21 January 2010

biting my tongue

Ahh impulse control.
The challenge of not turning red, not saying the very first thing that comes to mind, not reacting,
Yes, once again I am addressing this issue of reactivity and urgent response.

I am trying to learn to wait, to breathe, to decide.

But man oh man, my most dysfunctional relationship is at work these days, and all my most ragged edges snag here almost every day, my insecurities, my codependence, my jealousy and my reactionary sloth... I am not proud of any of it. It is all I can do to be neutral in my self here.

I have had a while now of good internal work-- waiting, breathing, good responses, relative calm. But today? Today is all backwash and backlash and regression. A tired boss, a tired kate, shitty communication I cannot solve one-sided, and I feel so ineffectual and uncomfortable. It is days like these I want to run out of here. I know I cannot. It would be a disaster.

But why does personal growth have to be so darn random it its path? Stumble stumble, skinned knee, concussion.

I get/got all used to feeling better, feeling more settled, more calm, more competent. But today it I have had to bring myself back over and over and finally found myself sitting here feeling teary and beaten.

NOT my highest and best.

But the reason I wanted to post is this: so much of my impulse control is internal-- not what I say out side, but what I say to myself--and then how that makes me feel.

What if I tried to interrupt that process too? Again, easier when the stakes are lower, or the pace is slower, very very hard when reactive in general.
Yesterday I spent a while biting my "mental" tongue, shushing myself, reframing. Today I am having shitty luck with that but I still think the idea is sound and the effort is worth it.

So I guess I wanted to reiterate to myself that what I am trying is worthy-- this idea of waiting both outside and inside, for a moment before responding. I am sucking at it today, but that does not mean it is not worthwhile.


to reclaim my mood and make it good, here are some things I am really good at (not meant to be a comprehensive anything, just a top of my mind list):

listening and hearing what people mean as well as what they say, and asking questions to clarify
translating between people of different technical backgrounds or communication styles
asking what if questions
seeing things that might be stumbling blocks, areas worth attending to, concerns, potential outcomes
looking for the middle way, and not just This or That
generating alternatives
taking a 15 minute interview and making an article out of it
taking two sentences or ideas and making a press release out of it
having an immediate ability to instinctively know a bad idea when I hear it (politics for example)
noticing details
appreciating nature
being body still and mind busy
jamming on other people's ideas
grasping technical issues quickly
helping someone past a roadblock
sharing something I love
teaching small groups something I know well and care about
making people feel good
yoga and stretching
proofreading other people's work for typos, NOT PUNCTUATION. I suck at that.
pattern matching of almost any kind, like finding four leaf clovers.
learning how other people think, their workstyle, what makes them happy, and trying to use that knowledge to make better and more productive work groups
I love problem solving.
I like being liked and appreciated

things I also love but may not be quite as good at:
playing in photoshop
looking at and through images (flickr! whoo hoo!)
painting/making a mess of things with words and images and other things on some flat surface (flat so far!)

things I am:
enthusiastic, creative, involved, supportive, curious, out-of-the-box, patient but lively, eager to please (darn it but there is good there too, there is), intuitive, introverted (not anti social, just need time to recharge after interactions and sustained interactions tire me out even if they are great!)

I am choosing not to write a list of things I do not like since this day has been full of that enough already and I have no desire to attract more.

Ok internet, I would love to brainstorm with you.
Notice I did not include my education or professional background although I hinted at "technical" and have mentioned engineering in the past.
I am curious that with these qualities and what you know of me from here, what kinds of things might I consider as alternatives? I am much better at making them for other people than I am making them for myself.
Ideas? feel free to share. Delurk and be anonymous if you wish, that would be great.
See? I feel better already.


Michele said...

I've got to be honest. I have an Irish temper and I often say things that, had I waited a few minutes, I wouldnt have said... Good for you for taking it head on!

alyssa said...

being a college professor? lots of good schools in your neck of the woods. aren't you an inch away from that PhD?

sprogblogger said...

Oh I'm sorry you're day sucked so bad. I hate it when the people you're working with and the situations you're in drain you instead of boosting you up. As far as the next step in your professional life - I'm the last person to ask. Went back to school, and was happier in school than I have been before or since. I second Alyssa - I've thought that Prof would be a pretty sweet job title - and with the writing and the teaching? Might be a nice match. Or at least a nice change.

Thinking of you, wishing it were easier - your job situation sounds yucky, and damn, like you need more going on right now. Grrr!

Kate said...

I've got to start putting my responses on a time-delay as well. Love the way you describe it as impulse control and interrupts.

I have no good tips on what careers would be good. I'm just not creative with that sort of thing. For me it was engineering, then med school. But I am curious to know what you currently do. Sounds like you're a multi-talented person in many ways though. Hope you find an exciting new direction for your life if a new career will make you happier.

robin said...

Something where you talk with people. Where you use your gift of words and patience to help them or help them heal. Something in the way of coaching or counseling or teaching but in some sort of alternative way... I say, a healer of some sort... As a (quiet) follower I think that I sort of think of your blog as something healing (to me), so I guess this is why I say this.

On days like that, I have learned that sometimes I just have to go to bed and start over the next day. (and it actually works!).

B. said...

I know it's been said a million times that "if you do what you love, you'll never have to 'work' a day in your life," but I'm skeptical about that. If you do what you love for a living, there's a chance that 'working' at it might eventually make you detest it. That said, I agree with Robin. I think you'd be a great counselor or mediator- taking opposing sides or ideas and finding common ground for compromise; making people feel heard and understood.

My hokey suggestion?- Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open and an opportunity will appear that you hadn't previously considered. But it'll feel right, and you'll know as soon as you start down a new path that you've made the right change. It's worked for me. Good luck! with everything!

alyssa your whorish friend said...

if i could hire you kate i would. YOU would motivate my laze ass to get up in the morning.

Dirk said...

I'm an Engineer too. That's not relevant, but there it is anyway.

I was fired about 18 months ago, and decided to go on a search for my dream job. I combined it with a writing project (your can read that here).

Part of the process was doing all the exercises in the job hunting book "What Color Is Your Parachute". It helped me create a very non-traditional one page resume. Your a writer, the process might work well for you. If I can answer any questions about it please contact me. Good luck finding your dream job.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Kate – first, it is so completely cool that you can write down a list of some of the things you’re good at like that. And what a fantastic list. I don’t know you well enough to presume but I think you should add curious and open. It’s my own bias, but I see curiosity and openness as things that create a lot of options. I have three stories to tell. One. Someone I used to work with left to help an environmental group open (well, first she had to help finish raising the money) a new environmental education center. For a while she did everything – soup to nuts, including figuring out what the classes should be and designing them and delivering them for a while. It has turned into an amazing place and such a fulfilling job -- it’s basically in the city and they take a lot of kids outside in a way that those kids otherwise wouldn’t get to go. I guess what I mean is there’s a whole bunch of flavors of work out there that combine teaching and sharing with things like your keen powers of observation and connection with the natural world.

Second. I know someone who just finished a program to become a life coach and is starting up her coaching practice and I think she loves it. Really. She went to school for this in some amazing program the name of which I now can’t remember but if you’re interested I’ll find out.

Finally, I once used to spend a lot of time with someone who writes magazine articles and stuff like that (well, books too, but it was the magazine articles that always interested me); all non-fiction. Freelance stuff. His niche is mostly in an area related to some particular experiences he’d had and skills, and then he broadened it to other sort of related interests. Anyway, you could be a foreign correspondent. Or domestic. Or write for the New Yorker. Whatever. How neat, I think, to see some part of the world in some particular way and then find out more about it by talking to people, and then to share it through writing. I always thought he had the best job ever.

Thanks so much as always for your kind comments on the Liam blog – I so look forward to hearing from you. I hope you’re enjoying a weekend where you are fully and effortlessly tapped into your best self. . .With love,


IF Optimist, then... said...

First of all, sorry that I was off the map for a few days. Hope your weekend is going well and that this trouble was mostly just transitory. A bad, shitty day. We all have them. That being said, I'm here to shove my foot into my big fat mouth...

All of the ideas to start on a new career path are interesting and awesome and such but...

What is your current #1 goal?

Is it to be more satisfied in your career? Is it to earn more money? Is it to be a published novelist? Is it to start your family in the next year?

I'd say start with your #1 priority GOAL and then work toward that. If you think you can work on two goals at once, then great, but don't bite off too many things that the same time.

You Kate, are an extraordinary and talented person. I know that you can achieve what you put your mind to. Now it's time to dig deep and decide what is the first thing to set your mind upon.