Having Your “Poop” in a Group

Each year the hubs is asked to complete a self-evaluation for his employer. This is a common practice for many organizations to help employees set goals and determine how effectively they spend their time. The hubs is not a fan. His complaint, in typical Midwest fashion, is that it feels too much like bragging about doing the job he is paid to do.

I assure him that many people don’t do the job they are paid to do. That showing up day in and day out with clear goals and a strategy to meet those goals is not typical. And yet, those daily grind activities are often what lead to achievement.

It’s the same with writing. If I commit to sitting at my desk to finish a story each day before lunch, deadlines are met and I seem impressive, sometimes even to myself.

I’m not talking about miraculous life-changing triumphs that merit a reality television series. But by taking small steps, one foot in front of the other, every day, stuff gets done.

I remember when our children were babies and I could be found wandering the house bleary-eyed and overwhelmed by piles of dirty laundry, crusty dishes, dust bunnies and unopened mail. It was then that I discovered the beauty of narrowing my focus down to one thing at a time.

I learned that it’s okay to occasionally ignore the big picture when that view immobilizes us with anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. Instead, just do one thing. Keep moving and do the next thing. Eventually, a bunch of things get done and you can write yourself a stellar evaluation of time management and achievement.

But there are pitfalls to having your poop in a group. People will have higher expectations of you. And occasionally you will fail or be sad or get sick. And this will surprise people. Because they wrongly want to believe you have it together all the time. So remember two important things:

  • Don’t hide your setbacks. Perfection is impossible. Acknowledging difficulties makes you a more relatable person. And most likely you’ve learned something worth sharing.
  • Don’t whine. But make sure you have a few people in your life with whom you can share your laments when you feel the need. And this goes both ways. Life is hard for everybody. So be a good listener. Because nobody has it together all the time.
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