For most my life, I suffered from a terrible disease called “Yes.” “Yes, I can help you with that,” “Yes, I’ll attend that event of yours,” “Yes, I can do that,” yes yes yes. If someone asked, the answer was always yes.
I used to think I was just a helpful guy and took pride in being there for everyone, all the time. That’s what we’re supposed to do, help others when we can right? In my mind, I was Superman, and Superman can save the world. He’s fearless, always available, and seems not to be constricted by the confines of 24 hours.
Superman is almost invincible, and I wanted to be invincible, but Superman has a weakness – Kryptonite.
One day last year, while I was on my second re-write of Wintality, I had an overwhelming sense of anxiety. I had a million projects my clients needed my help on, hundreds of messages and emails from fans I hadn’t replied to yet; I had four events I had RSVP’d to in the next few days for friends’ parties, business launches, and charity events. On top of that, I was behind schedule on finishing the second manuscript for my book.
And I just lost it. I broke down.
I was exhausted. My brain wasn’t working. My body was sore for no reason. I sat on the couch for the entire day. I didn’t answer my phone; I didn’t check emails or messages, I didn’t respond to anyone. I just sat there hurting over the sad realization that I wasn’t Superman anymore, I couldn’t carry the load.
It was depressing. First, I thought, am I losing my edge? Am I “getting older?” All these questions and doubts raced through my head. I stared at myself in the reflection of a blank TV.
“What happened Superman?”
After what seemed like hours, I felt the reflection in the TV look at me as if answering my question… “YOU Killed Me.”
Nah that couldn’t be, could it? But then I thought about it. Superman can only be killed by Kryptonite, unknowingly, I had been injecting myself with Kryptonite. The Kryptonite in my life that killed the Baylor version of Superman was “yes.”
Saying “YES” to everything meant I was saying NO to myself. On the quest to help everyone else and their dreams, I was quietly telling myself that my dreams no longer mattered, or that I would get to them “one day.”
The very thing I was telling others to do, “follow your heart, do what YOU want to do, focus on yourself,” I wasn’t applying to my life. I realized at that moment what a hypocrite I’d been. Not on purpose. My heart was in the right place. My actions weren’t. But our dreams don’t care about excuses or intentions, only actions, and results.
I made my way over to the mirror and just stared at myself. I apologized to Superman. I told myself I never meant to be my downfall; I never meant to hit myself with that dreaded Kryptonite.
But it was too late, Superman was dead, and I had killed him.
I made a promise to myself that day. I promise to say YES to myself. That promise meant I’d have to say No to others that didn’t align with my purpose. That promise meant I’d have to battle my heart and pride that desperately wanted to be there for everyone else. That promise meant I couldn’t and wouldn’t be everywhere all the time.
But I realized that in fulfilling that promise to myself, I’d ultimately be able to help far more people than I had been helping.
And with that thought, I smiled, and deep down…
Superman’s heart started beating again.