I was sitting on the sidelines of a kids’ baseball game on Saturday.
A friend of mine, another parent, was talking about how she felt like she was in a rut. She has worked at the same place for a long time. She wasn’t very happy there. But she wasn’t sure what to do next. “I’m too lazy to try something new at this age.” she told me.
I would never have labeled this woman as “lazy.” She came from humble beginnings (I believe a trailer park was involved). She made her way through college, and business school. She has kept a “good” job for many years. She takes care of her husband and her kids. She has a clean house and an adorable, well trained dog.
What part of that story sounds lazy?
We all tell stories about ourselves.
Sometimes the stories started from our families. “Sue is so lazy. She never picks up her clothes.” Sometimes it comes from ourselves. We know that we could do more. But we don’t. So we’re lazy.
Then it becomes fused with your identity.
I don’t have a clean house because I am too lazy to put all my clothes away.
I’ll never be able to make partner. I’m too lazy to do all that work.
But lazy is the wrong word. The wrong label.
The word is: scared.
You are scared.
When you call yourself lazy, what are you really thinking?
People use lazy in all sorts of ways. When you first think about your own use of the word lazy. I bet you think, I use it to describe when I avoid doing things that are hard. Things that I don’t like.
But its rare that this is the full story. Take a moment. Check in with yourself. What are you afraid of? What are you trying to avoid?
Usually its something about yourself. You are afraid to expose, or uncover. Or its about the feedback you will get from others.
It could be something specific — I will send out my resume to 100 people and no one will want to interview me.
It could be something deeper — you don’t care about laundry on the floor. But instead of owning that its not a priority for you. Instead of allowing yourself to be who you are. You call yourself lazy. Because you are afraid of other people’s judgement.
Take a moment to search around your brain. What is your true thought behind the word “lazy’? You’ll know when you figure it out. Does it make you agitated, even terrified? Jackpot. You found it.
When something is scary, we all want to avoid it
It is very natural to avoid things that are scary. It taps into that age old “Fight or Flight.” Our crazy mind can’t always tell the difference between a tiger and fear of rejection. Both of them are scary. Both sound the alarm. Run! Run away! When we get that age old feeling. We find ways to avoid it.
One of my kids has dyslexia. Reading is hard for him. Sometimes, he doesn’t want to do it. At all. But I would never, ever call him lazy. When he fights reading, I know exactly what is going through his mind.
What if he starts reading and comes to a word that he has learned 10, 50, 100 times. And he still can’t read it? What will I, his mom, think of him?
Even though he knows that I love and support him. Even though I have never called him lazy. Its still hard. Its still scary. So he tries to avoid the whole thing.
But what story do you WANT to tell about yourself?
Here’s the funny thing about thoughts.
You can pick and choose which ever thoughts you want.
At any time.
You could decide today that you aren’t lazy.
You can think anything you want about yourself, right now.
I had a comment on one of my recent stories. The person asked, isn’t it hard to change course in your career after you’ve put years into it? The person was about 6 years into their path.
My answer? No, it isn’t. I have done the same thing for more than 20 years. I am 45 years old. I am trying something new. I am trying on the label “writer.” I tell people that I’m writing. Its a brand new story that I tell about myself.Some people are supportive. Others look at me like I’m nuts. But its the story I choose to tell about myself today. Right now.
You could do the same.
You can choose the thoughts about yourself. You can choose to never use the word lazy again.
Own who and what you are. Whatever that is.
Tell whatever story you want to tell.
If that story is true to you. It doesn’t matter what other people think. No, it doesn’t. But…no. Still doesn’t.
You should be more scared of doing something that isn’t true to you. Than looking stupid or failing at something you love. Because at the end of the day, you’re alone with your own thoughts.
When you think about it. You are using the word lazy to avoid something that might make you feel bad. If you fail. If you screw up. But you already feel bad right now. Because you are not telling your own true story.
Why not take the risk? At worst, you’ll feel exactly the same.
Tell the story you want to tell. And be who you want to be. Try. And fail. And admit who you are.
You’re not lazy. You’re human.