When to change, why to change, and who the only person is you actually can change.
Episode IV: Wait, what?
Call this an epilogue. A post-script. An attempt at filling holes and tying loose ends.
Basically this is the post where I try and explain what the three preceding were all about.
When I landed on a series I was calling “Pivoting for Dummies” I intended to dive into topics like Knowing when enough is enough in your unfulfilling job, How to start looking for the right (not perfect) job, How to tell your boss (who you may actually like) that you’re moving on to something you were made for, etc.
I really didn’t think I would spend so much time on such vague topics as “When”, “Why”, and “Who”.
I had roughly two thousand words past the previous paragraph typed out about a month ago. Then it got deleted. And I got mad. So I let it sit for a month.
I had roughly a thousand words past the previous paragraph typed out again about a week ago. Then it got deleted. And I got mad. So I let it sit for two weeks.
Turns out this new browser I’m using (Brave) with its fancy-pants security and tracker-eliminating features doesn’t allow the autosave function on this website to function properly. So there’s a reason, and it’s a fairly understandable one.
And yet that frustration is all it took for me to not post anything for NEARLY TWO MONTHS. That’s not okay, and it’s entirely on me.
So I’ll be using Chrome to write again, and Brave can be for everything else.
This time I’m not going to let it sit. So here’s my third draft of me trying to explain what the past few posts were all about. Or at least mostly about. We’ll figure it out as we go.
Here We Go Again
I’m going to tell myself that the first two drafts of this post were intricate and inspiring. They probably had some ancient wisdom that I’d labored to draw out of the ether just to share with you. With us.
Yeah, I wish.
They were probably just okay. I’ll bet they had some good bits here and there. And some others where you’re just like “Did this guy just forget what he was supposed to be writing about?”
I probably had forgotten for a bit. Whoops. All fun stuff.
Third Time’s A Charm (or some shit like that)
ARE YOU READY FOR A THIRD DRAFT MASTERPIECE???
Yeah, me too. Let’s see if we get one.
The truth is there’s a real need for a recap of the past three posts. Not because the information was somehow vital to our survival as a species, but because where the series ended up was about a mile off-course from where I thought it was going (let’s say for this illustration we were walking and it was only for a couple hours, so a mile is WAY off the original course. If we were a “mile off-course” on a hundreds-of-miles road trip by misisng an exit by a mile it’s inconvenient and annoying but far from catastrophic. Don’t explanations make analogies so much fun?).
Let’s start with the “when” part.
When – Execution Grade: F
I just got done explaining how long I let this sit after enduring some notably mild resistance. Two months if I posted this thing tomorrow (and we just had a leap day so I was afforded even that extra grace by the Gregorian calendar).
That whole post is about “now”. It’s about how freezing is most often the worst decision when fight and flight are available.
Now I didn’t necessarily freeze here out of an amygdala-driven fear of impending resistance. It was more a toddler-style fit and capitulation at having met that resistance.
Pretty weak, huh?
I gotta work on that. I’m pretty good in general at throwing myself into certain types of work: physically demanding, tactile creative, or in-person relational work (fancy speak for saying I like having intentional conversations with people). What I’m learning right now is I’m not so good in the realm of disciplined content production.
We’ll get there, but only if we get the reps in. I need to make the necessary pivots to make sure I’m getting those reps.
And now to the “why”.
Why – Execution Grade: C+
A “B-” felt too kind, but as this current predicament is an extension of a major pivot I made some months ago to start this thing in the first place I’m not going to beat myself to a pulp for having a hiccup getting it off the ground. Resistance was bound to come, and while I didn’t meet it in a perfect or even remotely noble way I’m still here, right? That counts for something.
It’s not how you fall off the horse. It’s how you pick yourself up and get back on.
Tangent: Typing this out with a right shoulder that’s permanently dislocated due to a real-life playing out of that situation. I fell off a horse when I was younger, landed on my arm, and got back up and on the horse because that’s what the John Wayne movies told me to do. My right arm is about half an inch longer than my left because it dislocated and the soft tissue healed up in a way to support the structure where it ended up. It’s what I believe they call a “teacup joint”, so it’s not as bad an injury as an elbow or a hip dislocation would be. Still, fun story about me taking an old saying a bit too literally.
Anyway, here I am, back on the horse.
And it’s the “why” that really got me back here. Because I still believe this matters. I’m still interested in learning as much as I can about this whole realm of life and career optimization and how we can make decisions which will lead us to personal fulfillment, world impact, financial sustainability, and continuous expression of our truest skills.
I believe those things are important, and while sometimes writing a blog post doesn’t sound like it should be at the top of my priority list, I have to remind myself of why I’m writing. Because it’s the why that matters here, and it’s the why which will drive us toward great things in the future.
Finally, the “who”.
Who – Execution Grade: B
This one’s fairly simple – I certainly didn’t blame anyone else for the past two months of inactivity on this platform. I knew it was me the whole time, and frankly I let it eat me up enough to where you’d think I would have gotten this finished before this point. Oh well though. What’s done is done and there’s only one person who can get this train back on the track.
No, not Iron Man. It’s me. (Sidebar – had a real crisis there because I couldn’t remember if Iron Man was all one word or separated into two. I Googled it. It’s two.)
I can right this ship, and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. What I need to do better in the “Who” realm is use those nagging feelings as motivation to get back in and do the work, as opposed to just letting them justify my feeling frustrated but doing nothing about it. That’s gotta change.
What now is this: pivot.
I’m talking to myself. I have to make pivots. I have to clean up my process and make this thing work. Because what we’re doing here can make a huge difference if we let it. What we’re doing here matters.
I’m also talking to you. I’m not writing all of this out just to vent – I want it to be a lesson to you and to me in how these situations can cripple us, and what we need to do when they do so for a time.
That’s the unsung villain here, isn’t it? It’s the way time folds into itself in ways that have us put off calling our parents “until tomorrow”, which ends up being days or weeks or hell we’ll just see them at Thanksgiving.
Time tells us that you’ll have a moment later this evening to send that difficult text trying to reconcile with a friend, and yet you’ve been thinking about sending that text for over a year now.
Things that don’t take much time, but meet just enough resistance, get taken off the “to-do” list and put on the “when I have the time” list, which is another way of saying “I’ll probably never do this”.
There is a letter I’ve been meaning to write to an teacher of mine from elementary school since last summer. It will take me all of ten minutes to complete, yet I haven’t sat down to do it. The “time” I’ve been looking for has been there, but it’s been swallowed up by a million little things that have seemed more pressing or more valuable in the moment. We’ve all experienced something like this. It’s resistance.
Look out next week for a post on resistance. Clearly we’ve got a lot more to dive into with that topic.
So, let’s pull this back in and take a look: what was all this about? Pivots. Incremental shifts that get us onto a track that fits with our capacities and abilities to produce, as well as fits with what best serves the people we’re producing for. The path toward a fulfilling life starts from where you are now. It just may take a change of direction.
Make the change now (when)
Because we’re counting on you to be your best and most fulfilled self so that we can be a part of a world which has the most ideal form of you in it (why)
Let’s get to work.
Get to Work: Action Items
I, for one, am going to go write a letter to an old teacher of mine.
You can do the same. Maybe a different teacher. Unless we went to school together. Which would be cool. But also a bit weird. There are two subscribers to this blog so something’s amiss I’m fairly certain none of you had Mrs. Meder.
Anyway, your action item is to think of something that will take less than 15 minutes that you’ve been putting off. Maybe it’s a letter, a text, or a phone call. Maybe it’s organizing a shelf in your house or apartment. Maybe it’s a YouTube video that you wanted to watch so you could learn how to make the best vegan lasagna on the planet.
Whatever it is, just do it. Tell yourself that it is a priority and follow through. The ability to set yourself to monumental tasks and to execute them well starts by setting yourself to small tasks and executing them well.
So pick something small and do it. If all you can muster today is just making your bed, then do that. Just make one small noticeable change to your routine or habits which you can lean back on when you meet resistance.
From here on out you aren’t just a person who actually sent that difficult text or made their bed that one time – starting now you’re the person who does that thing every time the situation arises. Now when it doesn’t happen that’s the anomaly.
Pivot, and then stay on that path. When you get knocked off it just smile and get back on. We’re practicing here. It’s not going to be perfect every time. But it’s leading to something and somewhere so much greater than where you are now.
It’s a pivot. It’s a new direction. A better direction. I’m excited to see where we go.