Friday, April 25, 2008

What I resist, persists.

Architect and visionary, Richard Buckminster Fuller said, ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality.'

As they often say in Alanon, what I resist, persists.

Yesterday, I was a perfect example of resisting to persist. Not to mention the recipient of God's sense of humour in action!

I am the editor of a quarterly newsletter published by the homeless shelter where I work. When I went away for ten days a couple of weeks ago, the Exec. Dir. asked a co-worker to make some edits to the final draft before sending it off to the printers. Upon my return, I discovered the 'few edits' were extensive. The final product was radically different than the one I'd left to go to the printers. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything I could do, the proof was already on the press.

I was angry. My writer's ego leapt into full umbrage. "How dare they..." You know, the self-defeating game stuff of I'm right, you're wrong. You had no right to. yada yada yada.

Bottomline is, I am the steward of the newsletter, not the owner.

When the newsletters arrived back in my office from the printers, I stuck the box in a corner, refusing to even look at it. I felt embarrassed by the changes someone else had made as I believed they detracted from the quality of the product, there were some typos and grammatical errors and too many blank spaces.

And here's the part where God's sense of humour tapped me on my shoulder and asked, "Have you got over yourself yet?"

Normally, I receive about 2 - 3 boxes of extras to use during the next three months when I give presentations.

Yesterday, 9 boxes arrived at my office. The printer had inadvertently over-printed by 1,000 and had delivered the extra copies at no charge.

I had to laugh.

There I was, not handing out the newsletter because my ego was stuck on its, according to me, sub-quality standards, and I receive a windfall of 1,000 copies.

I got the message.

It was time to let it go and get on with doing my job.

I had to change my reality around the newsletter. It may not look and read the way I wanted it to. It is what the Exec. Dir. and the organization wants.

See, my ego was tripping me up. I was into my, "if I can't have it my way, I won't have it at all" game.

In my obstinance, I was undermining my purpose, and my effectiveness at work. I was being the problem. Not the solution.

And here's the tricky part. See, part of me says, But... but... but... If I don't stand up for what's right, then what happens is wrong.

Truth is, I did my best. I put together the best newsletter I could. If it was deemed not the best by someone else who has the authority to do so, -- then I have an option. To hear them, to listen to them, to learn what it is they believe would make it better, OR, I can dig my heals in. Not be open to criticism. Assume the I'm right position and tell them why they're wrong, and face the consequences.

In this instance, there is no right nor wrong. There is simply a newsletter that was changed -- and in the eyes of the individual changing it, changed for the better.

I don't have to agree with the changes. I do have to work with the outcome -- and how I do that is a reflection of me, my professionalism, my maturity, my effectiveness and my ability to turn up and be accountable.

The question is: Where does your resistance cause an issue to persist. Where does your ego create a mountain to climb when all you needed was a ladder to get over your resistance to change?

1 comment:

dee said...

Ok I can see your point that the newsletter is not yours, however, I believe that it may be a better balance to discuss this with the director. I think due to grammatical errors and focus that it may be a matter of finding a balance between your skills and those others possess to end up with a better finished newsletter. After all I think everyone needs to consider their audience as I know myself that if a newsletter I subscripted to had a grammatical errors, misspellings, and a lack of direction, I would simply quit reading it.