My lesson yesterday? The things that anger, frighten and frustrate are not minefields but diamond mines full of unruly bits that can be polished into a gem of a story.
I left Monday for an overnighter in the city, a work trip, wondering in part if I was well enough to take on the additional responsibility. I didn’t sleep Monday night, unless a few catnaps adding to a grand total of 1.5 hours counts, so I wasn’t off to a good start. However, the hotel was lovely. the pool even lovelier and after a soothing early morning swim and a picnic breakfast, I was good to go. Halfway through the meeting, however, the gnawing in my stomach gained fire. Clearly I was not healed, in fact, I seemed to be regressing, tuning out and fuming when I should be open and engaging. It was a gorgeous day outside and I was stuck inside listening to facts that I already knew from folks who were not on the same page I or the organizers were on. That’s a boardroom standard, is it not? By the break, I was ready to ditch. Instead, I breathed, pulled out my iPad and began working on a related project. that move diverted my frustration into accomplishment and gave me space to calm down. With the fire cooled, I could understand why I was so frustrated.
The volume of speakers, limited time and lack of rules of order meant that me and others like me had no opportunity to share their opinions. I could not speak my authentic voice. This realization helped melt the frustration, and showed that instead of regressing I have moved forward. I have found my voice, or I wouldn’t have been upset at not sharing it.
I looked up and saw the guest speaker standing alone, unusual because at the start of the break he had been surrounded, and for good reason. He was an excellent communicator – enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and efficient in connecting his world with others. I asked him a question I had wanted to discuss before the break. We had an enlightening conversation, at least for me. The break ended. I soldiered on. By the end of the day I was exhausted and still unsure whether the event was productive at all. This morning, however, after a night of actually sleeping and some processing, several good things came from my initial frustration. I looked at the day as a sign my organization could do more to promote its worth, and we are taking steps to do that. I am inspired now to refresh the promo materials and work plan.
The exhaustion is a sign I still have to be very careful and in fact, tonight, I will be enjoying an early supper and movie with my family, so we can all get a good night’s sleep. The frustration I felt, though, is gone after a day, when before it might have clung and simmered for weeks or months. That is a step forward. Bring on the water and carrots.
Thanks for listening. See you tomorrow.