Does Your Sense of Self Need You to Be Right? - Jacquette M. Timmons

There is a deeply held theme in our culture – one that just may be holding you back. It’s the need to be right.

Are you hooked on being right? Are you hooked on the outcome of your decisions being right?

I am.

I really, really don’t like being wrong. It messes with my sense of self-worth.

Who Wants to Be Right?

But I’m not alone in my desire to be right. You want to be right, too.

How do I know? You tell me, even when you don’t realize you’re doing so. It shows up in the questions you ask my directly, as well as those that hang in the air unasked but eluded to; it reveals itself in the goals you have and tell me about; it reveals itself in the concerns you share; it reveals itself in the actions you take or choose not to take.

We don’t have to shy away from this truth. The need to be right is part of our cultural DNA.

From very early on, we are rewarded for having the right answers. Success, so we are conditioned to believe, is a direct derivative of having the right answers. On the flip side, failure is a derivative of having the wrong answers. This success=right and failure=wrong relationship is so strong that wrong is usually the only alternative to right that we can see.

When wrong is the only alternative to right, you and I tend to be overly cautious; you lose your sense of wonder and curiosity; you forget to trust yourself; you forget to approach life much like a scientist who embraces ambiguity; forecasting and projections freak you out; and, you want certainty to replace uncertainty in all the wrong places.

Don’t agree with me? Quickly scan the decisions you’re contemplating right now; are you delaying moving forward because you want assurance that you’re about to make the right decision. BOOM!

Now narrow the lens and zoom in on your personal finances…

  • Are you waiting for a signal that the market will continue its upward trend before you finally get back in the market or before you take the time to diversify your investments and lock in your gains?
  • Are you waiting to earn more before you invest? Are you waiting to earn more before you save?
  • Are you waiting until you have less debt to begin tracking your money? Are you waiting until you have less debt to start saving or investing?
  • Are you waiting for your marital status to change before you make the financial changes you’ve been talking about…for years?
  • Are you waiting for the perfect moment before you finally initiate that conversation about money with your honey?
  •  Are you waiting for things to settle down in the office before asking for the raise you’ve wanted (and deserve)? Are you waiting for some omniscient sign that says now is the right time to raise your prices?
  • Are you waiting for your schedule to get less busy before you schedule that call with an advisor or before you engage that advisor?
  • Are you so afraid of making a wrong financial decision that inaction seems to be the better option?

I get it; I truly do. Your need to be right may show up in one of the examples above, or in another realm of your life entirely.

Mine rears its head with my business. As evidenced by the awesome 4-day bootcamp I just completed with the fabulously talented business strategist, Tara Gentile.

In fact, the idea for this post came from an exercise she had us do on day one. From it, I realized I just want to be right. Pretty hilarious given that I work in the nebulous world of emotions and the unpredictable world of the stock market; compounded by the reality that I can’t control if people implement my suggestions; and I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t know what the future will bring any better than the next person. Hmmm…not such a great combination for someone hooked on being right, eh?! 🙂

No to right as an outcome; yes to right as a framework

However, if I focus less on being right, I can help you (and others like you) focus less on being right. If I focus less on “right” as an outcome; I can help you do the same. If I focus more on creating the right (aka a nimble, adjustable) framework; I can help you create a nimble framework – one that enables you to respond to the vicissitudes of life with greater ease and will probably net more of the “right” outcomes, over time, like what you want anyway!

Out with right as an outcome. In with right as a framework. This kind of right doesn’t hold you back; it’s expansive and filled with endless possibilities. I like this kind of right – what I describe as the other right! 🙂

Happy Memorial Day!

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