Lance (my co-editor of the Project Simplify newsletter) and I butt heads this week over newsletter editorial policy. He sent over a section for the Lifestyles of the Natural and Professional part of the newsletter and I nixed it.
He said it was perfectly fine and that he had fulfilled his responsibility. For all practical purposes, he had. Reserving my right as the ultimate veto power and check signer, I held my ground.
The reason I gave had to do with languaging. But it was more than that. It was long, it had a feel of the confusing “Who’s on First” skit by Abbott and Costello. My instinct when I opened up that draft newsletter and read that section was, “Is this how I want Project Simplify to be represented?” and the answer was a resounding “No”.
Ignoring the details of this scenario, I turn to a deep, old pattern poking it’s ugly head out of the skeleton closet–an issue I’ve been faced with all my life, and that resulted in my having a chronic, aching pain in my throat for a couple of years in my early 20s.
I’m talking about hearing my intuition but not understanding it well enough to articulate it, especially in an argument, and then disregarding it.
In an article in Nov. 2009 (Returning to Home Base) I wrote about having a feeling that I needed more space in a romantic relationship. Not only did I have a feeling, the phrase, “I want my own room” kept popping up in my head. Not understanding the need logically and not being able to articulate it for my boyfriend who was taking it personally, I didn’t take action.
Today things are different. I’m fine with standing up to nix that section of the newsletter. I’ve learned my lesson: intuition is incredibly important and not to be disregarded just because I don’t have the words to explain it. In fact, reconnecting with it is a huge part of what allows that Natural Professional to kick-ass in the world and live sustainably.
What I’m mulling over here is the communication aspect, or lack thereof. As a leader, I can say “this direction” or “this way” but without articulate explanation, I can’t hand it off for others to take ownership of. If the sands are constantly shifting due to “a feeling”, or it’s this way “just because” then I’m not giving solid ground for someone to walk beside me.
If I want to work with others, then I must be able to translate the feeling for the purposes of mutual understanding, editorial policy, branding, etc. purposes.
So how does this story wrap up? I get to go figure out what that feeling is trying to tell me.
P.S. I do want to add that I’m really happy with how Lance and I left it. While there is disagreement (our conversation definitely got heated at times), we didn’t take it personally. It’s a situation to be resolved but it isn’t holding up the gameplan.
P.P.S. for the ultra curious, here’s the ousted, published on Lance’s personal blog: Outtake from the Simplifier.
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From Wikipedia: Dakota, a Grey Wolf – Public Domain, by Retron
Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche