We Have a Winner

When we left off yesterday, I was wrestling with two conflicting truths which were keeping me torn.  Kind of in a state of suspended animation or something.

  1. When I absolutely know I can do something about a situation, I must.
  2. In order for me to do my best work, I need rest and restoration.

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

So there I was, at the coffee shop with my friend, torn and wrestling.  Struggling between the two.

Then my friend asked this: “What if they can both be true at the same time?  What if there’s a way to structure this to ensure they can both be true?”


Now we’re talking about how to structure a solution that affirms the truth of both.  That rather than conflict, they can actually complement one another.  That includes safeguards to prevent me from overdoing it, and still allows me to contribute.  Allow me to help – just in a different way.  One that doesn’t include killing myself in the process.

I’m so energized now.  The inner conflict has been resolved.  What a relief!  All I have to do is talk with the hiring manager.  If he believes strongly that I’m the right person to help him, he’ll go for the plan.  If not, well, then I pass.  Either way I can live with it.  And I’m proud of myself for advocating on my own behalf.  Finally!  Strong back, soft front, wild heart.  Here we go, Kathleen.

I set up a time to call him.  My hands are trembling just a little as I prepare my remarks.  I tell him what a great opportunity this is.  An interesting and important project.  I appreciate his respect for my expertise.  I then tell him that I’m worn out from my previous job.  From 20+ years of being at the forefront of technology projects, with barely room to breathe in between.  And that I wouldn’t be doing either him or myself justice if I were to be involved on a day-to-day basis, even for a short time.  That I promised to give myself 3 months to recover, and planned to explore after that.

I tell him that if he’d like an advisor or consultant – one to spend a few days up front getting them started, and then meeting once a month or so – I could potentially do that.

Silence.  For a minute.  Oddly enough, I’m perfectly calm.  After all, either way this goes, I’m okay.

Then he responds: “Thank you for your honesty and transparency here.  I think that could work well.  I’m hiring a team of analysts to do the day-to-day.  I’m really looking for your guidance.”

Wow.  Here I was worried about what to do, and being honest in an environment that often doesn’t reward honesty.  Yet when I do it anyway, what do I get?  Honesty back.  Respect.  And a willingness to put our heads together to see if we can make it work.

We’re not there yet.  This might not happen.  But I learned so much already, that even if this is all that happens it was worth it.

  1. Make big decisions in writing. There’s no way to balance all important criteria in my head.  Sometimes the decision will be made clear just by writing things down.  And sometimes it will be clear there’s more work to be done to get to clarity.
  2. Surface hidden beliefs that are impacting your ability to make a decision. Otherwise, they cloud the situation, and you don’t have any idea why.
  3. When core beliefs arise that seem to lead to conflicting answers, see if you can craft a solution to make both beliefs be true.
  4. Honesty does pay. And I don’t mean not just telling a lie, but emotional honesty.  Whether it gets you the specific results you’re looking for or not, you’ll have greater respect for yourself.  Self-awareness builds trust and empathy too.

Have you ever been in this situation?  Where two truths seemed to lead to two different conclusions, and you had to choose?  Did you find a third way – one that could include both?  I’d love to learn from your experience.  Leave a comment and tell me how you did it.

And if you want a copy of my decision-making template, just shoot me an email.  Kathleen@kathleenannthompson.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • This is wonderful Kathleen! I am so pleased for you. It is something I have slowly been learning. There is a way for you to have both outcomes if you live in the tension of the ‘and’. I experienced something similar last year when I had an extended break from sick leave and then received a coaching opportunity ‘out of the blue’ that was both financially and professionally rewarding beyond anything I had otherwise thought possible. Or as F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

    • I love that quote, Sunil. I’ve heard something like it before, and didn’t know F. Scorr Fitzgerald said it. That’s a keeper for sure.

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