I don’t know about your grandparents, but mine were/are amazing! I dare say – the best. They were/are kind, loving, and hilarious (my grandpa passed but grandma is still kicking it). One of the things they loved to say was “shit or get off the pot“. Usually this was said because I was taking too long to decide which card to play in Rummy or Euchre (#itsanindianathing). When I woke up this morning that was the first thing that popped into my head…shit or get off the pot.
Believe it or not, I tend to lean towards being a people pleaser. Don’t let the fact that I’m typically very direct in my communication and quick to share a response or make a decision throw you. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about your feelings or aren’t trying to find a way for everyone to win. It actually stems from this propensity to please that I don’t want a misunderstanding to result because I beat around the bush, used flowery language, or allowed too much time to pass before getting back to someone. Like my grandparents said, “shit or get off the pot”. Say it as simply as possible and do so as quickly as possible. Don’t let time or people languish.
At same time, though, I’m learning the importance of balance in both my directness and knee jerk responses. I’ve not ever been one to pass on an opportunity when presented so when a dear friend asked me to consider going into business with him, it was hard to not say “yes” on the spot. But something in my gut made me take pause so I agreed to consider the offer…and to sit with it for a while (Day 7).
Part of the excitement of working together was how much my friend enjoyed the work he was doing. You could see it on his face and hear it in his voice when he talked about his business. Another part of my interest was that I’d been encouraging him for years. I could see the potential – whether he always could or not – and I wanted so badly for him to succeed that I thought I could help him do so. I was also excited at the prospect of trying something new…of being creative in an entirely different way. And if I’m really honest, it was a way for us to continue to share in each other’s lives. All positives, right? No…something didn’t feel right.
As I was continuing to ponder the offer, I volunteered to help my friend prep for a weekend long workshop. It would be a way for me to test the waters of working together without a commitment and without having to figure out all the details of what our partnership would entail. It relieved pressure for both of us.
Because it was his first workshop, there were a lot of details to figure out. And because it was his name on the marquee, it was hard for me to jump in and do anything without running everything past him first…so eventually I stopped trying to help, realizing that constantly asking was making just as much – if not more – work for him.
Then came the big weekend. I had committed to attend the entire event so he had back up and support for whatever he needed. And I was a champ! When he got anxious or overwhelmed, I calmed him down and stepped up so he could find his center again. It felt like we were going to make a good team. But still…something didn’t feel right.
I started to notice that to his clients he talked about me like I was his business partner yet to the outside world there was no mention of my involvement. Workshop photos didn’t include me…in fact, I was usually asked to take the photos. But if I did happen to be in one, those weren’t publicly shared. When we would go out at the end of each day’s session, he’d check in but I was left out of the tag. I chalked it up to the fact that it was his first big event and there was too much on his mind to consider how I might be feeling. But still, it didn’t feel good.
The event was a success. Could there have been more attendees? Sure. But it was his first event and the feedback was all incredibly positive. He left on a high and I left feeling a bit low. I sat with this for quite a while…much longer than I intended because I was trying to sort through his behavior and my emotions. Why did he do or not do certain things…what was I expecting…what would my preferred outcome have been? It didn’t matter – none of it mattered – because I was still left with how I felt.
After quite a bit of thoughtful consideration it was finally time to shit or get off the pot. Despite all my excitement for him and wanting to be a part of his endeavor…ok, his life…it was time to decline the offer. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t find a scenario where it would feel right. Where I’d be an equal member on his team. Where I’d feel recognized for my contributions. Signing up would mean agreeing to be a supporting character in a one man show (yah, that’s right…the math doesn’t work). That’s not the type of production I want to be a part of.
This journey – my journey – is about accountability, truth, empowerment, and enlightenment. It’s about shining the light on all the good and the bad and being proud of simply trying. It’s about taking action and taking names. It’s about lifting up all those in my life…as well as myself.
To my friend, if you happen to read this, I wish you much success. I’ll be cheering you on from the audience.
And to my grandparents, thank you for the sage advice.
Day 5 in Key West 🙂