I’ve gone and done it again – p**d somebody off – my super power. This time it was about seeking clarity and being honest about how I was feeling about a project. It was clearly a step too far and I have probably caused irreparable damage to a professional relationship. I must admit my first response was “fight and flight” – I felt really fearful and could feel the catastrophe button being pressed – but I stopped and reflected. I apologised for my actions and I have left it at that. I am not going to over explain or justify – it was what I needed to do at the time – it may have been a mistake but I have learnt not to do it again…
Getting things wrong like this often remind me of my early days in nursing when it became clear to me that not all nurses were kind, caring or even very nice. I remember being so disillusioned and confused, I had made assumptions about the profession and now I was faced with overwhelming evidence that it was a flawed and conflicted.
Self-awareness and authenticity are core values that I hold dear and I am often challenged when working with people who lack both. I find pretence and deception deeply disturbing and feel anxious when faced with working alongside anyone who I find a bit fake. Actions speak louder than words and I am an acute observer of non-verbals that are at odds with espoused values etc. I am often distressed in these circumstances and I am very sensitive to these discrepancies and inconsistencies.
I want to learn more about how we can transact professional relationships and the stresses and strains that then puts on our personal reserves. There is no doubt in my mind that I over think and over analyse situations and become over anxious about other people’s motives. I have a sphere of concern way bigger than my sphere of influence and chronic self deprecation makes me think my sphere of influence is much smaller than it actually is. I wish I had known about transactional analysis when I worked in Higher Education – it may have given me strategies to deal with the game playing and competiveness I experienced. However it may have made me want to escape earlier as I may have realised what was going on much sooner – I find constant top trumping and poor self awareness with an elevated sense of self importance a difficult environment in which to thrive.
I am hoping that my own experience coupled with a new confidence to dig a bit deeper may help me develop the expertise and self- belief to continue taking steps towards independent and innovative work. I really believe that being an external facilitator is what I can be good at and that I really enjoy taking an interest in helping people thrive and develop. Conversations this week suggest that this is a distinct possibility but I also have to be mindful that I have had a tough time and that my capacity and capability aren’t what they were 20 years ago. Being kind to myself and asking for help and support may upset people but it provides me with the clarity I need to ensure that mind reading and second guessing don’t become an unhealthy habit.