C’mere. Set your quad-shot Americano with a side of Red Bull down for a second and listen to me. I talk a lot about the Oulda Sisters (Shoulda, Coulda and Woulda) and it would appear that you’re having an ongoing gang bag with the three of them. No one moves fast enough for you. No one operates on your schedule and WHY can’t people just get their shit together and please YOU all of the time? You’re very important and have things to do. People really should get with the program!
Sit down. You’re getting bitch slapped.
I plowed straight on through the first 30 or so years of my life thinking I was the center of the universe, consistently disappointed when people didn’t meet my expectations. They were late, they didn’t respond, they didn’t call me back. I can’t tell you exactly what it was, but somewhere along the way I realized that not everybody is out of step with Johnny. What would happen if I stopped thinking about what other people should be doing and started focusing on me?
Many people are surprised when I share the fact that until 2010, I’d led a fairly charmed life. I’d experienced no death except for my grandparents. (Charmed, right?) And in four months, I’d lost a cycling friend and then Jason.
I’m the last person I’d ever thought would sit in her house for a week and not get dressed. Not bathe. Barely eat. Disappear from being online and in the social world I love so much. It was the first time in my life I didn’t know what I should be doing. All I could focus on was what I would have done if I could turn back time and each day was a struggle with what I could bring myself to accomplish.
So yeah – about those timelines.
Grief is an unruly whore. It has no respect for the Oulda Sisters and could care less what your or anyone else’s timeline happened to be. And it’s one helluva teacher on timelines.
How much of an asshole do you have to be to think that anyone or anything can dictate someone’s timeline – on grief or anything? Because I have news for you (and it was news to me): you can’t.
Shouldn’t she be over this by now?
You should move on.
This project should be done.
Well, guess what? She’s not, I can’t and it’s not.
You can get frustrated all you want about someone not meeting your timeline expectations, but there are a few things you can do to not come across like a raving asshole about it. Here are some suggestions, ranging from personal to professional:
- It’s not about YOU. Really, it’s not. If someone isn’t meeting your timeline expectations, put the mirror down for a second and think about the fact that you can’t MAKE anyone feel, think or do anything.
- We all deal with grief. Loss is loss, while the magnitude changes. People each make their own journeys down grief’s path. The best you can do is be there (and put down the cattle prod) and stop thinking that someone should be anywhere other than exactly where they are. More importantly, we all deal with grief differently. Yours ain’t mine and vice versa.
- Sure, we dwell. We get focused on the fact that a project is dragging out for months on end and our bank account is a bit lighter than we’d prefer. Get over it and deal with the here and now instead of the Shouldas and Couldas.
- Plan for delay. After a year where projects drug out to epic proportions, I now have a completion clause in my contracts. If you extend beyond the pre-determined number of days for the project (save extenuating circumstances), I’m happy to continue with a 10% extension fee of the value of the project. This fee must be paid prior to work continuing. Funny – things are moving along with deft speed so far!
- Stop assuming. I don’t know how you think. I don’t know how you run your business. When you’re so eager to do business that your forget the business side of doing business, you’re in for lessons hard-learned. Don’t I know it. And if you’re going to pull whiny little bitch mode with me because you didn’t take the time to do business, guess who’s not really going to be up for listening?
- The “Come to Jesus” Phase. We’ve all had moments (eras?) where our heads were so far up our ass end that we can’t hear anything except our own thoughts. When you have a friend or colleague in that space and it’s time for the Come to Jesus talk, consider one thing before putting the hammer down: there are two people in the equation, not just you.
It’s a rough job, this gig we all have of being human beings. One of my new yoga teachers said something a few weeks back that I really appreciate: we are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS. You don’t always have to be moving and if we spent a bit less time focused on where things should be and more on accepting right where they are, our life-long Asshole Quotient might be significantly less. Less doing, more being.
Your timeline is yours and yours alone. The best we can hope for is those moments where the timelines of others beautifully synch-up with ours…giving birth to serendipity, blinding coincidence and fortune beyond belief.
You’ve been slapped.