Recently I was (over)analyzing a situation at work, and my boss said, “But, you have to remember, regardless of what this person is doing, you are doing nothing wrong.” He went on to further review the situation to illustrate that what he said was true: I had indeed done nothing wrong. I was being me. I was doing what I thought was the right thing. I was working hard, and I was doing my job. And, although this was secondary, yet very validating, he reminded me he thought I was doing the right thing too.
This concept has stayed in my head. I think it’s my nature to think I did something wrong when an interaction or a situation goes awry. And sometimes, this is true. Almost always, I can do better. (Almost always, we can all do better.) And, I should be thinking about what I can do better. I should reflect and think and want to keep improving. And I do!
But, I shouldn’t overthink. (Easier said than done for those who know me well!)
Thinking about my boss’s comment helps me. It helps me a lot, especially when I am in a spiral of nervous thoughts, whether they have to do with work or not. It frames the questions, “Did I do something wrong? Did I play a part in or cause whatever situation or interaction that went poorly?” These questions help me assess the situation more accurately than the spinning of my thoughts on top of each other do – and it helps me take responsibility when I could have done better.
It also helps me relax and be me. And to remember that being me is not wrong. It’s genuine, it’s real and it’s important.
I’ve been thinking a lot about something else that is indirectly related to my boss’s advice: how important it is to surround ourselves with people who champion us – and who we can champion too. I feel grateful almost every day that my boss is one of these people because we know how it goes with bosses: whether they are great or not, we still have to spend a lot of time with them. (There is only love.) Fortunately, mine is really great. And so this inspires me too. It inspires me to want to be this kind of boss – and person – for others. It inspires me to want to remind those around me of the same concept especially when they are upset and it can help them refocus.
So, in the first few days of the new year, I’m thinking about these two concepts. I’m thinking about thinking less about the times when I’m doing nothing wrong and wanting to remind others of the same. And I’m thinking about the need to actively ensure I’m spending time with people who see the best and the real parts of me and who help remind me when I forget – and in these same people to ensure I’m seeing the best and the real parts too.