Ep 103: Being Committed to Something Greater than Yourself
We all have a purpose in life, and at some point, we will want to aim for something greater than we are currently at. But most people usually dismiss such a significant adjustment since it means going beyond our human contrivances. Adam Quiney explains why settling within our comfort zone may cause more damage than benefit in the long run, making us spiritually fat and ultimately foolproof to all kinds of change. He discusses how to challenge oneself by embracing even bigger commitments, stretching yourself past your limits, and allowing yourself to grow more than you can imagine.
Listen to the Episode Here:
Being Committed To Something Greater Than Yourself
We are in week 6 quintillion and 9 of COVID-19 quarantine lockdown super crisis pandemic mode. Who the heck knows what’s going to happen next? Oil has become negative in terms of cost. Someone I saw posted somewhere a list of what will come next. The next thing scheduled is wasps with laser stingers or something like that. What a time we’re living in. It’s also the best time to be doing the work to establish yourself as a leader. This is the time.
When the economy is on the up, when things are going well, we can get away with trite, banal things like memes, positive affirmations, and giving advice, “Be cheery,” and stuff like that. That works to some extent because things are on the up. No matter what, you are moving up. When the chips are down is when leadership makes a difference. It makes a difference all over the place but this is the time when leadership stands out. Thanks for following this show. Thanks for taking on leadership however you are. I salute everyone that is in that practice.
What we’re going to talk about is being committed to something greater than yourself. The one-sentence summary of this and how Werner Erhard talked about this is being given our being by something greater than ourselves. What that means is there’s a way I show up in the world, a way I am being in the world, and what is granting me that is something greater than myself. We’ll talk more about what we mean by that. We’ll talk about what exactly it means to be given being by something greater yourself. How do we get in the way of this? What do we instead tend to be committed to? We’re going to talk about the impact of that, how we get spiritually fat and tend to lose our hunger, and what you can do about it all.
What does that mean? Being committed to something greater than ourselves means having a purpose, mission, a commitment that goes beyond our human contrivances. This means being committed to something greater than some of these following things. This is not an exhaustive list. Many other things are part of our humanity. It means being committed to something greater than feeling good. Greater than feeling comfortable. Greater than not being afraid. Greater than being liked. Greater than being nice. Greater than not making a mess. Greater than not making mistakes. Greater than not screwing it all up. Greater than not putting yourself at risk. Sometimes even greater than setting aside things like your intuition at the moment. All of these things I’ve listed are incredibly human tendencies. No one could make you wrong for choosing to honor those over something greater than yourself. I want to be super clear about that.
This isn’t a conversation where I’m here to say, “Here’s the right thing to do. Uncle Adam Quiney has figured it out. Here it is.” That’s not the game we’re playing here. If you want to choose to have those be your priorities, that is fine. Those are in opposition to a commitment to something greater than yourself. It has to be by definition. If you’re choosing something greater than yourself, there are going to be times when you have to be willing to not be nice, when you have to be willing to screw it up or when you have to be willing to make a mess or to not feel comfortable or not feel good, etc. It’s a matter of choosing what am I committed to in my life? If you choose to be committed to some great vision, you never get to be nice. In times when there’s a conflict, you’re choosing from your commitment to that thing greater than you.
The reason that a leader is committed to something greater than themselves is that this is what has them show up as a leader at the moment. This is what has us choosing to the challenging conversation at the moment. This is what has us choose to show up powerfully for someone to get supported in our work and find humility at the moment even though we’re 100% certain that the problem is over there with them. This is what has us choose back into our commitment in the face of our discomfort and fear.
Anytime I’m leading any group dynamic, anytime I’m creating leadership at the moment in the room with a client, with someone, inevitably, there’s a point where someone has shown up in a certain way and I’m clear that there’s a thing for me to reflect them. I asked them if they’d like a reflection and they say, “By all means, enlighten me.” Those are the words they say. The being underneath it is, “Screw off. Sure, but I’m not going to listen to what you have to say.” You’ve had that experience before. The words are one thing, the being is different. The being is what speaks loudest, always and inevitably. In those moments, my fear shows up and it goes, “I don’t want to do this. This is awful. This person is going to hate me. I’m going to create a mess. I have this schedule, this agenda that I thought we were going to do and then this is happening.”
What I want to do from Adam’s self, from Adam’s fear, from Adam’s comfort, is step over it, “Never mind.” Sugarcoat it or say it in a way that won’t make a mess. I am committed to developing leadership and modeling leadership. I’m committed to creating transformation in every space, every conversation that I’m a part of. From that commitment, I have a simple choice which is to say the thing that will create transformation and not the thing that will have things go nice and let us stick to the schedule and make me feel more comfortable. To refer to Werner’s quote here, this is us being given our being by something greater than ourselves. Who we are being in any given moment is a function of what is called for by that to which we are committed as opposed to that which would feel good, comfortable, safer, less scary, etc.
How do we get in the way of that? What do we tend instead to be committed to? Our tendency as humans is naturally to make choices and commitments from our internal state, our feelings, our moods, what we’re present to at the moment, what is showing up for us? Rather than truly commit to something that will call us forward and demand more from us than we are willing to be, we try to commit from where we stand and how we are being. What I’m saying here is that rather than commit to stepping into something beyond what we can see how to do or create, which would by necessity be a commitment to something greater than ourselves, we choose commitments that we can figure out how to create. In truth, even then, we shirk away from it.
We could use Gandhi for example. Rather than making a commitment towards something like the British peacefully leaving India, we, as humans, tend to make commitments that are something we can achieve inside of how we already are. It’s like, “I’m committed to getting a 10% raise next year.” Great. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that commitment. That’s not going to call you to be something greater than you already are. We make a commitment like that, we tend to reinforce staying where we are.
Further, even when we do make commitments to something greater than ourselves, we lose our power in our commitments. We don’t call ourselves forward to something greater. We collapse when the going gets tough. Our commitment becomes something we’ve deemed optional rather than something that calls us forward, which is another example of our being given by what’s comfortable at the moment or what would feel good or safe or what we call our intuition rather than the deeper commitment that we made initially.
Consequently, we end up choosing from what feels good in the moment or from a download from God or our intuition or anything else that pulls us away from where we find ourselves. That pulls us away and gets us out of the confrontation of that discomfort. Without a commitment to something greater than ourselves, we end up being a victim to our internal state. We may not occur to ourselves like a victim. We may feel incredibly empowered when we choose from intuition. We still are a victim in the sense that we can create a life that is a function of our internal state but that’s it, rather than create a life that’s a function of our word and what we say we are committed to.
What’s the impact of this? The impact of not being committed to something greater than ourselves tends to be the loss of our hunger. We become safe, content, secure, complacent. We become bored. We’re not putting ourselves at risk because our internal state, our biological program, asks us not to put ourselves at risk. Instead, we go for that which manages our internal state. We go for that, which allows homeostasis. It lets us preserve our status quo.
Consequently, we become spiritually fat. We’re safe and we’re filled. There’s no hunger remaining and our desire diminishes. It’s like the feeling we have when we’ve eaten too much at the table. We’re left stuffed, bloated, unable to feel the edginess that comes with being on purpose and at risk. Unable to feel our hunger. We lose our sense of aliveness. We lose our vitality. Ultimately, where we end up is seeking to replenish that experience of vitality from other sources. We add more into the mix. we stimulate ourselves further with television, movies, food, alcohol, drugs, sex, whatever it takes. That’ll work for a while. It gives us that jolt. It gives us a high, except that we’re resolving a problem that comes from being overstimulated with more stimulation. It can only go in one direction, more.
The final issue, the final place where you’ll end up is that you’ll be unable to lead teams anywhere that you are unable to go yourself. There’s nothing new here. The team stops where the leader stops. Often the case in the situations we speak to here at Get Lit, you’ll be left with a team that may be able to generate good results but nothing that shatters paradigms. People will stay with you for as long as they’re content to do that. When they feel a call to something greater than themselves, they will leave you. It’s fine. It’s like all of this.
None of this is here to shame you or anyone else for their choices. If you find yourself doing that, if you find yourself reading this episode and then blaming, shaming, or saying, “That person over there is not being a leader.” That’s not the game. That’s looking on their side of the fence. Bring it back to your side of the fence and permit yourself to hang out on either side of this distinction that we’re talking about. There’s no right way to be. It’s simply what causes leadership as a commitment to something greater than ourselves and being willing to stand by that commitment? Often as humans, 1) That is a place we are unwilling to start with a commitment. 2) We are unwilling to stick with a commitment once it comes time to do so.
What can you do about all of this? The first thing you can do is you can sit down and take an audit of everything you’re committed to in your life. What are all the things that you are committed to? What is it that you are truly committed to? What calls you forward? What are you committed to beyond your capacity to achieve? Some people are like, “I’m committed to getting up at 7:00 AM every morning.” Is that outside of your capacity? No. Nothing wrong with that. This isn’t about taking that off the list or saying that doesn’t count as a commitment. It does. We’re looking to see where you are committed to something greater than who you are. Something greater than yourself.
Children has often a place for this. People will have a child and then realize they love something greater than themselves. That is a point. Children can source many breakthroughs. That’s awesome. If your child or children are one of those places, great. I applaud you for that. Thank you for that being the case. Don’t stop there. That’s one of the places parents can get stuck because that becomes the only place where they’re committed to something greater than themselves. Consequently, their child becomes the all-consuming thing into which they pour all of their hopes and dreams and all of that. It’s great to honor a child that way. We want to make sure that you are being a leader everywhere in your life rather than simply in one place.
Where are you spiritually fat? Take a look at there. Where are you content with your lot and have stopped hungering for more? See if you can set aside your judgment about this, “I’m spiritually fat,” so you can take a look. Where might be the time to let yourself hunger for more? Where might be the time to step beyond contentment? You can also take on noticing the places where you’re choosing from moment to moment. Are you choosing from your commitment, from your intuition? Are you choosing from what would feel better? Are you choosing from relief? Are you choosing from the easier path or not having to feel a certain way? Choosing from not having to feel a certain way is the same as choosing from feeling good. When you choose from how you feel, the thing is you’ll always notice a great relief.
One of the things that happen in both coaching and leadership is there is a point where people want to quit if what they are taking on is truly confronting and greater than themselves. People often justify this decision because of the vast relief they feel, “I thought a lot about it, Adam. I’ve chosen out. I felt such a relief and that told me that this is the right decision.” What that told you is that this caused a lot of relief when you let go of it. It doesn’t tell you this is the right decision. It caused you a lot of relief. It’s going to cause relief anytime you pull away from something that is confronting. This is the trap of choosing from within. You will always experience relief when you choose outside or away from something that is confronting. By definition, leadership is a commitment on your part to go towards to confront. Be especially careful about these choices. Keep a mindful eye on that.
That’s all we’ve got for you this episode. We are open and enrolling for The Forge, it is our transformational program for coaches and leaders. Our commitment and our promise to you is that being in The Forge, you will not leave the way you came in. You will leave with leadership in the marrow of your bones. You will leave understanding being a coach and leader. That’s the commitment that this stuff gets in you and uses you. If you’ve been craving that experience, if you love this conversation and wish you could gobble it up and somehow take it as a pill, that pill is The Forge. It’s not as uncomfortable and unpleasant as taking a pill sometimes and it’s not a quick fix. It’s not a hack. It’s a transformation.
As part of that, there’s a transformational retreat. We’re not sure where it’s going to be yet. It is going to be incredible though and life-changing. Please, if that interests you, you can check out our page we’ve got set up for it which is EverGrowthCoaching.com/The-Forge. If you like a conversation about that, feel free to reach out to me at Adam@AdamQuiney.com. That’s everything we’ve got for you this episode. I hope you enjoyed this episode and we’ll see you next episode.