Have you ever had those “we can save the world if they just listen to us” conversations with your friends?
In my 20s it was after work in the bar. Lots of talk, but not usually much action. Until one day we either remembered the next day or decided enough talk more action. The next day I walked in to my bosses office and ask a simple question.
“What can I do over the next five years to advance in this company”.
Enough talk. I wanted a plan.
Now I had built a solid professional relationship with this boss. It was a fair conversation and well received. The answer took me by surprise.
Nothing. Just sit in your chair and do your job.
What? With a respectful nod, I responded to him with kindness. “I am looking for more. I just want to let you know I will be putting out my resume. I will be gone in one year. Thank you for your honesty. ”
This is a man I respected, worked long hours to accommodate deadlines, and admired his family oriented spirit. The decision, the culture, the process was not up for debate.
I love discussion time. The intellectual back-and-forth exchange of ideas and information has always appealed to me. But how does that work when great discussion leads to decisions in which we disagree?
In working with teams of people, often I give the discussion vs. decision speech. They are two very different things. For a while now there has been much discussion but the decision was already made so it was out of turn. Out of turn discussion is simply opinion. You know what “they” say about opinions.
I didn’t discuss with my boss the ridiculous of “time in” vs. mentoring and career track plans. The decision was established long before I had walked through that door. It was not my battle to fight. I had a choice. Stay and hope that in 5 years my time in meant something or go and take action to move.
Silence, reverence, and lack of discussion is sometimes the greatest superpower we have in seasons in which decisions do not go our way.
Earlier this week, we posted on how we here at ETC do not condone judgement, assumptions, or comparisons. They are opinions. Discussions out of season. They are hurtful and serve no purpose except to make ourselves feel better. It usually has the opposite effect.
My mentor once looked at the team and said, “It is decision time. Get behind it or there is the door. ” We choose to get on board (or leave). We need unity in decision time.
Leaving that company turned out to be the best personal and professional decision. It did not required a long discussion on the wrongs of a company culture. It did require a decision on my part.
Late night “save the world” discussions have melted away to lengthy coffee dates to save the world in a different way. Now three hours can pass with coffee, kids playing, and building relationships and I see the purpose of “saving the world” in a different light.
Love comes by building one relationship at a time. My new battlefield is the coffeehouse. The Red Cup Season for me is relief in a rainy, grey climate. Cozy warmth when you think you will never see the sun again. Or hugging (getting hugs) a friend in a difficult season.
I choose to be thankful to have these wonderful conversations with friends. We do not always see eye to eye. We may differ on how to save the world. Love is always the answer.
The Red Cup controversy with Starbucks is a perfect analogy. I have had people ask if I will stop going there without my red cup. It was the sign of a season. It was a happy light to the grey Seattle that parks itself in November.
Discussion time is over. I do not need to email or call or tweet, lamenting that my red cup is gone. It is the recognition that the foundation is still good. The vessel serves its’ purpose. Starbucks spends an amazing amount of energy talking about what the cup will be each year. But the decision is done.
Decision time can take on many forms in our daily lives. It will look different as we each choose how we take our thankfulness journey. My desire is that we all “get on board” the journey to find thankfulness in those that live with us, around us, and under our leadership.
Last year, during the height of red cup discussion time, we were in and out of hospital and doctor’s offices. I did not wish for opinions. We sought information and viable facts. We are thankful for those that are skilled to provide it. We had a long road but we are out of it today because we have found our journey has brought us knowledgeable and skilled medical professionals. We can move forward.
There will always be hours of “save the world” conversations. It is my favorite part of girl-time with my friends. What in your life is like the red cup? Are you stuck on discussion time?
I am thankful for discussion time. However, as much as we discuss what it should be, how it was, remember when, and only if….I’m thankful for the foundation to move forward.
This month, I challenge you to be thankful for what was and find a friend to help you move to what will be. Even when we do not like the decisions that impact our lives, sometimes it is the ones we do not like that propel us forward.
Is there a decision you can be thankful for in your current season?