Here’s an email exchange I recently had with a New Man Podcast listener. Enjoy…
“Hello Tripp — I have been a listener of ” The New Man” podcast for a while and I recommend to all of my friends, for about a year now, I have developed a passion for self improvement literature, and that has dramatically changed my life and the way I see things. One of the consequences of this changes is this beautiful girl I have been with for several months now, and she is the reason I am writing to you now. She is pretty, she is sweet, she has a good percentage of everything I always seeked for in a woman although I wish she was more self motivated and ambitious, she smokes, what I hate, she denies to go to the gym ( she is skinny ) and she has an addiction for sweets, If I am to build a lifetime relationship, I want someone who works hard for their health and someone who sees money and business in a smarter way than she does. I have bought her and Ipod and have been trying to get her into some self improvement stuff, but its not working. Can you help me out and give me some recommendations?”
Thanks for the great feedback and I’m glad you’re recommending the show to your friends.
As for “motivating someone else”. This is indeed sticky territory.
I personally don’t like it when people try to tell me what to say, think or do. I tend to get rebellious.
This is a pretty easy trap to fall into when we’re trying to “motivate someone”. From one perspective, we see a greater possibility and feel the strong desire to have them step into it. Perhaps our suggestions will make them happier, but most of the time it’s usually our selfish desires that are in play. We’re not really in touch with their immediate needs and situation.
Ever heard the expression, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”?
People will only take on change when they are damn well ready — or when the greater powers of life force them to do it. Prodding, nagging and poking is just irritating and basically sends the message that “I don’t like you the way you are.”
That’s not a great place to do relationship. I’ve gotten my ass handed to me many times trying to be an “evangelist”. It just doesn’t work.
So what can we do?
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Instead of pushing, poking and prodding my girlfriend to be different, I focused on myself. I followed MY curiosity and desire for growth. I accepted who she was. I accepted our differences. This took the pressure off of her (which she will appreciate).
I certainly had my preferences. I *preferred* her to be this way or that way, and I even communicated that. BTW, women by and large respond more to praise as a means of feedback, guys dig challenge. However, I placed no demands and I gave up the nagging. Whenever my partner was doing something I really liked, I made sure I communicated this to her. I focused on what I really loved about her.
From this place, I painted a picture of what was possible for US. I laid out my vision. “Here’s the life I’d like to have, and I’d love you to be a part of it. Doing this and doing that would have me feel closer to you and that’s what I want. Are you interested in this? What can we co-create here?”
Did you catch that? “That” was an invitation — not a demand.
We get into trouble when we assume that the other person may want what we want. That’s a big mistake.
Communicate what you see possible for *both* of you and invite your partner to co-create that with you.
If she’s interested, maybe she’ll participate. If she’s not really feeling it, she probably won’t.
Either way, you’re living your life, doing what you love. This will ultimately attract others with similar interests and repel those that don’t jive.
We get into trouble when we’re fearful about moving forward without the partner. “Will this break us up? Do I need permission to be this way?” It can be scary.
Ultimately it’s about trust — Trusting yourself to be who you are and trusting her and her choices to be who she is. If you’re not lined up, then be willing to stare down that possibility and the choices available to you.
If your personal growth is so amazing and productive, you may just inspire her to take on her own. But that’s not YOUR job.
So, bottom line — don’t sweat her path. It’s HER path. It’s HER work. Don’t take it on.
Get clear about what you want and invite her into this possibility. If her behavior is a deal breaker, let her know and be willing to move on. If she’s truly inspired to make the change she will.
But you’ve got to be willing to follow your own path regardless.
Maintain an attitude of invitation and curiosity and avoid the self-righteous, personal development trap. I freakin’ hate that crap. 🙂
Have fun and you’ll be sure to attract those that are inspired and in alignment with your deeper values.
Thanks again for your question,
Get Stuff Done.
Developed by professional coach Tripp Lanier, The Daily Toolkit teaches you the small steps that create big changes.