EPI 27: Bipolar: I Have Faith In Myself But My Closest People Don’t
One of the sadder aspects of being bipolar is that we often use up the patience and faith of those who support us, particularly if we’ve struggled with mania and/or flights of fancy.
We’ve done and said enough off the wall things that it’s no longer easy to take us at our word or trust our judgment.
As a high functioning, or even former bipolar person, this is one of your rows to hoe. Yet hoe it you must.
But do so quietly, stoically, and with reserve when it comes to sharing your “next big thing”. We have to earn back the trust our people once had in us.
And you will.
Welcome to the Bipolar Excellence Podcast. Episode 27. I Have Faith In Myself, But My Closest People Don’t.
This is part of the Life Of An Outsider series. You’ll find the link to that series in the website, bipolarexcellence.com.
I no longer experience this, but I had to fight and struggle and battle and reformat everything about myself and how I acted to get to this point.
This is one of the, this is very tricky, particularly with high functioning, bipolar people. When we get an idea and want to pursue it, it can look like a manic episode. Or else we’ve had a number of grand ideas already that have gone nowhere, while manic. It all looks like mania to those around us who have who have been at our side for any great length of time.
They know our ways, they know the negative aspects of bipolar and they think they’re seeing it yet again.
I myself have started at least three, maybe four small businesses that never went anywhere. I’ve had partners on and off, some years back. It’s been a while now. I no longer want a partner in anything. And none of those things went anywhere. I’ve made lots of money for brief amounts of time. And I’ve gotten a lot of people excited only to have the project fall flat.
There’s a cool little lesson in that. I learned I have the ability to get people excited. I get them motivated. I help them see the dream. I help them see the path. I usually know where we can find all the pieces to put a system together, to make the thing go.
But what I learned the hard way was, as soon as I stopped being the one implementing any of it, the project died. It was, everything would get sort of turned into my project, by default, whether I wanted it to be or not. Sometimes that was my fault. I’d be overenthusiastic and I’d want to do so many things, cause I was capable. And I was the only one, usually on the team who was capable particularly with the internet work.
And I would just want the damn thing up and running so my life could become what I wanted next. So I’d take on the lion’s share of whatever work had to be done. And usually relied on my partners’ real world network of, of getting things done whenever we needed to pull in another body in that way, or a service that, that existed out in the world, not on the internet.
And it didn’t matter. Eventually everything would fall flat.
Now I had enough of those stacked up that my closest people didn’t have quite so much faith in me anymore. Whenever the next new, bright and shiny thing appeared in my, in my conversation.
I’m going to tell you something now, it can go either way, with advice from other other leaders.
One of the tactics that gets shared about making a big dream come true is by forcing accountability, through the act of sharing your dream with everyone around you that matters. That’s a real thing. And for some people it provides the pressure needed to see the goal through to completion. It’s a real thing.
And it’s a good thing, if you’re that kind of person.
For people like myself, you end up sharing enthusiastically, over and over and over again. If there are no results, or lasting results, you’re just standing there with egg on your face yet again.
You’ve got all your people excited all around you and in some cases, If it’s wife and children they’re, you know, you got them thinking the big life’s about to come. The big dream’s about to come true. They get all excited because we’re persuasive people, if we want to be.
When it doesn’t happen, it’s a big let down. They get their hopes up. And then, and then they, they get let down the dream doesn’t materialize. And this happens, once it happens a handful of times, even your closest people are no longer going to listen to you or believe you. Because they have to, to protect themselves from your seemingly baseless enthusiasm.
So the tip here is if you got to pick which way to go on this accountability thing, I don’t know. Look deep inside yourself to see, but I’d suggest starting off by keeping your thoughts to yourself.
Start working in isolation quietly. While you get something together, if that’s possible. Sometimes your closest people are going to want to know what you’re doing and what you’re up to and for good reasons or bad.
They’re gonna, they’re gonna, they’re gonna dig and poke a little bit and try to get some answers out of you as to what you’re doing with all your time. Whatever game you gotta play, do your best to keep your idea to yourself.
There’s another thing that happens that’s related to that. And I, I experienced this a lot early on in my entrepreneurial journeys. When you share everything you’re doing, particularly as each new insight lands, you’re throwing away all the energy needed to implement it, by sharing it wholeheartedly with those around you.
Frequently I’d find I no longer had the juice to even pursue what I just, just laid out for them. I was all excited until I got to the end and then I was depleted and I’d find that would sometimes linger. The depletion. And it would take a week or two, maybe more to get my mojo back to even do what I just so enthusiastically told them I was going to do.
And that was a hard lesson to learn. We get excited, especially with bipolar. If you have the manic part in you at all, not every bipolar person does, but probably most of us, it’s very hard to throttle that thing back. And even if you’re like me where there’s no mania anymore, but there’s almost like a manic tinge to your personality, at certain times.
It’s not true mania where you’re just blabbering out of control and all freaked out with happiness and awesomeness. It’s not like that. It’s a healthier version of that, but, but still it can be too much.
And it becomes very. It’s very tricky to self monitor and catch yourself, prior to doing any damage. But it’s a skill you’re going to want to learn so that the people around you will continue to have your back until something tangible results, or one of your goals becomes real.
You need proof. They’re gonna want to see proof. And initially the proof might not be in the format of what a successful entrepreneurial journey would look like. Could be more abstract, abstract. It could be, just a feeling you have after working with somebody that you realize you’ve bumped up onto a good piece of the puzzle.
You’re doing good work. You’ve helped somebody out of, out of whatever hole they were in, small or large. You know you’re on to something. It feels good. It feels right. Your heart and your spirit and your brain are telling you this is where I belong. But it’s all abstract. Be careful who you share that with.
And I would say at the minimal you’d want to have a coach to share that stuff with. That’s someone you can safely share with, who’s not going to judge you, who might help you see the forest for the trees in a tactful fashion that’s not hurtful and still be able to pull out all the good within the abstract things you’re learning about yourself and those around you.
You’re finding your footing as a person, as well as as well as a leader of whatever your dream is. Cause your dream, no matter how much you work in isolation, is going to involve other people in order to be brought to fruition. You have to protect that. You have to protect those people from you. It’s hard. I imagine a lot of you already know this.
It’s it’s it’s it’s embarrassing. It’s just. When it does, you know, when you don’t pull it off right. And it’s like, geez, I let them all down again. It’s it’s you don’t have, you only got just so much time on this earth to get things right. And you don’t want to waste it constantly burning up all the people around you.
It’s almost like drug addiction in that way. I’ll quit. I’ll quit. And you quit for a minute and then you go back and you screw it all up and I’ll quit. I’ll quit. It’s a similar kind of negative connotation. You just use people up. But you need these people. Parse out how much you share and when and why. Protect them from you.
I got some pretty good tools over on my website, bipolarexcellence.com. You’ll find them in an 11 page free PDF I give out, once you sign up for the newsletter, called Is Bipolar Disorder A Gift?
There’s things in there that’ll directly attack this issue and help you become the person you need to become, to successfully achieve this; to keep your mouth shut when necessary and still have the backbone and the enthusiasm to work on the dream in silence, while also coming to understand when is the time to share the dream.
It’s a dance. You’re going to get it wrong more than you get it right. But I don’t know. That’s everything. Head over to bipolarexcellence.com and get that PDF. See what you think. Alrighty guys, next episode.