What can we learn from those we love to hate?

High achievers all had teachers who pushed themselves beyond limits. You know the ones who are borderline inappropriate or go overboard in their approach to teaching?

I was watching the movie “Whiplash” on the plane on my way to the British Virgin Islands and I was at the edge of my seat the entire time.

There are various ways of being, coaching and mentoring I do not condone however, after watching the movie, I saw so much of how really pushing ourselves separates us from the bunch.

Although I strongly believe in the importance of positive reinforcement and use it a lot to develop clients’, friends’ and family’s strengths and confidence, I do agree that the words “good job” said too many times is detrimental to someone’s growth into their highest potential. Would anyone strive for mastery if everything were good enough all the time?

What motivates you to push yourself further? What keeps you going? What separates you from the bunch? How do you know you actually are at your highest and best you can be? Is there even a destination?

As hard as it can be to admit, there is a part of us that can be thankful for the “Fletchers” of this world. They see how things could be and stand for it. They might want to consider polishing their mind-bending feedback delivery, but without them we would not be aware of our limits and what we are willing and unwilling to put up with. It can but have you wonder, “what is that person seeing in me?”.

If you only met people who agreed with you, kept telling you “good job” and never pushed you, you never experienced growth.

Remember this, nobody can mess with you unless you let them. That being said, take a look at all the “Fletchers” you encountered in your life, put your emotions aside and see what you learned about yourself because of them. If you cannot see anything, it is ok too. It will come in time.

I want you to consider that to lead effectively and develop others, you have to be able to see people’s strengths regardless of their personalities and you have to be able to take “hits” with as much grace as possible.  I teach my clients to do that and the first thing I tell them after acknowledging their feelings when they get upset with someone’s feedback or reaction is this: “Their reaction is not about you”.

So the next time you meet a “Fletcher”, instead of fighting back or becoming small, practice saying thank you. This is not only a lesson sent to you, but one for them too. Everyone has goals and everyone is on different journeys so it is up to you to choose to allow others to get the best of you or to take the high road with grace.


Self-Expression Manifesto of the week: Remember this, nobody can mess with you unless you let them.

Join the conversation: What are some lessons you learned from some of your toughest teachers?

2 Replies to “What can we learn from those we love to hate?”

  1. One of my college professors pushed me to tears a few times. She was never malicious or inappropriate just … “All business” I guess. If anyone got the slightest praise from her it was such a gift. She taught me so much about myself and what I’m capable of. She was honestly one of the best things that ever happened to me. Without her I would t have grown a tough skin which I prize so much as a writer. The greatest thing she taught me was that I am capable of anything I set my mind to and that knowledge has gotten me through so many things.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Kelly! I love that you did not let it get to you and that you build your strength from that.

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