Don’t Give Your Power Away

The movie Heavyweights is a family favorite of ours. It is about a group of overweight teenage boys who go to “fat camp,” a summer camp for weight loss, only to discover it has been taken over by a psychotic self-help guru—played perfectly by Ben Stiller—determined to turn their camp experience into a weight loss infomerical. It’s a fairly lowbrow popcorn flick, but amusing and with some good quotables. We love it.

There is a scene early on when the kids learn of the switch in management. The former camp directors Harvey and Alice Bushkin, an older couple played by Stiller’s real-life parents, stand before an assembly of the boys and the camp staff, and say a tearful goodbye. They explain that due to unfortunate circumstances they had to file for bankruptcy and sell the camp.

As they exit the front of the room, Harvey Bushkin returns to the microphone and says, “One word of advice. Never let anyone sign your checks!”

Where did the Bushkins go wrong? Apparently they gave power of attorney to either their lawyer or their accountant (or both), who then turned around and took advantage of them.

Either way, they gave away their power—and got screwed.

I think there is a good lesson to learn here. Take a good long look at your life, your circumstances, and your relationships. Take a look at your career and your finances and your health.

Where are you giving your power away? Metaphorically, where are you letting others sign your checks?

Are you allowing other people to railroad your hopes and dreams?
Are you allowing selfish employers to dictate your career trajectory?
Are you allowing bad personal habits to derail your fitness objectives?
Are you allowing people with toxic energy into your life?
Are you allowing fear of failure, rejection, or success to sideline your goals?
Are you allowing cultural expectations to define what is acceptable for you?
Are you allowing social media and TV to suck away your valuable time?

Again, who or what are you allowing to sign your checks? Are you feeding them, consciously or unconsciously, by giving them your power?

Then stop it. Just stop it. You and I have only this one precious life.

Enough is enough. Say to them, “No more.” Say it to yourself if you’re the culprit.

Stop getting screwed. Stop letting the world sign your checks.

Don’t give your power away.

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