Look Out For Your Supporters

An article from my book coming out soon…

As we make a life-style change there will inevitably be people who want us to stop and I call them saboteurs. Those people who we allow to interfere in the achievement of what’s important to us? The voices that we listen to that, although well-meaning in most cases, are telling us our dreams are meaningless? What have you done about them?

One question to ask yourself if you haven’t done anything yet is “how long are you going to allow other people to run your life?” It might sound harsh and perhaps it is but someone has to ask these questions. At the very least I would hope you would put some space, even if only temporarily, between yourself and your saboteurs.

As always there are two sides to everything and no doubt there will be great people supporting you in what set out to do. Sometimes, however, your support comes from the most unexpected directions when you least expect it. It pays to look out for this when it happens because it makes up for all those saboteurs that you encounter.

I’d like to share a true story a colleague, who does some of this work too, told me many years ago when I first set out to be a counsellor. She worked as a sole female in an all male environment in a state of the art technology and engineering company. She had been clinically obese all her adult life and had struggled to manage her weight on and off for several years. She found a weight reduction programme that worked for her and along with a sympathetic counsellor managed to begin tackling the issues that had caused her to over-eat and gain weight.

As the pounds came off her appearance began to change but her male work-colleagues said nothing. They didn’t even comment. Still the pounds came off, 40, 50, 60 pounds and more. And not a peep was uttered in the office about this lady’s weight. She felt more than a little annoyed. Not one single man appeared to have noticed. She discussed this over several sessions with her counsellor and together they came up with a plan. What was decided was that my colleague should wait until everyone went to their lunch break and then tackle whoever was left behind and find out what was happening – because as it happened there were usually one or two people who didn’t go to the on-site restaurant for lunch.

The day came and at 12.30 everyone except my colleague and one single man went away to lunch. Plucking up all her courage, my colleague asked the lone surviving male “Haven’t you guys noticed my weight?”

To her great consternation he burst out laughing. Indignantly she shouted at him “It’s not funny!” (There may have been an expletive or two there but I’m sure you get the gist.) He apologised and invited her to sit down next to him. He opened the drawer of his old-fashioned desk and pulled out a sheet of photocopied paper which appeared to be some sort of calendar. He pointed to that day’s date and his name was written against it. “I’m on duty” he said and proceeded to explain that when my colleague had explained that as part of her programme that she would not be eating in the restaurant the men had drawn up a rota so that she always had company over the lunch break. Sure enough as she thought back, she had never spent the lunch break on her own. He went on to explain;

“Every other time you did something about your weight, as soon as we said you looked great, you stopped. So this time we got together and decided that we’d do something different and not say anything until you told us you were happy with your weight.”

My colleague admitted to having tears in her eyes at this point and realised that by keeping quiet the team of men she worked with had supported her in a way she could never have imagined or ever asked them herself to do. The support had come from where she had least expected it and it had been freely given in the expectation that she would be successful in achieving the 8stone (112lb) weight reduction that she had.

Shortly after this my colleague had her long hair cut really short and the same day also got fitted for a new bra. The next day she went into work, stood by the door and asked “What do you think guys?” as she did a little twirl expecting them to comment on her fashionably short hair.

“Fantastic tits!” was the shout from the back of the room. Well guys must be guys I suppose and you can’t have everything!

Look out for your support and remember to say thank you when you find it.

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