Normally I listen to podcasts at the gym so I can use that time to think about business and get caught up on what the latest marketing or mindset thought leaders have to say.
Today I needed Depeche Mode.
The noise of business just felt unimportant given what’s been going on in the world.
At the first sound of David Gahan’s voice, I was pumped. It was going to be a good work out.
And then in the middle of challenging myself with heavier weights, the song People are People came on. I’ve always loved that song – not just for the music, but what it stood for.
In that moment I stopped and was taken back to the first time I heard it.
I was in high school in the 80’s and unlike other Depeche Mode songs which were all being blasted at the teen juice bar in Chicago called Medusa’s, People are People had an impact.
It asked an important question – one that I’ve been asking myself since that first time.
If you don’t know the lyrics, here they are:
People are People so why should it be
That you and I should get along so awfully?
So we’re different colors and we’re different breeds
And different people have different needs
It’s obvious you hate me, though I’ve done nothing wrong
I’ve never even met you, so what could I have done?
I can’t understand
What makes a man hate another man?
Help me understand
In the years that I practiced law, I used to think about this song a lot. As a criminal defense attorney I represented a wide variety of people who were charged with crimes – people who society would rather not embrace.
I was often asked how I could represent people who were charged with trafficking guns, drugs, stealing money and so forth. It was the topic of almost every dinner party.
And while the question got old. The lessons I learned from my clients never did.
At first, it was hard to imagine a police officer might lie on the stand or plant evidence.
It was hard to believe that the Government would present evidence of a wiretap that was missing an entire minute of conversation (by the way – an entire minute is a super long time when it comes to evidence).
It was hard to believe that my client really had no expectation of living beyond the age of 22 (an arbitrary number, but that’s what he shared).
During that time I was exposed to a new reality. And I’m not saying that it’s one where all cops are bad or that all prosecutors had no ability to see the truth. But it was one that opened my eyes to see that we don’t all experience the world the same way.
It led to a different question – how can we shift the world so what I see and what you see isn’t always different?
Although I know I don’t have the answers (trust me I really KNOW I don’t have the answers), one thing I know is that it’s not enough to simply create understanding.
As a byproduct of mindset work where I help others live more meaningful/succesful lives, I’ve always believed that by living your truth, your peace and satisfaction would ripple out into the world and create a change (sounds a little hoaky and I naive – I get it).
And while I still think that the more people who create positive change are needed, there is also a ripple and current we’re all fighting against that has been pushing back.
The last few weeks have illuminated that simply pushing good may not be enough.
Over the last days, like every single white person in America (and around the world), I ask myself what am I doing? How am I part of the problem? How can I now be part of a solution?
I’m also watching with curiosity how triggers and mindset are at play everywhere – and if we don’t learn how to properly channel our emotions, we’ll fall flat when it comes to achieving change again.
Which is what I want to share with you today – to think about- so you can use your mindset to be more proactive.
The world is being triggered right now – and while I’ll often tell you to use those triggers to explore and learn about yourself – there’s an important piece some thought leaders in the coaching world have missed. . . .
Right now you have an opportunity to be more aware of your triggers, but also honor them in positive new ways.
If you’re angry, it’s ok to be angry (even with yourself).
For too long we’ve been holding our anger in because we’re scared of it.
We’re scared of pissing people off. We’re scared of conflict. We’re scared of losing money, attention, time. We’re scared we’re going to lose control.
But the truth is that anger can be an amazing catalyst.
I used to equate anger with destruction because it caused such deep problems in my life. Maybe you do too.
But anger doesn’t have to be destructive. It can drive you to take action. And I think that’s where we are.
This past week a thought leader in the coaching industry shared that we should all focus on love at this time – she made a mistake (and her audience let her know it). She bypassed an important step in all our process.
Right now we’re triggered and we have to let it out. Because otherwise, if we skip straight to love we miss the opportunity to act – and out of action we can create new legislation and a new consciousness.
Instead of skipping steps, you have an opportunity to notice your triggers and ask yourself an important question: how do I want to use my pain?
Because when you understand those triggers, your actions become more intentional.
Here’s what I mean.
I got into a fight on Facebook this week because an old law partner came onto my page and shared some crazy wrong statistics. I immediately fought back and was like – is he kidding??
And while I initially engaged, fought back and “tried to put him in his place”, I quickly realized that my actions weren’t amounting to anything because I was never going to change his mind.
I was just triggered by him.
But instead of doing nothing like I might before, I sat down and decided to take down our conversation and really look at what was going on for me – I was triggered and could hear myself spewing out a bunch of expletives and calling him names in my head. While I don’t need to go into all of the thoughts – what I realized was that I was being driven to an unproductive place.
I was being driven by my need to be right and my fears that someone might think I was on the wrong side of this conversation.
So rather than engage – I took that time and found places that need my talents to support change and signed up. I also decided to get focused and figure out who I wanted to listen to at this time.
I simply stopped engaging with him and took the air out of an unproductive battle (although I admit I would tell him off again).
The point of all of this is this. . .
If you’re busy spending time focusing on who is wrong and how they’re wrong (the looters, the protesters, the President, the people saying outlandish things, etc.) recognize that an emotional trigger is there and that’s ok – but also recognize that you can do something productive with it.
It’s the one thing that David Gahan forgets in the song People are People. He forgets that at some point you have to do more than try and underestand, you have to act (in life, in business, in relationships, in what you believe).
Decide what that is for you. And have it come from a more intentional place, because your overall mindset matters. It matters for the long term. It matters when it comes to creating change.
Mindset just matters.
I hope this helps a bit right now because my job – as always – is simply to support you in expanding and strengthening your mindset.