Lessons from a lawyer and an Uber driver I never even met

I saw this status on LinkedIn and it made me laugh for a second.

Every day I cross paths with some broke ass life coach. LinkedIn profile says Life Coach; Speaker; Thought Leader. Dudes hanging out in Starbucks doing their initial introductory “coaching” session because they can’t afford offices. Broke nobodies going to Broke Nobodies International meetings doing their 60 second intro about how their coaching program can change your life (but they haven’t particularly done shit with their life).

Jumped in an Uber this morning and, wouldn’t you know it, dude was a life coach! True story. Within 60 seconds of getting in the car, he made a point to tell me “This [meaning Uber] isn’t what I do. I have a life coaching business.” Lord forgive me, but I just couldn’t let it slide.

“What do you mean this isn’t what you do?”

“I mean Uber. It’s not my real job. I’m a life coach. Here.” Hands me a business card.

“It is what you do. You’re doing it. Right now.”

“Yeah, but you know what I mean.”

“What type of life coaching do you do?”

“Everything. Relationships. Career.”

“You married?”

“Divorced.”

That’s the world. 2018. Divorced Uber driver life coaches pitching their advice on love and business. Happy to meet with you in their office at Starbucks. Bet you somebody is dumb enough to buy it.

Then I didn’t think it was funny anymore, because I don’t like mean-spirited humour at the expense of others and I felt bad for laughing. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. There are a couple of truths in it. I decided to write them down.

Truth No. 1 Be nice. The guy who posted that status — a lawyer — could have made his point without being nasty and calling people “Nobodies.” Nobody is a nobody. And one of the reasons people feel the need to explain themselves and say “This is not what I do” when in jobs most people deem undesirable is because they feel that kind of judgement coming from all sides.

The Uber driver guy just wants to be successful and to feel successful, and he doesn’t need some snarky ass lawyer laughing at him and reminding him that he’s not according to the snarky lawyer’s standards.

Yes, the driver brought it up because he was also trying to sell his business, which is good. That’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s called hustling, Sweetheart. And the self employed have to do it to survive.

Truth No. 2. Whatever you are doing is what you do. Literally. It might not be what you are. That’s a larger philosophical argument. But if you’re doing something then you do it and it is what you do. An actor biding his time waiting tables both acts and waits tables. Someone driving an Uber drives an Uber, whether they like it or not. If you cheat on your husband, you’re still cheating on your husband even if you say “I don’t do this…” If you smoke crack, saying “This is not what I do,” doesn’t mean you’re not smoking it. Hey, man. It’s what you do.

Action is literally everything in life – including the actions we take in response to circumstances beyond our control – and will determine every single outcome for everyone everywhere.

I’m not saying they’re going to save you. You’re going to die anyway. But own your actions – all of them. They are “what you do.”

Truth No. 3 You are probably not qualified to tell anyone how to live. (This includes me. So, take these thoughts with a grain of salt.)

I might not like the way the guy said it, but he’s not entirely wrong. I’ve never met a life coach whose life I’d want to live. There are probably some legit ones out there but it does seem to be the career people turn to when they’ve failed at everything else – Can’t get ahead in your own life? Tell others how to live theirs! — The worst example is this one guy who chain smoked and lived in his mom’s basement. I felt terrible for him.

Ideally, a life coach should probably be a success before becoming a life coach. But what successful person has time for that? Success is relative and you don’t need to be rich to be “successful,” but you should probably at least exude some sort of happiness. And I definitely should not feel sorry for you.

Life coaches aside, I find the most unsolicited advice I get comes from people whose advice I don’t want. Before you start telling others how to live and what to do with their lives, take a look  at your own life and ask yourself if it’s an exemplary model. If it isn’t, maybe keep quiet.

I hope the Uber driving life coach finds happiness and success in his life. Wherever he is. And whatever he does.

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