Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder put together a program to help business artists plan for 2015 in an unusual way. Quest 2015 consists of a community of people and prompts that are sent out for people to respond to 12 times during the month of December. Part of the community building is through sharing blog posts, so I will be posting more frequently between now and the end of my reflections. After the 12 reflection posts, I’ll be back to my regular, irregular posting schedule.
The third prompt for reflection in Quest 2015 comes from Michael Bungay-Stanier.
Who are you willing to disappoint or offend or upset or abandon… for the sake of the Great Work that’s calling you for your best 2015?
The reason psychopaths succeed as politicians and corporate leaders is they have no difficulty answering “everybody who gets in my way” to this question. On the other hand, many people stay stuck before the get started on their Great Work because they answer “nobody.”
For a long time, I wasn’t willing to disappoint, offend, or upset anyone who offered me love that seemed in any way conditional, whether they were friends or family. The cost was that whenever my needs conflicted with theirs, I suffered. These days, I am willing to disappoint or upset anyone if I believe my health and happiness depend on it. In many cases, I am willing to do the work necessary to maintain a healthy relationship that include disappointment and people being upset with each other.
The trickier question is who am I willing to abandon. There is no Great Work calling me that is worth abandoning my children. That is my one clear bottom line. Beyond that, there are some people I know I must abandon, people who are actively hindering my ability to do my most important work. These people, I am willing to abandon without hesitation.
But what about people who are preventing me doing my work without getting actively in my way. I do not want to actively abandon them. But, I must be willing to set boundaries with them to protect the time and energy I need for my work. And, if they will not respect those boundaries, I must be willing to let the relationships go. I will be tested as each case presents itself individually, but I believe I am ready and willing to abandon that which does not support me.
My intention is to serve my work in 2015 and to curate my life in service to my children and my work.
Banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident,” Michael Bungay Stanier has since found more productive ways to direct his creative defiance. He is author of numerous books, including Do More Great Work (with 90,000 copies sold) and End Malaria, a collection of articles about Great Work from thought leaders that has raised about $400,000 for Malaria No More. He is founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company devoted to helping organizations do less Good Work and more Great Work. Their Fortune 500 clients include TD Bank, Kraft, Gartner, and VMWare.