Somebody once told me I was like a butterfly. I take that as a compliment. I love butterflies. I love that butterflies are free spirited. I love that they are beautiful. And I love that they are a here for the moment kind of bug. And yes, it's a bug, but bugs can be beautiful too. Just ask another bug.
But the person directing this comment did not see the butterfly analogy the same way I do.
This person was a linear person. A project manager / accountant, hyper logical, unemotional, slightly uptight . . . individual.
And I get that. I just can't be that.
I am a big thinker. A creative person. I believe in possibility. I love change. And I love to see things happen. I am a change junkie. I get bored with status quo when it's time to give it up. But I am also logical. Raised by a pack of accountants, and a rogue salesman, I possess the innate talent to do calculus. I know the quadratic equation and how to apply it. I get matrices. I love charts. I love project charters and spreadsheets. And I love a good budget.
My "way" simply clashed with his "way".
He was uncomfortable with the fact that he could not easily predict me, or control me, because he could not relate to me. He could not "catch me."
My response was this: "Stop trying."
Seeing the shocked look on his face, I immediately realized I had to meet him half way. I had to find a way to work with him. A compromise was needed. Realizing that his apparent need for control is really about his need to know what he needs to know to do his job, I found a solution that worked for both of us.
I promised him that I would never embarrass him, never catch him off guard, and never let him be caught in front of his peers not knowing something he should know.
I also committed to meeting with him bi-weekly and setting the agenda. It was a win - win. His need to know - ness was addressed, and my need to be free was saved.
So, what's the moral of this story.
1. Don't react. Try to hear past the words and look for the intent.
2. Seek to understand. We all have a comfort zone.
3. Be in control without taking control away from another person. Nobody has that right.
4. Never make your boss look bad or wonder what he or she doesn't know.
5. Butterflies are free. Don't mess with nature.