7 Reasons Why It’s Important To Hold Others CAPABLE…John Page Burton

Most of us have found ourselves impulsively or impatiently taking charge of a situation because “it will get done correctly if I just do it myself”. Many of us unconsciously take this approach with our children, friends and employees. Rather than taking the time to show someone how to do something and letting them run with it, we habitually jump in and do it for them. Ultimately, WE become burned out, angry, resentful victims of our own insatiable need to be in control and WE effectively teach those in our charge to wait for someone else to do things for them.(Learned Helplessness) As a leader in our family or business, it is imperative that we practice holding others capable. Experience tells me that most of us will rise to the level we are held capable of reaching. Below are 7 benefits that come from being held capable.

7 Benefits of being held CAPABLE….

*CREATIVITY. When we hold others capable we are encouraging them to tap into their natural, creative nature. Creativity (thinking outside the box) stimulates our problem solving skills which in turn enables us to experience a stronger sense of self worth. Whenever we stifle someones creativity we are stifling their authentic spirit.

*ABILITY. It is imperative that we encourage others to rely on and develop their natural ability. All of us have been blessed with specific talents and skills. When these talents and skills lie dormant, we will have a minimal impact on the world around us. On the other hand, when we are encouraged to exploit our talents and skills we are given permission to truly impact the world.

*PROFICIENCY. In order to earn a living, advance through the workforce and thrive rather than survive, we must develop and become proficient at certain life skills. For example, our ability to effectively communicate with others is one of the most important skills we can develop. When we are held capable, we become self reliant. When others willingly do everything for us there is little motivation for us to develop the sufficient life skills needed to create an abundant life. I am reminded of the quote…”Feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

*ACCOUNTABILITY. When we hold others capable, we are effectively helping them to develop a bottom line mentality. When we step in and do everything for those in our charge, we are effectively encouraging them to develop a bail out mentality. When we hold others capable we are encouraging them to take full responsibility for their decisions and actions. When we do everything for those in our charge, we are effectively sending them a message that they are not capable and consequently many become highly unaccountable people.

*BELIEF SYSTEM. Our belief system is a direct reflection of the degree to which we have been held capable. If we have been held capable since childhood, more than likely we have established a realistic view of what it takes to navigate through life. On the other hand, if we have been conditioned to believe that others are always going to be there to pick up the pieces when we fail, we will undoubtedly be in for a rude awakening when our primary support system is taken away. This often happens to adults upon the passing of a smothering parent or spouse. If we hold the belief that “if it’s going to be, it’s up to me”, we are going to face life’s challenges with a stronger sense of certainty and purpose.

*LEARNED HELPLESSNESS. I recently spoke at a divorce recovery workshop. I was amazed by the number of people who were struggling with the concept of being on their own. Among the challenges of being newly divorced, many of the men were at a loss because their wives had done so much of the parenting and many of the women were at a loss because their husband had handled all of the financial responsibilities. By the end of the workshop, most in the group realized just how spouse dependent they had allowed themselves to become. One of the keys to a strong relationship lies in holding each other capable. For example, dad is just as capable of parenting as mom and moms is just as capable of managing the check book as dad. ***It is important to be mindful of the “subtle control dramas” that can play out within a relationship. CHILDREN AND CHECKBOOKS ARE OFTEN USED TO GAIN EMOTIONAL LEVERAGE.

*ENERGY. DOER’S can’t help but feel energized. There is a “rush” that accompanies any significant achievement. When we are held capable we naturally summon the energy needed to face the challenge at hand. When others do everything for us, we tend to lack energy and drive. I have some friends who have a 15 year old daughter who is an exceptionally talented student athlete. She is dedicated to her sport and truly enjoys facing challenges when they arise. She is an excellent conversationalist, has a great sense of humor,an outstanding sense of self and it’s easy to tell that she truly enjoys life. In short, she is energetic and driven. Her parents hold her capable. On the other hand, I work with a client who is frustrated because her son, a senior in high school “is lazy and unmotivated”. He recently failed to show up for his college entrance exams, has never held a job for longer than a couple of weeks and is “addicted” to video games. My client still does his laundry, recently bought him a car, pays for his auto insurance, gives him money for food and entertainment and justifies doing this because “his father left the family when he was three years old”. Mom has never held him capable. Consequently, he lacks energy and drive. Which child is being groomed for life success?

My hope is that you can clearly see the value of holding others capable. If you find that you are resisting holding others capable it may be a good time to explore strategies to help release your need to be in control. A good coach will be able to help you in this process.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback. Cheers!

5 Childhood Messages That Keep Many Of Us Stuck…John Page Burton

images (1)

Within the personal growth industry there is a widely held belief that 65% of our belief system is formed by the time we are 8 years old and by age 18 over 90% of our belief system has been firmly established. Do we believe the world is a scary, unjust place or do we believe it’s a safe place with unlimited opportunity? Are we bold or fearful? Do we ask questions or do we simply accept things at face value? Do we live with passion or are we complacent? Are we willing to take risks or do we prefer to stay in our comfort zone? Are we tolerant or intolerant of people who hold different beliefs than we do? The answers to these questions tend to be a direct reflection of the messages we received during our formative years. Having interacted with thousands of people in my capacity as a life and business coach, I have been able to identify 5 childhood messages that have kept many of my clients from achieving the results they truly desired. On a personal note, I spent years “re-wiring” my own belief system, much of which was a direct result of the messages I received throughout childhood. Below are 5 childhood messages that are keeping many of us stuck.
*Shut Up, unless you have something important to say! Many of us have still not figured out what constitutes important? We remain silent even when we know that something doesn’t feel right. We “keep our mouths shut” in abusive relationships, unfair work environments and in our dealings with friends and family. Over time, “going along to get along” has become our way of being. Our challenge is to begin using our voice in a respectful manner whenever we have something to say or add to a conversation. Each time we verbalize what is on our mind we are building muscles of courage and most importantly we are honoring ourselves.  This is an important first step toward self empowerment.
*Quit being so selfish! In my book, Wisdom Through Failure, I refer to a character named Helpful Harry. Harry has spent most of his life doing everything for everyone and very little for himself. Harry is a people pleaser. Harry is also an ANGRY GIVER! Whenever Harry does something for himself he immediately feels guilty and begins rationalizing his behavior. Harry will buy a beautiful new tie and then return it to the store an hour later because he feels guilty for spending money that “should be going to something else”. Harry’s challenge is  to become self centered. When we are self centered we are choosing to nurture ourselves and we are focused on doing what is in our best interests. This does not mean that we have to quit being generous, it means that we prioritize our needs. We can start out by doing something nice for ourselves once a week and build from there. Being self centered is not selfish.
*Why can’t you be more like your sibling? The message most of us received was that we were not good enough. Many of us are still comparing our success to the perceived success of others. For example, when I self published my first book, Wisdom Through Failure, I found myself comparing my book to every other author in the personal development arena. Once published, I obsessively tore through my book looking for every error, criticized myself endlessly and drove my wife Diana crazy with my never ending revisions. I was blind to my own content because I was comparing my work to that of Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield. When I stopped comparing myself to these “heavy weights” and focused on creating the best version of my book an interesting thing happened…my book gained traction and has become very well received by a worldwide audience. Our challenge is to run our own, unique, race! Comparing ourselves to others is a flawed practice because we really don’t know what has taken or is taking place on the other person’s journey.
*Quit acting so stupid! The message many of us internalized was that we were not smart. Far too many have become chronic underachievers due mainly to a fear of doing or saying something that could be perceived as foolish. In my practice, I routinely work with clients who are able to breakthrough this limiting behavior by creating a new story and hence a new reality around the intelligent, innovative people they actually are. Our challenge is to replace a past lie with a new truth.  A good coach can help you achieve this breakthrough by effectively guiding you to your new truth.
*Quit being so emotional! As a coach, I interact with clients who are very comfortable showing their emotions and others who will fight tooth and nail to keep them in lock down. Many men, including myself, have been admonished since childhood that showing our emotions is a sign of weakness. “Real men don’t cry”, “don’t be such a wimp”, “toughen up” and “quit acting like a girl” were all phrases I heard  growing up. On the other hand, it is socially acceptable for women to show their emotions, in fact it is expected. Recently, I was involved in an intervention designed to remove a wife and three small children from an abusive home. The husband, a former college football star and successful business owner had been arrested for a significant act of domestic violence. Everyone who knew the couple seemed shocked and most characterized them as such a “happy couple”. What they didn’t know was that the husband had developed a significant drinking problem shortly after his brothers death, had become very distant, refused to talk with his wife about his mood changes and finally one night when she pressed him to talk to her he broke her jaw, 2 ribs and dislocated her shoulder. In a subsequent conversation she admitted that she had never seen him cry or discuss his feelings as it pertained to his brothers death or any other challenge in his life. This is a tragic example of what can happen when a person doesn’t release their emotions in real time. Being an emotionally healthy adult involves being able to release our emotions in healthy ways. Our challenge is to give ourselves permission to share our feelings rather than hold them in to a point of combustion. A good coach or therapist can help us design a healthy strategy for managing our emotions.
In reality, most of us also received some very empowering messages designed to encourage and inspire us to become the best version of ourselves. I welcome you to take a look at any areas in your life where you feel stuck. Are any of these childhood messages contributing factors to your frustration? If so, it may be time to take the proactive first step toward creating a brand new story to tell yourself.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback! #myindustry