Day 2 came to a close at about 10pm last night. It was today a long day that started with a 6:30am breakfast. I was so tired after I got back that I couldn’t even think or type last night.
I did try, but after about three sentences, I realized I was worthless so I shut it down and watched a mindless movie called “Fever Pitch” which, in some ways, was appropriate (gasp) since I am in Red Sox country! I fell asleep before the end so if anyone out there has ever seen it, please let me know what the conflict was and how it was resolved. I assume the Barrymore character started to fall for the polished exec but then the Red-Sox loving boy man somehow wins her back …
Anyway, as I lay there watching the movie, my mind drifted in and out reflecting on Day 2. Again, the familiar silence in the car loomed over me, but it dawned on me why this bothers me so much. How I came to that conclusion was the result of our second meeting that day.
Our second meeting was with two gentlemen. One was well into his forties, maybe even into his fifties. He was a polished dude with lots to say. For every topic that came up, he had a name or he knew someone who knew someone. But, unlike most namedroppers, this gent seemed legit as if he actually had some experience and knew what he was talking about.
The second dude did not talk as much during the meeting until we got toward the end. He then started talking about how they could do this and that and how they were excited to get started on some ideas and such.
Me, I sat there in silence for much of the meeting. Frankly, I had no idea what these guys did or why we were even talking to them, but I listened intently and chimed in when I could with support information for my CEO. The significant part of this was I assumed the polished, namedropping, older gentleman was in charge. Partly because of his age and dress (he wore a nice blazer with a fancy silk handkerchief sticking out of the left breast pocket) but mostly because he seemed to dominate the conversation. His domination, however, was more decorative with comments like “I know the owner there” or “do you know so and so” or “have you met so and so” followed by “oh you haven’t well I will introduce” you and so on and so forth.
At the end, when it came to substance, I started to see things differently. I began thinking the younger guy was in charge. When we finally did the obligatory card exchange, I came to see that the younger guy was the boss, the owner of the company! Good God, this kid can’t be more than 30 and I don’t even think he was yet 28! Here I am nearly 40, a slave, if you will and not even able to contribute to the meeting and I had to come to the realization that I am being upstaged by a 20-something.
The result of all this is simply that I found myself feeling inadequate … really … and thinking like I know I am not dumb, I am a hard worker, and all that so how is it that I am so far behind the curve? How is it that approaching 40 I am at the mercy of someone and I am constantly made to feel as if my ideas (the few that I have) suck and always afraid to offer input for fear of being made to feel like an idiot because I never seem to see the obvious? In short, I always feel like I am a naïve 20something wherever we go, whatever situation we are in. It’s not a good felling, let me tell you.
All of these thoughts were swirling around in my head, but not consciously mind you; rather, very subconsciously. How do I know this? Well, first of all, I really did not ponder this in great detail until I started writing this morning, but second of all, I dreamt all night about being fired! Yep, all night. I woke up 3-4 times and every time I fell back asleep, my mind went back to the dream.
I say a dream but I really mean it was a nightmare. The premises of this blog is to break free by the time I reach 40 so you may be thinking, isn’t being free from the tyranny of working for someone what you want? I do, but under my own terms. Under my own success so I can say, “I did it on my own, I am capable of creating my own destiny and making a path for myself while impacting and influencing others!” Certainly not by being fired especially when losing my job would throw my life into a tailspin both economically and emotionally.
Look, I want to be on my own, making money doing what I love while impacting and influencing others, but right now it’s a dream. Right now, I need to be realistic. And to be perfectly clear, I love what I do and I respect and appreciate my boss immensely. He is a brilliant guy and I have learned a ton from him and hope to learn more.
Bottom line is that it is about growth and appreciating every moment. It’s about taking a situation like yesterday where I felt inadequate and learning from it and turning it into a positive, realizing you do have something to offer and not everyone, even your boss, who is obviously a genius does not get it right 100% of the time.
In fact, as the day wrapped up, he made a suggestion to a client that I cringed at. A blunder that had I made it, he would have made a federal case out of it. I thought of telling him on the car ride back to the hotel but I decided to brush it under the rug. Hopefully, the two beers the client had will cloud his memory and it won’t come up. But possibly I owe it to my boss to remind him and make sure he is prepared for when it does come up.
Either way, it made me realize, we are all human and we all bleed the same, breath the same and have the same basic needs and desires. In the end, we are separated by our God-given talents and abilities. We all have some unique quality to offer the world. Now, I must cultivate mine because I know what it is but it is a raw ore that needs to be mined and refined into a polished metal ready for market.
Day 3 is about to begin. First a quick workout. Then breakfast followed by two meetings. After that, I have a long drive by myself with lots of reflection time. If only I could write while I drive!