This week’s post is many things -it is therapeutic (for me ), hopefully learning (for others), and sisterly (for those unfortunately like me ).
I am struggling this week.
I voluntarily and happily took a leadership role in our school’s parent’s association. I know, most of you are saying why? But, I really enjoy it most of the time, care deeply about my children’s education (who doesn’t?), genuinely like the students, parents and staff, and think that for the most part I can and do add value to the school with my skill set and past experience. I am so fortunate to be able to give the time, diplomacy and problem solving necessary to get the job done. Like with any of my jobs, I try to focus on my strengths but often feel overwhelmed by my limitations. – Anyone who knows me, can attest that I am terrible with details, my memory is caput and I can at times, lose my patience. But despite my imperfections, things have been going well. It is almost the end of the school year and the basic success factors have been met, funds have been raised, great parents have come to the table to volunteer for events and give their skills and opinions, good relations with school staff and administration and and generally spirit is pretty high.
Until recently that is … like in every school, there have recently been some contentious issues and I have tried, with the help of my committee members to solve them all in the fairest and most equitable way possible. But sadly somewhere in the midst of the problem solving, it became less about the business at hand and more about personal gripes, arguments and rumors. The facts? Well, what are the facts?. Everyone has their own version. Anyone who has ever done any management or team-work has experienced the challenge of herding cats. We bring our own experiences and needs to the table and then try to identify the goals, frames the issues, agree on the facts, clear the air and come to a reasonable solution without tearing strips off of anyone.
The problem though is that somewhere twisted into the facilitation of this process lies my own “hot spot”. I take things personally. Always have, try so so hard not to but don’t always succeed. When there’s tension, differences, and disagreement, even when it resolves, I feel I’ve somehow dropped the ball. I wasn’t perfect, it was all my fault and the regular trials and tribulations of any organization are on my shoulders only, a reflection of me – and ….ouch – there it is again – the negative chatter of self-doubt and expectations. The unspoken hurt that boils when things come off the rails and self blame pops up regularly – work, marital spats, you name it. If there is a way for me to take whatever you choose to call it – an issue, a disagreement, a debate personally, I will. And I know I am not alone. Unfortunately, this is something that many women do… and it truly hinders our success in whatever we are doing. Paid, unpaid. Doesn't matter. The million dollar questions is why do we do it and at what cost to us?
So, once again I am faced with a choice. Do I let the negative overshadow the positive? Do I focus on the successes of “the job” or let the personal get the best of me and leave me at the brink – questioning myself?
If you can keep your head when all about you
are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And – which is more – you'll be a Man my son!
That’s how the guys are to do it. What about us ladies? How do you deal when communication gets brittle? When things get personal? I am listening!