In the past two days, I’ve encountered two acts of humility. By humility, I mean people doing things that might ordinarily be considered “beneath” them, noticing acts that someone might not consider worth noticing, and putting one’s ego aside to focus on more important things.
Yesterday, I had a meeting that had required eight months of work. I’ve lost sleep over it, worried myself sick, paced around in circles fretting that I couldn’t do it, and considered (only half-jokingly) whether I should throw in the towel.
What I’m trying to say is that it was a rather important meeting. 😉
In those eight months, I have:
- published five books/novellas and contracted two more plus two short stories for anthologies
- changed professional mentors
- worked full-time
- launched this entire “professional writer” enterprise
- seen Kat and Natalie transform from people in my head…into the anchors of (so far) a three-book series
What I’m trying to say is that I have been rather busy. 😉
So, when the busy Ana went to her busy meeting, she went early to take care of the necessary details. My presentation, my necessary techy details.
Instead, I walked into the room to find someone setting up a webcam, electronics, and internet connections.
I was so surprised that I stopped in my tracks and asked whether he perhaps might be setting up in the wrong room. (Thinking inside of my head, “Sheesh! Just what I need, someone in my space and making me late!”)
“Are you the person [doing what I was doing]? [The head person in charge of my work] asked me to set things up. I’ll stay close by until we make sure everything is fine.”
He then stayed with me, patiently, as he connected everything and helped me test the equipment. When (for convenience, let’s call him my supervisor, S) S entered later, I thanked him for making the arrangements. It was not his job. I had planned on having to do everything myself. S not only made the arrangements, but he allotted the budget to have the tech support for the entire meeting. Did we ever need it! When the connection went down, the tech guy did his best to fix things. Luckily, my planning paid off and we used my equipment. Tech guy still stayed until the end of the meeting, just to make sure things were fine.
When I thanked S, his response made me pause. He brushed it aside.
“Of course. I didn’t want you to have to think about anything except your work.”
Now, of course it’s always in a superior’s best interest for subordinates to perform well–but it is absolutely not the case that superiors always recognize this and act on it.
I knocked everyone’s socks off yesterday, including my own. But what stands out most in my mind is the supervisor who took time out of his stressful, overworked, busy schedule to use his professional clout. To ensure that I had the best conditions possible to perform well.
I’ve worked for other people who act as if anything is beneath them unless it directly contributes to their fame and glory. It seems to be a fairly common attitude in the corporate and professional world. I’ve also seen people who are apparently unable to have any conversation that doesn’t direct back to them or their work (in the author world, this means their books).
There’s a reason that I like “Simple Gifts” so much.
‘Tis, indeed, a gift to learn how to be simple and free. Humility brings many rewards.