In one sense what happened yesterday wasn’t anything like a big, hairy emotional scene. Rather it was a long, heavy group discussion, in an appropriate setting, about some serious leadership mistakes that have taken place recently in my workplace. (FYI, nothing illegal or newsworthy, just some crappy decision-making and lack of follow-up that created serious ill-content and significant morale issues). The conversation needed to happen, I was in on the effort to make sure it did happen, and it was a civil discourse.
In another sense, though, it actually was a big, hairy emotional scene in that the discussion left me with perhaps even more ill content than I had before. On the one hand, during that discussion at work a whole lot of people were in solidarity with each other. On the other hand I both witnessed and experienced a lack of empathy, a lack of understanding, some deeper issues that came out of the blue from one quarter, and a continued lack of leadership from another corner.
After all that in the morning and several hours of fast and furious, productive work in the afternoon, I ended up staying way later at work than I usually do, for a completely unrelated meeting that was fairly urgent. By the time I got home, quite literally it was all I could do to fall onto the couch and stare at the ceiling.
Eventually I began to process. Started to make sense of all the things I’d been feeling as a result of that conversation, and recognizing why those things were bothering me so much. You know, doing that introspection thing – my default mode.
A lot of the insights I came up with were very specific to the situation at hand. When I have the energy to do more confrontation, I can deal with those.
But some of the insights I came up with were very personal. Emotional triggers I was already aware of, for example. More significantly, a real eye-opener: I often don’t trust my own judgment or the evidence of my own experience. I hang back, I don’t challenge, I don’t call “bullshit,” all because of that lack of trust in myself. There have been a number of instances in this work situation when it would have helped a lot had I been able to trust my own judgment.
It’s pretty easy to see where that trait comes from, off-the-charts introspector that I am. There were some situations within my family of origin, which quietly and subtly taught me I couldn’t trust myself. “You’re not seeing what you think you’re seeing.” “We don’t talk about that because we’re pretending it’s not really there.” Lessons that were never verbalized but were most definitely present.
Woo-hoo! Just what I needed on an already killer day: earth-shattering personal revelation. What am I supposed to do with that? I guess when I have the energy I’ll deal with that stuff, too. But not today.