Today I am waiting on a trusted adviser to work with me against a deadline. Truth be told, I’ve been waiting all week because, left to my own devices, I would have met that deadline with several days, if not weeks, to spare. But my colleague doesn’t work like that. He likes to work right up to the deadline. Last time we had seven minutes to spare, I kid you not. He likes to take things to the edge; he says the view is better from there.
My other colleagues who work with him with laugh at this thing about the edge, but it’s a nervous laugh. It’s true, the view is better but it isn’t half terrifying as well. I have learned to quell my fears and adapt my own method of working to suit his own. Did I like this? No! Will I continue to do it? Probably, there are few options, such is his expertise. If I had a choice would I use someone who works closer to my preferred way? Probably again, not least because it reduces stress and sleepless nights. But it has made me realise that my way isn’t right, it’s just my way. It makes me feel safe.
But there is value also in waiting and learning to adapt to others’ way of working, doing and being. Now that I know how he works, it is somewhat easier already each time we approach a deadline. Initially I found it infuriating, impossible even. I am not used to waiting on or for anyone or anything. Equally, he has never yet missed a deadline, so why worry? That would seem like a choice I am putting myself through unnecessarily and not healthily. It feels bad.
A bit like I wrote yesterday, I have a choice about how to react to my colleague’s way and right now I choose to adapt. I am learning to wait.