Sunday, August 15, 2010

Who Expects You to Be Somebody

I'm reading the book, "Vital Friends" by Tom Rath. In the first few pages a question is posed that I'm still thinking about - "Who expects you to be somebody?"

We all know about self-fulfilling prophesy and peer-pressure. This question seems to embody both concepts.

Maybe this is a key to why some people thrive in life and some don't. Some people are expected to, and they can't imagine disappointing whoever believes they're capable of whatever is expected. That may be becoming a doctor, or getting an electrician's license or being the best baker on the block.

Years ago I was speaking with a woman who ran an agency devoted to helping homeless people. During the conversation about her work, she mentioned in an off-handed way, "Most of our people are homeless because they don't have a support system." I questioned her more about this and she said, "They don't have anyone to turn to - no family or friends - no support system - so they end up on the streets."

This was obviously common knowledge to her. It was well understood and accepted in the field, and known to be a bigger issue than the mental health problems and addictions that many people associate with homelessness. But to most of us the idea that one person who believed in them, one person who cared, one friend, could have changed that is astonishing.

Those of us who have people in our lives who expect something of us, and who we can turn to, should thank our lucky stars.

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