Are YOU READY?
Have you ever longed for something with a type of desperation that is nearly indistinguishable from physical hunger? If your desire for a thing is something you can feel, you got it bad. Real bad. This is the best and worst kind of passion, a blessing and a curse!
It’s a blessing when it compels you to work hard. It’s a curse when you don’t know if the stumbling blocks you face are messages from God designed to redirect you or whether the problems are the sort that “give you substance and make you better”. Essentially, you don’t know if you should let the cake bake a little longer or if you should throw the batter away. The longer it bakes, it could either rise or dry out. Meanwhile, you spent a lot of type buying the ingredients and whipping it up. What a tough spot to be in!
The first part of the curse is between you and the Universe: it’s called conviction. There are certain perspectives that you cannot gain until you’ve decided that you’re firmly committed to a path. As long as you’re wary of failure, it doesn’t really matter whether God is redirecting you because you keep quitting on the table as an option. At this point, you’re actually wrestling with yourself. Failure and risk are companions on the journey no matter what you do; thus, your first job is figuring out whether your motivation and purpose are really knitted to your soul. So, let’s talk about figuring out whether the cake is ready.
A few weeks ago, I became angry at someone because they were doing something that I desperately wanted to do (Get this, it’s someone I have a strong and positive business relationship with). I was mad because I felt like this other person was getting the glory for something that I wanted glory for. Moreover, I felt like that person was no more deserving than me. In turn, I pouted and became slightly distant – you know that kind of distant that most people won’t dare speak of, but feel? Yep, that was me. I even grew rigid in our interactions because I didn’t want this person to have anything over on me. Although I wasn’t argumentative, I was playing serious defense (Yes, I was passive-aggressive).
On the other hand, the woman who had become my adversary unbeknownst to her was going out of her way to be flexible and minimize tension (I’m sure she noticed that I wasn’t as open and friendly as normal because she is smart and perceptive. FYI, you should know that people generally know when you’re not operating from a place of security and confidence even if they won’t or can’t articulate what they are feeling when they engage you. Science bears this out: we are hardwired to notice even the most subtle behavior shifts).
Since nothing obvious had happened (that she was aware of), I know she was caught off guard. Meanwhile, I began to worry that I was damaging my relationship with her. But I couldn’t fake not feeling this internal conflict. There’s a beauty in the synchrony of our thoughts and feelings, and there’s a powerful lesson to be learned when we realize disharmony between them. You should use the former to fuel your passion, and you need to do a hard stop to fix the second one.
I began to go inward to figure out what was going on with me because I was acting out of character. First, the behavior that I was exhibiting “wasn’t me”. Second, it wasn’t the kind of behavior that I could be proud of. I also knew I’d be wondering if this wonderful relationship was coming to the end of the road, if the shoe was on the other foot.
As I was sifting myself, I found the problem: a green, spoiled clump. It was JEALOUSY! You could have knocked me over with a feather! Not me! Not me!!!!! I am not a jealous-hearted person. Indeed, “Ms. I Am NOT a Hater” was, in fact, wearing a green shirt!
Because I have worked so hard and so long, I feel like I’m due a full crop ALREADY!! Yet, I’m still toiling. Further, to see it coming up for someone who I think is a lot like me was maddening: how is she able to get there as I continue to strive? Then, I started having a pity party: I bet her family background is better than mine…I bet she has a better support system than I do…I bet she’s an extrovert and naturally networks better than I do…I bet, I bet, I bet. Yes, the pity party was on full tilt! When I neared the bottom of the hater well, I started thinking about how I would handle an opportunity like the one WE WERE WORKING ON AS PARTNERS and a ton of bricks hit me: I couldn’t be the lead on the project because I didn’t have the capacity! There were elements of our project that had to be in place in order for it to work that I just couldn’t meet. I couldn’t meet those elements, not because I didn’t know what needed to be done, but because I simply didn’t have the tools and resources to make it happen. The other person, MY PARTNER, had/has the tools.
When you don’t recognize that there may be times when your cake simply isn’t ready,
negative and self-destructive emotions are likely to emerge from your heart.
In the weeks since this situation, I have adjusted my attitude and behavior; however, I remain shocked at how I didn’t see jealousy coming. My jealousy was the culmination of consistent failure to notice and be grateful for my own progress through the years and self-doubt (silent musings like, “Will I ever get there?”). What about you has surprised you? What are you doing to correct the ugly parts of your character?
Sidebar: this is how I re-framed the situation to get my head back in the game:
1) Choose to be more transparent about what is bugging me and use that vulnerability to strengthen our relationship. There is nothing about my partner’s character or previous actions that should’ve translated into fear;
2) Recognize the opportunity to work beside someone who is as open as she is as a gift rather than a call to competition. Who knows, she might even tell me how she amassed the tools and resources necessary for the project;
3) Keep working on giving more specific language to my emotions because the situation became much more tenable once I could say something other than, “I’m pissed off”.
4) Remain focused on the true goal in mind (for me, it’s subject matter expertise, unshakeable confidence and profitability as a small business owner) rather than getting distracted by the desire for bling (public recognition). Bling is enticing, and it has a place, but you can chase it and never achieve your true goal.