Question 355 of 365: Who do you think you are?

Question 355 of 365: Who do you think you are?

Usually I know what to expect when I head into a meeting. Usually I can see what is coming and figure out any problems that are in the offing. I don’t merely assume the best, but I do have an expectation of human to human interaction, with a measure of empathy on all sides.

I screwed up today on this front.

I completely underestimated the amount of animosity that can be creating while troubleshooting technical issues. I was unable to foresee an adversarial relationship between “partners.” I couldn’t fathom the ways in which power could be adopted to make me feel impotent and trivial.

I shouldn’t have been shocked but I was.

I pursued connection and found brick walls. I pursued value and I found shifting responsibility. I sought relationships and I found accusations.

In short, I was taken aback.

The lessons learned:
1. Do not keep sharing your screen when you are professing your lack of understanding or frustration at the way a conversation is going.
2. Do not try to troubleshoot someone else’s firewall.
3. Seek out people that you trust to add sanity to a call that has gone off the rails.
4. Treasure every relationship that doesn’t make you feel like a failure.
5. If you have to remove yourself from a situation to stop from damaging a relationship that is important to others, do so.
6. Feel empowered to say no.
7. Don’t assume that the foot in your mouth is your own. Others can place theirs in there just as easily.
8. Set expectations as early as you can. (i.e., don’t get on a call unless you know who is on the other line.)
9. Have an amazing collaborative experience as soon after a soul sucking one as possible.
10. Be honest about what you are and are not willing to do for others. No one should be able to back you into agreeing to what is against your better judgement.

That’s it. That’s what I learned today.


  1. Sounds like a big day with a lot of learning. I wonder what everyone else on the call got out of it.
    Several times, the gap between knowing what I don’t know and not knowing what I don’t know has caught up with me.
    Those moments make me yearn for some sort of olden parlance where I could smoothly excuse myself and defer.
    There should be actual cards where I get to hand it to the person to whom I’m deferring and let things move from there.

    1. Yeah. I like deferring to those who need to be in a conversation. I think
      that may be the only way that I survive calls like this in the future. I
      like the idea of physical cards, but since I mostly hand things off to
      people out of state, I feel like taking a flight to hand off some cards
      would be a little rough.

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