Sunday, March 17, 2013

A piece of the pie

I've drawn a comparison between selling wedding albums and managing expectations for friendships. Today I watched a course on the art of selling. How to show contrast to allow clients to understand that they don't want the cheap album. How can they possibly understand the value of the $1,500 album unless you compare it's beauty to a crappy Walmart album?

In this business I've come to understand more than ever that I am an all or nothing person. I once read that instead of spreading yourself too thin and giving everyone 10% of your time, to instead focus on the present and give 100% of your focus and energy. How could you possibly be in the moment at home when you are checking and answering work related emails? Alternatively, how can you be focused at work when your family life, phone calls and issues start trickling in?

All or nothing gets me in trouble sometimes. If you have been my bride, you know how invested I am in you in the moment. I wrote a previous blog post about feeling cheapened when I form a relationship with a client and then, by way of business,  am forced to move on to the next without much time to even absorb the now.

Not to sound like a whiny celebrity who's "tough life" includes having too many social functions to attend but really, for a relatively homebody'ish person, we have quite the social calendar. There are some people who thrive on having something to do all the time. They are planning their next get together at the party they are presently attending. They are the networking gurus, the extroverts, and the social butterflies of the world. There is nothing wrong with this.

I, by nature of research and a book called Quiet, have come to realize that I recharge best either alone, or with a small group of trusted people. I don't love team sports. I don't remember loving group assignments in school. I don't like having the loudest voice and trying to show off and yell decibals above others to be heard. Perhaps this is why I have been drawn to photography and writing.

Photography allows me the perfect mix of social time mixed with down time. Note: Introverts are not necessarily social recluses. They just prefer to unwind and recharge in quiet scenarios. I feel like I've found the reason for my misery for so many years. I was indeed an introvert living in a world that won't stop talking. I had high anxiety issues in the office. People naturally signed me up at every job I ever worked for, to be the event coordinator for the company. Whenever there was a birthday, golf tournament, shower, retirement party, luncheon, I was to arrange it, and make the dreaded speech; all the while just wanting to do my paperwork in my office alone.

I used to deliberately take my lunch break at 11:30, because I knew at 12 pm the lunch room or underground cafeteria would be packed. In a world where the only way to be successful is to be socially affluent, this was a debilitating handicap. From the outside I seem bubbly and happy. And for the most part I am. But I absolutely loathe taking the public spotlight. I feel like this is the irony. A photographer, who hates people looking at her in real life, yells to a group of people, mostly strangers.....everyone! Look at me! The bonus of this mostly uncomfortable day, is that I've got paid a month's salary to spend one day feeling a healthy uneasy, and 29 more days working from the comfort of my own home. I say healthy because it's been proven that most introverts take on roles such as CEO's of companies and lawyers, in hopes of trying to change this personality trait. It's healthy to put yourself in an uncomfortable position. Sometimes.

This is going off in a tangent, probably meant for a different day; a different blog post.

Recently I've been rightfully accused by some former brides-turned-friends of being a shitty friend. I'm not there for their social gatherings. I don't "like" or respond to their requests of selling Arbonne, Avon, Pampered Chef, Epicure, Girl Guides, Diet Supplements, Extra Income ideas etc. I have mad respect for one who unfriend me off Facebook because, she honestly admitted that she has her baby girl now, and doesn't have time for fairweather people. This is a powerful statement and one that we all sort of live by.

How many of us do a spring cleaning of sorts and remove people from Facebook? (Facebook by the way, seems to be a silly way of making us feel neglected, or not important when someone doesn't accept your "friend" request or comment on your postings.) I'm guilty as charged as well. If someone doesn't add to my life, why on earth would I have them in my personal business? In addition, when the most important people in my life are my family, a handful of friends and in the moment, my clients, why would I spend 10% of my free time attending things that I have no interest in attending, just to keep my social calendar booked. (I'm an introvert, remember?) I feel it's a fair statement to say that in life, we do the things that we want to do. We find excuses when someone doesn't mean much to us. We find a way when they do. It really comes down to that simple honesty. If we lived in a world like the movie The Invention of Lying, we would be much less prone to being hurt because we would always say the truth. So for example, in our world, if we don't feel like attending something, why can't the answer simply be no and the reason because I don't want to, be accepted?

I'm an extremely emotional and invested person. I take my relationships very seriously. I take my job very seriously and when I am in it, I am 150% into it. As time goes on and the client relationship ends, it becomes difficult to maintain those high standards of giving. When you give 150% to everyone, what's left for you? And by the way? What have those people done for you lately?

I am known for being fiercely loyal. I've had it backfire in my face. I stand up for people who won't even stand up for themselves and in the end, the abused goes back to the abuser and I am the one left with egg on my face and a soul with the energy sucked out of me for the hours I've spent pouring over their problems. When is the last time someone asked you how YOU were doing and genuinely meant it? And I don't mean to start a conversation so they can turn it back on themselves, or to find out the scoop. I mean someone who genuinely cares.

Believe me, there are very few in this world. And if you know in your heart that someone doesn't return your sentiment, energy and effort, why in the world would you give them a piece of your very limited pie (graph) of time?

Don't get me wrong. There are politically correct things that we have to do in life. We have to sit through boring-ass meetings making small talk with people we don't care about. We have to attend family functions that we don't necessarily want to. We make idle chit chat with our neighbours in suburbia, all the while knowing we all go back into our own homes talking about each other.

The problem becomes the persona that we put out there. If the bitch in the office is always this way, the one day she smiles, everyone sings her praises. But God forbid, if Suzy sunshine, the office spunk and cheerleader has a bad What the hell is HER problem?

Sometimes setting the bar too high gets you in trouble. It's like the dating game. If you give it all up at the beginning, the expectations will always be there and nothing will be appreciated. Like the album comparison...without experiencing the small and crappy album, how could you ever appreciate the big and beautiful one? You cannot appreciate the sweet without experiencing the sour. My problem becomes when I've given more than I can humanly give to someone, and then I can't possibly keep up that unattainable level of do people turn sour.

And then I am left to wonder...what exactly have you done for me lately? In a world where everyone emotionally takes, dumps and robs...when is the time set aside for me to enjoy the piece of the pie?

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