Thursday, February 1, 2007

Tough Times Don't Last

I love quotes. For a very long time I've reflected on them for motivation and inspiration. There is however, a love/hate relationship with quotes and trite "pick me up" statements that don't mean much at all. I remain amazed at the number of people who ask "how are you doing?" and frankly don't even care. Those people are traditionally gone before you can even utter a polite response. I digress. One of the statements that creates conflict for me... is Tough Times Don't Last....Tough People Do.

That brings me to today. I had the opportunity to chat with a friend of mine, and we have had our share of tough times. Lately, we've been going through a really rough patch. I guess I didn't know how rough - however, until tonight. We were going through our traditional set of talking points - husband, children, work, professional aspirations, Christian character and the like when my friend suggested the unthinkable. "I got a call from somebody today about that idea we had a year ag0 - she wants to talk about partnering." The words stung a bit - a combination of the reality check about our inaction - coupled with the idea of compromising our promise - for current, real, urgent - NEEDS.

It may sound like the suggestion was light, collegial even, but I was just pushed out of my mind. I may sound a bit crazed even. I could rant about how someone who doesn't even speak on a half regular basis wants to now "collaborate" on any topic to build women. I could even digress on the new tendency to spur workshops, trainings and motivational seminars from women who lack transparency and honesty in such a way that people leave feeling like they have to have it all to be successful. The pursuit of the S on the chest of the American woman continues to be a myth that I no longer subscribe to. Can women have it all????? Sure, and you can die pursuing it. But that isn't what I'm writing about. Maybe next post.

I was caught off guard that my friend had been driven to consider a partnership with someone who has failed to demonstrate some of the core values that we hold. This isn't a statement about my friend - it is a statement about hard times. Tough times will make you look at options you would never otherwise consider. If you aren't careful, tough times can define you in ways that erase who you are at your core. It happens slowly, one crisis at a time, one experience at a time, one challenge after another. I know it all too well.

Tough people last, but do they last in the same condition? Can they preserve their fierce nature, their creativity, their lease on life - in the midsts of severe crisis? Maybe. I guess we are in the middle of that test. I will only speak for myself, I am in the midst of that test. In difficult times I have to guard against what I am willing to do in order to succeed. Hanging by a thread, there are times when I will consider a consulting client or a project that I would otherwise avoid. The cost of self-employment is pricey for many reasons - not the least of which is selling yourself. My product is me. My training ability, my speaking ability, my experience in development and when you look at the common denominator - its me. At the end of the day, my ability to last during tough times has to be centrally connected to both who I am and who I aspire to be.

I aspire to have such a level of integrity that I wouldn't partner with anyone who I didn't respect. I mean really respect. I aspire to be the person who fully lives the lessons I teach and train. Sometimes I fall short. I aspire to be the type of friend and business colleague that looks conflict in the face and is able to see a clear vision for resolution. I aspire to be so tuned into God and what He has planned for my life - that I do not waiver or linger in things that are not for me. What God has for me I know that it is for me. In the mean time, I need to last in a way that serves a greater good. I wish there was payment associated with figuring out how to last - authentically.

Either it will get figured out - or my friend is going to fire me. She unfortunately, got the full rant. Partnering with perfect people that really aren't - PUUUUUUHHHHHHHLEEASSSSSSSSSSSSSE.
Tough people last. TOGETHER.

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