“It’s about overestimating the need. And under estimating the capacity.”

Knowing our capacity, making realistic guesses about how hard things are going to be- even the things that “shouldn’t” be hard- it’s the work of a lifetime. But we can have exacting standards for ourselves and still learn to leave space and grace for our own frailties and failures.

Transcript and notes:


Recorded 16 January, 2023


Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in.

So I mentioned that I moved. And I've mentioned that it was complicated in a lot of ways. But moving's always like that. And I've moved a lot. And so I didn't really think too much of the idea of scheduling people right up until the week before the move date, and then scheduling people starting at the beginning of January. And you know what, you should not underestimate your enemies, or you're moving, are you moving boxes or your trauma.

As it turns out, I have, as I've mentioned, a bit of moving trauma. And I don't use that word lightly. And as a result, the move took a pretty big emotional toll. And that's hard. That's been hard. And it's been hard because I feel this urgency to get back up and running because I didn't allow myself enough of a buffer in my own expectations or in the expectations of others. And also, there's no way to move without a few lumps and bumps. It's not- it's just not smooth.

This move was as smooth as it could have been. Our stuff got picked up and dropped off. Our stuff got here with very little damage. Our movers were good and kind and courteous, and even wore masks when we told them we needed them too. We managed to get packed, it was a tight thing, much tighter than I wanted it to be. But we did get packed. And we are still getting unpacked, but that's fairly normal. And the important things were easy to unpack right away, because we had packed with some of that in mind.

And we are right by the grocery store and the bakery, and the coffee shop and the tap room. And two Thai restaurants. It's as good as it could be. It's as good as it could be. And there are always issues and challenges.

The generator across the street has moved at least temporarily. Which brings with it a whole new set of how did that happen? And were they treated well, the people who went with the generator? We don't know. We just got here, we have to figure that out. But for now, the house is quiet. I can record in peace. We don't have to install a hedge.

For now, we can unpack the boxes. For now we can find our rhythms and our favorite places and find our way. For now we have some space. For now we were able to take a moment and go out to the coast and see the ocean and... But honestly, I should have booked myself a non-holiday month, a whole month, not to work. If that was possible. But is it ever possible? Probably not.

We've been here almost a month now, which is shocking. And there are some administrative things that I'm a little behind on. I don't know if my car and my driver's license are going to get retitled and registered within the 30 day window. I'm going to try. I don't know what else I can and can't do. I'm going to try.

But the problem with underestimating your enemies or your moving process or your trauma is that it comes up in unexpected ways. If you don't give things space and time to process through, they just pop up. They show up when you're busy looking at something else, when you turn your back. It's not what you expected. It's not what I expected. It's just here. It's just here and it's in this moment. And now what?

And that's one thing for me, and my moving process, and my tiny little business. It mostly affects me and one other person and I wish it didn't affect them as much as it does. But what about it if you have a whole team? What about what happens when you have a whole group of people and they're all affected because you thought something would be easier than it would be?

When I used to work in woodworking we used to mark everything up by 20% time and 20% materials and just a 20% overall in addition to 20% time and 20% materials because that was realistic. That was a realistic fudge factor. That was the kind of thing that you had to just know to add. Because whatever you priced it out as whatever it was gonna cost you in time and materials and labor and administrative overhead, whatever you could predict there was 20% more waiting in the wings. Whatever you could imagine there was 20% more waiting in the wings. And so there was this embedded markup.

Not because we ever wanted to charge someone more than we should, or more than we had agreed on, but because we knew- that's what expertise does, you know, there's that joke about the guy who goes to fix the big machine, and he bangs on it once and charges $900. And the guy's like, "You banged on that once? Why am I paying you $900?" And the guy's like, "to know how and when and where to bang on it to fix the problem. That'll be $900."

And so it's about knowing. It's about knowing even that there will be more, that everything we have listed out is not the whole picture. And we know that there's more, and we don't know how there's more it's knowing and creating space and spaciousness. It's about overestimating the need. And under estimating the capacity.

It's tricky to do that, especially with people, when you're underestimating their capacity for emotional... whatever. That's very tricky. Because you don't want to be disrespectful. You don't want to put someone in the position of being talked down to or condescended to, you don't want to underestimate their skill, you don't want to leave them feeling like you're holding their hand when they don't need their hand held.

And yet.... And yet, if you can do it well- and that's the work of a lifetime- and it's actually, it's harder for us as intensives, because it is the work of a lifetime, it is the work of our lifetimes. To learn how not to be impatient with people who don't understand things, the way we understand them, who don't perceive things, the way we perceive them, who don't have the skill or knowledge or talent or background, or underpinnings that we have. To learn to be patient and present, and non judgmental.

That's very difficult for us. And we don't know how to do that very well for ourselves either. Which means that our own internal criticism can be some of the harshest we encounter in the world. And that's not actually helping us the way we think it is.

We can have exacting standards and still give ourselves 20% extra time. We can have exacting standards and still give ourselves 20% extra materials budget. We can have exacting standards, and also allow for human frailties and failures. We can do both. You can know that if it's going to be perfect, it's going to take six tries. You're going to have six times as much material. And you can plan something for that material afterwards. But knowing....

It's important to know, it's important to practice knowing, and practice using that knowledge. Practice giving ourselves the space. And by ourselves, I mean everyone around us, too. It's important to practice giving kindness and grace. It's important not to jump to conclusions, even when we think we know we're right. It's also important not to talk ourselves out of what we know to be true. Because sometimes, sometimes the trauma is real. And sometimes the boxes are difficult. And sometimes the move is harder than you think.

But the best thing we can do to build a world that's more forgiving, is to build a world that's more forgiving, to be more forgiving with one another, more gracious with one another, more kind, more even handed, even if we're passionate, with one another. To move from love more often. To keep truth close. And to move with deliberate care. Even in the midst of excitement. Even in the midst of joy and inspiration. And to foster those things and to fuel those things in ourselves. But not to underestimate the challenges.

To know that they're there, even if we don't know what they are. To add our 20% and 20% and 20% more, and to allow ourselves to use it. Sometimes the hard thing is hard, and sometimes it takes time. And that doesn't make you, your work, your company, or your leadership any less valuable.

Thanks for tuning in.