I need to breathe air while I may want to breathe 85 degree air.
One of the equally annoying and delightful things my sweetie brought to my life is a knack for asking for what he wants. He was raised on the east coast, me on the "left coast." He learned it can't hurt to ask. I learned asking could be considered suspect or presumptuous. He has made me squirm with some of the things he has asked others for. . . tickets, parking places, meals, you name it. He is that engaging stranger you are compelled to invite to dinner. But often people give him things because he has the courage to ask. It alternately delights and disgusts me. But undeniably his behavior has affected my own.
I need temperance. It's an undeniable part of my being. And so I started using the temperance lens to determine which work I choose to do. I am beginning to take on clients only under certain terms--a type of asking-for-what-I-want and need.
- I bid a job recently and had the customer balk at price. I respectfully stood my ground, even offered to refer someone to do the job. The client withdrew his counter offer and agreed to pay the proposal amount.
- I said no recently to a former client whose stressful workplace issues were more personal and complex than I have energy or desire to handle, and referred him to counseling or mediation.
- Two organizations I like working for all of a sudden started including clauses in contracts requiring petitioners like me to carry liability of insurance (the type that made sense in some professions but not in others). I began to opt out of the process when it required me to add what I felt was unnecessary insurance in the hopes of getting a contract that might cover the cost of it. I don't know what happened, but next thing I knew both organizations had eliminated the requirement for some contracts.
Some of this work involves figuring out what you truly need and want. When you pay attention to your behavior and how you feel it's not that difficult to figure out. The knot in your shoulder, shortness in your breath, even pit in your stomach are enough to get a clue. It's when we run fast and numb that we struggle to think, let alone identify our desires.
It's a new year and part of my upcoming vacation will be spent thinking and talking about what my sweetie and I need and want for 2014. We are viewing it as a renewal process, to garner courage based on the baby steps we made in 2013 and things we can improve. I am so grateful he brings his ability to ask for what he wants to our collective table. We're hoping 2014 is the year we avoid working ourselves blind and we have to be prepared to talk about what that looks like in every day decisions. Always work ahead.