In spite of our world’s news, life goes on. Truth be told, I sort-of stopped watching the news a long time ago. It’s too much negative input for me and feels so unhappily intense. I don’t look at life through a peephole, but I choose where to comfortably focus. So when I was recently assigned a story to write about a devastating global crisis, I cringed. It was beyond my expertise.
I was no more than two sentences in on the story research when I became a daydreaming child. I looked out the window. Sang to myself. Jiggled in my chair. Thought about getting some food, or even a glass of wine, never mind it was barely past noon. This stuff wasn’t light reading.
While Frank Sinatra was piping out of Pandora in my living room, I couldn’t wrap my head around the horror of this worldwide situation and my first-world pinhole view. How do you reconcile the juxtaposition of those two realities?
The assignment also involved attending an event with high-level experts whose lives focus on world news. I dreaded going for two reasons. First, serious embarrassment as I talked to the high-profile players, and second, sadness about the intense topic. I had to exercise that old fake it till you make it although I just wanted to forget it.
But I tried. I toiled. I went to the event then attempted to write an article that felt extremely hard for me – over my head, out of my realm, out of my knowledge range, out of my experience, out of my skill. So I spent the next several days beating myself up and feeling pretty low. This wasn’t something watching the news would fix. Just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean I can write about this. This was about expertise in a world I know nothing about.
Everybody has discomfort in their lives, their jobs, their relationships, their personal world. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had a task they couldn’t do. And I didn’t go into it trying to fail, but if we can’t bring ourself to the table before a task even begins, how do we do it? We can say we sort-of don’t care what people think, but in this case I actually did.
Nobody knew I botched it, some magic dust and a brilliant hand-holder saved the day. There’s a lot to be said for teamwork, we don’t always have to go rogue. I am grateful I had support and came across this quote that validated that.
The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. No man or woman becomes great on their own. The people around them help them become great. We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best versions of ourselves.
Thank you people. And while I won’t be watching the news, here’s to trying again.