The PETER Moment

It was day 3 or so of my Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner training. There are many more days to go but fireworks are already going off in my mind and the whole class is devouring all this new information like hungry wolves. The instructors are incredible. It’s great. I couldn’t wait for the training to be over so I could be licensed to help as many people as I can and help them live better lives.  As we began to wrap up for the day, something magnificent happened…something that humbled me. It was as if the forces that be knew exactly what I needed to hear at that moment…what I needed to see…to feel.

Peter happened.
Peter was my classmate. He raised his hand and said something that sounded like this (I paraphrase a bit): “In a course like this, we are all here to learn and want to get the best out of the experience. We know that in a group like this, there will be introverts and extroverts. I’m pretty sure I’m an introvert and I may not be getting the best out of this experience because before I gather up the mental momentum to ask a question, an extrovert does, and take the air time.” He goes on to say “I am an introvert and I would really appreciate it if the extroverts in the room just take the introverts into consideration and allow the introverts to ask questions and get something out of this…”

For the first time in a long time, someone had unconsciously brought to the surface of my awareness (in this case indirectly…by just making a general statement), a problem many of us have but are never able to admit. We don’t know how to take care of ourselves.

You see, I realized in that very instant that the learning opportunity there was much deeper than “extroverts giving space to others” or “introverts learning to speak up when they need something” or “group dynamics”. NO. Much deeper. The opportunity for learning was about COURAGE. Yea. Courage. That’s the nerve he touched.

How so? Well, he reminded me of the universal truth that indeed, in order for us to properly serve the needs of others, we must first look inwards and stop at nothing to grow first inside and secure ourselves first and then we can contribute to the world.
He showed me that sometimes in order to get what we want, in order to obtain the very things we need, we have to go outside our comfort zones…we have to become UNLIKE our current selves. He had to become an EXtrovert for a moment in order to grow his INtroverted self.

I pondered for a moment and a seed of universal wisdom drops in my heart from where it always comes from and I am suddenly aware. I am aware that: Many times, the very things we need…the very things that matter for our growth and survival, are put outside of our immediate reach because a significant part of the growth itself occurs in the PROCESS of stepping out of our current place.

I realize again from this place of universal truths that what he showed and taught me is that courage is often misinterpreted. I realized that courage isn’t about doing what comes difficult for OTHER people. Courage is about doing what is difficult for YOU.  It is not about stepping into the difficult zone of others and stepping up where others cringe. It is about stepping outside of your comfort zone into your zone of DIScomfort. Courage comes from a thing when that thing is so difficult for you but yet you do it.  It is not about excelling where others fail. It is about the ability to ATTEMPT to succeed where you normally fail.  So courage is never about other people, it is only about YOU. It is the force inside of you that for a moment makes you an extrovert in order for the introvert in you to achieve its ultimate goal of learning. It’s the power that makes an insensitive person to open his/her mouth to say “I love you” for the greater goal of achieving connection. It’s the power that makes a person leave a place of easy success and income and pursue something he/she is passionate about but might fail in. It is the power that makes the physically weak volunteer for war. It is the bridge that takes us from our average and predictable self, to a place of our higher capacity and higher being. Courage is sometimes about irony isn’t it?

Peter was courageous.

Of all the realizations that dropped in my heart, the one that stopped me on my tracks was simply this: “Sometimes courage is not about your ability take care of everybody else…many times its about the ability to take care of yourself when you’re known to…or capable of taking care of everybody else.”

It’s the realization that if I am not ok, I can’t help others to be ok. If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of others. It’s the realization that I must summon the courage when needed, to get what I need, in order to become who I want to become, so I can have what it takes to help others.

It’s the same reason that during the in-flight safety instruction demo on your next flight,  when they talk about any possible loss of cabin pressure, the flight attendant will add “If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your oxygen mask on first, and then assist the other person.”

Look around you and you will find comedians who have not taken a moment to laugh lately, Doctors who don’t have enough time to get proper rest or spend time with their family, mothers who are sleep deprived because they are trying all day to be good mothers, fathers that are days away from a heart attack because they are trying to carry the family’s pressure alone, Preachers who have no time to read the word because they are well…too busy preaching the word, massage therapists who need a massage, financial analysts who can’t keep up with their own bills, Life coaches who don’t have enough time or confidence to ask for help because they are used to playing the helper not the helped.

As life coaches, mothers, therapists, medical practitioners, consultants, and helpers, students, team members friends, brothers, fathers …good people, we have a desire to give of ourselves to others. That’s incredible…that’s noble. The world needs more of you. Just remember to sometimes be courageous about taking care of YOU so that you are able to continue being that amazing you that the world needs.

There’s only one of you.  You can’t be replaced and you can’t be duplicated. You have a responsibility to take care of yourself…for you…and for the rest of us.