One Attribute Re-Heat

This week Jon asked us to observe the initial moment of perception impact, when taking in another person and also when assessing yourself. Did you notice what your own way with this is? His post asks us to see if one attribute dominates or even reigns supreme in your opinion. Maybe it’s the initial impression, or maybe one particular element that sticks out. Maybe you’ve found that you constantly lead in one direction with this; maybe everybody seems smarter, or grouchy. Maybe there’s a particular attribute that instantly pushes a button.

I want to thank this week’s followers for the honest, heartfelt comments.

And, I want to tell you a story about Jill. Jill was a new hire at a company I had just joined. She came in as an accounting assistant just before I was hired as the Cost Manager for a large back-office banking operation. And Jill, as it turned out, did not have basic math in her skill set. It took me a little while to decipher this, and that whole process was pretty rotten for both of us. The longer I spent adding yet another basic math function to the list of those Jill needed training with, the more steamed I got. Pretty soon, all that Jill was to me was the accounting assistant who couldn’t retain that 1/2 was the same as 50%. This was not okay, and I made sure she knew it.

With gratitude and chagrin I can give you the upshot now: I came to the plain-and-simple agreement one day that Jill was math-challenged and I was being a Class-A jerk about it. No problem, just, this is how it is. And, when this happened, an entirely different dynamic opened up for us. I started working with Jill to recognize when this was going to be an issue, and identifying the many supports she had around her to resolve any sticking points. Turns out, there weren’t that many with this job. Turns out, Jill was one of the most eager, generous, diligent people I ever worked with. Turns out, it was my one-attribute sticking point that was pretty much our only sticking point. Once I was able to see my one-attribute (anger) bumping up against the one attribute I was mesmerized by in her  (math-challenged ) our world opened up. I got bigger, finding patience and my inner-trainer. I saw how she was much bigger, showing me her enthusiasm for good work and desire to learn.

I would have missed all of that without the moment of acceptance. And, that’s acceptance of ME we’re talking about, in case you missed that. I had to accept myself entirely as the Jerk. Without making it a problem. Really, without making it into my own one-and-only attribute that day. Why is this the hardest part, friends?

~Margaret

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