It's easy to criticize someone else's behavior. It's not so easy to hold that mirror up to yourself and ask the question, "Do I ever behave that way?" It's even harder to answer that question honestly. As motivational speakers we need to keep finding ways to understand the human condition in order to understand ourselves better and in turn, enable us to better connect with our audience.
Oh brother, did I ever have that chance last Saturday while waiting 4 hours in the ER with my husband who fell off our roof and gashed his little head! (He's fine; more on that in my next blog.)
There she was, early 40's, obese, sitting in a wheelchair with a mask covering her nose and mouth (like we all were because of the rampant flu season we're having). I first noticed signs of the professional victim with her overly loud telephone monologue. The other signs followed:
1. "I just wanted to let you know that I've been waiting an hour, alone, in the emergency room. I love you. I'll be alright."
2. Wheeling past us to the restroom: "I'm sorry. Excuse me." She was well out of our way. "Don't worry, I'm just wearing this mask so I don't catch anything. I don't need any more problems."
3. Wheeling back; "It's hard to walk with my bad achilles tendon, SIGH!"
4. To man at front desk: " Excuse me. Could you get me a sandwich or something? I'm diabetic and I forgot to eat before coming here. It's hard for me to walk." There was no response that I could here from the desk but I, on the other hand, was compelled to act and offered her my snack bag of walnuts and raisins that I always carry with me. (See peptalks) This gesture was met with loud gushing bless yous, thank yous, praises and topped off with; "I appreciate it (pause) more than you'll ever know."
5. Her name was finally called. "Oh, that's me! That's me!" Struggling with the locked wheels on her chair an elderly lady beside her was coaching her through the new delimma, ultimatley giving up and doing it for her. Victim with a PhD gushes thank yous and neatly folds her hands on her lap! Predictably the older woman gives in again and struggles to push her into the exam room.
I turned to my silently suffering, bloody-headed husband and said, "Wow! She is good!"
Don't get me wrong, I am sure her conditions are very taxing and uncomfortable to live with bet we all have to take some responsibility for our lives and take action to better our situation any way we can. I held this particularly stunning example of "being the victim" mirror up to myself that day and pondered if I ever acted the victim. My honest answer was yes. In some cases I do.
It's now time to formulate a plan and take some action to change that behavior when it wants to pop up. Brava to ER lady for making me take a look! Have you held up a mirror lately?
From your motivational speaker who literally just held up a mirror and is reaching for her tweasers.