I’ll be honest with you, I’m not very “woo woo” or “touchy feely” and I’m not an easy sell on force-fed self-help crap (it’s the force-fed part I’m against). Sure, I can admit that I’m being a little unfair (maybe a lot) since it seems to work for the masses, but for me most of it reads like a few common sense statements wrapped in a lovely package and geared to make one over-the-top, highly motivated, type A personality a lot of money by preying on lost souls.
I’ve had the rare priviledge of seeing many of these gurus repeatedly as I sat through countless hours of pledge drives (and let me say these shows are trotted out to raise big bucks for PBS and they never fail to deliver). I’ve seen a LOT of self-help folks come and go – those with one lick of charisma always seem to stay around the longest. You’ve got your highly popular folks like Dr. Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Suze Orman with her financial advice. All of whom happen to be gifted speakers. And then there are those other folks promising you can live forever whose names get lost in the sea of other self-help would-be giants. I’ve always looked at self-help as a buffet – you take a few bits that you like and then pass on the rest of the stuff that’s mostly there for garnish. My plate looks like I’ve barely had time to really hit the salad bar.
Every now and again, I’ve been in jobs where they’ve latched onto the latest craze (that involve multiple days of brainwashing activities that keep you away from your desk)- like the time we were all about the FISH Philosophy:
And we had to endure having “fish” themed posters, pens, post-its and what not around around the office to show we were all 100% behind this. We spent about 16 hours being indoctrinated and then a few months later, the push behind Fish! was let go from her position and the posters were torn down, the cheap fish pens lay at the bottom of a Glad bag and everyone went in search of something else to latch onto. Again, let me say that if Fish! works for you, that’s great; it’s not a bad philosphy. It’s just not what motivates me.
In my years in the workforce I’ve had “The Vision”, spent 8 hours learning not to say “Don’t”, found out I’m an INTJ, a blue/blue, a Hound (in Fox, Lion, Hound), learned about 212 Degrees (thank you, Brandi – I’ll never be that extra degree) and also learned that under stressful situations I tend to bulldoze ahead instead of listening (which actually was the most enlightening thing I’ve learned). All of that equals a personality type that will sit in the back of a room and act like the most put-upon individual ever in the history of mankind.
Recently, I was invited to attend a function featuring a motivational speaker and I tried to be open-minded, realizing that as soon as I heard the “M” word, my brain immediately locked up. I went to the website, saw the stadium full of people seeming to be shouting wildly with their hands in the air, read testimonials and had to say “no”. It was too “revival” for me and really, I’d rather be dragged across asphalt.
With all that said, I will make one small confession. John Bradshaw got to me once and together we discovered that my inner child and I really can’t stand woo woo and that’s ok. We blamed my social worker parents and their friends and then I hugged my inner child and told her things would be ok and we could just smile and watch from the sidelines.
DISCLAIMER: Social worker family and friends – I love you guys and I’m kidding. Well, I seriously do hate too much woo woo motivational stuff, but my inner child and I never talked about you guys… much. 🙂