The Opposite End of the Spectrum

By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – March 11, 2024

Frustrated by your weak­nesses?  Why not look at the opposite end of the spectrum?

I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.
I am Popeye, the Sailor Man.
—Popeye, the Sailor Man

Although this quote may seem a bit simplistic, I think it illustrates how free you may feel when you pay attention to who you are, and Popeye did just that. We all have the option to choose what we pay attention to. Consider this: Would this be Popeye’s quote if he paid attention to what he could NOT do? Or does he feel great about himself because he is paying attention to what he CAN do?

What do you pay attention to? When was the last time you embraced your strengths and celebrated who you are? Sadly, many people choose instead to focus on their weaknesses or the weaknesses of others. Are you like this? Or perhaps you are busy trying to conform to someone else’s idea of who you are supposed to be. Either way, it’s a no-win situation, and until you realize that you are who you are, you will be spinning your wheels.

But, if you are willing to simply shift what you are paying attention to, you can affect some incredibly positive changes in your life. I’d like to share a story with you that I feel demonstrates this idea perfectly. It comes from a client whom I’ll call Susan.

Susan loves her husband dearly. Yet even though she loved him and couldn’t imagine life without him, she felt like their life together had become flat and lacked passion and adventure. She came to coaching, searching for direction to help her recapture that missing spark.

Susan had a very open mind during our sessions together. She was willing to reflect on the patterns in her life that revealed a trend. Like many adults, she was conditioned to believe it was in her best interest to focus on trying to be mature instead of having fun. Thereby, she was trying to contain her husband’s natural creativity and in-the-moment spontaneity in the pursuit of maturity or being a “grownup.” Unfortunately, this quest for maturity brought predictability and security while eliminating fun, adventure, and a zest for life.

After coaching, with her newfound clarity, Susan loosened her grip on her ideas about maturity, and her life began to change. She began to have fun, and interestingly enough, she found the motivation to remove other less obvious obstacles from her life, which in this case was clutter.

By accepting her husband and herself for who they are, she began to pay attention to and celebrate their individual gifts and passions. This simple shift brought back the fun and adventure that had been missing for so long.

Do you see the link between focusing on your weaknesses (or the weaknesses of others) and feeling frustrated and unhappy? Wouldn’t it be nice to experience the OPPOSITE of that? Think about what it would be like to feel good.

As illustrated by the Popeye quote and Susan’s story, maybe the path to solving your problems and feeling good is as simple as paying attention to who you are and letting go of who you are not.

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