“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”
How do you know when to stay and when to walk away? How do you know when it’s okay to let someone back in?
I’ve spent the last few days at a company offsite down the coast. I wouldn’t say it’s been in the middle of nowhere but it’s been pretty remote (I’ve had no cell reception. Best. Thing. Ever) and been three hours down the coast from Sydney. A beautiful combination of the bush and beach right at our doorsteps; Fresh air; Waking up and going to sleep hearing the sounds of the crashing waves – it’s actually been quite magical and just the escape from Sydney has been exactly what the doctor ordered.
Then there was the work part.
So a little bit of background, I resigned from my job a few months ago and was lucky enough to be seconded to a different part of the business doing something that was completely out of my comfort zone and an epic learning experience for me. I spent the first few weeks just trying to get me head around it all and was working for this girl who neither my friend nor enemy. It was an odd fit and a massive clash in personalities and backgrounds. I sucked it up and just did what I needed to do, keeping my connection to the executive in charge of our group. My contract and secondment came to its end and I was up for renewal, a few days before I was about to just leave and not turn back. During the renewal process, I managed to renegotiate the soft terms of my agreement and stay on but change my reporting line to the executive manager. Taking on a management role is not something new to me but being part of this kind of team has been. I am an accountant – a business partner through and through and now I am hanging out with the Sales team. It is a very different kind of culture and a very different way of doing things and has been quite the learning process for me. The biggest challenge though has been manoeuvring my way through this maze of personal relationships and different personalities – and especially dealing with this previous ‘manager’.
Needless to say the weeks leading up to this offsite have been interesting, I have been overwhelmed with many mixed emotions – excitement, apprehension, anxiety and concern. Most of which sound like they are negative but sometimes I definitely feel that you need the negative energy to get through… like some sort of adrenaline.
I was told that the team of 8 would be split up between girls and boys in terms of the sleeping arrangements, which for most people would be normal and all good – except not for me. I am one of three girls in the team and the two other girls are the only two people in the team that I don’t really hang out with. In fact they are the two that I have little to no relationship with. None.
Cue the anxiety and concern.
So this girl… for the last few weeks – we have barely had a conversation let alone exchange a hello and now I am supposed to spend three days with her and pretend that we have this amazing personal relationship. I am great at many things but being fake and pretending is not really one of them. I am a very cut the bullshit kind of person and I just have not been feeling this. She is also somewhat passive aggressive and insecure about everything to do with me so I had no idea how this was going to pan out.
Day one we sat next to each other at lunch and then helped prepare dinner. She sat next to me at dinner and made a remark that we actually did have quite a bit in common (we both have cats and like the same music – that’s it)
Day two was completely random. The morning was spent separately – the boys went out and did the bonding thing I was the only girl who was up and out early doing yoga and going for a run whilst the other two did the whole domesticated thing. Come midday and break time though she finally decided to make more of an effort and strike up a conversation we even went outside and went on the swings together plus for a little walk/bike ride. Through the day we continued to chat and at dinner we sat opposite each other and continued to chat.
Day three was less intense, we did the separate morning thing but now I wonder what’s going on. At what point do I forget all the other stuff and think or hey she’s being alright maybe this is ok? Or do I just take it with a grain of salt because the chances are she is going to go back to how she was previously the second we get back to Sydney. Is this just a show for the rest of the sales leaders to show that she is playing nice because she’s had so many personality clashes? Or is this actual a permanent change and she is trying to make a difference?
I’ve spent the good part of this year on a spiritual journey, trying to centre myself and make peace with a lot of things in my past and present in preparation for my future. A lot of this journey has been tied to returning to my Eastern roots and the lessons Buddhism taught me when I was very young.
Learning to let go and the notion of forgiveness – forgiveness to oneself and forgiveness of others. By holding onto disliking someone or negative energy you end up hurting yourself. Your body is filled with anger and hatred and it takes over to the point that it’s so hard to let good things in. I don’t want to be like that. At the pinnacle of all the issues with her I was so tense and anxious because of everything that was going on that it took a massive toll on my body. I was engulfed in this intense physical pain to the point where I collapsed from the anxiety and mental stress of it all. After that point I vowed to just let it all go and to not let it get to me and it was working. I kepy my distance and my bubble and was not affected by anything to do with her.
I didn’t forgive her for anything but it was more like I forgave myself. So in letting things go and taking it all as it came I was in a much better place. But now and I sit what to do next – what do I make of this situation? Of her trying to make an effort? I don’t want to be in a place where it’s like history repeating itself and the same thing happens over and over again. But what does this mean in terms of forgivness? Where do I go from here?
I guess it will be another case of taking as it comes – I’ll see how she acts on Monday and perhaps that will tell me what my course of action is because I do believe that at some point you just have to let go of people and focus on yourself.
Only you know when enough is enough.