It's May 31, nearly 7 months since my last post, and whether you believe or not; I have been working non-stop in a situation that feels like I'm a character in the Game of Thrones. If I had to pick one, I'd say 'Arya Stark'. If you know her character well and circumstances- she is in over her head, but she is still a Stark. She has a mission to get vengeance, but she isn't strong enough to simply do it, rather she is making due with the situation, taking risks where she can, and most of all preparing and giving herself options. But to emphasis, she is always in deep shit and always on the verge of being ended, it's day to day survival.
In the 7 months, I managed to completely fail supporting TL Knowhow, and even our community in general, even though I did get to some PMs here and there; and even those who I consider my closest support and friends, I've basically cut off all contact with everyone as I've tried to work this project out. This isn't my obsession, and I've come to understand, its not for survival either- as to why I am in the situation I'm in. But really, I had nothing left for anyone except for my wife and kids and this project, even myself, I felt as though I was just an empty shell of the man I was- not that I had even any time to think about it.
GIVING UP THE 'GOOD FIGHT'
So, I'm nearly there, but not really there. Much like Arya, most things don't work out, but the things that do, keep things moving. Because what I'm doing isn't simple; it dependent upon a host of things, all working together, moving together and my objective isn't any less grand.
I mostly write about how I'm sucking it up and fighting the good fight. And my writing, for the most part, is a way for me to reset myself and take stock. I like to share with others, but most of all, I feel as though I have this on my mind and I just want to get it out of my system to see if I'm over-reacting or being a whiny pussy or legitimately in that place.
About 2 months ago, I stopped fighting the good fight. I realized I couldn't win/survive that way. You fight the good fight, hoping that the cavalry will arrive, but how long can you just react and retrench when you pretty much know that giant eagles aren't gonna come and carry you away. I stopped fighting to survive and to took a complete reset. But it took about a month to completely reset and get to the mental position I was before.
TO NOT BEND THE KNEE
I think the one thing that makes Arya, much better than me is, she never forgets she is Arya Stark, in the sense that she does what she has to do, but she never lets others completely dictate her path. To accommodate others, I lost that sense of myself, that the project was worth more than my worth, that no sacrifice was too great. But the sacrifice is always too great when you put your self-worth on the table- because that is what got you there in the first place. You can't ever let go of that.
I wouldn't say that I've been humbled, but rather humiliated throughout portions of this project and instead of putting forth my position, I accepted the humiliation thinking that they would mistake it for humility and the process would continue. Rather I think, humility gives clarity and the ability to act on that clarity is what gives us insight to be great; to simply accept being humiliated, does nothing for anyone, least of all yourself. Such a simple thing, things that we know when a school boy bully confronts you, you confront them back- to simply accept is to accept not just defeat, but that in fact, you are meant to be bullied, that your worth is determined by someone else.
But in my case, I thought it was my lack of humility was the obstacle for progress, and in many ways yes, but it is easy to lose your sense of self as well in the process and confuse humiliation by others with the need to be humble because your confidence may have been a determent all this time...In the case with Arya, she does what she needs to do, but every night she recites the names of those she will personally kill and doesn't forget her own worth, no matter the circumstances. Not that I'm planning on doing the same, but all expectation for greatness went out the window and just this need to get by day-by-day replaced it.
What I've done is stop being afraid. Afraid of the consequences of failure or the repercussions of it. It was always there, behind all the bravo and the force of will. It's not that I'm still not afraid, but I'm no long denying that it is a major factor in my considerations; and that I've accepted, to simply not progress in this project to simply not fail, but to should I do, fine, life goes on. And that has given me the freedom to take more risks, risks that I know I can handle and that push the limits of the project. These are not foolish risks, rather necessary risks, which I hadn't been taking.
In the case of the humiliations, I don't bend my knee any longer. I don't concede points to those not in my field who are part of this process from the other parties (CFO's, lawyers, advisers to the board etc). Without them, the project could still go on, without me, there is no project. Up to this point, I never called their bluff, but I have this time and I was prepared for the consequences that never came.
STILL GOING FOR GREATNESS
Thank God, I am close to the end of this process, it's hard for me to celebrate anything because in my industry, things change in an instant and there is still a lot of managing to do, and until we launch, nothing is really guaranteed, but for the first time in 3 years since I started off on my own with the support of my wife and friends, I feel as though I am leading the project rather than being naive to think I was in control or lowering myself to just another bit player.
What has been impressed upon me is that:
1. Fortunes change, and its fine, not everything is an up hill trajectory or a learning experience, sometimes timing, and even luck is just not there, and you have simply wait, but there is no shame in not always progressing up each step each day, as long as you're in the thick of it with still the same understanding/confidence that got you there.
2. I may end this process the same way I start 3 years ago, going for greatness, but my understanding of greatness has changed dramatically. I no longer want to crush my opposition/competitors or get back to the position of influence I once had in the industry. I can now simply understand my own worth independent of comparison- which was something I wasn't able to do before.
Apologies for the lack of business details, it really is that sensitive. As to the next time I write, I don't know. Today was an exception in that I'm in a waiting period for the next 4 days and that it is a confirmed part of the schedule, so it was probably the first day in 7 months where I really could just take as much time as I wanted to to write.