Uncomfortable Conversations

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” -Tim Ferriss

“I say this is how we must act. I do those things which seem correct to me today. I trust myself. And if security concerns me, I do that which today I think will make me secure. And every day I do that, when that day arrives that I need a reserve, (a) odds are that I have it, and (b) the true reserve that I have is the strength that I have of acting each day without fear. (Pause.) According to the dictates of my mind.” -Ricky Roma from David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross

“My whole life, people have been telling me what I could do and couldn’t do. I’ve always listed to ’em, believed in what they said. I don’t wanna do that anymore.” – Rudy, character played by Sean Astin, from the film Rudy

Rudy is one of my all-time favorite sports movies (that and Hoosiers and The Natural are in the pantheon). I’ve seen it well over twenty times. And that doesn’t include the partial views when I get sucked in to watch if it happens to be on cable. For those of you who don’t know the film, it’s based on the true life story of Rudy Ruettiger, a “too short, 5-foot nothing”, “too slow”, “too poor”, “not too bright”, “no business-being-here kid” who dreams to play football someday for the University Of Notre Dame. I won’t reveal anything more. If you haven’t already seen Rudy, please do so now. If you’ve already seen it, see it again. Either way, you’ll be glad you did.

I just recently watched it end to end again with my younger son Truman. (When he casually mentioned over ice cream that he “kinda forgot the plot”, we immediately rushed home and I put in the Blu-ray.) Like any of your favorite films, every re-watch brings a new insight and different perspective.

This time out I was struck by the sheer number of uncomfortable, one could say cringe-worthy, conversations Rudy engaged in towards achieving his goal. Sure he busted his ass and outworked everybody, but what also stands out is he had no problem asking for help and telling people his plans and dreams. All the time. At every turn. He would then spring into action with no reliable outcome in sight. He said and did the things most of us are unwilling to do.

And why is that? Why exactly are we unwilling?

Like most things in life, it boils down to fear. The fear of being judged. Mocked. Of looking stupid. Worrying what others might think about us.

If you want to overcome this fear, here are some things that might help….

One. Consistently remind yourself of your goal/vision and your “why”. If it’s truly important and meaningful enough to you, you’ll do what you need to. You’ll break through the discomfort to get to the other side.

Two. Realize that most people are too busy worrying about their own needs and wants and dreams to have time judging you. They’re focused on themselves. Not you. That’s just your ego and fear talking.

Three. If you have the courage to follow your passion, you also have the potential to lift up others around you. They directly benefit because of your creation (think of an entrepreneur who starts a great company or a producer who makes a great film or play) and also, you can inspire them to follow their passion. That’s kinda cool. right?

(Spolier Alert: Don’t read any further.)

In short, can you have a ton of uncomfortable conversations in support of what you want? If so, maybe, just maybe, this could be you…

2 thoughts on “Uncomfortable Conversations

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