Being a fan of peace-of-mind I prefer to get along with the world. Call me lazy, I just think its easier that way.
It came to pass, however, that in the week gone by I managed to really piss somebody off. It’s not the first time, but I have learned over the years that although I don’t intend to upset the people in my sphere, it is absolutely still possible.
Although I would sometimes like to be a person that doesn’t, I rightly or wrongly do care about it. The book about the art of not giving a f*ck is on my list, though admittedly I’ve not read it yet… because, baby.
I suspect the following course of action is not recommended in the book (!!) however, it’s my firm belief that an initially introspective check-in is crucial to ensure there was no malice or ill-intent on my part, especially in order to allay the likelihood of a potentially inappropriate reaction.
In this case, I rectified the problem and replied to the complainant with a simple, “Sorry, it’s all fixed now” only to discover I’d already been blocked on social media, the only line of contact.
You won’t read any of the who-said-whats because I decided long ago to talk about ideas, not people. Nor will I talk here about the wariness I feel for communicating via social media, though consider it noted.
The question is, are you a person who does give a f*ck, or not? And if you do, then how do you live with it when the inevitable happens and someone gets upset?
In the small city where I live the culture is overwhelmingly supportive and welcoming for mums. There’s been a recent baby boom so there are a lot of families with young ones and loads of places to meet up.
I’ve been fortunate to find a way to facilitate connections between mums in our area with a well-supported online mums group on social media which allows locals to share information, advice and goodwill. It’s my way of contributing, essentially doing a community service, that is incredibly rewarding.
One of the side-effects is that I have become more visible in the community. Interestingly, I have a small personal branding consultancy and have counselled many clients through this very thing. Being visible can be confronting. Stepping into even a slightly more prominent position – even just online – is both exciting as well as daunting, especially to mums who often spend hours at home alone or with only their kids, close family and friends for company. Working for yourself, or being on maternity leave can be a slightly ‘invisible’ existence, and can be a very comfortable retreat: for good reason.
Entering the world and putting your name to what you do can bring up all kinds of emotions. For me, being off work to have a baby has been a time of reflection on how I would like to live, what I would like to give of myself in work, and what legacy I wish to leave my children. Two things have emerged out of my ‘confinement’ – both writing and community-building are ways to best share what I’ve got to offer.
This process of clarification is exciting, and I’ve written about it here as well. This is a time of immense freedom for women to work in ways that are far more flexible than previously. Digital platforms are shaking up the world of work and community, and for many of us, that’s a great thing. Stepping into our most authentic selves and embodying our unique offering means we must become visible and lead the way with these new paradigms.
I suppose that is why this most recent experience really mattered. It was another mother who was upset, and she is one of the people I do my best to serve. I had to really check myself, do a little bit of internal auditing, sit with the way it felt and then implement a course correction according to the original intentions.
Ultimately, it was very simple – by caring, by giving a f*ck about it, I made the best possible decision for me and the community. The process led to some insights and some closer connections with the people in the group. Well, except maybe that one.
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”― John Lydgate