You Can’t Make Me!

Human beings are funny, aren’t they? 

One of the things that continually surprises me, not only about my clients and loved ones, but about myself, is how quickly we will dig our heels in and NOT do something that we actually know is in our best interest. 


Because someone has suggested, advised, pushed or outright demanded that we do it. 

So *$#@& you! “You can’t make me!”

Just last week I caught myself stalling in regards to taking action around setting up several important events for the coming year, simply because the person I was talking to was “adamant” that I needed to do this, NOW.  For the rest of the day, I felt like a 6 year old, pouting about not liking the tone or being “told what to do.” And while I don’t care for that kind of interaction, I suddenly realized that I could shoot myself in the foot by focusing on the delivery, or I could take the important information I received from it and decide later whether this was a person I wanted to continue sharing with.

My Coaching practice is filled with individuals who come to me mainly through a referral. 

And yet, at least half of them tell me that even though they knew they desperately needed the support, they resisted making that initial call for sometimes months, because they “wanted it to be their own decision.”  Here they were talking about a painful situation once again, engaging in another conversation about what was clearly “not” working in their lives and relationship and yet when someone suggested a solution, they resisted. 

“You can’t make me.”

Why would a person put blinders on and stay with the mindset “You can’t make me” when they, themselves, want to get out of confusion, pain, or move in a new direction? 

You can’t make me, what? 

  • Stop this downward spiral

  • Take a powerful step that I’m scared to take

  • End the cycle of complaining and actually do something different

  • Invest money in myself and my personal growth

There’s a saying in the Coaching world that a person’s forward movement usually comes from being “pushed by pain or pulled by a vision.” 

I certainly spent a huge portion of my younger years making change in my life by having to hit a rock bottom over and over.  Even as I learned to lead with more bravery, there were times I would still wait until I was motivated by overwhelming pain. 

I truly believe that one of the greatest life skills we can learn is to feel the fear we experience in our daily lives at the thought of any new endeavor or important change and to take an action step without it being in reaction to the *$%# hitting the fan.

An important sign of emotional maturity is being able to listen deeply, not only to ourselves, trusting our inner wisdom, but the ability to take in fully what another caring individual or partner is suggesting and not go into defense mode. Remaining open and reflecting on important questions, like the following can help you begin to be a real advocate for yourself and not allow precious time to go by in unnecessary resistance:

  • If I’m talking about this problem, situation, painful issue, am I willing to actually begin taking steps to get help and solve it?
  •  What am I resisting that is keeping me stuck?
  • How quickly could I get out of drama/pain/confusion if I committed to really doing what it would take?
  • What do I lose when I go into any form of “You can’t make me?”  (specifically)

Sometimes the “arm crossing”, defiant stance is simply fear that we can’t do this thing alone and with no guidance. It’s really the beauty of any partnership, whether that be with a Coach, a healthy, loving partner or a wise friend. 

We need each other. 

We need to know we are seen and heard and cared about and that someone else also has our best interest at heart.  Let’s decide to use the expertise that’s out there, the tools and skills available to us and accept that kind hand that’s reaching our way when we know we need some help. 

Shall we?