Shower Kitty

Shower Kitty

The first time my kitten Tigger jumped in the shower with me I said, “That will be the last time you do that.” Precisely the words out of mouth and absolutely incorrect.

The 7th time my kitty jumped into the shower with me I noticed the strange action had not yet lost its appeal.  I was still fascinated with his desire to join me in my water festivities even though every single time he spazzed out and  extracted himself quicker than a five dollar bill looking for a balloon in the parking lot after a dead show.  (if you don’t get the reference you weren’t there.)

Aren’t cats supposed to detest water?    Do they learn? I received a poetic e-mail this week about Washington and why do folks lose sight of who they are.  How does it happen.  I responded in a serious sleep deprivation state… I’ve been staying up hours past my bedtime this week renovating my downstairs.  I am an excellent Tile Girl in case you need one. Here is what I wrote.  Like my cat every morning – Washington needs a towel.  (it is long, you might want to stop here.)

Roughly 60% of my job is standing in front of a room full of people who don’t want to be there.  Don’t want to be there means

· They assume I am a corporate yahoo who will waste their time

· Their boss wants to fix them instead of dealing with their own sh*t · There has been some sort of deep seated conflict that is keeping the room from doing what it needs to do

· Someone wants to manipulate someone (give met tricks so I can get people to say YES even if the right answer is no)

· An organization truly sees that the job is to build the people who build the company… they just aren’t great at convincing the room of it

· To fight everything.  All of it ·

95% of the time I can turn it around.  In fact, with every single class I have ever done except one.  One room of people.  That one room kills my confidence and distracts me from the love of what I do. I saw a group of humans who could truly change a company.  That were lucky to sit where they were and the company was lucky to have them. Yet, they were so in FIGHT mode they didn’t realize how much worse they were making it by fighting… by making people feel stupid.   I failed them and the company in such a huge way. ·

Failing is hard.  It makes us create organizational defenses around us to protect us from the ouch.   My failure happened some time ago and I am still a wreck over it.  I am unable to fix it.  To help this room learn that their communication style if what is causing them the most harm.. that they can convince Exec’s to do their ideas and save the company if they go about it another way. · And I’ll never get another chance.  I have to hold on to the plain and simple fact that 8 out of the 20 got it.  It isn’t enough.  I’m tortured by it.  I’m used to winning. I let my team down too.  It was an important account that I’m not sure I’ll keep.  I failed. ·

The hardest part of this is not blaming them – keeping the responsibility here – that I own my failure rather than making them tedious and bad for leading with “attack” and “destroy” the strange one.

The same is true in Washington.  Overtime, the people I work with get beat up.  Their confidence gets shaken and they either Blame the other person or blame themselves.  More often it is blame the other person.. figure out how to diminish their importance so the pain of failing doesn’t hurt so much.  Their job depends on people liking them – so saying what they really think is not often okay.  They lose their job if they were voted in to be conservative and vote with their conscience on a liberal bill.  The choice law in New York exists because of one man, a republican George Michaels.  The vote was 50/50.. he stood up and said, “I am about to end my political career… I know this.  I have to change my vote.  My conscience will not allow more women to die because of my vote.”   He was right – he lost his political career.  His livelihood.  He drifted off into history unknown.   And he mattered.  His ACTION mattered regardless of our opinion on Choice.  That he Did it.

In November I flew to a State that just obtained majority. In order to keep it in the next voting cycle they had to get together – do things.  BY the end of the session 80% of the room got it- 20% was still openly hostile to me as an outsider.  Why are you here, what can you possibly bring and HOW are you lying to me.

The latter seems to be the instinct today.  How are you lying to me?  IT makes sense though doesn’t it ?  We have great examples of institutions crumbling and built on incredible foundation that sink into a lie.   Movements that slip into bureaucracy.  People who write books they say are true and they are not.

It gets a little tedious at times.  Watching brilliant inspired humans who can truly change the world.. who have the spark in them.. the know how.. who have the ability and simply choose to fight instead.   Who go through the company saying “prove it to me” rather than “I’m going to figure out a way to prove it to you.  TO get you to listen. TO not make you feel like an ass.” People rarely change or do great things consistently when they feel like an ass.  It doesn’t always inspire great things. It does distract people from what they really care about. Distraction is the enemy.

Someday, when we turn Washington Purple… when the last vestiges of Red and Blue bleed into a swirl of US … of there is no them.  That your ideals and why you believe them are celebrated by me.   When we can just LET the past GO… give people a new reputation….

Intent matters.  With Sebastian, my son, I never make him kiss someone.  I notice as a parent the desire is strong to ask him to do something uncomfortable so I will get street credit for raising a loving child.  I also do not respond when he asks me for something in a nasty way.  About 3 months ago we had about a week of “honey, say it another way.  Mommy can’t respond to you when you say it that way.”   “we don’t talk to each other that way.”    Is that incongruent? Perhaps.  I do notice he has less stress in his life because he doesn’t trigger the adults around him by the way he talks (whining etc) AND I notice when I explain in front of the person who wants to be kissed goodbye why it must be Sebastian’s choice – their entire face changes from “PLEASE kiss me goodbye and validate that you like me to”  “Great job Sebastian- please only kiss when you feel like it.  High five” Almost 100% of the time they go to high 5.  Only if I explain it though.

And At his school I started noticing parents would have a visceral response to tattling.  “DON”T tattle on your friends Susie” “Don’t rat out your friends”   I started noticing this caught on like wildfire.  I had to confront everyone.  It was UNCOMFORTABLE. “Hey gang.  The whole tattling thing. …I have a question”  There was a groan.. people started saying… these kids needs to learn not to tell on their friends.  General agreement. E tc.  “Can I tell everyone something?  At the risk of freaking everyone out?  “  Yes yes Gulp.    “Child molesters convince our children they are their friend first.  They rarely go at them with overt violence first.  They befriend them and convince them not to tell on them for little things … then the big things.  We cannot teach our children not to talk to us when they feel weird or hurt.” It freaked the parents out.  Now, we ask the child who is tattling – what is it you need from me Susie.  What can I do? Often – the child just feels better having told. Others want us to hang out and watch to make sure they are okay.  Some are being brats.  At the end of the day they just want attention..

Stay with me/// I am rounding a bend here…

The same is true in Washington.  We just want to belong to something.  We are warm blooded tribal animals and we Watch others … it impacts are behavior.  We are being taught and we are teaching without consciously thinking about it.  Even in the Maslow pyramid when we feel safe and warm bask the 2 basic actualizations: we still get distracted by our perception of what is going on.  We lie to ourselves and others constantly. There is this incredible book on this S-  “leadership and self deception”   stupid title… INCREDIBLE book on projection.  How there is no reality

Our politicians are too distracted by running for office that they truly can’t do their job.  They are constantly running for office.  If politicians had the job for 6 years ONLY .  If it was easier to recall them if they didn’t do a great job…we’d have more courage in Washington.  It is the constantly running for office that is distracting them from who they are…. Their only validation is fundraising and votes.   Thus.. they change their behavior to get these two things. Just like my son was changing his behavior.. what he felt was right.. to kiss strangers because I wanted him to.  He RARELY kisses people goodbye now and he is still a loving awesome kid.  When he TRULY wants to kiss someone – you should see it .  It makes them cry.  He walks up.. grabs their face.. says “I like you” and kisses them.    A gift that is.. that moment that never would have existed if he was forced to kiss (run for office) all the time.

Back to my premise… only 1% of people are bad… everyone else is just responding to their childhood and the impact it has had on daily behavior without even realizing it.

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