Day 10: Give yourself some slack

A bit of a gaffe today to share with you. Actually, I made a couple of blunders at work today which could cripple a perfectionist like me, but I’ve learned to forgive myself. And growth comes from admitting you’re not perfect. News flash: none of us are.

I guess you first need to know that I work for a barge company. A great portion of our associates live and work on the river, and so we’ve always had a bit of a conundrum trying to communicate effectively with them, even in this day of mobility and connectivity. A towboat is somewhat like an RV floating down the river. Depending on where the cell towers are, those on the vessel may or may not have a signal at any given time. Besides the connectivity issue, we also had licensing issues for associates who most often work 28-days on and 28-days off. In essence, they work six months out of a year, and with such a fluctuating workforce, the IT group took some time to figure out how to best solve our puzzle.

So, this summer, we started working on a new email system for those 1700 associates. Of course, some would be on a vessel and some would be at home, and then they would switch so it would take a while to get them  all activated. Four months into the project, we still have about 500 people left to get on the system but the reporting mechanism to say who activated their email is broken, so I thought I’d be smart and send out an email to the list of 500 names remaining. I opened what looked like the latest spreadsheet with the email addresses on it, copied the addresses and sent a quick email asking for any of that group who had activated their email to send me back a response. Maybe 30 or 40 emails would narrow the list down a bit.

Much to my chagrin, I had actually copied a list from mid-August with almost 1300 names on it. At a minimum, 700 of those people have activated their addresses since August. I immediately started getting emails from the crew members, confirming they had been activated. I could have been mad, frustrated, or a bunch of other negative emotions, but instead, I started chatting with various people as they jabbed at me, knowing that I had sent out a crazy amount of emails. We laughed and had a moment of connection.

A few hours later, I can still hear my phone blowing up with email and it reminds me that I may have a bunch of work ahead of me, but it’s going to be ok.

DAY 10 HOMEWORK: Today’s homework is pretty simple, and may be most difficult…give yourself some slack. Have you done something lately that was silly, or even more grave? Forgive yourself. Give yourself permission to laugh at yourself, to say you’re not perfect. Breathe in deeply, and go on. It’s going to be ok.

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