It’s All Practice
The longer we live and the more experiences we gain, we should start noticing some patterns if we are smart.
Over and over, I keep finding that EVERYTHING, every moment, every experience, every success, failure and mistake is essential to our growth and essential to our preparation for the “What’s Next” moment that’s going to show up.
It’s funny how we (I include myself in this) are always looking for the next big thing. We’re looking for the next relationship if we’re single (I hope you aren’t if you are married, lol), we’re thinking about the next job, the next promotion and we are thinking about all of the steps it’s going to take to get there. Then we get to there, and we’re looking for the next.
It’s sad and ridiculous all at the same time, but it keeps life interesting and it makes sense. As long as we’re breathing, we have the capacity to learn something new, do something new, change something we don’t like about ourselves, make a new friend or get rid of trifling folks who don’t add any value. We’re always rebuilding new cells, and shedding hair. Our nails grow, so it’s natural to always be in some kind of transition because our bodies are doing this every single day too. We’re healing ourselves even if it’s from a cold we caught, to pain someone may have caused us when we were a kid.
So ok, we’re always going to be looking for the next thing.
But just as we grow hair, shed dead skin, the things we are doing daily are kind of like those unglamorous changes we go through each day, there are unglamorous tasks we are doing consciously and subconsciously in an effort to move us forward and prepare us for whatever the new “next” is.
There are times especially professionally or in our love lives where we don’t see what’s at work, even in the small things we do each day.
I’m learning to examine those things and try to see new opportunities in everything.
I was recently bothered at work by how it seemed like the really talented people get overlooked or seen as a threat, meanwhile others boast and brag about mediocre things, or they talk to hear themselves talk, or create more problems so they can “solve” them and make themselves look better.
I’ve found that some people would rather create their own problems they can swoop in and solve to keep a job because they fear that actually solving the problem means there’s no need for them anymore.
That kind of thinking is operating in fear. There will always be new problems even after you solve the old ones. Have faith that people will be so impressed with how you handled the first problem that it’s a no-brainer that they’ll need you for the next.
And have faith you’ll have the skills to meet the new “next” head on.
I’ve been learning that the difficult people you are dealing with today are probably slightly more difficult than the most difficult person you’ve ever dealt with or slightly less difficult than the most difficult person you’ve ever dealt with.
That first person is your new lesson because you’re about to have to deal with someone much worse. You’ll need those skills and new ones to defeat the new beast. The last person is a reminder that you’ve dealt with worse and can deal.
Any opportunity you have to present or be in front of an office or lead a meeting take it and take it seriously. Be organized.
I learned this lesson this week when all of a sudden an informal meeting I was leading started to grow larger and larger when my supervisor noticed that I was organized and that people were engaged, expected to be ready to contribute and actually looking forward to it.
I turned around and started seeing that he extended invites to the project manager and people outside of my team who really had nothing to do with what this meeting was about.
This was my opportunity to put on a clinic. If there were things that I didn’t like about how meetings were run, well, this was my meeting. Instead of bitching about it, I had the power to show them how it’s done. And it took a very successful friend to point this out to me.
“As much as you say they are haters, he invited hater number one, two and three to your meeting. I work with idiots all of the time, and there are some smart idiot managers. The smart idiot managers tend to want to learn from people who they’ve identified as smart and organized. They may take all of the credit, but they know they need you and you can stack the deck in your favor. You can always stack the deck in your favor once you know this.”
So I’ve also decided that how I execute this meeting isn’t about the haters. It’s about me preparing myself. If I’ve said that I want to go back to the White House someday to talk about health disparities or before Congress, there are going to be far more important people who may not like me or what I have to say and the stakes will be much higher. So why not practice right now for that moment with this one little meeting with just a handful of haters…