Your idols and what that might have to do with you
6th August, 20170 Comments
Written by: Christine Locher FRSA
Ever had a 'professional crush' on somebody? Being very impressed and inspired (bordering on a little obsessed) by somebody? This is actually quite common. We sometimes idolize people and the qualities we see in them. They represent things we want more of and they can represent things we might already have, if we were only able to see them. In Psychology, this called 'projection' the unconscious mechanism by which we attribute things (positive and negative) to others while 'disowning' them within ourselves.
There can be quite a bit of energy behind this. That 'glow' often makes you want to be a better version of yourself, and it makes you want to aim higher with your goals and your life. How can you make good use of this for your own growth?
Think about the person you are currently obsessing about.
- What qualities do you most admire?
- How does this resonate with your own life? Is that something you want? Are traces of it already present? Talk to somebody you trust who knows you and experiences you in action. Given that this process is largely unconscious, you might not be aware of most of this yet, but your surroundings might be. If you don't think you have it, any idea what draws you to this?
- Does this person or this quality remind you of something or somebody?
Suggestions what to do with this next:
- Find ways to appreciate this desired quality more in you, look at the traces present and start building. Use the glow momentum to propel you along in a constructive way rather than feeding the obsession - get off of their social media profile and get yourself to work! What steps can you take? E.g. if somebody is a charismatic speaker but you feel you are not there yet, can you start by making a bigger contribution in your next meeting, or by starting your next presentation with a little story?
- If the person reminds you of somebody, you might want to journal or record over time what that is and what resonates (if you have people in your close surroundings to talk to and cross-check, even better). And what has to do with your own interpretation and your own baggage rather than the overall setup. Not to get overly clichee-Freudian about it, but something might well "remind you of your mother". That project leader telling you you will be "well looked after", a sentence you were longing for to hear from your mother and never did. This is bound to do something to the dynamic happening between the two of you.
- Remind yourself that the other person is a whole, separate person with a whole separate life (and a normal human life at that) they too might spill coffee or run out of toilet paper and that you only see them from the outside. Writing a letter (NOT sending it, seriously, don't stalk!) and then e.g. burn or bury it, thanking the person for highlighting this for you can help with getting closure on the obsessing.
All of this highlights aspects that are important to you and not fully conscious yet and free up the energy to start building more of the kind of life you want for yourself.
About the author
• London-based cosmopolitan
• Experience in high-pressure business environments and in international leadership roles (top 5 consulting)
• High "BS-o-meter" paired with deep compassion
• Book author (winter 2017) “the Decisive Edge – how exceptional leaders act on their Values, Intuition and Integrity to make better Decisions and increase Impact”
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