Turning a Corner
I’m feeling like some kind of a corner has been turned this week. I don’t know. On the surface of things, on the outside, it might have looked like a rough week. My wife even said that she was thinking I should take a couple days off of work. “I just took Monday off.”
“I know, but you just seemed like — like maybe you needed a couple days off. You seemed really stressed out.”
I actually was, but I feel like I’ve come through it, and have landed on a more solid piece of turf than I’ve been on in a while.
See, I got called on the carpet last Thursday, and it was a bad moment, in a bad day, at work. I had just gotten back from lunch with my friend, R, the last time we would be meeting for lunch in town, as his new job starts after Labor Day, and he’ll be working over in Alexandria. We’ve really enjoyed our meetings for lunch. It began with me sort of being his mentor, but it has long since blossomed into a rich friendship, an unlikely friendship, but one I really value.
I got back to the office, thinking I had this 2:00 meeting I really had to be at, followed by a 2:45 with the new boss and my old boss who is now the big boss. Only, I had my times screwed up. At 1:50, my assistant said, “Hey, Pete, the front office is looking for you.” I looked at my calendar, and realized my faux pas.
“Holy crap!” I’d completely blown the meeting I thought was at 2, and I was late for my meeting with the bosses. I hustled over there, and they didn’t have a problem with my being late.
But they did have a problem with how I’d been showing up unprepared for meetings lately, and my lack of a sense of urgency, and particularly, my failure to really be engaged in one of my roles, as the Goal 3 Lead for our strategic plan. It was all warranted, and my cover had been blown. With everything I’d been going through, personally, in recent weeks, work had kind of taken a back seat, and apparently, it was beginning to show.
Fortunately, we had a long weekend planned, a couples workshop that turned out to be much better than we had even anticipated, and one we got a lot out of. I also came back with my allergies off the charts, due to what must have been cats somewhere in that house. I stayed home Monday, and was going to stay home Tuesday, when I realized I had several strategic plan related meetings that I really couldn’t call in for. I had to be there. So, I went in. I felt better once I got there and got into things. I felt like I was becoming more engaged in what I was supposed to be doing there. I felt like I was retrieving my head from up my you-know-where, and it felt right.
The after-effects of the cat-allergy attack continued to haunt me for a couple of days. Wednesday morning, I awoke at 2 and couldn’t get back to sleep, after only three and a half hours of shuteye. I’d forgotten to shut off the alarm clock when I got up, and Kathy had to shut it off when it went off and I was up and about, in another part of the house.
I really dragged that day at work. I learned of another thing I had missed, an e-mail from a couple of weeks ago that I really should have responded to sooner, and just felt my stomach drop that I had missed that one, another dropped ball. Man, my head really has been up the wazoo, lately, thought I.
Thursday morning, I heard Kathy stirring, and realized it was getting light outside. “What time is it?”
“Oh, crap, the alarm didn’t go off!” It’s never wise to leave it to Kathy to turn an alarm off, because she’s not used to fooling with that clock, and something got messed up when she turned it off the other morning. Not her fault — just another mess up on my part. I had 20 minutes to get showered, dressed, and to my counselor for our 6:30 session. I had another big meeting that morning at work, at what I thought was 9:30.
I made it to the counseling session on time, had one of my best sessions with him, finally one that didn’t result in tears, but that really felt like progress has been made. We’ve both worked hard, he and I, in our first five sessions, and yesterday, I think we began to see the progress of that effort.
I got to work a couple minutes before 9, thinking I had a half hour until the big meeting, but my deputy was hustling around, making sure I had the latest updates, and looking like he was ready to head over to the conference room. He was. The meeting was at 9, not 9:30!
But, it couldn’t have gone better, as far as I was concerned. I felt prepared, and while the big boss still isn’t happy with where things are at with my goal, I knew that I am now engaged in the process, and know that there is a solution to the issues that are not exactly where they need to be, right now. I see a way forward. My head is fully back in the game.
The rest of the day went really well. I had agreed to take on a project that would require my doing some heavy reading and evaluating material for the rest of the day, and my car needed inspecting, so I went and waited in line at the inspection station (last day of the month — there was quite a line), with my reading and did my evaluating while I waited.
I got the project done, at home, well ahead of schedule, and I knew the big boss would be pleased with my “sense of urgency” on it. That’s about when it occurred to me that a corner had been turned. All was going to be well.
I went to my regular Thursday night meeting, after dinner with my lovely wife. I was leading on the 8th tradition. I had thought of a good story to share, related to it, and it went really well.
Coming out of the meeting, my friend J came up to me as I was heading to my car. “Hey, Pete — what’s going on? Have you been getting laid lately or something? You just really seem like you’re doing well.” I burst out laughing, and said, “Something like that.” I explained that a character defect that had been dogging me for some time seems to have come to the surface, and seems to be getting lifted from me, after I had long since accepted that it probably never would. He said, “Cool. You just seem to have a bounce in your step and a gleam in your eye that had gone missing for a while there.” It was nice to hear that — reaffirming.
So, the end of what appeared to be a really chaotic week, on the outside, finds me feeling more settled, and centered, on the inside, than I have been in a long while. I feel more like myself than I have — in a long time. And, to top it all off — it’s Friday!
Life is good.