I had an epiphany of sorts this weekend as I was shuttling back and forth.
My thoughts, for better or worse, have been focused on work and the upcoming instability there (If you have never gone through a management transition, trust me - the best of them is unstable) - the unknowns of a new manager's foibles and preferences and the very real fact that this current place I work has politics and expectations in place that I am trying to get under and move in my favor.
As I sat and thought about this at length, I became more and more frustrated. The manager is not one of my choosing, the politics are always something I have having to respond to instead of get out in front of, and the expectation held of me and the ones I am trying to move forward are always the difference between what I am constantly expected to to and what I actually have to do.
And then it suddenly hit me: I am trying to lift and carry a burden that is not mine to carry.
I just work where I work. I am not the owner. I am not a senior executive. If the company succeeds I may recognize something but not some great reward; if it fails it is not as if I have lost a project I have nurtured from inception.
Can I change business politics? No, of course not - I am one man in a fairly obscure position. Nor can I change business practices and procedures except in my one area of responsibility. And surely I cannot change the incoming ways and opinions of someone I have never met and is in fact being hired for their experience and expertise.
It is simply impossible.
So what do I do then? I simply have to drop the weight and let go.
Let go, not of my need to do well or work hard, but rather of my constant concern and care for what is going on and how it impacts me. Let go of my constant irritation of decisions and actions and personalities that impact my life but over which I have no control. In a way, let go of my hopes that a great deal more effort on my part will bring about significant change.
What to do instead? This is part that I have not figured out, but I have at least come up with one useful realization: planting and caring for new things can take just as much time as try to lift up the burden of the established and heavy.
And seeds weigh a great deal less.