In a recent conversation with a dear friend, I was telling him about a current volunteer effort.
I will be helping my local Toastmasters chapter move from an older curriculum (Legacy) to a new, online-based curriculum (Pathways – the “engine” is Cornerstone OnDemand).
Our chapter has a number of veteran Toastmasters who are working on projects within the older curriculum. Many are suspicious of online learning, some of the subject-matter changes made to the curriculum, and computers in general.
I need to move them over to the online-based curriculum by June 30, 2020.
At the core, this project is a paper-to-computer transition.
My friend’s chuckling response – “Yup, sounds like something you would say ‘yes’ to. Classic Wendy project.”
I couldn’t tell whether his tone was filled with admiration or recognition of my insanity.
I haven’t had to do a paper-to-computer transition in 10 years. This was the bread-and-butter of my early career as I moved recalcitrant doctors over to electronic medical records.
I suspect I won’t need to do another one of these things again.
And, unlike the EHR/EMR experience, there is already a crew of respected veteran Toastmasters in my District who have already moved over to the new curriculum and are informally serving as champions.
Furthermore, I’m at a point in my career where I don’t need to prove myself in this arena. I’ve done this many times before.
The stakes are also lower. I don’t have the usual pressure to inflict this change on others. This entire endeavor is volunteer and I don’t have a “boss.” My fellow Toastmasters will ultimately do what is right for them. If they want my help, great. I’m there for them.
I will also admit, my friend’s admiration of my insanity gave me some pause.
What does his reaction say about me and where I am at internally?
I learn a lot about myself when I reflect on how people interact with me.
- How is my inner state reflected by their response to my words and actions?
- How am I responding to others?
- What is being asked of me? Is it a reflection of what I am bringing to the table?
- What do I find myself saying “yes” to and why?
- What are people saying to me and about me? Is it accurate?
It helps that I’ve become more skilled at determining whether someone is accurately reflecting, tippy-toeing around me (information by itself), or being a jerk.
Part of that skill is a result of 10+ years of guided navel-gazing and learning how to evaluate where my head is at before and during conversations with others.
I know that I am much more likely to see someone as being a jerk if I am already going into the engagement angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed.
I also know that I am more likely to take negative feedback (true or not) to heart if I am sad, insecure, or uncertain.
After some reflection, I realized that both my chapter’s request that I take on this project AND my friend’s admiration for my insanity reflect the skills and experiences that I have gained over the years.
My friend is right. This is a “Classic Wendy Project.”
And my goal is to prove my fellow Toastmasters right in selecting me for this task.
Wish me luck.