I dedicate this entry to Georges. During the early stages of my writing craze, he became the first of many professional influences that have a tendency to remind me to grow, develop, and become a vision.
Hitting the wall, there was only one thing I felt I could do to try and snap out of it. Get another viewpoint!
Georges, being that he is an international lawyer in the financial sector, I tend to get a different perspective from him, since our professional fields are like night and day. During our meeting, I found myself in the deep pool of doubt (something that was hard for me to admit) once I revealed to him my defeat for not finishing "Tempt!" on my preferred deadline and I'm on the verge of hitting writer's block. His demeanor implied a strong belief that "Tempt!" was going to weather the storms. His final thoughts on my creativity was this, "From the very first day we met, I saw you writing. I saw you developing ideas, you knew which ones were good and which ones you needed to set aside. Years later, I'm not surprised to see that you have published this blog. Hang in there, I don't think you're blocked, I think your ideas are shifting. And as far as finishing 'Tempt!'? It's simply a matter of time."
This conversation was an eye opener on what type of people I should consider leaning on for deeper insight. After leaving Georges' office, I couldn't help, but realize, he was technically the boss when I worked in that office! He didn't act like it. I mean, he gave me assignments, but he didn't rule the environment like a tyrant and he definitely didn't have to provide me insight. But he did. I was feeling this gravitational pull towards others I knew that were similar in holding an authoritative role within my work history. What more could I learn from favorite bosses' past?
Later that week, I decided to meet with Lee, who now runs his own business and has a wealth of knowledge internationally in various industries. His everyday ability to have this deep level of attention, honesty, and care down to the very last detail of his personal and professional schedule is extremely admirable. It was so amazing to walk into his new office and see his papers pile high on his desk like trophies from his pending success.
"I've read your blog, we need to talk, there are things you need to know." I had a gut feeling he needed to address the "Return to Sender" entry. He did actually meet the subject dubbed as the "Arch Nemesis" back when I first began that working relationship and at a time when I was naive enough to believe that his knowledge would be appreciated to help build a business.
I was wrong...
Lee shakes is head "I knew this scum was going to try and sabotage you. All you had to do was outperform this airhead and that would automatically put you in professional jeopardy."
I instantly felt a sense of relief as his honesty kept coming out.
" Let me guess,'Arch Nemesis' was bullying you to the point where you felt your work was inadequate and tried to be very controlling by keeping you as close as possible. Is that what happened?"
"Allow me to let you in on a little fact: Decades of experience has taught me that people who act like that do so because deep down, they are terrible at their jobs, but have been able to uphold their status by offering the higher ups unlimited access to sexual favors."
Thanks for your honesty, Lee! Now I see "Arch Nemesis" in a different light...Or shall I say in a different angle?
I have to admit, he tapped into a key factor that was, once, an ongoing weakness of mine. I had a tendency to neglect my instincts in order to give individuals the benefit of the doubt. But Lee's insight just placed a large stamp of validation on what I learned from that journey. There are productive people, there are destructive people. If you want to get ahead in life, AVOID THE DESTRUCTIVE PEOPLE.
I spent the rest of the day, going through old journal entries from my first year, back in New York. One of those entries, in particular was involving a friendship with Samuel. He worked rather closely with partners from a tech firm and I just needed to reach out to him. Being that he came from a heavily war-torn part of the world, he was always armed with such wisdom. I sent him an e-mail, short and sweet, discussing my new pitch for a campaign launch to finally secure the money for "Tempt!". Being that his passions involve innovative ideas, I figured I could use his input...His response?
"Your pitch...that is innovative! Not surprising coming from someone who, in her mid-twenties, had to uphold the responsibilities of a brilliant man's agenda."
Samuel, who would have thought that what I learned in that office was going to be the future of technology? I swear, if only my attitude was different back then. All I cared about was; do my job, do it well, earn my paycheck to pursue theatre, the CEO doesn't owe me anything.
"Your attitude allowed you free will to stay focused and think during stressful times. The "CEO doesn't owe you" attitude explains why you stayed calm at moments when others frantically ran around like a scene from 'The Devil Wears Prada'. Honestly, I thought your attitude served you. I never saw you cave under heightened emotion. Don't forsake it."
Do you believe emotions can do a disservice to us, if we are forced to make tough decisions that involve critical thinking?
"From what I've seen, if they're misused, misdirected and misunderstood, yes."
Note taken. Come to think of it, some of the best work I did, allowed me to engage in deep thought as oppose to emotional attachment. Maybe that's why I enjoy the art of "watch and learn"?
Shortly after my the e-mail exchange, my phone buzzes and low and behold, another former supervisor comes into the picture.
Itay has seen me through the ups and downs of real estate. His wisdom and demeanor I often find deceiving, leading me to believe that he is nowhere near my age (he's only 4 years older than me). Well, he was elated that I was learning the ropes of real estate, so he would appreciate what's new on the "learning" agenda. Our texts went a little like this;
Itay: What's up? Are you starting your business?
Me: Nope, learning a new skill at the moment.
Itay: Of course you are? What's up your sleeve?
Me: Learning more about search engine optimization. I want to learn more about marketing.
Itay: Brilliant! You've managed deals and now you're learning the ropes of marketing? When can I back you?
Me: Seriously, Itay, if I were to take that route, I couldn't make it happen overnight.
Itay: Seriously, JJ, I know you. You can build an empire, but you can't work with idiots.
Me: Note taken. I will let you know if I have any "break throughs" or have a sellable product.
Wow! A successful businessman wants to back me! And he let's me in on what I'm not good at... working with idiots...He would know!
Observing what these men taught me with such limited time this week, drew me to the conclusion that this is a new found category that needs to have a much more enriching existence in my life. Geroges, Lee, Samuel, and Itay may have been active in different industries, have different nationalities, birthed from a different generation, but they all had one distinctive thing in common: They were not just bosses, they were leaders. They use their knowledge to build me up and not tear me down. For as long as I've known them, these men have always encouraged, inspired and empowered me.
So what am I going to achieve by surrounding myself with these leaders?
I'm using this as the opportunity to build...to become my very own vision. Geroges, Lee, Samuel, and Itay are laying down the solid, concrete foundation to show me how it's done. As I feel my core begin to strengthen, I look to them and smile as I find my first building block to take the lead.