Ship30for30 Day 4 - There are times to give up
There are times to give up
Ryan Holiday says, “what stands in the way becomes the way.”
What stood in my way during 2020 turned into an exercise in the futility of overcoming an obstacle that could not be moved with perspective, leverage, or time.
I learned a valuable lesson through the futility: know when the time comes to cut off a failing course and change tacks.
Disclaimer: My story is my brief interpretation of the events. Everyone is welcome to their own perspective on the events.
Remember the scene in Office Space when Peter says to the therapist: “…every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”
Every day of 2020 felt like the worst day of my life.
Every workday I would swipe off my alarm, and stare at the ceiling, hoping a meteor would obliterate everything instead of having to deal with the silent treatment.
It started when a catalyst turned a normal job into Office Space. The catalyst was one person consistently setting me up to fail when I asked for help. I’d ask for help, they’d give me an answer, then their answer would immediately blow up into a major issue, and they’d swoop in to take over the situation. This rapidly escalated into systematic invalidation from the catalyst, resulting in me being told I was a bad communicator and I needed to learn to communicate better.
I accept I’m not the greatest communicator and I have plenty of room for improvement in all areas of my life. With me being pointed out as the problem, I committed to learning to be a better communicator and work through the issues.
I devoured all I could get my hands on – books, podcasts, talks, and classes – oh the classes…I could have bought an extremely nice car for the money I spent on classes. I practiced, tested, and evaluated all the skills I could to break through the silence and unresponsiveness.
Active listening . . .nothing
Compastionate curosity . . .nothing
Tactical empathy. . . .nothing
Flexing communciation styles. . .nothing
Every skill felt like it was disappearing into a black hole. I kept at it. Every day. Week after week. Driving myself deeper into burnout and depression to find an answer. I could see the new skills were hugely effective interacting with other people and other teams, but the team was still unresponsiveness.
After close to a year of throwing myself into the emotional gladiator arena, I learned the most important lesson: when to give up.
I learned, there is no shame in giving up and walking away from people who are making you worse.