Withness

“When
did you start losing
trust
in the CTO?” I asked
the CEO.

“Our 3rd co-founder
was underperforming.
He came to us one day
to explain
that his underperformance
was due
to his father’s
illness.”
he answered.

“After he left,
the CTO told me in private
that he believed
that
was just an excuse.”
he continued.

“Sure,
it may have been
an excuse.
But the 3 of us
had been friends
for 10 years
before founding
the company.
I could easily see
how the CTO
would judge me the same way
if I were in a pinch.

I no longer felt
she was with me.”
he concluded.

To Become One

To become one
is not
to be
the same.

No two “things”
can ever be
the same.

Especially so
if you consider
their locations.

To become one
can be
to become one
of a new
kind.

Just as two rings
can become
one chain.

What vs How

“I don’t know how
to persuade him” said the founder.

“What
do you want to have happen?”
I asked.

“I want to persuade him.”
she responded.

“No.
What do you want to have happen
by persuading him?”
I asked again.

“…”

“I want you
to move your focus away from the how
to what it is you really want.” I remarked,
breaking the silence.

“What do you want?”
I asked again.

“I want…

I want to feel supported.” she answered,
after much thought.

“When’s the last time
you felt supported by him?”
I asked.

“I’ve never felt supported by him.”
she answered.

“Then what makes you so sure
that persuading him
is the way to feel supported?”
I asked.

Neglect

The person
whose love,
validation,
and respect we need
is often also the person
whose need for love,
validation,
and respect
we neglect
to appreciate
or understand fully.

Right vs Right

There are times
when we cannot reconcile
the conflict between
what is right
for us
and what is right
for them.

A paradox.

This is a place,
where we may recognize
what is right for others,
but feel stuck
because what is right for us
seems negated
by their’s.

Let us learn the choice
to give and receive support
in this place.

A place
of struggle.

Support
that can help us all realize empathy
so we can finally see
where it is
we previously did not look
and respect it
so as to let
the paradox dissolve
and give rise
to a new way
of being
together.

Behavior vs Need

Validation
has somehow become
a dirty word.

So has attention.

It’s as if
seeking validation
or attention
is shameful.

Human beings need
validation
and attention.

Without it,
we’ll die
a slow death.

It’s one thing
to suggest behavioral changes
as to how
when
and from whom
people seek validation
or attention.

It’s quite another
to shame
the human need
for attention
or validation.

This may only increase
the tension
living inside
humanity,
and, in turn,
may either provoke
the very behaviors we dislike
or merely make it
less visible,
and perhaps,
as a result,
make it,
more
dangerous.

Fast vs Far

“Do you know
what my co-founder told me?.”
the founder asked,
rhetorically.

If you want to go fast,
go alone.
If you want to go far,
go together.”
he smirked,
before continuing.

“He doesn’t seem to realize
that there are few times
when I feel more alone
than when I’m together
with him.”

Debugging

As programmers,
it’s easy
to conflate debugging
with problem solving.

Yes,
when debugging is complete
the problem
is solved.

But while debugging,
we spend most of our time
trying to see
the code
alive.

The code
that describes a living system.
One comprised
of parts,
their relationships,
and their impact
on one another.

Seeing the code alive
is akin to comprehending
what is really going on.

Once we comprehend
what is going on
problem solving
is often
straightforward.

We often forget to do the same
when not programming.

Especially
with people.

Instead,
we jump
to problem solving.

Perspective, Where Art Thou?

We often assume
we can take
someone’s perspective.

Until we realize
that the perspective we took
wasn’t theirs
or that it wasn’t the one
we needed.

To make up for this
we sometimes think we can get
their perspective
by asking.

Until we realize
that people aren’t always aware
of the whereabouts
of their own perspectives.

At which point
we realize
that the only way forward
is to discover
their perspective
together
until
we realize empathy.