Yesterday afternoon, within my last 1.5 hours of work, an issue came up - the sort of issue that leaves you dreading coming in the next day because of the e-mails you fear will be in the box and the meeting you inevitably know will be coming.
Yes I know, this is what I get paid for. At the same time, it has been an interesting item to mull over as Syrah the Mighty and I went for our walk this morning.
Initially the thought discussion was all about the (almost inevitable) meeting, where suggestions would be made that we were withholding information, why didn't we bring this up earlier, this affects the timeline, and was this really a big issue? The mind instantly races, finding counter arguments to each and every point, try to defend my concerns, wondering who I can enlist as an ally, and what impact this will have on my career there.
And then my mind did a yottsu te hanasu - a "win by four hands" technique discussed by Miyatmoto Musashi in A Book of Five Rings where he says when opponents are equally matched (as in wrestling), to drop that strategy and win by some other means. My mind went off completely on a seeming tangent: "Why are you so concerned about this and what they think about you? Why are you so afraid and tense with this?"
"What do you mean?" I asked my mind.
"Simply that it seems your focus is on the wrong place. Sure, people will be unhappy and sure, they will say your over reacting and maybe even blame you. But the real issue is your fear."
"Your fear. Can they physically hurt you? No. Can they spiritually hurt you? No. Can they emotionally hurt you? Possibly, but that's you allowing them to hurt your feelings. The issue is your fear - you're afraid that they will do these things, and you're afraid that this will impact your career."
"Well it might."
"Yes, it might -at least at this company. If that's the case, you have two other questions to answer: What can you do to alleviate that fear, and how do you remove that power from them?"
I thought for a minute. "Hmm. I suppose I can alleviate the fear by ensuring that I am constantly at the top of my knowledge base and a resource. It won't change the situation of course, but at least it will alleviate the fear. As to the second, I'm not sure. What can I do?"
My mind smiled (or I think it did - it's hard to interpret facial expressions of the mind). "Again, two thoughts. The physical one is difficult but easy to say: make sure you reach a position in your life where that is not possible. The mental one is less easy: deny them the power."
"Your fear is based on your perception that they won't like you, won't value you, will mock you, will not value you or your work. The reality is their opinion does not change your self worth. Even it you are overridden, it still doesn't change that - unless you let them change that in your mind. So many other people have no problem acting or expressing their opinions simply because people that suffer from fear like yours allow them to do so. When will you face your fear?"
It has me thinking anyway - if people cannot do physical, spiritual, or emotional harm to me, why do I fear them?