I walk to the coffee table and take a seat.
She is seated right in front of me. Elegant, beautiful, poised. Well dressed, well mannered and always knows how to comfort people and trouble shoot all of their problems. She makes their worries her own, and comes up with creative solutions to their problems. I wonder if anyone asks her what bothers her. What keeps her awake at night. She is such a giver, does anyone give to her? Maybe I should.
She is honest and sincere and speaks her mind. Her words and intentions are often misunderstood. Not wanting to create drama, she recedes like the waves from the shore and back to her own self. How can I draw her back out, I wonder?
She always does the right thing because she is aligned with her creator, even if it is painful emotionally. Does she do the right things for her own self, I wonder?
She wears so many hats. She seems to have lost herself under the weight of these hats. Behind that smile is some anxiety and pain, I can tell. Do I really know her that well, I ask myself. Maybe it is time I sit down and talk to her and be the friend I need to be.
Not wanting to be rude, I speak up first. The following is my conversation with her.
Me: Hey, what’s up. How have you been?
Her: Hi. I am good, how are you?
Me: Fine. So, tell me what have you been upto? It has been so long.
Her: True that. I have been ok. Riding out the ups and downs of life like everybody else.
Me: Hmm. Tell me more, what is on your mind?
Her: Well, I had this employee for 3 years and had to let her go this week.
Me: Why? I thought you were somehow making it work with Anna. You even have her a raise without her asking for it. How did it come down to this?
Her: Well, I was somehow making it work. I overlooked a lot of missteps on her part and thought she might do better on her own. Whenever I gave her constructive feedback, she became furious and misbehaved. I swallowed my pride even though I was her employer and let it pass. But then, this week she did something that was a safety hazard. It put everyone’s life at risk and was unpardonable. So, I had to let her go.
Me: Wow. Must have been something. Sorry to hear. How do you feel? Have you found a replacement yet?
Her: I have not found a replacement yet but I have started the process. I think the thought of letting her go was making me uncomfortable and I just ignored the warning signs that were flashing at me like neon lights. It had to be done and I did it. That is that. I have been good to her , paid her well, given her allowances and fat bonuses. In my mind, I have not done anything wrong, so I do not feel bad. I am ok. My heart is ok. I am ok in my soul.
Me: Glad to hear that. I am so happy for you.
Her: Hey, thanks for asking and listening. I felt good talking to you. This conversation gave me some clarity. We should do this more often.
As you might have guessed, I am having a conversation with myself. When was the last time you sat down to get to know yourself? We have 1-1s with our managers, employees, and everyone else. How about ourselves? Unless we know ourselves well, how can we love ourselves?
To love someone, you need to know them well. To know them well, you need to spend time with them. My advice to everyone reading this – get to know thyself. Trust me – it is cathartic and one of the best investments you will ever make.