If your boss is a jerk, then it is time to accept the fact so you can move beyond it. If you are working below your potential, then it is time to accept this fact so you can move beyond it. Yes, I know, this seems obvious. But why don’t we do it? Why do we stay ticked off at our jerk of a boss? Why do we stay frustrated and angry because we are not working up to our potential? Why do we stay trapped by “What Is” rather than accept it and move beyond it? That’s easy enough to answer. Rather than practice Acceptance, we practice the R-word: Resistance.
When painful things happen to us it is natural to resist them. We use resistance to push away the pain, to push against the circumstance/situation/person that is hurting us. This pushing, this resistance, requires a great deal of energy. It requires a 24/7 vigilance on our part to keep away the “bad stuff”. Once you experience true Acceptance, you are going to be surprised how much of your energy, your mental, spiritual and emotional energy has gone into resistance.
You cannot change what you are resisting. You can’t! You have to stop resisting first. Inherent in resistance is fighting against what is in front of you. How can you change something that you are fighting against? You can’t! Through Acceptance, you can free yourself from the fight that resistance brings into our lives.
Let me share a story that illustrates what I’m talking about. A client named Juan was considered a medium performer in his company. This particular company’s method of performance management was based on “past performance,” meaning the company was always looking at past performance to judge current performance. Because the company was so focused on the past, this meant that a mistake made by an employee a year ago, three years ago, or five years ago would follow the employee forever. Right or wrong, this was the company’s management culture.
Juan’s performance had been poor when he first started with the company. However, his performance had improved tremendously as his tenure grew. But in his biannual reviews, his poor start with the company would always be a topic of discussion. On top of that, it always figured into compensation discussions too.
Juan came to me because he wanted a way to “get out from under this black cloud that seems to follow me. I know this is how the company works. I’ve seen them do this to other people as well. I want the management team to change and to see me from a different perspective.” He was frustrated and angry. He wanted our work together to focus on how he could change the company’s practice that was negatively impacting him.
When he explained his goal to me, I told him that he had a choice to make. He could continue to resist the culture while trying to change the culture all at the same time, which would be a guaranteed recipe for failure. Or he could stop resisting “What Is,” i.e. the culture of his place of employment and move into Acceptance. He could end the fight and change his focus. Through Acceptance, he could make a conscious decision to accept that this is how his employer operates.
Once Juan could accept the situation, he could stop wasting his time and energy on resisting “What Is.” He could stop wasting his time on trying to change something he had no control over. Through Acceptance, he could free himself to focus on finding a company and a professional culture that would be a good fit for him.
So often we resist something in the hope that it will change. We hope our jerk of a boss will become nice. We hope that the company will change its policies, etc. In essence, we are hoping that something external to us, that we have no control over, will magically turnaround. When we take our focus off of the resistance, off of the fight, and channel it towards accepting a situation for what it is, we are then able to move beyond the situation that has angered us or kept us stuck and shift our focus towards what we can change in our lives. Namely ourselves.
While Juan’s story is a good example of how resistance can keep you stuck and how Acceptance can free you, there’s one more part of the story I want to share. When Juan and I first discussed the concept of acceptance, he struggled with it. He wanted to know how he could accept being repeatedly judged based on his past actions. He found this performance management style to be unacceptable. If it was unacceptable, how could he ever move into acceptance with it?