Once a coworker called me into a meeting about a product that needed to be improved. We discussed a number of potential changes. Without realizing it, I found myself defending the current state of the product. I was reluctant to move forward. In retrospect, the coworker brought up some valid points, and it's clear to me now that the improvements were important. At the time though, I feared that the extra work would fall on me and my team, and we weren't prepared to take on the extra work. I was so concerned with how it would get done that I advocated against the best interests of the product.
Note to self: Practice seeing things from a different perspective. Learn to separate what needs to be done from how to get it done. Evaluate these independently first to remove your own bias and then evaluate them together to make a plan for how to move forward.
Dear Yesterday's Self,
Let's have a serious talk about why people procrastinate, and in particular, why you procrastinate. You began the day by looking at the top three items you needed to accomplish. The items varied in complexity, but all three were reasonable to finish in a couple of hours. All three items were due today, so you told yourself to complete them.
Throughout the day as you worked on the first and second items, you recognized that you were avoiding the third. It was the least desirable of the three, and you reminded yourself that you'd already planned to complete it. As the day went on and you continued to avoid the third item, your inner voice begged you to hold yourself accountable.
By the end of the day, not only did you not complete #3, you had not even started it. Why do you do things like that?! You knew #3 was due today. Even fifteen minutes of work would have lessened the remaining load. Sometimes I think you thrive on adrenaline to a fault. You knew that today you'd get a rush of energy from working against a deadline, but why do you always cut it so close? Make conscious decisions and then execute them!
When I worked with individuals with disabilities, I was particularly close to a 30-something-year-old lady I'll call Debra. Debra was warm, thoughtful, fun-loving, and like most of us, happiest when she had the approval of those around her. We shared many happy memories, although from all our time together, the thing I remember most is the lesson she taught me about effective nonverbal communication.
One week we attended a church service with a group of other individuals with mild disabilities. During the service I was seated a row in front of Debra and a few seats down. At one point while the minister was speaking, I heard Debra whisper something to her neighbor and giggle. Feeling self-conscious already about our large group, I felt a flare of embarrassment and turned quickly to glare at Debra to try to stop the giggling. Debra fell instantly silent. Just as I was thinking "phew, I took care of that," I registered the look on Debra's face. Her eyes were downcast and her whole face crumpled at having disappointed me.
My choice of nonverbal communication had failed in its goal. In that moment I realized I could have instead turned quietly, made eye contact, and slowly shook my head. I had used my eyes as a weapon instead of a tool.
Welcome! Thanks for being here. I intend to do some honest reflection and story-telling in this place because I think that's how we grow. I promise that when I make references to events and/or people, I've modified any identifying details while maintaining the authenticity of the story. And just as importantly, I promise to point a finger at myself way more than I point one at anyone else.