Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scary girl

I made some changes to the document.  I'll email it to you.
You already did.  We should talk about that.
I did?  I'm more efficient than I thought.
You are! You?  You're scary.  Isaiah doesn't even know  With this, he chuckled to himself and went into his car.  Although such comments are meant as veiled compliments, I hear a double message.  Stay away from the scary girl.

Often, the best time for me to do something is when I'm thinking about it.  If the solution, or the system is actively developing in my mind, it's best I document it or implement it.  That gives me breathing room, thinking room.  Not creating or implementing my thoughts (even on paper) feels like ... anxiety... like a buzz that needs to be calmed down. So, I may focus on something for a few hours or days and empty my head.  Then, I'll leave it for a while.  It's as if I have to replenish my thoughts.  Usually, in that time, I'm thinking about something else.

People who want to work with me get my most creative self when they get me at peak interest.  That's not hard to do, since I'm generally curious and interested in many things.  Unfortunately, that very interest works against me.  Here's how it plays out.  You approach me about doing something.  I listen with interest and decide if I can and what I can do, give you some general ideas and we part company.  That night, I email you my thoughts and perhaps within a few days, you have a 10 page document describing whatever it was and detailing next steps.  You respond with enthusiasm.  I don't hear from you for a year.

Usually, the project is one that I'm interested in but can't commit to, so I love the idea of living vicariously through others who own the idea. I'm genuinely excited about seeing the thing we talked about brought to reality.  When I do the first leg of my part and don't see any further action, I feel dissapointment.  There are also times when I'm interested in helping the various parties hone their skills around the thing they are asking me to do.  They say they are interested in that too.  I then do my part and throw the ball back to them.  The sound of the crickets chirping in the night is deafening in the silence. The silence seems to matter.

Why does it matter?  What am I making of the silence?  What stories am I making up?  Well for one, I'm believing that my enthusiasm for the project is somehow off-putting and that people are uncomfortable with that.  Perhaps because of their discomfort, they won't want to work with me in the future and I may lose opportunities.... Hmm, well, if my approach to these projects were as scary to others as I make them up to be, I wouldn't be so busy!  So maybe that's not true.  And, even if I was scaring people away, maybe those aren't the people I should have a long term relationship with.

If I go with this idea that people aren't fragile, then I don't need to protect them from their own discomfort.  Since I'm also not fragile, I can give my best gift and process my discomfort as it comes.  If they never come back, they will neither be the last client, nor the last friend/associate I will ever have.  Since I get so much pleasure from doing all this, I have decided to change what what matters.  My doing, my engagement, the buzz I get from offering my best self and my gift to whoever I'm partnering with, that's what I'm making matter.  That way, I'm not tied to the end result.  Or rather, my end result is different.  Now the end game is my full engagement in something that I'm genuinely interested and have time for (determining the latter is where I may need some help).

I love what I do.  So much.  It's scary.

1 comment:

  1. Faith, if you're scary, then scary is the way to go.


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