Do you suffer from the ‘Champion-Other-People’s-Causes’ Syndrome? (Read time: 3 min.)

searchingAre you good at paying other people compliments, seeing their positive attributes, holding their vision, and encouraging their dreams… and not so good at doing the same for yourself?

It’s called the “Champion-Other-People’s-Causes” Syndrome and it’s a plight that far too many women deal with.  When it comes to someone else’s dream, you have mountain loads of faith.  When it comes to your own, you’re plagued with self-doubt.

Been there?  I have…

So how do you handle this odd and, yet, pervasive, disease?

Three tiny steps that lead to massive leaps forward:

Step 1: Set the baseline of faith at your own doorstep.  Once you decide and accept that you can only believe in and support someone else to the extent that you do it for yourself FIRST, one of two things will happen- 1) You’ll start believing in yourself more or 2) You’ll champion for other people less.  Either option is a step forward because, at the end of the day, you can believe “in” people but you cannot believe FOR them… and your lack of belief in yourself will always show through in the other person’s ability to achieve the thing you’ve used as your escape mechanism for your own dreams.

Step 2: Create Your Own Circle of Support and Ask For Support When You Need It.  So often, we champion other people’s causes because we want to give someone else the level of support and care that we wished we’d had in pursuing a dream.  It’s a noble idea but it’s misplaced ambition.  How often do you see a parent work three jobs, sleep very little, and grow old fast because, in their words, “I wanted to give my children everything I never had”… only to have those kids grow up entitled and disrespectful?  The problem with this logic is that if you put all of yourself into someone else’s dream, they 1- don’t have to work very hard to reach their goal and 2- they have no respect for the achievement once achieved because it ends up not being their dream but your wish fulfilled.  When you consciously get one to three people in your corner and ask them to support you as you pursue your dream, when you go to them for guidance, a pep talk or a brainstorming session when a new idea or a new obstacle surfaces, you create a platform where you say to life, “I am worthy of my own love.  I am worthy of my own time.  I deserve to have my highest dreams come true” and the Universe reflects that back by saying, “Yes, you do…”  Find those two to three people who can hold your vision and count on them throughout the process.

Step 3: Allow other people to pull their big girl panties up and handle their own business.  There’s no nice way to say this: stop being other people’s crutches.  So often, we get addicted to the need to be needed.  Here’s the deal: no one NEEDS any other person.  Desire another?  Yes.  Require another? No.  Once you realize that you can be valued by another person, not for what you do FOR them but for who you are TO them, then you can let go of this idea that you have to constantly prove and show your value by being a constant “help” to someone else.  Remember: Any kind act done out of obligation is not an act of generosity; it is a transaction, pure and simple.  Let people discover their own power by allowing them to live their lives, make their own progress and take their own actions.  That way, you are now freed up to do the same thing in your life.  At the end of the day, a damsel in distress does not need a knight in shining armor.  She needs a keen mind, a clear voice, a gaze that looks forward, and two feet that get her moving in that direction.  Saving other people is not a requirement of your self-worth.  #period

Final note: Encouragement, support and co-dependency are VERY different things…  yet we often confuse one for the other.  When in doubt about which one you’re offering, ask yourself one simple question:

1) As I take this action on someone else’s behalf, am I still front and center focused on my dreams?  If the answer is ‘Yes’, it’s encouragement and it may even be healthy support.  If the answer is no, it’s co-dependency and most definitely unhealthy support.  Check in with yourself often.

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