The ‘One Thing’

Have you ever looked at anyone in your work place, family, church, or circle of your friends, and without risk of hurting them wanted to tell them the one thing that holds them back from achieving success? To you, this one thing is as obvious as the nose on their face, but they have no awareness of it at all.

Maybe the one thing is as simple as chronic bad breath or a particular mindset like apathy or lack of confidence. Maybe this person is just easily offended or is in a toxic and destructive relationship which hinders them from personal growth. Their one thing could be an unresolved hurt from the past, an addiction, or they have ‘a chip on their shoulder’ about something. Maybe they feel they were entitled to an experience that life hasn’t given them or they just have no idea how to move forward and they’re just stuck in a holding pattern. Maybe they are a blame shifter and nothing is ever their fault and everyone else is the one with the problem. There are a million ‘one things’ and for each person they are different. The one thing could be a behaviour or habit we need to break or resolve. Or the one thing could be a behaviour or habit we need to start. We do resolve many of our one things as we mature but there is always another one thing being uncovered – we never really arrive at the bottom of the one thing barrel.

With butterflies in my stomach I once asked John what my one thing was. I was so nervous! He said he would need some time to think about it and that he would get back to me. I experienced this wild range of emotions as I tried to guess what he would say. I felt I was sitting outside of the principal’s office waiting to be rapt over the knuckles for poor behaviour. I was so afraid that he was going to tell me something awful about myself. Finally, he told me what he thought my ‘one thing’ was. He said ‘you need to get up earlier than the family and have at least 30 minutes to yourself.’ Huh?? What??  This was not what I expected. He didn’t really try to explain it but I started to do it, and he was right.  I just love getting up early in the morning before my family awakes. It is my most precious and favourite part of the day. It has changed my life to make the one thing a discipline of my day, every day.

When done in the right spirit telling someone their one thing can be life changing for them. Imagine if someone had told Bill Clinton what his one thing was before the whole world knew what his one thing was. Maybe someone did try but he just didn’t or couldn’t hear them. Michael Jackson is memorable for many reasons but toward the end his one thing had become many things as he struggled with obsessive compulsive behaviours with germs, fear and plastic surgery. I remember watching an interview with him and when the interviewer asked him about his obvious plastic surgery Michael vehemently denied having had any at all. The conviction in his voice revealed the level of his self deception. His one thing was so obvious to the whole world – he didn’t like himself and no amount of cosmetic surgery was going to be able fix something that was not about the outer man but the inner.

I understand that sometimes we don’t need anyone to tell us what our one thing is. The world has a way of giving us ‘light bulb moments’ that brings sudden clarity and understanding of our weaknesses. Even still, my experience of uncovering one things has mainly come through those who do life with me and are in a position to make accurate, insightful and helpful observations and bring them into the light in a loving way.

Do you have the courage to ask someone who loves you and who values you what your one thing is? Can you then position yourself in such a way that if it is valid you can action it?

Over and Out

Catherine xo

4 Comments to “The ‘One Thing’”

  1. Spot on, but some of us have more than one thing.

  2. Great timing Catherine… I am working on my one thing right now which was very recently revealed!

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