"The conference went well, I think, is all I can say for sure." In spite of actual applause, a hundred attendees retained for a full 93 minutes, (an amazing three minutes past the start of lunch), my mind is focused on the one negative as opposed to the wave of positive.
Three times in thirty years, a man who's opinion I solicited, complained that my inconsistent self-assurance had annoyed him. They each complained, although two more kindly than one, that I came across as confident and then at times I was not. They were disappointed in me. When it came right down to it, they witnessed me unfairly under fire, and I didn't fight back. Mind you, not with the men who were complaining. Generally speaking, I don't back down, but with a total stranger, an angry parent, and a boss, there have been a few times I acquiesced. Each of these three men expected me to lay out an opponent, and instead, I politely gave consideration to what was essentially a rude and unfounded point. Each of these men was disturbed enough to bring it to my attention, that they found it confusing and disappointing. They had believed in me, and somehow I failed them. They wanted to know why I had not fought.
It's true. I am only 92% warrior and 8%, scared baby. Things can rattle me. Loud engines, bright lights, pointed, rude questions in the middle of a lecture. Even as hordes stand behind me, there have been times, when regrettably, I backed down. I was bothered enough to mollify the enemy. Is there a little-plucked chicken that I can't cleanse from my DNA?
In the last week, it's been a real privilege and joy to get out and speak with my peers, to reconnect with colleagues, some not seen in nearly a decade. And my only regret is that I felt conscious about my age, about what I've accomplished, that I've gained weight, gone gray, can't wear really high heels anymore. And the regret has nothing to do with any of those truths. Nope, it's more insidious, it's feeling lousy, for feeling lousy. I regret that any part of my gray matter* was allowed to house those unimportant thoughts.
Grey matter (or gray matter) is a major component of the central nervous system, consisting of neuronal cell bodies, neuropil (dendrites and unmyelinated axons), glial cells (astroglia and oligodendrocytes) and capillaries. Gray matter contains neural cell bodies, in contrast to white matter, which does not and mostly contains myelinated axon tracts. The color difference arises mainly from the whiteness of myelin. In living tissue, gray matter actually has a grey-brown color, which comes from capillary blood vessels and neuronal cell bodies.
Updated my LinkedIn photo to a snapshot taken by my husband while I was literally cleaning the bathroom last Saturday afternoon. WHY??? Why not a glamor shot, or a youthful shot? I suppose because in that moment, I was looking directly into the eyes of a friend who thinks I'm beautiful, and with whom I feel the same. More so, because it captured me, and not an image of me or some persona that I want to suggest.
To the men and women who experience my leadership as sometimes inconsistent, "Fight your own damn battles!" Man or woman, everyone has a moment when their super baby senses say, back off and even back away. 92% warrior is just fine. When all is said and done, I do live to fight another day. Blind arrogance isn't all it's cracked up to be and not really how I want to roll. Sometimes I feel like a fight. Sometimes I don't.
Instead of focusing on who I stood up to, notice who maintained my support. Don't challenge where I threw my best blow. Ask who I helped.
Baby, Babes, and always someone's Baby
This is not my baby picture
And that's all I gotta say.