Today I’m gonna talk to you about relationships and what it has to do with mowing the lawn. I have a very successful coaching business and they give me the best material.
So what does this have to do with going to mow the lawn? Well, I was just talking to a client of mine, an extremely intelligent, successful man, and we were talking about what was going on in his life and just catching up, which is what we do for the first five minutes or so in a coaching call, to see what’s happened between the last call that we had.
He was talking to me saying, “My girl, she’s just nagging me to go mow the lawn.”
And so I asked him, “Well, why aren’t you? I’m just curious.”
He said, “I’m just being lazy.”
So we started talking about other things, and you can pick up on these patterns when you’re coaching for a long time, but we started talking about the rest of his life. What we were talking about was him working on his house, his business, then what he was doing with his meditation practice.
Always his answer is, “Oh, I’m just being lazy.” See, he had built a successful business and he built it to a point that allowed him not to work if he didn’t want to. That’s fantastic. That’s great. It’s something that I worked with him to get to. But now he’s being lazy. No one is just being lazy.
So going back to the grass, we’ll call this guy Ken. So I was said, “Alright Ken. So why aren’t you mowing the grass?”
“Oh, I’m just being lazy.”
“Okay. So break it down for me. What happened? How does the grass come up?”
“Oh, my girl she’s always telling me, ‘Go mow the grass’, and the next day it’s, ‘Hey, the grass is looking really bad. I drove by. Our neighbors are gonna start complaining.’ And I’m always telling her, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, or, ‘Oh yeah. I got that. I’ll do it today later’, or, ‘Oh, the weather’s not that great. I’ll get to it.'”
It had nothing to do with the grass. Really, it had to do with what he felt was his manhood as we broke it down. Now he didn’t see this. He saw this as just being lazy. “I’m just being lazy not to mow the grass.” Mowing the grass would take him 20 minutes, he can listen to a podcast like this, multiple ones, get great insights and ideas while mowing the grass, or just spend time enjoying the moment of mowing the grass. It wouldn’t have taken him much time. He doesn’t have anything on his schedule. So is he being lazy? Yeah, but that’s not the real reason.
So is he being lazy?
Yeah, but that’s not the real reason.
The real reason is he was really saying, “F you” to his girl. He was saying, “Don’t tell me what to do. I’m the man. I’ll tell you what to do.”
But you see, he was a coward. He was too scared to say that to her face so what he did say was, “Yeah. Yeah. I’ll get to it”, “Oh yeah. I’ll do it tomorrow”, “I’ll do it the next day”, and after several weeks she felt bad, I assume, after continusouly asking him to do this basic thing for their family.
Just go mow the lawn. She was the breadwinner. She was taking care of the kids. He was just laying on the couch being lazy. But the reality of it is he didn’t feel man enough because of other things that were going on in his life. So then when she asked him to please go mow the lawn, he took it as her telling him what to do and taking away his power.
You see, in relationships, there can often be a power struggle. Especially in what we call a level-one relationship. Now some people call it a level four. It really depends on what you want to do, but anyway, the bottom of the barrel relationships where it’s really horse trading which is similar to, “you do this for me, I’ll do this for you”, that’s not a relationship. That’s not love. That’s a commerce. That’s, “I give you money, you give me my taco, my car”, whatever. That’s not a true relationship built on love.
So every time she asked him to go mow the lawn, what he was hearing in his subconscious was, “You’re not man enough to do your things. I’m in charge and I will tell you what to do.” Now, that was a story he made up. And the truth is he was backing that story up by not being man enough and having a conversation. So instead he was passive aggressive and simply just said, “Yeah, yeah. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it the next day”, and it never got done.
At the end of our phone call maybe 20 minutes later I got a text message, I looked at my phone and say that the yard was mowed. The text message just said, “Reclaiming my manhood. I’ve never felt better.”
Why do I tell you this story? I tell you this story because in relationships, often times the things that upset us aren’t the things that we’re seeing. There’s stories that we’re creating on the outside. You see it had nothing to do with mowing the lawn. He could’ve mowed the lawn. It had everything to do with the way he was feeling inside so he projected the way he was feeling onto his girl and when she said anything, she could’ve said, “I love you” and he would’ve projected something totally different back on her of not feeling enough, not feeling manly enough. It had nothing to do with her.
What I want you to think about is: where are these things happening in your relationship? Where in your relationship is a boss, coworker, spouse, sibling asking you to mow the lawn and really you’re saying, “F you” in a passive aggressive way? Look deep because it’s happening. It happens with most of us and it certainly happens with me. I catch myself in these patterns.
Luckily I’m married to a woman that helps me break them as well. She’s a coach too so we’re often catching each other in these things. It’s human nature and the more you practice, the more often you’re gonna catch yourself doing this, or catch yourself quicker I should say.
So today what I want you to do is open up your journal, think back on the last two weeks. Where have you been in a position where someone’s asked you to mow the lawn and you said, “F you” in any way, shape, or form?
That’s it from me.
We’re opening a retreat that’s going to be coming up here at the end of the year and if you want a chance to get on that I think we have a couple slots still open and would love to have you with us. If you’re interested, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
If you like these daily growth hacks, it would mean the world to us if you would take a moment to subscribe and review us on iTunes!