Now that I’m older, and supposedly know better–and thus can (theoretically) combat it–I’m painfully aware that my upbringing set me up to fear success, and thus assure that I, in fact, fail. (Before I proceed, fear not, gentle reader, this is not one of those navel-gazing, “woe is me” posts).
What I mean is that my dad, while successful in the business arena, didn’t model much of anything at all for me. He was distant and uninvolved (something with which I struggle with my own children). Fact is, he didn’t care, so I didn’t share–turned inward instead. And I worked very hard to not be noticed, because such attention as I got was invariably negative.
Can you identify with any of this?
The irony of it all is that, on the one hand, I didn’t want to be noticed, but on the other, I crave the affirmation that I missed out on growing up.
How this usually plays out is that I will achieve a moderate level of success, but then–whether consciously, or no–shoot myself in the foot in some fashion (like the line from Mumford & Sons ‘Roll Away Your Stone,’ I “fill my void with things unreal”).
Here’s a real world example from last Fall: I was getting some moderate notice here on the blog, and then really got all up in Bryan Allain’s grill. He did a couple of things that surprised me:
1) He called me out on my douchebaggery–and was right to do so;
2) He then gave me grace, and consented to the interview that I had so ungraciously asked for.
That was a real shot in the arm!
But then I turned right around and did essentially the same thing to Jon Acuff! Because I didn’t know how to be successful, but was also afraid of it, there are no other words for my behavior towards Jon than that i was a sycophantic d*ck. I wanted him to notice, and affirm, me. But he, rightly, didn’t play along.
Really sorry about that, Jon. Now about that email interview? 😉
Oh, I guess I got noticed alright–but for all the wrong reasons.
(If you look further back on the blog, you’ll see that I did the same thing to Donald Miller).
The pattern is thus: find a man I respect, look up to, seek affirmation from him (when it’s not his job to do so), and have him subsequently shun me–just like my own dad!
Because that is my normal.
(Just ask my wife how easy I am to live with).
I want off this roller coaster!
How about you? What are some of the foolish things you’ve done online? Who have you alienated? Can you identify with me at all? Is there a “roller coaster” you want off of?