Slippery Slopes

When we came back from vacation we saw little dusty remains from an animal’s meal on our back deck. I knew something had been busy out there chewing acorns, and I watched and waited.

Squirrels! The next week, my boys were busy collecting acorns for the squirrels and heaping them in a pile. Then that heap seemed more civilized on a plate. Every morning at breakfast we watched the squirrels munching away (cute little creatures!) and hoped that we weren’t creating hawk bait.

When the biggest sunflower in our little front deck was ready, we dried the seeds. We thought the squirrels would like them too. The feast was tremendous! We loved watching those two squirrels gobble away.

Next day: the squirrels found their way onto our little front deck, climbed the remaining three sunflowers, bent them to the ground, and pooped all over. The following day: havoc in our neighbors sunflower patch and corn stalks. For four months they didn’t even know the front deck or the sunflowers even existed, now this.

“We’ve created a monster.” I admitted to my husband.

The trickiest part about slippery slopes is they sneak up on me. I don’t realize how bad things are until well, they’re bad. And how the little choices I’ve made consciously or unconsciously feed into a life of their own.

This summer the company I work for got busier and busier, and I took on more responsibility troubleshooting with clients, and for the management of the business. And then, after a particularly hard day, I felt profoundly resentful. My compensation was misaligned to the troubleshooting I was doing, and somehow, the harder my job was –  the more nuance I had to bring to it each day – the less I was getting paid. It wasn’t ill-will on anyone’s part – it was just a series of small things that added up to … a slippery slope. A series of choices I’d taken – and in most of the cases – just stepped up to handle without being reflective on what was happening – that ended in pure resentment. Slippery slopes.

My friend Zohary Ross is leading a series in a couple of weeks on the Daring Way – a curriculum developed by Brene Brown and facilitated by select leaders (like my friend) that have gone through a rigorous screening and training process. In a video we watched highlighting some of the material covered in the curriculum Brene told about a ring she was wearing. She said something like this (paraphrased):

“I bought this ring for myself to remind me – choose Discomfort over Resentment.”

What a great reminder that resentment is always a slippery slope of my own making. Sometimes it’s easy to see where I should say no – when the teacher asks me to be the room parent (still super hard, but I did it, I declined). But harder for me is seeing a need, and just stepping in to meet it. And then another. And another. And soon enough resentment stings me on the head – at work or at home.

Choose Discomfort over Resentment.

If you’re local and interested in joining me on the 8-week journey into Brene’s work on the Daring Way, check out this link!

2 thoughts on “Slippery Slopes

  1. Great post. I am always fascinated thinking about the consequences of our actions – the downstream effects that we may never have anticipated. The harder thing to know is the consequences of inaction. Sometimes we regret action much more than inaction. For example, if you hadn’t introduced the squirrels to sunflowers, maybe they would have started in on electrical wiring instead – we will just never know. I think we learn much more from action than inaction, and that is a reward in itself.

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