One of the biggest breakthroughs in my thinking came when a mentor introduced me to the concept of emotional detachment.
Quite simply, emotional detachment is where you literally don’t care if a person moves forward or stays stuck.
I used to think emotionally detached people were heartless, cruel bastards (just ask some of my ex-boyfriends who were on the receiving end of my unsolicited psychiatric evaluations).
But there’s a difference between being emotionally bankrupt (i.e., out of touch with your emotions) and being emotionally detached from someone else’s success.
Case in point…
I’ve worked with many coaches over the past several years. As a lifelong student of personal development, I’ve always enjoyed learning directly from people who I thought could teach me something valuable.
But a funny thing happened:
When THEY (the mentor) wanted my success more than I did, I remained stuck.
When a coach was emotionally over-invested in MY success, bending over backwards for me, offering a barrage of free extras they had no business offering (because they weren’t charging me for it), I self-sabotaged even more.
Ultimately I’d back out of my contract or choose to end the relationship unexpectedly so I could go in search of someone different.
The problem wasn’t that they were bad people. They were good, bright, and talented.
The problem was they wanted my success more than I did. A LOT more!
Naturally, I pushed away.
When you’re looking to help someone, the best thing you can do for them is to remain emotionally detached from their success.
Adopt the attitude that you don’t care if they succeed or fail.
If they claim they want to succeed, let them prove to YOU by their actions that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
By doing this, you give them plenty of room to actually accomplish what they set out to do.
In sales copy, you might use statements along the lines of, “I really don’t care if you move forward or stay stuck. It’s your choice.”
This is an incredibly powerful motivator.
It runs counter to all the traditional advice that says “Nurture to the point of suffocation.”
Think about it. If someone admires you…and you’re adopting an air of not caring too much whether or not they succeed or fail in life…then naturally they’ll want to work harder to please you.
This is a law of human attraction.
You chase, they run away.
You back away, they chase you.
When someone is babied, coddled, and excessively hand-held (as by a doting mother figure who’s bored and probably doesn’t have much of a life of her own), it’s natural to want to avoid the person doing the babying.
Doting is a form of emotional chasing. A form of emotional attachment and over-investment.
Someone who’s been coddled all their life would do wonders with the right mentor who could model to them a healthy form of emotional detachment. (I’m not a parent but I bet this works well on kids, too.)
You’re a mentor to your target audience.
That doesn’t mean you should bend over backwards for them and snap your back in the process.
Your job is simply to inspire others to rise up to be their best selves.
Paradoxically, the more under-invested you are in their success, the better off they are and the more likely they are to succeed.
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