Earlier today I was pondering the significance of the dip in my blogging frequency of late, which led me to think too about the general dearth of my own posts that feel substantive to me. My automatic answer to myself was, “I’ve been too busy,” but that’s not actually the way it works for me. In fact, I write a heck of a lot more often when I am overly busy and stressed out. It’s how I process things and deal with stress; in fact, it works very well.
No, what I came to is that I am writing less because things are okay. Good, even. As I pointed out in this post, everything is moving ahead in the right direction. I am getting work done and not procrastinating as much because I am able to focus. Sure, there is an incredibly important national election going on right now and the economy is in the toilet – I am following these things carefully – but in terms of my day-to-day life and the things that have been stressing me out for a couple of years, it’s settling down.
Having said that, this evening found me at a council meeting for an organization Matt and I have chosen to be part of for the past year and a half. It happens to be an organization that suddenly finds itself in a great deal of upheaval and is struggling to make major changes. At the beginning of our meeting the five of us around the table were asked to talk about how we deal with change and transitions, both in our personal lives and as it pertains to this organization.
I had a real a-ha! moment as I thought about the questions. My first internal reaction to the topic was, “Change? I love change. I crave change and seek it out…it’s not something I worry about how to deal with.” And that’s true. You don’t move as many times as Matt and I have, and take the kinds of professional risks and challenges I’ve taken if you dislike change. It energizes me in a huge way, even as I appreciate being settled in my own home at last, and hope to stay here for a good many years. But for the most part, the big changes in my life (deciding when to have my babies, where and when to move, how to create a good work life for myself) have been driven by me (or my husband and me) – not from an outside party.
There is a reason I work for myself, Wonderfriends. This is no coincidence. I have absolutely no tolerance for bullshit, and that includes administrators handing down edicts about what I can or cannot do when it comes to my work, particularly when such decisions are based on tight finances and not what is best for a child but we aren’t allowed to say so. I know excellent therapists who can handle this, and let me tell you, it’s a lucky thing, because otherwise our schools and hospitals would be without good people.
But I can’t deal with it. And you know what? If you look at my nuclear family, we’re all that way. Right now, three out of four Sadlers are running our own businesses, and my mother ran her own business when I was growing up. (Here is my Dad’s company and here is my brother’s.) And, by the way, there are some major similarities in the work we do which I bet you’ll be able to spot.
However, the point is that I’m finding it very difficult to patiently work through the process of change in this organization. To be honest, more often than not these days I am entertaining thoughts of jumping ship and looking for a substitute. I’ve been counseling myself to slow down and be patient and understanding, telling myself that like any relationship that matters to me, it’s important to work through the tough times and have some faith that things will improve. But it wasn’t until tonight that I understood why those particular changes have been hard for me when I really don’t fit the “No one likes change” generalization that gets tossed around.
I don’t need to be in charge everywhere. I am grateful that I’m not. No, what I need, when change in something that really matters to me is initiated by someone else, is a lot of clarity. I need explanations and warning and time to ask questions and think about it to be sure I’m on board. Just like at work, I cannot tolerate being handed some new decision that feels illogical or as if it is hiding another motive.
This is an important thing to realize about myself because if I know it, I can ask for it and look for it in those organizations I join and in which I take roles of leadership. It gives me new insight about my own needs and tendencies, and I am able to see why I am so focused, on track, and more content this fall. I’m certain that it’s because I have some big changes in place this fall and am working towards much bigger ones in the coming year.
And I resolve to write about whatever I’m pondering, even when things are going well.