I had to go to a meeting today. It was a long meeting. And it was an ugly meeting.
I already knew a lot of the people who were there individually. I like a lot of those people individually.
I had hoped for respectful dialogue and constructive criticism. But it was more like this:
Angry. Angry. Angry.
(That’s me in the pink, by the way… everyone in our office wore pink today to support breast cancer awareness and it was our pink challenge day, so I was SUPER pink. Pink dress, pink tights, pink nails, pink jewelry, pink scarf (hand-dyed by my aNut!), and even pink bobby pins! So yes, I really did stand out pretty much just like that… except that I wasn’t the only one with hair. I just didn’t feel like drawing it on everyone else.)
There was nit-picking, items were mocked. Mocked! I wanted to shrink out of the room.
But shrinking wasn’t an option. (If it were, I wouldn’t still be wearing a size 11 shoe.) So I had to make a choice: keep silent, implying tacit agreement with the tone in the room, or sit at the table, lean in, and speak my mind.
I spoke my mind. And by speaking my mind, I did NOT make any new friends. But I couldn’t stand what I was hearing.
So I shared a little bit of love.
I’d love to tell you that I won over the room. That I lulled the angry masses into a calm and respectful group. That sitting at the table and leaning in worked.
But it didn’t. I was readily dismissed. And I suppose sometimes it’s like that. You can’t win them all, no matter how hard you try. But at least my conscience is clear and I can rest well tonight knowing that I went to bat for what I thought was right.
My dad has a lovely little term for just such situations. This is precisely what he calls an AFGO: Another eFfing Growth Opportunity. Genius. I recommend adding the word AFGO to your vocabulary, effective immediately. I think you’ll find that life is full of opportunities to use it, and AFGOs really don’t seem quite so bad when you think of them that way. After all, personal growth is a good thing.
Except when you have to buy new pants 😉
PS: I really wanted to use The Ugly Duckling as the title somehow, but I just couldn’t work ducks (or swans) in… so I had to settle for “meet-ling.” Dang. Better luck next title!
3 thoughts on “The Ugly Meet-ling”
I had an AFGO the other day, albeit on a much smaller scale. I heard a pal saying rather unsupportive things about another coworker and instead of sitting silently till he left my office (like I normally would), I told him what I thought! Nicely, of course. But I felt good about not staying silent! Actually it was a lot like yours (there was mocking of a masters thesis topic) but there was just one person and it wasn’t in a big meeting. Way to go! Not always the easiest route but def. the best.
I’ve very proud of you! It’s tough to speak up especially in a group-think setting.
I’m totally with your dad on this one! Maybe we should all wear pink more often- maybe the pink gave you courage! Maybe I need more pink to speak up more! Inspiring 😉