- Ricka Robb Kohnstamm
Building something is harder than destroying... where, really, are you putting your efforts?
Not many people set out to purposefully destroy things that matter - relationships, health, communities, peace. Yet, through attrition, neglect, and willful looking-the-other-way, destruction is the easiest path possible.
It is actually quite simple to destroy relationships by not checking reactivity at the curb. Or by simply withdrawing and cutting off communication. Or maybe your habit is to get big and angry to scare people away. Perhaps you fall into the judgmental "I'm telling you this for your own good" trap and lose people you care about because you just can't stay in your own lane.
Perhaps you destroy your own dreams by continuing to give in to the urge for one more drink. Or you destroy your immune system by keeping processed foods and cookies in the cupboard. Or allow your heart muscle to slowly lose efficiency because you refuse to get up off of the couch. "It's a pandemic. I deserve to be comfortable."
On a bigger scale - are you actively contributing to the destruction of a community by denying or minimizing the harm you have caused by not supporting small businesses or equity efforts? Do you carry out your philanthropy in the same old ways that cause harm (intention is not the same as impact) to the broader community?
Super easy to give ourselves a pass, look the other way, get busy with something else.
But building? Now that is more complicated and takes intentional focus and much stronger muscles.
When you are ready to focus your energies and intentionally invest in building instead of destroying, consider these three important questions.
Which emotional habits keep you stuck ? Become conscious of your own emotional habits. Notice what actually doesn't serve you or others. Perfectionism? Fear? Caretaking? Vulnerability? Perhaps your emotional habit is to rush into uncertainty to "fix" your children or your partner or your employees or community with suggestions and advice, because you know the "right way" and they don't. Emotional habits are powerful, feel familiar, often bypass logic, and lead us into disregarding consequences. They feel "normal" in the moment. And they keep us stuck so that we don't have adequate energy for building. Stand back, observe, reconsider.
What do I actually care enough about to be willing to build? Much easier to say "I want to be healthy" than it is to put the building blocks in place. Be kind and take the things off your list that you don't care that much about. But for the things that you do? Own it. Work with me or others who can help you build a plan and put one step in front of the other, to build things you really care about, and hold you accountable for progress.
What are the advantages, for me, of doing the hard, complicated work of building? Imagine the outcomes you want... trusting and transparent working relationships with your employees, adult children who actually want to come home as often as you welcome them, reaching the end of your life without regrets. Visualize why doing the hard work matters to you. Paint your dot on the horizon, in indelible ink.
Yes, building is really hard, complicated work. The truth is that life doesn't last forever and if you are planning to build, this is the time.
Actions, aligned with values, support optimal health.