Living in beautiful NZ, no debt, a gorgeous little impish son, loving & caring sexy wife.
Then there is “selling” which I love and am good at. Small stuff like selling everything and anything on trademe (a NZ version of eBay) at profit. Many don’t believe me but I sold my second car for the same price I bought it 4 years ago! Sold my fridge for almost same price I got it almost 2 years ago, sold cricket gear for same price, and sold a laptop for $300 profit! Not to mention demolishing sales targets and stretch targets at work, and being rewarded as top specialist for 3 months in a row!
But all was not well, even recently, up to a few months back, I had several conflicts at work, and often had to involve my manager to fight on my behalf. After meetings, I heard comments like, “we know you are right, but the tone in which you said it was too straight up”, “we didn’t want to concede and say you’re right as you came across too strong”, “You meant well but said it in a way that sounded negative!”
My natural response was – So, does the content, not matter at all? Is the point I make, the intelligence I use to make it, all a waste, if I don’t sugar coat it? Do I have to talk in a deliberately PC way not to hurt anyone? What happened to pure meritocracy, what happened to ‘right’ winning over ‘wrong’? Logic winning over ass-kissing?
Then one crisp sunny afternoon in December, in a semi-inebriated state, sitting on a lawn chair, at our office beach picnic – I promised my ‘new’ manager something that changed the equation. I promised there would be no conflicts in 2013 from me, no battles. She actually recorded it on her iPhone (probably thinking it was a stunt), as she was dragged into many conflicts by me, in last 6 months either to support me or as a complaint etc.
Come 2013, everything changed: I will first describe the some pertinent comments, since resuming in Jan – “Loving your cool attitude and calm reasoning”, “there is something positively different about you now”, “you are looking very relaxed and peaceful these days”, “Loving your new positive attitude!” and so on.
So what changed? Well, first, I got a decent summer break over Christmas with my family, especially with my sister coming down from US, first time to NZ, and us meeting after 4 years! I got time to assess my life, both professional and personal. Got sage advice from my bro-in-law who I respect a lot, and got quality time with my wife and kid. And some of the best management guidance / coaching I could have received, by my manager, about not fighting every battle and how not to make career-limiting choices! All that helped.
So before resuming office in January, I decided to ask myself a few questions before acting over any typical flagrant stimulus at office or home, many from the usual suspects – “Is this a BIG DEAL?”, “Does this affect me or my goals in a fundamental way?”, “Can I influence or change the situation?”. Even if one answer was no, I gave myself a day or so to choose to respond to stuff. That took out the emotion, changed perspective, diluted the severity and generally, I was able to forego reaction in most cases. As a result I am stress free most days, can enjoy the job which I love, focus on whats important and save political capital for bigger, more significant battles that may lie ahead.
It’s not about fitting in, trying to ‘look’ positive, or keeping quiet or not expressing your opinion. It’s about choosing when to speak up, having basic dignity which others might have forgotten, and as I like to visualize it in my head – refusing to join the pig in his/her swamp…believe me the pig is the king there, so you can’t mud wrestle your way out – and you look like a fool for jumping in to wrestle a bloody pig, in the first place!
Better still, my personal life is no longer as affected by office stress and time with my toddler is more fulfilling. I have more ‘good’ moments every day at work and home as a result.
And, I am acknowledging and enjoying the gems in my life… loving guiding parents, being debt free, sweet wife, healthy, handsome son, and living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Life is beautiful!