Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Life Lesson

I'm chairing this committee for the second year, and there's a task which is sort of on the back burner; it's not part of our primary function, but if we did it, it would help us with our primary function.  Last academic year, Good Old Boy said he'd do the task.  And just about every week we've met since, he's mentioned that he thinks the task really needs to be done, and he'll do the task.

Yesterday, I finally came to terms with the fact that Good Old Boy isn't going to do it, decided it was important enough to me to do it, and sat down for an hour or so and just did it.  At least, it's drafted.

Then I put it on the agenda for our next meeting.

This got me thinking about some life lessons, and trying to articulate them.

1.  If something's important to me and I can do it (physically, legally, etc), then I will do it.

2.  If I say I'll do something, then it becomes important to me.  See #1.

Corollary:  What's important to me, isn't necessarily important to another person, and vice versa.  I am working hard to learn to accept that.

It's easier to accept in one direction, that is, I am better at understanding that something isn't important to someone else, and, as in the example above, if I decide it's important enough to me, I do it.  (And, I'm working very hard on just doing it, and not being cranky about it to the person who didn't think the it was that important.)

I have a harder time saying "no" when something isn't as important to me as it is to someone else.  And if I say yes, then I treat it as important to me.  So I really need to not say yes, and be honest in my "no."

I have two things to work on very much:  I need to not resent when other people have very different priorities.  If it's important, I need to just do it.  And if it's not, I need to let it go.

And I need to be firm about what's important to me, and what's not.  And if it's not, I need to not take on other people's priorities.

That one's so hard because so many people say "yes" they'll do something, with total intent to do it, but it's just not important enough to them to actually do. 

I'm no saint, but I tend to put other people's welfare pretty high up on my "important" list, especially if I can affect it positively or negatively.  So if someone's depending on me for a letter of recommendation, I do the letter in a timely manner and do a good job on it.

On the other hand, I sometimes don't prioritize my own welfare as highly as I should.  Just in terms, say, of exercising regularly.  I let that fall by the wayside while I write the letter or recommendation or something.  I need to do a better job balancing.

I must admit, I really resent people who make all sorts of sympathetic noises about other peoples' welfare stuff but then don't actually do their part to make it happen, to write the timely letter of recommendation, for example.  I have a colleague who makes sympathetic noises, but doesn't follow through unless it's her own baileywick, and I've pretty much lost respect for her as a result.  If you're going to make sympathetic noises, then do your work in a timely fashion, and don't just ride other peoples' coattails!

Obviously, I need to work more on that corollary part.

1 comment:

  1. I could so have written this (but wouldn't have expressed it so well). These are definitely lessons I need to work on too...