Many of you have heard me speak about the two types of internal ‘Protector’ parts – Managers and Firefighters. They have very different jobs. And they care about very different things. But they do have one thing in common, they want us to be Okay.
Managers are concerned with day-to-day functioning. They focus on security and stability and they scold us in the present because they worry about the future. Are we being productive enough? Are we taking care of business? Do others respect us? Are we doing enough? Are we getting the job done? Are we safe? (From judgment, from lack, from chaos?)
Firefighters are concerned with comfort. They focus on soothing/distracting, and pleasure and fun, and they only worry about right now. Are we enjoying ourselves? Are we too stressed out from working too hard? Are we getting too rigid and bored? Is life feeling satisfying and interesting?
Managers think Firefighters are irresponsible and out of control. Firefighters think Managers are hyper-responsible, and over-controlling. Each side thinks the other is misguided because there is not enough focus on what is truly important.
All this sound familiar?
Jerry Seinfeld the comedian thought so too. Here is an excerpt from his 2017 Netflix special: Jerry Before Seinfeld:
I saw a mattress ad the other day: No payments until June. Because they know our idiot brains are going to say:
“Oh, June. That’s not really my problem, then, is it? It will probably never be June anyway. That’s ‘June guy’s’ problem.”
It’s the same when you are watching TV late at night, and you are tired, and you are binge watching all your little Netflix shows.
“What about work tomorrow? You have to get up and go to work!”
“Eh, that’s ‘morning guy’s’ problem. I’m ‘night guy’. Party rocks on for ‘night guy.’ Fire up another episode. Crack open another sleeve of Oreos. No rules for night guy!”
Then the next morning, the alarm goes off, and you’re trashed with crumbs in the bed.
”Why did I do that? I hate you night guy!!”
Because night guy always screws morning guy. Nothing morning guy can do. He turns into ‘coffee all day guy’ who is then cancelling for ‘night guy’, and then ‘totally-trashed-doesn’t-do-his-work guy’, and ‘out-of-a-job guy’.
Does ‘night guy’ care? No. He is sleeping on a brand-new mattress, courtesy of ‘no-payments -until-June-guy’.
After reading this and reflecting on your own lifestyle, you may be more identified with one side of this Battle or the other. In either case, I invite you to consider how unbalanced life would be without both. So, how about we start a conversation between the two, by getting them in the same room at the same time, with curiosity rather than criticism. Success stories to follow.:-)