On getting through and flux of life and intimidation

While chatting with my mom today I was reminded of two pieces of advice/ life lessons/ universal truths I continue to forget and remember and forget and remember:

The only way out is through; the sooner you start, the quicker it’s over.

Some things in life just take time.  You can spend the time fighting life or living it, but ultimately, the time passes at the same pace.

I spent my twenties learning that and my thirties (so far) trying not to forget that I shouldn’t bother to fight the flux of life.

~~~

{Warning: long post intended to try to help me figure out some stuff before a long meeting with my boss in the morning. I’ll bold things that might be relevant to people who aren’t me.}

An appropriate thought pattern, as it turns out.  I have a pretty big job that could be (should be!) bigger, but I’m intimidated by the bigger.  People make references to this fact – that my job will soon get bigger – and I want to shrug it away, but I’m challenging myself to step into the void, not away.

The process of learning to be a good mate has not done good things for my general confidence.  That’s growing up, I think, but I’m needing to get back some swagger.

No, that’s the problem: there’s no getting BACK the swagger I had in my twenties because I’ve learned things since then and you can’t unlearn.  I keep wishing I could be more like I was then, all elbows and stomping feet and charging my way through life, but that method wasn’t successful – then or now.  And now I know it’s not successful so I can’t do it.

The wimpy dance-around-the-scary-stuff (like authority! and bigness! and importance!) isn’t working either.

On Monday, I decided to push through the “you’re being a poopy jerky bitch” voice inside my head and just get some stuff done.  It worked!  Today, a mere three days later, stuff is changing.  Three days!  I’ve been in this job six+ months complaining about not getting things done, and just by setting my feet, they’re getting done.

You can get swept away by the waves or you can plant your feet and let them roll over you.

Of course, now I’m chastising myself for not doing this sooner.  Sheesh! What I should be chastising myself for, though, is not dealing with the things I’m shrugging off.

Authority!

Bigness!

Importance!

“Pretty soon, we’ll all be working for you,” he says, over time going from half-joking to seriousness.  He’s my boss.  I’m not sure how he wants me to respond, so I say something light and pithy.  Inside, I’m cringing.

I don’t know if I can.  That’s… so many people.  So many… lives.  So many decisions.  It’s just too big.

And yet, ask me how I think things should be and I can tell you, with confidence and clarity. But I don’t believe in my ability to follow through.  The wimping out when faced with implementation – you know, facing people and asking them to do things – is a life-long thing.

I hate asking people to do things.  School fundraisers were complete misery.  Ugg.

A week, I spent, figuring out how to ask my employees to do something – their job – in a way that wasn’t jerky and wasn’t wimpy and wasn’t fake.  “Would you mind…” seemed stupid.  “We really should…” even dumber and wimpier.  “Would you please…” was the winner for a little while, alternated with “Why don’t you…”  Always with a thanks.  And a please.  And sometimes an extra thanks.

What am I scared of?

Scary to tell people I respect that they should be doing something because I say so, believe so, am convinced so.  Scary to believe that I have some gift or talent or special perspective they don’t.  Scary to not be able to describe what I do in terms that translate on a resume, stuck instead with “bring people together” and “ops thinker” and “see systems and structure and gaps in each” without the technical stuff to back it up (Lean Six Sigma or whatever the latest thing is).  Scary to recognize that I don’t like corporate jargon, don’t buy into the theory that automation or electronic is automatically better, don’t like the jockeying that happens at a certain level of management.

But I will analyze a situation in seconds, usually accurately.  I can convince people to do things, most often for their own benefit.  I “get” messaging and communication and the kinds of things unhappy customers need to succeed.  I’m a great negotiator.

What is that quote from, that asks what if you were successful beyond your wildest dreams?  Scary.  My wildest dreams are pretty tame.

Things will happen to me whether I fight them or not – at work and in life.  I’m trying to remember that I have the choice to enjoy the process rather than fight it in that silly way that’s all in my head without any action.

I’m afraid of bigness.  I cower in its presence.

I think I’ll need to have a conversation with the Bigness Monsters.

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3 thoughts on “On getting through and flux of life and intimidation

  1. oh man. i’m starting my new job in a week and this is all i can think about.
    thought – scary – thought – scary.
    its all scary to me right now. i’m taking a big step up and i’m not sure i am prepared.
    supposedly i am, according to all the standards, but i dont feel that way.
    kind of like what my mom always says about growing up, how you never truly feel suddenly capable and in charge or “grown up.”
    its just the same you, in your head. regardless of your outside age.
    today i’m feeling 14ish. insecure. nervous. hoping i don’t suck. and that people like me. ughhh.

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