A couple of months ago I had a rough couple of weeks. A flight home to deal with some heavy emotional family matters that left me questioning a lot of things I thought were previously unquestionable, feedback letting me know of areas where I have not been performing as well as expected, meetings where the shortcomings of this that and the other have been highlighted, being questioned on decisions I have made and processes I have chosen to implement and follow. And I also realised (after watching one of their pre-season games) my favourite Aussie Rules football team is again hopeless this year! It has been one after the other after the other after the other.
Right now, as I read through this litany of self-pity, it strikes me that you too could read this as a litany of self-pity. One important conversation ago, it was. One important conversation ago, I was struggling to find the positive spin on all the negative. I was humming my favourite Monty Python song but couldn’t for the life of me find the bright side. And then I had the conversation.
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It was one I was not looking forward to. It had a good chance of being a difficult one. It was about how I had communicated with someone and how they had perceived the message – what they had read “between the lines” through my choice of vocabulary, FULL CAPS, turn of phrase and overall content.
They were quite blunt. They were honest. I listened. I disagreed. I agreed. I questioned. They answered. I listened. I learned.
The learning, through the conversation, was that the perception of what I had written had become the message, and not the message itself. My message and the reader’s perception of the message were quite different – almost opposite, and the perception won!
This was the conversation that changed my litany of self-pity into something else. It’s not the first time I have learned this truth, but this time I think it will stick.