Why am I focused on helping you when you don’t want to change and why do you keep coming to me for help when you don’t want to change? What should be the cut off point for me? When do I just say to you “I can no longer help you. I won’t be giving you anymore lessons.”
These are questions I sometimes ponder over as a riding instructor. Am I wasting my valuable time trying to teach someone who comes across as not wanting to change what they are doing to have the skills they need to meet goals they set? After all I have big dreams and goals I would like to be working towards and maybe I could use that hour (I feel like I just wasted on your lesson) to work on my goals and it’s not because I feel like you are a waste of time it’s because I feel like I didn’t give you anything of value because I don’t see any change.
These thoughts always turn into guilty feelings. Why do I feel guilty for wanting to send you away or for being annoyed at you when you won’t take a step to help yourself? What in the world makes me care so much about you? I don’t even really know you and yet maybe I do, maybe you are me. Maybe I’ve been through the same thing that you are going through so I feel some compassion for you. Maybe you are a mirror of whats wrong in my own life and to give up on you would be to give up on myself.
I’ve been told that what you see as a negative trait in other people is what you don’t like about yourself. I believe that’s true, I once took a class from Don Miguel Ruiz that proved that theory to me. So, can I use that frustrating student as my mirror to discover what it is that I find negative about myself? The truthful answer would be yes. But then I would have to make changes in myself, am I willing to do that?
And If I decide no I just want to send you away and blame it on you for not being motivated or focused or wanting it enough, what then? Does the problem go away? Maybe for a while and then it will come back in the form of another student that I think is so outstanding, only to find out later “here we go again”. You see I believe it shows up to make me stronger in dealing with myself. Learning how to motivate others to make the changes that can really help them meet their goals can be a real learning experience in learning how to motivate myself to make some of those same changes.
I would never want to give up on myself, but on some levels maybe I have. And maybe that mirror standing in front of me is frustrating to me because it brings up those moments when I gave up on myself, when I quit and didn’t follow through with a goal or dream because I wasn’t willing to change some of my habits. Those moments when I was frustrated myself.
So I stand at the crossroads of making a choice; choice one, stop looking in the mirror and send them away (try to hide from or bury my feelings about the situation) or choice two, keep looking in the mirror and figure out how to step up and take action, the action needed to finish the goal (learn to take responsibility for not knowing how to motivate myself to the next level). Choice two is more appealing to me because in the end it will teach me something and help me reach my goals, even if the student doesn’t respond and make the change I have still gained confidence and knowledge from the experience because I will have to learn something new about how to motivate that student and myself. I will have to find the missing piece of the puzzle for them and by doing that I may find answers for myself. And this can take me from frustrated to excited.
I think I’ll keep teaching, even the hard students, because the truth is even though they feel like a pain in my behind they make me step up my game and that gets me one step closer to my own goals.