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Sometimes we don’t get very much validation for our work. Or, the validation we do get can make us default to the idea that we aren’t ready, good enough, or on the right track.
As a human being, I run into this kind of thinking in my own head all the time.
This week I have had multiple reminders of how important it is to bring you to the work you do. I was reminded while my coach, MJ Walsh, had a session with me. I was reminded when I gave a little pep talk email to students. And, I was reminded when I sat down to tickle the ebony and ivory keys this week on the piano.
As Dr. Suess so wisely stated, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Tune in today for some nudges to keep bringing you to your work.
Episode 136 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark Episode 136 bringing you to your work. This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? Mm hmm. Today you are you? That is truer than true. There is no one alive. Who is you er than you Dr Seuss. I’m forever grateful for dr Judith Bayless who showed me that. Dr Seuss was brilliant. I had not paid much attention to his books when I was a child. But as an adult, I appreciate many of the quotes and insights that come from these books that have quirky pictures of strange animals and beings. But I’ve learned a lot from the quotes and the quote that I just shared has been on my mind today, as I’ve been reflecting and trying to assimilate some insights that I’ve had this week as I’ve helped students work through some very difficult assignments as they learn how to use project management tools as they question their abilities to take on a new career or learn a new topic? And as I question myself on what I’m doing in my life and am I bringing together all my skills and talents in the right ways and how are my relationships going and all of these things mixing around that caused me to create meaning around those happenings and those memories. And as I was contemplating that I took a break to play on the piano. And I remembered a moment a few years ago when I was in a class where they decided they wanted to sing a song that applied to the topic that was there and I volunteered to play the piano because I knew how to play the song that they were referencing. And this song is a song I learned to play very fast because I played it for a group of young people and the person in charge of the young people said play it faster and faster. So I started to play this song really fast. So anyway, in that situation I sat down to play the song on the piano and I played it fast because my muscle memory for that song, I was just fast and after I was finished I went back to my seat and the woman that was instructing us that day made a comment about how she didn’t really like that song to be played fast. There’s a whole slew of feelings I had in that moment as I realized that I had volunteered because someone had not prepared ahead of time to have someone play that song and I happened to be in the room and I happened to know it and then I kind of got a slap, verbal slap for how I played the song. Now I thought it would be fun to share with you an excerpt from a different song from Evita and I sat down and tried to play it the way that I think people would play it. So here it goes. Mhm Yeah. Mm Yeah. Yeah. Mm Yeah. Mhm mhm Yeah. Yeah. Mhm Right. Mm. Yeah. Now if you’ve ever sat in the living room while I play the piano you may hear something very different from what I just played. I like to play fast. Doesn’t mean the songs harder, doesn’t mean I’m playing all the right notes. I just like to play fast and I like to use the pedal. And this isn’t a particularly hard song that I played from Evita. It’s called High Flying Adored but it’s a fun song to play and so I’m going to play it for you again and this time it’s a little faster and a little more raucous perhaps but not too much in my mind. What do you think? Mm Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Now it may seem kind of odd that I decided to play the piano on my move your desk podcast but as I look at how I play the piano compared to how maybe I should quote unquote play the piano according to the guidelines of the 44 time and the actual notes that are on the page which some of the notes I played on the page and some are not. So why did I want to share this? Well if you’re sitting next to me in the room you might think, why is she playing fast? Why is she not quite playing with the rhythm? It seems like she’s adding some more notes. Oh, she might have gotten those wrong. Maybe she should take her foot off the pedal. You could have all of these judgments, especially perhaps if you are a music major right? Because you’re going to find a lot of things wrong with how I play the piano, how I play the organ and how I play any string instrument. Because I kind of have my own beat going at the same time. I’m not someone you’re going to go put in a bar to play for some jazz musician or something because I am not agile enough to make up songs on the fly. But I have accompanied a lot of people over the years singing and I can adapt right? Because I can follow. I can go faster or slower depending on their needs and I can leave out some notes if I have to or maybe I’ll add a couple here and there. But that’s just me. I play it imperfectly and I partially do that because of the way I practiced. I practiced him perfectly. But I also enjoy sitting down for other reasons than to be mechanically correct. I enjoy the noise. I enjoy the tune. I enjoy thinking about some of the words as I play the piano and sometimes the people in the house are busy doing other things and they’re just glad that someone is that the piano playing it now as I referenced that I’m talking about growing up more than in the last few years because I haven’t actually had a piano in my house, so I have not provided the comfort or discomfort of piano playing to anyone. But in my mind, it was important to share this, to show that there are a lot of people that can play the piano in the world and they all play it different ways. They all bring their own special personality to the playing. Some of them are very technically correct. Some play it with lots of feeling, some add extra notes and flair to the piano playing experience. And sometimes we forget that that’s exactly what is needed. It’s for us to show up and do the thing in the way that we do it now. You could have a counter argument with me and say yes, but it probably good if you practiced it slow, it probably would be good if you practiced it in the right timing and tried to get the exact proper notes. And I agree that probably would be a great thing because once you do that, you do have more flexibility to rearrange it in different interesting ways. But sometimes we get so caught up in what we should do or what we think that we should do, that we forget to be ourselves and we forget to add our personal touch to this. I was coached about this this week with my coach, m j Walsh and she was helping me see that I can bring my talents, my skills, my authenticity, my weaknesses, my failures, all of it. I can bring all of it to my work and it will benefit those I serve and it’s what all of us can do right, nothing’s gone wrong. And what I thought was interesting is that I was struggling with emotions around this as I feel like I’ve had some failures and some things that haven’t come about that I thought would come about through my efforts and I’m still working on it. And as I was struggling through these emotions, I was dealing with over 100 students that we’re dealing with the same thing. Oh, surprisingly, and I was getting frustrated when I was reading their comments because so many of them wanted to drop out of their class, so many of them wanted to give up because they thought they weren’t good enough because they couldn’t figure out how to connect tasks on a spreadsheet, essentially. That’s that’s what it was. I couldn’t figure out what an assignment was really asking, were worried that if I can’t figure out the critical path of this project that I’m going to be a no good project manager and there are so many assignments related to these scheduling techniques and figuring out how to order tasks on a project and how much time it’s going to take and how much it’s going to cost, that a lot of people seem to feel like they’re not good enough to be a project manager and some of these students are architects, others are engineers, others want to be project managers, some are in the tech field, in some areas, some are in audio and visual arts and design. I mean there’s a whole wide range of people from around the world and as I saw their comments and thought my word, why are these smart people so discouraged? I realized by looking at the course that no wonder they’re discouraged because all of their seeing is a focus on learn this tool, learn how to budget and organized tasks and if not, you’re not going to earn enough points to pass this course. And so I sat back and thought, okay, how many projects have I really managed in my life? And as I counted them up, I realized, you know what, I have actually managed over 300 projects in work settings, Right? That’s not counting your personal life projects that you have, it’s not counting all the volunteer work I’ve done where I’ve had to manage projects, granted, it was heavily focused on creating classroom experiences and blended learning and online learning experiences and websites and digital products. But still it was project management principles. And as I thought about it, I thought, wait a second. What were the most important skills that I brought to the table? Was it really my ability to put a schedule in Microsoft Excel or in Microsoft project? Was it really my ability to be able to maneuver business systems and learning management systems. Was it really my ability to create an awesome schedule? Like mm I don’t think that’s what it is because you can always find someone to help you with that. That’s really good with that. Should you still learn it? Absolutely. It’s part of what helps you think better and more clearly when you understand some of the tools and techniques that are used. But I sent an email to the students and I wanted to share with you some of the other things identified as I reflected on this, what is most important your ability to listen and ask questions to clarify what people want. Your ability to communicate with individuals and teams, your ability to respect people and their opinions in difficult situations. It doesn’t matter if they are the President, Director, engineer, janitor secretary or project manager, I’ll get the same respect. You desire to figure out how to solve problems, your commitment to do what you need to do to get a job done. Even if it seems hard, your desire to understand others points of view, your desire to learn your desire to help people, your curiosity, your willingness to try different approaches and solutions. Even if sometimes you fail in the attempt, your willingness to be wrong, your ability to say, I don’t know how to do that and then adding, but I am willing to try to figure it out. Your ability to make decisions, your ability to forgive and work through challenging situations, your willingness to acknowledge anyone that helps move the work forward, your gratitude, your willingness to work together. Even when people are angry, frustrated, embarrassed and want to give up and I asked them who has these skills and I said all of you, some are more experienced than others, but you all have pieces and parts of these skills and it doesn’t matter that you come to learning something new from different experiences and with different skill levels because you get to bring all of that with you if you want, you bring your attributes, your experiences, your skills, your authenticity and there will be no other project manager in the world that offers what you offer in the way that you offer it right? You’re the only one, some of you are going to do it in ways that your employer doesn’t like and you get to choose what you need to change and what you really want to keep about yourself. And in that process you’ll realize, oh, maybe I just need a different employer, they don’t appreciate what I have to offer. Other times you’ll realize, wait a second, this is an area I want to personally develop, not just for this boss or this job, I want to develop this because this is a skill I can take with me wherever I go. This is an attribute that will serve me in whatever capacity I operate in in life you get to decide and I love that I had to be coached on this this week. I love that when I sat down at the piano, I was like, you know, I can play this really slow and focus on making every note correct or I can play it really fast because I feel like there’s energy in this because this song is about someone that’s talking about how they rose to fame so quickly and so easily and then it kind of drops off at the end. I can play it however I want to when I’m alone, I can play it however I want to when I’m with other people and some may like it and some may not, I can choose to play it in a way that I know the listeners will love and that could be different than the way I play it, but maybe I want to play it just for them in a certain way I get to choose. And I think that if we focus on being authentic to ourselves, that we will bring that authenticity to others and they will feel it. They may not like our kind of authenticity, but most people will honor it and go, you know what, that’s not my kind of deal, but I love that they are fully stepping into who they are not in a way to try to offend others or try to prove a point that they’re just showing up authentic to themselves. Because when we remember that no one else is us, we can work on ourselves in ways that help us offer up our best work and trust that somehow in that process we will be connected to those who need our help and we will help them. I received a couple of emails after I sent my email from students that said, oh thank you. I needed this today because I was feeling so inferior. I was feeling like I could not do this. And most of the people that emailed me are people that are doing very well. But our second guessing themselves something resonated with them from my message. And perhaps the reason it resonated is because it came from someone who understands feeling that way. And as I was coached, I realized I can honor these hard things I go through. I can honor my quirks. I can honor that. I play the piano too fast and maybe I need to learn how to slow down on some things. But I can also honor the fact that I understand immediately some of the thoughts that are shared with me because I have felt them too. And it seems so unbelievable when I hear it from others. And yet I will believe it when I tell it to myself. So this is an opportunity for me to take a look at myself and go, You are willing to help others understand that their authenticity is important and all of their experiences are valuable to whatever they’re learning right now. But are you providing that same respect to yourself? Because you’re a human being too, and you are also trying to move forward and make the best decisions and excel in whatever you’re doing just because you want to, just because you want to offer your best to the world. Okay, my friends, this is a nudge to encourage you to remember that. The best thing you can do is bring you to your work and that isn’t as easy as it sounds. It may take a while to figure out who you are, but I encourage you to keep experimenting. Keep exploring and acknowledge all of the experiences you’ve had in your past, because they all give you wisdom. If you choose to find the wisdom and you can bring that to whatever is next. Okay, I hope you have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it. I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at move your desk dot com. Mm