It’s like Caterwauling v.1, but without the snark

I just remembered today that, years ago, I used to get newsletters from Contented Cows. I haven’t thought much about them because I haven’t been in leadership/management for awhile. Then again, I’ve never lost that ambition, to get back. Even though it’s the getting through to that point that’s the challenge.

I am very careful to not work-rant here because, well, I don’t have a lot to say on that front anymore — I have worked in several concentric circles of hell, so this latest gig is downright heavenly. But I do have all kinds of thoughts and observations bubbling beneath the surface. Although I guess back in the day, I so very much wanted those ideas and feelings to be heard, and of late, I’m more likely to squelch and maybe even squander them in the name of allocating my Discretionary Effort (a Cows term) to where it’s most immediately needed.

I miss the days of blogging about those innovative little insights, but those got me into more trouble than I care to admit. 😉 Although, they did finally take my ideas at face value once they saw them typed out for (then) 300,000 readers to see, and while I’d never get the credit, I know that just by having my ideas implemented, that gave them the value I was always searching for someone to attach to them.

A colleague said something interesting to me yesterday, that I never say no to anybody. But I’m the one up at 7 a.m. and also available long after everyone else has gone home. And I still can’t get to everything. I had wondered aloud if anyone knew how really busy I get, because I don’t calculate all the requests and volunteer efforts — I just want to do more, more, more for the sake of being known as an expert.

An expert on what, I have no idea, but there’s this caretaking side of me that just wants to be able to be comfortable in every domain. I like it when people call me because they don’t know anyone else who has the same skill set. I love being given puzzles to solve –it’s completely a self-satisfaction thing.

My colleague had said that I really need to make it known how much I really do pull off in a day. But that’s always been such a difficult point for me, because in the past, whenever I’ve ticked off my impressive to-do lists, items were always stripped from it, and not by me. I always got the impression that my former boss would have sooner seen me sweeping up cigarette butts than contributing ideas related to, but beyond the scope of, my department. Not that I would ever expect a similar reaction now, but the pain and fear is deep-seated.

I don’t know that I was ever a good leader. I think I was, but when it comes to wanting to go back into that direction, I remember the challenges. Not only are you responsible for the quality of your own work, but also for others’. Then there’s all that teambuilding and management stuff on top of it. But I loved taking folks out to lunch on their birthday and “just because,” and I rather enjoyed knowing the specific goals of the organization so that I could align all my actions accordingly (or be the one who got the ball rolling in a different direction, because that’s more my style).

But there’s something to be said for standing at attention in the background as the can-do person. I figure, if I build up enough trust and respect, that is going to be what takes me further than I ever thought possible. I guess, though, I’d just sleep better at night if I could find time to do the big, important projects that never get enough of my time and concentration.

There’s a fine line between workaholism and achievement. It’s a line I have straddled my whole career, and it’s day-dependent which side I’ll fall on. But the best I can do for myself and others is to wake up and remind myself that today is a day that I am going to make a difference. Today I am going to do something of significance, and I am going to do it with the best attitude possible. I am where I am and doing what I’m doing for a reason. And every victory, big or small, is a credit that will hopefully buy me a little bit of wiggle room when I really don’t do something as it was envisioned (or, when it was needed).

I don’t mind being known as the girl who “cain’t say no.” 🙂 Because people will go to bat for you if they know you. I don’t want to be someone that others only know as “she seems nice” or “she never talks to anybody.” Because maybe it lengthens my days, but I make sure everyone knows I am there. I know people’s kids’ names. I know their spouses’ occupations. And I try to ask about them when I’m not distracted and preoccupied.

I think the thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that you are a package, to be unwrapped in due time and cherished for 10 times as long. No one really knows the depth of the box, but as long as they leave the lid off to let you grow — in my case, in as many directions as I can — it secures a stronger foundation upon which to build to newer, greater heights. And my best ideas come from having a better view.

I forget where I wrote it (probably in a blog comment somewhere), that the view is best when you’re on your toes. Maybe that’s why high heels can be uncomfortable — much as you want to relax your arches, those dress shoes give you a straighter back and prettier calves. They also give you a glimpse of the heights that you should look forward to seeing without having to strain yourself any longer.

Anyway, I need to go dedicate myself to a shower before working toward this possibly being the day that I make a dent in something besides my head. LOL, just kidding. But yeah, I guess I always do have something to show for my time, even if it’s oftentimes intangible. I just need to remember that from time to time because those are what will lead to the hard-core results that will earn me a better slumber now and again, because it’s downright impossible to move on when you’ve got outstanding things holding you back, even if only in your own mind.

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