Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Morning, Noon, and Night

Do you ever have those moments when you realize that despite everything you've been telling yourself and all the guidelines you have in place, you have completely ended up somewhere you don't want to be?

Maybe it's a situation, or relationship, or just lost in Yonkers? Somehow, against everything you've been working for, you are faced with the inexplicable. The unavoidable, the inevitable.

Recently, I found myself explaining to someone that a process works as long as perform a certain routine morning, noon, and night. Which I meant in all seriousness, and was actually received without comment. It wasn't until my brain engaged that a realized what I was talking about.

The reality of the situation dawned on me without warning. Sort of like walking on the beach at night and the police helicopter comes hovering over and puts the spot-light on you. You can't run, you can't hide, you just stand there amidst the swirling wind, blind and helpless.

Now I didn't really believe I was getting off track before this day. Like a frog slowly boiled, the water temperature increased so slowly that by the time I realized how hot things were, I was already cooked.

Why don't my normal defenses catch this? Why is my otherwise useful rationale and reason seemingly incapable of catching these subtle deviations from the norm? I need a GPS, because my needle isn't pointing north anymore.

How do you ensure that you aren't losing your way, bit by little bit?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Middle Always Costs More

I am such a hypocrite.

On the one hand, I strive for consistency and transparency in my walk. On the other hand, I flake out and take the lazy lane with remarkable alacrity.

It just seems to me that you shouldn't be able to hold up standards and faith and then so willingly succumb to numbness when you cease to strive. Sometimes all it takes is a random conversation you bring on to pass the time that leaves you muddled, unmanned, unmade.
They believe in nothing,
We believe in One Thing.
-- Fire by The Supertones
It isn't that I don't know that I should be striving, it is more than I find ways to talk myself out of it without even realizing it. My fear of being judged by some men causes me to let down others. I back down from situations where backbone is required. My callow cowardice comes to light every time I choose form over function, appearances over outcome.

At one time I would have held my ground and been thought difficult, uncouth, unkempt, or even rude. But I would have said the needful, averted the disaster, and ultimately delivered. Not today though. Now I hold my tongue and watch the ships slowly sink. Now I play the negligent Nero as the flames rise and my desire to remain polite and politick binds me to inactivity.

More and more I act like those I once proclaimed as wrong. They "Don't Get It." was common in my vocabulary. The proverbial They were always selling out success for short-term gain, and I snickered at them. Today I find myself on the brink of that same shortcoming. Fear freezing my insides, I smile instead of speak. Astride the fence, I see both pastures and realize the grass grows green on either ground. The only difference is that one you rent at exorbitant rates and other you own free and clear. Why do I even consider leaving the land of free? Perhaps I find that price too high?

You can deliver messages with care and kindness but if you cannot make the hard decisions, hold fast to accountability, and push forward one and only one agenda, you will fail. There is more to being a Leader than Management. Sometimes to deliver you will not be well-liked, this I've known from much time past. Now I am learning that being well-liked generally means you compromised if you delivered at all.

They always told me come to Middle. Find that spot between Productive and Polite and it will be Perfect. To which I now say Pppfftttpppttt. The Middle costs more. If you are going to be Polite, recognize your irrelevance. If you are going to be Productive, accept you will be outcast. It is better to be tolerated out of respect, than desired out of shallowness that disappears in stress.

No more Middle for me.