>I skipped the retrospective post until now because I wasn’t sure what it would be about. But I think the most important thing I learned about myself in the last year is that conflict, while uncomfortable, can be embraced. I spent too many years avoiding confrontation, and doing so only caused incalculable harm to me, my wife, and family. In fact, it seems that it’s only through these hard times that I grow. Who would have thought?
Along with this important lesson–at the tender age of 41, no less–it’s become readily apparent that email, and the Internet, are not the best mediums for handling these sometimes sticky situations. Ever have a fight with your wife via text message? I have. But so much is lost–the nuance, tone, cadence, and rhythm of spoken language–not to mention eye contact, body language, and the possibility of an affirming touch (though I don’t recommend that in the business world). It’s impersonal, cold, lends itself to, perhaps, the use of phrases that we–I–wouldn’t necessarily use otherwise; for instance, have you ever told your wife not to get her “panties in a bunch?” I have, and it didn’t go over so well. All she did was ask one little question (“Would you talk to your boss that way?”), and I was slain. Instead of congratulating myself on my scintillating wit, I was chagrined. (And, for the record, “knickers in a twist” didn’t go over any better–I tried). Had proven once again what a douche I can be. But at least I’m learning.
To recap: I’ve found that not can I can survive confrontation, I can thrive because of it. But I’ve learned that (and I realize there are exceptions) it’s something best done in person.
What’s something you learned in 2010?