aaron gayah

just a personal photo blog and journal.

Filtering by Tag: change

Growth

He was given two weeks. He asked for another. It seemed as if he was saying the same thing each time but was repeatedly being asked to do so differently, and now he was at a loss as to how. In previous sessions they wanted to see less data, but now they wanted to see more - the kind that was difficult to verify, normalize, and consolidate. This effort being expended, he felt, was wasteful. He was already shouting the message to them. If only they would listen, he thought.

He didn't procrastinate - he just didn't actually start work for close to 18 days. It's not that he was occupying his time elsewhere, not deliberately, not really. He was seeking the space he needed to mull it over and up till that point he still didn't figure it out. But the deadline was looming and had to have something to show. He launched Excel and made his characteristic adjustments to the default font, row height, column width, and sighed. And continued well into the night.

The next morning he had a meeting to review the slides and as pissed as he was during the session, he acknowledged, at least to himself, the shortcomings flagged. Next up was the weekly meeting with the team. The team didn’t show. But the newly-hired coach to assist his project was there and they met for the first time. He wanted to review the slides but the coach had something else planned. In the end, they would both accomplish what each had desired to, and again, he was the one battered and bruised in the aftermath. The coach had pointed out several other faults with the slides, that, had he given himself more time to prepare, would have never seen the light of day. In the end, the changes were significant, but subtle, and he submitted the slides within the hour.

Surprisingly enough, that afternoon, he was called into the room on schedule. He started the presentation with only one of his team members present - the others trickled in within the first five minutes. He introduced his points and called on the respective persons to speak, stepping aside to refocus the audience’s attention on each in turn. And although the slides didn't conform to his personal standards, overall it went well. Senior management was fully engaged from the start and stayed that way throughout the session - he had challenges with that in the past. The questions posed were mostly relevant - previously this wasn't the case. And the effort and content were praised by multiple persons at the end of it all, more so than usual.

He met the coach the next day who offered the feedback he needed. ”You spoke a lot to the screen. Your pacing back and forth was in poor taste. Your hand movements were very distracting. And you should have put down the water bottle.” The coach was right on all counts. This was a wake-up call - he wasn't as good as he should have been and he always knew that, but here was someone who would specifically tell him how. In that instant, it occurred to him that his message didn't warrant changing - but rather, it was him, the messenger. He had gotten sloppy from being stagnant for far too long and it was apparent to all who cared to observe. It was embarrassing but only for a fleeing moment because he also found it refreshing, this need to reinvent. This would be a new project of sorts, one that was overdue for implementation. And it was time to get started with that.

The Calling

Time has this way of going by whether or not you’re paying attention to it. And now she’s lying in bed, wide awake into the wee hours of the morning, her soul restless, her passion spent, just thinking about that. But she couldn't pinpoint how or when her life descended an existence medicore by her own standards. And that would not do because it couldn't. There's more to life than this, more to her life than this. And she needed to figure it out.

She’s not ungrateful, no, not by a long shot because she’s been fortunate all the while and she knew that. She had a good family life, a comfy home, a well-respected job, an education, a few friends, a car, and the peace of mind and space to think. And conditions like that tend to nurture ideas, yearnings, and dreams, and that’s what happened. She learned a lot through her years actively spent introspecting, researching, observing, and yet she only just realized that she outgrew who she was. But she was still a long way off from becoming the person she needed to be.

She pondered carefully, for a while, because for her, her calling simply wasn't something distinct or clear. Sometimes it felt like she was listening to a dead silence and that could be tiring, boring, and even unnerving. Other times it felt like she was trying to listen to the exact song she needed to hear at that instant, but it was playing ever-so softly, the lyrics and melody being drowned out by the noise of her unsettled mind. And now this sense of urgency to change was becoming increasingly unbearable with her being conscious of the precious seconds slipping past.

Suddenly, she couldn't wait anymore - not for inspiration, not for herself to snap out of it. She gave herself three weeks to create something, anything meaningful and that would be the catalyst she needed to redirect her life. She threw herself into the project, going at it day and night, until the dark skies turned light. It didn't matter that no one else understood - this was not for them. It didn't matter that she hadn't done anything like this before - that was exactly the point. And it didn't matter that she had no experience - she was smart enough to figure it out for the most part. At the end of it all she had a draft - a rough draft, something pretty to look at and interesting to read, one that presented the idea clearly. But she wasn't proud of it. It had holes. It was incomplete and she knew that, but it mattered not. These three weeks were just the beginning of something big she decided, and she would deliberately embrace this new routine, for this would be her passion, her calling, at least for now. And it was up to her and her alone, to answer it.

Changes

“Can we speak for a few minutes?”

She immediately walked off towards the nearest conference room after getting the nod. She followed, not quite sure what this was about.

“I need your advice” she said, sitting down. I don’t have long here again and there’s some pressure to apply for another position within the company that I don’t care for.”

“Do you want to?”

“No, not really.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to work in that role. It’s just not something I’ve ever aspired to.” She was adamant in her response.

“That may mean that you’ll be home for a bit then...and you’re okay with that?”

“I think I am.”

“But would you regret not applying for it? Now? Five, ten, twenty years down the road looking back at this moment?”

“No.”

“Well, what do you wanna do, like, long-term?

“I want to serve God.”

Her mind was already made up and she just needed to hear someone else agree with the decision. It wasn’t hard to.

“You can’t do what’s right for the world if you’re not doing what’s right for you.” She nodded and that was the end of the talk.

She would replay that conversation several times afterward. There’s something admirable in someone knowing her life’s purpose and she never got how people could be so definite about their’s. This child was in her early twenties, and knew exactly what she wanted. By contrast, she was double that and still clueless for the most part. And she reflected on her own situation for the umpteenth time and decided that she knew what she didn’t want, and maybe she could start with that. She didn’t want to be stagnant, closed in, or dictated by the whims of lesser minds. Routines would have to add value. And inefficiencies - oh how she hated to expend time and effort on tasks that should be painless for even the junior staff. But she had tried several times before and failed to enact meaningful change. Maybe she needed to attempt a different change of sorts.

It took a few hours for the minor updates and soon after, all was ready. She paused for a bit, mulling it over one last time. “Do what’s right for you” - her mind was echoing her own words back at her. And finally she’s on the last page, the one that displays that single sentence asking for final confirmation. She paused, but only for a second - it should be harder to click the button she thought. Maybe that’s the sign she was waiting for, the first step from what was to towards all that could be. She confirmed. And it was about time that she did.