Episode 204- Where Are The Medals?

Back in November, I got to spend a couple of days in Lambertville, New Jersey doing some deep learning at the public, speaking with Michael and Amy port and 70 of my newest friends at heroic public speaking. And now I am set to kick off their grads program, which will be an intense six months. But I don’t want to talk about that today. I want to talk about somebody I met there and something she said in passing that really hit me at the end of the second day, about eight of us gathered for an amazing dinner at a New Orleans style restaurant called Marcia Brown. And we had a private room and we were so loud and boisterous even though there were only six or seven of us that we really needed it. Cause I’m sure the noise was blasting out to the main part of the restaurant. But one of the people, this woman named Indrani, I could see how much energy and passion she had during those two days at core.

And during that conversation she mentioned casually how she would be in Rome and a couple of weeks and meeting the Pope. And I was stunned by how casually she said this. I was like, really? You’re going to go meet the Pope? It jarred my memory. If you haven’t heard episode six of the total life freedom podcast, go back and listen to that. So of course I had to tell my story about wanting to shoot the Pope. And if you haven’t heard it, it’s not what you think. So when Johnny told us about the Pope and we’re all so intrigued and excited for the conversation, got really deep and we started talking about family and at times, politics, speaking business and everything else. And we’re talking about our kids and how we raised them. They were asking me questions about homeschooling and it was truly a special night. But I remember a conversation with Indrani that stuck in my head and she was talking about her and her husband and their relationship and how much better it is now.

But she talked and looked back on all the times when it wasn’t so great. And she talked about how much they fought and disagreed and how strong willed she was and she was going to have to fight and get her way. And they both did that and they argued back and forth and often it would happen in front of the kids and just how there was so much pride involved. And she looked back on that and she looked back on the arguments and the disagreements and the time and the frustration and she had a sense of anger inside of her. She said, we fought so much and we fought so hard and we always tried to win and she shook her head and her lip curled up and she said, we’re all the metals. And I kinda was like, what? What did she just say?

She looked in my eyes and the intensity was real and she said, where are all the metals? When you fight for something and you want to win, there should be a metal. But when we fought with each other, there were no metals, nobody won. And I had truly never thought of it that way. Where are the metals? It really made me think like what do you get out of fighting with the people that you love? And I think that’s what she was trying to say. There was no reward for it. And I thought about it later as I was going back to the hotel. When you fight with your spouse or somebody that you love, when you win, do you really win? And if so, what did you win? And as somebody who’s a notorious fighter, somebody that grew up battling, cause I didn’t feel like I got respect, I didn’t feel like people took me seriously and I felt like I had to prove somebody wrong.

So I fought at times physically, but most of the time, verbally and mentally and I think of all the fights and all the disagreements and all the heartache and all the hurt feelings and the damage or destroyed relationships. And I thought about what Indrani said. Yeah, I want a lot of those fights. But where are the metals? Where are the awards? I realized I got my way often, but not only did I not get any reward for it, I actually damaged something because of it. And it’s hard when you’re a fighter to just stop fighting. And I had to think about that a lot and I had to think about why I fought, why I felt the need to go into battle so often and to look back on some of the relationships that were damaged from it, including my parents. Which is interesting because in childhood and as an adult we’ve had our battles, but it really made me think as much as I thought I was right in so many of these situations, what metal was I winning?

That conversation truly had an effect on the way I approach something that generally was natural to me. And what it did was it allowed me to view my relationship with my parents and other people a whole lot differently. Because before that, when I would win those arguments, I would self righteously believe that I actually won something. And what I realized about myself in the short time from that dinner to now is that I had a really hard time giving in. I felt like when I give in, I’m being taken advantage of and that was within me for years, maybe for most of my life. So as I look back on it, it was either a habit or maybe some sort of defense mechanism where I felt like I needed to fight to win something in her statement. That night really made me think that I never really won anything during those fights aside from short term pride, but the collateral damage from that was it times devastating because it turns out that the more that you fight, the better you get at fighting.

And deep down I knew I’m going to win. And it’s kind of weird saying this right now because I’m recording a podcast and sometimes I forget I’m recording a podcast and that somebody is actually going to listen to this, but that’s what I know. I’ve got to put it out because what she did is allow me to realize that I wasn’t winning anything and I needed to change the way that I thought about fighting. It’s been only a little over a month since that dinner, and it’s allowed me to view it completely differently to where there’s already noticeable changes in my relationship with my parents and even Elizabeth and the boys, because I didn’t notice how much it could seep into every area of my life and even worse. So I started teaching these habits to my kids without even realizing it. So I know relationships can be tough, friendships can be tough. And if you’re a fighter like me, you’ve got to make sure for your own security and your own safety that you win. But I want you to think about that and try to rethink it and ask yourself, what exactly did I win? Where are the metals? Although in the short term and the adrenaline, it felt good to win those fights, but in reality it led to more damage than it did accolades. So Indrani thank you for the awesome message that you taught to me. I truly appreciate it. I’ll talk to all of you tomorrow.

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