Confessions of a Recovering Helpaholic Part 7

I realized after writing the first 6 steps of my 12 Step Program for Recovering Helpaholics that it is sort of divided into two parts.  The beginning steps (1-6) are about facing ourselves.  The next group (7-12) are about healing ourselves.

These steps come from my years of doing coaching (45!) and my journey of self-discovery, self-improvement and all the incredibly challenging yet beneficial experiences that have kept me focused on my inner growth.  I write this as much for myself as for others, as I need encouragement just like everyone else!

Which leads me to:

Step 7:  Learn the art of Proactive Waiting

So often we are in a situation that seems utterly beyond our control.  Waiting for a decision from someone else.  Waiting for someone to do something they said they would do.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.

That can make me crazy!!!

I want things to happen when I want them to happen!!!

So I came up with a way to manage those moments without losing my mind:  Proactive Waiting.

Example:

We started taking memberships for Great Girls Network in May of 2017.  We had done our research, determined a reasonable fee for a yearly cost, surveyed women to find out what they wanted from us, and then put out the call to join.  And waited.

Not fun to wait!  We of course knew what a great thing we had!  We wanted other women to know also!!  But it takes time to build things.  People had a lot on their plates!  They’re busy!

While we waited, we started doing Track meetings.  We tried 4 different ones at first, and only two of them, Growth and Transitions really took off.  So we stayed with them.  Gradually the word got out and we kept attracting new members.  We just kept going, enjoying each gathering, learning about ourselves along the way.  Later in 2017 we added a third one, Be Well.

What I find most interesting is that now, after a year and 4 months of Track meetings, we are evolving as a group.  The women who joined in the beginning but didn’t actually connect with us have started dropping away.  And at the same time, we are attracting new members who resonate with what we’re about.

What is evident is that we are really about encouraging each other to speak our truth, be vulnerable, appreciate ourselves and each other.  Some women don’t find that compelling.  And that is okay!  We can’t be all things to all people.

For those of us who like that, it works.  We have a very strong core group, who come often to Track meetings.  Growing that is most important to us.

And we are fine proactively waiting for others to connect!

Example:

When I was running my manufacturers’ sales agency (1977 to 2006) we were often approached by companies with a possibility of being chosen to represent them.  Very few of those were cut and dried decisions, because many factors entered into them.  Who else we represented, who currently (or had just lost) the line, how big our reach was in the particular market segment they wanted serviced.  Sometimes it would take a few months before a decision was made.  If it was a line we really wanted, it was a bit agonizing to wait until hearing the result.  Difficult!

We had to put the decision aside, and move on with our sales efforts with the lines we already had, giving it our all.  We learned to not ever bank on it going our way, and especially to not talk about it with others! — for several reasons.  The current reps might plead their case to keep the line.  Another company might swoop in to compete with us if they knew the line was available.  A customer might try to sway the company to go with a favorite rep group (not us) instead.  How did we learn this?  The hard way, of course!  By saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time!!!

What was originally a protective move, to keep quiet and keep working turned out to be highly beneficial.  We just kept getting stronger, more reliable and more experienced in making the sales for our current factories and it gave us a much better chance to earn new lines for the future.  It also kept us from the highs and lows of false expectations and the inevitable disappointment if it didn’t go in our favor.

That strategy obviously worked well:  the guys I sold my business to 12 years ago are still going strong, still building a successful company!  And I’m really pleased to have been part of that!!!

Example:

This one was hard for me to learn.  Someone told me recently that I seem to be very patient with others.  I think I actually do that to a fault sometimes.  Especially with men.  I was raised in a culture that made men the center of the world.  When I grew up in the 50s the highlight of the day was when Daddy came home.  We got him a drink, rubbed his feet (he was a surgeon, on his feet a lot during the day) and made sure he had the best of everything.  It was a societal norm.

It took me years to understand that catering to men was not actually working for me.  Sure, I was good at running my business, running my life on the outside.  But when it came to relationships, I found myself slipping into patterns that left me out in the cold.  If a guy was late, I made it all right.  If he didn’t do what he said he would do, I worked around it.  I was a master at making life better for the men I cared about.

How does proactive waiting apply to this?  I no longer put men above me in any way.  I stop seeing a guy if he shows me he doesn’t consider me a priority.  I have clear boundaries.

And I don’t have a boyfriend, and that is fine with me!  I am building and enjoying a wonderful life.  I have the best friends (both male and female) you could imagine!  I have fun!  I do what I love!  I don’t feel a lack in my life because there isn’t a man to share it.

I am proactively waiting for a really cool, aware guy who gets that hanging out with me is a great thing.  And if he doesn’t show up in this lifetime, I still have a great life!  And my heart belongs to me.

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