Living with an illness like OCD is not easy. Yet there is hope and every chance for success.
I first heard about Bob Burg, back in December of 2011. I think we connected first on Twitter.
Eventually, I ordered and read the book he coauthored with John David Mann, “The Go-Giver.” The book transformed my opinion of sales in a very positive way.
I went to The Go-Giver Retreat in April of 2012 to hear Bob and many other great speakers. This event was a continuation of the path to me becoming a Certified Go-Giver Coach and having the chance to learn and be mentored directly by him.
At the time of the retreat in 2012, I didn’t know Bob very well yet. During the first evening and the next two days, I got to see and hear him a fair amount. Because of the intimacy of the environment, I watched Bob during a few private moments when he wasn’t “on stage” and my subconscious tweaked on something. Like most people I mentioned it to someone, and then proceeded to file and dismiss it.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I found out he suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) throughout his adult life.
However, I didn’t connect the past observation to anything specific until I listened to this more recent interview hosted by Stuart Ralph on “The OCD Stories,” where Bob talks about having to cope with OCD and not letting it affect his stage performance.
I only mention this because even with diagnosis and treatment, successfully living with a disorder means being self-aware so you can employ better-coping strategies. The disorder is always there.
This interview (embedded below) is also a story of hope and accomplishment.
Here are a few highlights that stood out to me from Stuart Ralph’s interview with Bob Burg.
OCD Is Probably Not What You Think It Is
People frequently confuse obsessive or compulsive behaviors with the disorder.
I am not a health professional, but I believe that most humans fall into a spectrum regarding traits. Too far one way or the other, and it could impact that quality of your life or become totally dysfunctional.
Further leading to confusion is that there are two disorders with similar names.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
From the Mayo Clinic website:
“OCD obsessions are repeated, persistent and unwanted (thoughts) urges or images that cause distress or anxiety. You might try to get rid of them by performing a compulsion or ritual.”
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCDP)
From the Mayo Clinic website a personality disorder is:
“A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and to people.”
“Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxious, fearful thinking or behavior.”
OCDP is more closely related to what we think of as perfectionism.
The biggest difference between OCD and OCDP I could find is that the person with OCD tends to know that something is wrong with their thinking whereas OCDP behaviors are often seen as virtuous, (i.e. when not taken to extremes.)
Controlling Your Thoughts
The self-help industry is ripe with wisdom around controlling your thoughts.
In reality we influence our thoughts, try to change them to ones we want, and sometimes change the patterns; but we seldom control them.
The very definition of OCD means that thoughts are not easily controlled.
Returning the Gift
Bob states that living with OCD is not something he would wish on anyone.
He says that suffering from OCD likely heightened his sense of empathy towards others. That empathy has allowed him to perform better in sales, and he has written several books on the subject of empathy and influence.
Bob made it abundantly clear; the gift of heightened empathy would be returned without hesitation if it meant living without OCD.
Succeeding Despite OCD
Bob has had a very successful career first in sales and then as an author, speaker, and entrepreneur.
“The Go-Giver” is all about helping people figure out their personal path to success and has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.
That is a lot of value, impact, and influence created by a man who embodies authenticity.
For all of us who know Bob Burg or have been touched by his work, we are grateful he managed to learn to cope with his OCD and continues to share himself and his work.
His story is a powerful reminder that our illnesses and life challenges do not define who we are. There can still be a path to happiness and success.
I hope you benefit from and enjoy the interview. All the best in 2016!
Photo Credit: Modified screen shot from the YouTube video. Video: Embedded from YouTube with permission from Stuart Ralph and Bob Burg.