I’ve had several experiences recently that have been quite revealing to me. They are all very different (different people and circumstances) but the underlying pattern is very similar, and I think profound. I’m still grappling with how to understand the pattern, and how to best handle these situations when they appear now and in the future.
The pattern that keeps revealing itself is a feeling or intuition that something is just not quite right…there’s some kind of feeling of discomfort or frustration that I’m experiencing with someone but I can’t put my finger on it. But, I have a core feeling of unease that something isn’t quite right about the person/situation. This feeling causes me to probe deeper via either pushing the person in an extreme way so that the truth gets revealed or I keep probing in various ways until the deeper truth comes out. That’s when its hit me that my intuition has been spot on but it sure has been difficult to get the person to reveal this truth about themselves.
I’m wondering how to deal with these situations in the future, and does it always have to be so challenging. I’ve really felt completely exhausted from this happening over and over again in the last few days. Its amazing to me how this has happened with 3 very important and completely different situations. Here they are. (It just hit me that at the beginning of the week, I made a resolution to myself that I would pursue my hopes and dreams and not let anything get in my way such as fear, other people’s opinions, my own negativity, my own doubts and fears that have sabotaged me in the past….maybe this is why the following situations are happening with such frequency. I guess its not a coincidence?)
My nephew: the situation with my nephew has been really alarming to me. He’s an amazing 12 year old. He’s extremely smart, loquacious, charming, talented…you name it, he’s got everything going for him. The problem is that he’s in a new school this year and he is academically suddenly taken a turn for the worse. Where as before he always did well in school, on his last report card he went from mostly As to Cs and Ds. I was absolutely shocked to hear this news and really concerned about him but mostly kept quiet about it and let my brother and sister in law handle it in the best way they saw fit. Fast forward to a couple days ago, and lo and behold he throws a fit (because his mother/my sister in law) came down hard on him because he broke a rule at home. Totally justified that she would come down hard on him, however, his reaction (as usual) is to become extremely dramatic, throw a tantrum, act as if he is the victim and his mom/dad are totally out line, start crying – you name it, he pushes all the right buttons. And the next I hear out of my brother’s mouth is that my nephew has just relayed the information from my nephew that his grades will again be poor. My brother just seems resigned. I could not believe it.
The next day is was business as usual, and everyone was acting like nothing happended!! That day, the next day, he ended up skipping his soccer practice after school because his hurt his ankle (bs), and took the train home. No one was there when he got there so he was locked out. When I met up with everyone after work, he was running around this house feeling just fine so it was obvious that the sprained ankle was a blantant lie.. I chewed on all of this for a day and then realized that if my brother and sister in law were going to throw up their hands about it him, it was up to me to do something about it and try to intervene on his behalf. the most alarming thing to me was his grades and I feel like its a huge slippery slope that could send him a very bad future path for him academically and limit his opportunities in the future. Which is all completely absurd because he’s incredibly smart and capabel and there is no reason he should fail academically.
Any way the long and the short of it was that I decided that I would make him a proposal: if he ended up with straight A’s on his next report card, that I would pay him $50. I took him aside last and told him this and through the ensuing conversation (he had a million excuses for why this wouldn’t be possible, it was revealed to me that he thinks that “grades don’t matter”. I was completely and utterly shocked. I still am and feel like crying when I think of this…I’m not sure where he got this idea from since both of his parents and grandparents and relatives (myself included) have always taught him the importance of school and doing well in school.
Anyway, once the shocking truth came out, it struck me that this dangerous thinking is at the root of his problems. If he continues to believe this, then he will have no motivation to do well in school, and my deepseated fear is that will really limit him in the future.
My brother and I got into a big argument about this and he ended up admitting to me that he feels resigned about the situation, and also that he and his wife (my sister in law) don’t really talk anymore about it. He also resented that I was trying to interfere.
It feels like I’m the only chance that this kid has so I’m trying to do whatever I can for him and his future. But i’m afraid that if his parents are resigned, and he is too, then what can I really do??? I just can’t let this go though, it breaks my heart because he is such an awesome kid..I jsut want to shake everyone and say “wake up don’t you see what’s going on????”
Work: long story short, I’ve been having a really hard time with one of the teams I’ve been working with. I’m a product designer and my job is to help teams design user friendly and intuitive products. One main way that I do this, is to help teams follow the standards that have been developed within the company so that everything has a common look and feel. Easier said than done, and its been like beating my head agains the wall to get the team to follow my advice and my process. Finally, though, the truth came out and this team just doesn’t buy into the fact that we need to follow standards. So, no wonder I’ve been beating my head against the wall. They hadn’t come out and said this (until I had to drag it out of them after many many emails and meetings) it was finally revealed that this is their core belief. It was something that I had an intuition about a while ago but then had to go through this painful process to get them to admit that this is the way they feel about what my role is. Now that I know, I will adjust my strategy but it has been such a painful process to have to go through all of this fighting with the team etc. to get there.
My brother and I have a business together to develop a new shoe design concept. We’ve had a lot of challenges over the last year or so (I’ve posted here previously about them) but what’s happened recently is that the idea has kind of languished because we’ve hit technical challenges with the attachment mechanism. (The idea involves a way to change the color of a shoe vis a vis a shoe “sleeve”.) I’ve been giving my brother’s idea a chance to play out even though I had a lot of concerns about it from the beginning (a year ago). I had voiced my concerns but he just overrode me.
So here we are a year later, and we haven’t been able to engineer his idea into a viable solution. My intuition has been telling me that he is hell-bent on his idea and isn’t open to a different approach but I wanted to be open to his idea especially because I knew how attached he was to it. But it suddenly hit me the other day, that we have wasted all this time and haven’t made any progress over the last 6 months. And I decided that I needed to intervene. So I told him that we needed to talk and “re-group”. Well we did just that last night, and it was revealed to me that he is indeed hell-bent on his idea, and though he is playing lip service to being open to other ideas (I have another design that I’ve come up with a while ago in my back pocket waiting for the right moment to reveal it), I could tell by the uncharacteristically animated and forceful way he spoke to me, he isn’t going to let go of his idea and isn’t really open to other ideas. Again, this was intuition all along but it took me forcing the issue after a long protracted process for him to reveal his true thoughts. Now, that I know this information, it will help figure out how to proceed but until he admitted it, I couldn’t really know the right way to move forward. And I don’t really appreciate that I had to go through this contentious battle with him for him to reveal his core beliefs about it.
Sorry for this long drawn out post (OMG, I can’t believe this is so long) but my question is about intuition and how to deal with something we know intuitively but can’t really act on until the truth gets revealed. And if the other party is so fundamentally resistant to revealing the truth, then how to proceed without the huge battle that forces them to reveal themselves as outlined above?
I guess I could just “not care” and let it go or change my thinking but in all 3 cases I do care deeply and do believe that I can impact the outcome and I will do whatever it takes to have the result that I want and that I believe is the right result…I just wish it wasn’t so f***** hard!!!