Why I Don’t Like Working With Me (and how it explains why others don’t either)

I notice patterns.

Good patterns, and bad ones.

Recently I noticed a pattern of how often I can frustrate others when we work together.

I noticed a pattern of people around me defaulting to doing things my way, or pausing before taking action to see how I want it done.

I also noticed a pattern of how often I interject how I want things done a certain way when they start to take action.

And there is another pattern.

I noticed a pattern in my solitary projects.

I noticed a pattern of demanding perfection in my own work.

I noticed a pattern of self-criticism for any mistakes.

The other day while running with a close friend we talked about these patterns.

“I’m not trying to create such a high standard for those around me. I want them to be able to do things their way.”

The run continued. The next question exposed the underlying pattern.

“What is it like for You to work with You?”

A brutal pattern.

A pattern of unrealistic demand for perfection with no grace.

I had never considered what it was like for Me to work with Me.

My mind scanned the various projects over the years.

I still see the flaws, the imperfections, and the issues.

I also saw the list of unfinished projects, and those projects never started.

Working with me was so daunting that I stopped various projects and there were others that I could not bring myself to start.

“Maybe you need to learn to be kind to yourself first.”

The last pattern.

The pattern of fooling myself.

The pattern of fooling myself into believing that I could hold myself to a standard of perfections, but I could show kindness, grace, and flexibility to others.

But they saw the pattern.

They saw how I treated myself.

They knew they would be treated the same way.

It was time to be honest.

I don’t like working with me.

I’m too harsh, too demanding, too intolerant of mistakes.

I’m the reason why others are frustrated, defaulting to my way, or not taking action.

Where do I go from here?

I need a new pattern.

A new pattern of being kind to myself.

A new pattern of allowing reasonable standards, grace for mistakes, and progress over perfection.

Isn’t it funny how often we assume the pattern is outside of us?

What is it like for You to work with You?

How could a little self-kindness change your patterns?

P.S. Thanks for your patience in this long blog post drought. I’m working on a new website, but working with me as been rough and getting in the way of making progress. More details soon, but thank you again for reading and sharing these posts.

 

 

Affirmation or Revelation

“I didn’t need it, they don’t need it!”

Usually said loudly and with passion.

Usually said with a negative and sometimes angry tone.

Usually as a response to the idea of coaching, encouraging, or recognizing employees.

Usually while being critical and perhaps judgmental of perceived generational or work-ethic differences.

“I didn’t need someone to tell me I was doing a good job!”

“I didn’t need a trophy just for showing up!”

“I didn’t need to be coached, I just worked hard!”

“I didn’t need a reward, it was my job!”

When these statements enter the room or conversation, pause and watch what happens.

These statements tend to weave their way through the crowd.

There are usually two responses to these statements that you can visibly witness.

  1. Affirmation 
  2. Revelation

Affirmation: people who have experienced similar treatment, management, or upbringing that nod and agree. This is what they were given, and they continue to give the same back to others.

Revelation: people who may have experienced similar treatment, management, or upbringing, but disagree with the past. They are making a decision to give to others in a different way than what as given to them.

After the short silence, typically one of the Revelation responders will speak up.

“I understand that you didn’t receive the affirmation, coaching, or reward along the way in life. I didn’t receive it either, but I realized how much of a negative impact it had on me. Was there a time when you wanted to hear something positive, a simple word of encouragement, or a little coaching?”

With a few simple questions, Affirmation may turn into Revelation.

They did need to be recognized.

They did need some coaching and encouragement.

They did need a reward for the sacrifice they were making.

The lack of what they needed made them hardened.

Instead of Revelation, the result was Affirmation of the very treatment, management, or upbringing that caused the negative impact.

Which response will you have?

Affirmation or Revelation?

Habit Residue

Coffee Residue

We all have Habits.

Certain things we do that are a recurring pattern. Some we enjoy and are positive in our lives. Others are not great for us, and we struggle with changing them.

Habits become wired in our brains so we can focus on other more important aspects of our lives. Try to be more aware the next time you brush your teeth, take a shower, or get dressed, watch how this pattern of brushing, washing and dressing unfolds. The odds are you have a Habit that follows a pattern.

However, breaking a prior habit and re-wiring something new takes time and effort. In the first few weeks of trying something new, the old Habit tries to reestablish its dominance.

While helping someone establish a new Habit and replace and old one, they became frustrated when the old Habit returned.

“It seems to be back. I am trying.”

“You have made a lot of progress, maybe that is just the Habit Residue.”

“What are you taking about?”

“You know, what is left behind after something is gone. After I drink my coffee, there is coffee residue in the mug. The coffee is gone, I can still smell it, but the actual coffee is no longer here.”

We laughed and they were able to move forward. Somehow putting the Habit Residue in its place made it seem less powerful, less able to reassert itself back in their life.

What Habits are not working for you? What areas of your life, work, home, or relationships could use some new patterns?

Changing these Habits may not be easy, especially when the Habit Residue pretends to be the real thing. Putting the Habit Residue in its place may be a good place to start.