How would you identify areas of your life where privilege, benefit and strength can be found?
How can you use these areas to affect the places around you which need more strength, influence and energy?
Will you spend your time coaching yourself within your areas of weakness – or will your coach be there to help you work from where your strength and comfort lies?
A few things happened this week that made me think of the questions above. There were the Oscars, and the Oscar speeches, and the way Jay Smooth summed up the hoopla around it in a kind, balanced and motivating manner (reminding me to practice the craft of getting good, instead of assuming I’m a good bloke). There was the “Homeless” collection launch – my short story got published there, and you can buy the book to support SASH, a charity fighting youth homelessness. I got the book last night and read through several stories.
Finally – this morning, we decided to stay in and cancel our plans as we weren’t feeling well. As we sat in our room, keeping warm and hydrated and listening to relaxing tunes whilst wrapped in our hoodies, I felt a bit like Luke Skywalker in his vat of healing bacta fluid. Then I realized: it’s actually just like that. This is my safe place. This is where my power regenerates, it’s where my thoughts regroup and my health improves. I have access to a lot of things here: safety, quiet, shelter.
You are reminded, day after day, how lucky you are to have the luxuries that surround you. There are quizzes like the one on Buzzfeed – there are websites like “If it were my home” – these function, ostensibly, to teach you about your fortunate status.
But they don’t carry the empowerment. They can’t inspire you to do something about it. Information will be useful to realize that you’re among the healthiest, luckiest, best-educated percentile. But the energy is yours to grow.
The reaction to wealth, fortune and opulence has traditionally been embarrassment (read Simon Schama’s excellent historical perspective on this). There’s another useful way to react, though: consciously using your resources to work on the areas where work is needed.
You can remember the good vibes from your dance class the next time you face a scary work colleague.
You can bring the experience, advice and security of your family home to your next community college meeting.
Your well-connected church members can be the best resource when helping your lonely neighbours.
Your good health will be needed when having to commute for ages from a bad neighbourhood.
There will be more examples to add to your list. Many of them you’re told not too mention: race, gender, income. They will belong on either side of the privilege/need equation.
Being honest with yourself about this is the first step to coaching yourself towards good things, and to relying on your strengths as you work on the weaknesses.
So where do you start seeking yours?
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