own way 🙂