Patrick Sallee pens a note to that bedeviling voice inside his head—and gives it a piece of his mind.
Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life
is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection
I am writing you this letter because I don’t have the courage for this conversation in the heat of the moment. I want this in writing, as a lasting reminder of where I stand and why this relationship has to change.
The expectations are too high. The expectations are always too high.
Absolutely nothing will reach the bar you set. The level of achievement doesn’t matter, if it wasn’t perfect. If it was perfect, it was luck. Many times the outcome isn’t even within my control, but yet, you hold me accountable for the outcome. You regularly give others a pass or keep a positive outlook when others try but still come up short. But not with me. Never with me.
In one sense I should be thanking you. It is the sound of your voice that motivates me. Its the constant chirping in my ear that drives me to work harder. All of the successes I can claim, have the common trait of overcoming your criticism. One of my favorite quotes recently is, “I was about to give up, but realized I have a lot of motherfuckers to prove wrong”…well I don’t necessarily have a lot, but I have one, and you are consistent.
Are you aware of the damage you do? Are you so consumed with the sound of your own voice you don’t stop to see how it holds me back? What great thing have you done that gave you this right? The criticism has helped cause much of the heartache in my life. I used to think I could drink you away. And I could, for a time. But when the drink wore off, you were back, louder and with more proof of my failures.
Can you even describe what success looks like? Can you imagine a time when you are truly content with my life? I certainly can. Occasionally life wins, and shuts you up. I can see those moments vividly. It is easier to breathe, the load to carry seems much lighter and I’m quicker to find reason to smile.
There is a lot that should make me proud. I have a great opportunity with my job to have an impact on people’s lives every day. My boss has challenged me with more and more responsibility and when I look around the table at my peers I know they trust me. They believe I can do the job. Why don’t you?
I am lucky to be associated with the people I am, they are doing amazing things. Business owners, authors, tri-athletes, coaches…leaders in whatever fields they have chosen. I know I’m lucky to call them friends, but I believe I belong. Why can’t you see that?
Two incredible little girls call me Daddy. I can see a lot of myself in them every day. They regularly give me pause, for how grown they have become, how perceptive they are…and how innocent. Each day I pray there is one part of me that doesn’t get passed down to them. You.