“The Man in the Mirror”

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror.  I’m asking him to change his ways.”   Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson

As you start your journey into Failure of Nerve, you might have missed it; the Editor’s Preface. (p. 14) The four quotes from Friedman on that page are golden. Any one of them, in my opinion, worth the price of the entire book. The one that draws my thought tonight is the last one;

The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. If you want your child, spouse, client, or boss to shape up, stay connected while changing yourself rather than trying to fix them.

I had the privilege in the 90’s of attending a number of workshops with Dr. Friedman. It was uncanny the way this theme kept popping up. “Stay connected while changing yourself.” It is so counterintuitive. Invite change in others by giving up on changing them and focusing on yourself.

It is the opposite of our every instinct; contrary to everything we are taught; subversive to the seduction of “motivational change strategy.” Even if we suspend our instincts and follow that axiom, we will inevitably find ourselves slipping into “fixing” mode.

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” – sounds good doesn’t it. Well, in the “gospel according to Ed (Friedman), it’s not good enough. You do have to start there. More importantly, you also have to end there.

Peace and courage to all you “self-changers.”

Steve