Three days ago I pitched an idea to one of the teams I am part of. It was something that came to me really strongly, I felt passionate about, worked hard on and was very excited to present. Knowing myself and feeling all of the above I realized I was going in with way too much energy and with very high expectations so I tried hard to work with myself to tune these down. It worked about 10%. I went in and lost my groove half way through the pitch – it was a tough room, I could not read many of the people in it, I got no “oh yes!” vibes and at some point the magic was gone. When the meeting was over, in the middle of the vulnerability hangover, I was trying to figure out what went wrong and a couple of things surfaced.
Our ideas are like babies, we need to be able at some point to let them go. In one way or another. If things are really good, we get to nourish our babies, see them grow and flourish and then we let them go to make their difference into the world. That makes the letting go easier.
In less fortunate circumstances our babies die prematurely. And they are still our babies, born out of our love and passion (or a moment’s infatuation), we held them inside of us and dared to go through the birth process. And the world is not ready for them and they die. Heartbreaking though it may be, it does happen.
Yesterday was a tough day professionally: I made a mistake and told a parent his son was admitted to our school. Turns out I had misunderstood and he in fact cannot be admitted. This is a major f*ck up in my world by the way. Whenever I get to moments like these, I see myself at a crossroads: do I make up a story or do I tell the truth? Whether we admit it or not, we all tried the story path at one point or another. While it may seem to “get us off the hook”, it’s bitter taste and “no victory” feeling, put us on a hook that is much worse.
So I decided to take “the road less traveled” and fess up to the parent. I told him the truth, namely that I f*cked up. He had already told his kid and the kid’s school and now, because of my mistake, he had to go back on all of that. It really does not get worse than that. He came in yesterday to talk to my leader and I knew he was upset. Who wouldn’t be. When his meeting was over, he kept calling me and I kept rejecting his calls – what was I to say? I wasn’t willing to have this uncomfortable conversation, when he says I f*cked up, what am I going to say, this is going to be a hard conversation, if I don’t answer he will stop … bla, bla, bla. But the thing is, my morning promise to myself is to be courageous so I hit call back. Right after hello he says, “I just wanted to say thank you for facilitating the meeting with your Director.” And that was it. That. Was. It. People never seize to amaze me.
The point is … happiness is in fact no expectations. If we manage to go into anything we do with an open mind and heart and really just lean into what is, not expecting anything, that is true happiness. Receiving everything with an open heart, opening our eyes to anything that is happening as if it is something to learn from (because it is) – this is truly an art. Now, don’t look at this and think “OMG, she is a saint”. I am preaching here. I am not saying I do this. What I am saying though is that this is where I understood I need to be and knowing your destination is progress. Otherwise, One Step At A Time. Remember?