We hope you stay with us!
by Tom Cloyd - 3 min. read - (reviewed 2020-08-05:1035)
I received this morning a cordial, regretful, and impassioned farewell communication from someone with whom I’ve had several good exchanges. They report that they are leaving BOCT. I wrote the following response (adapted for a more general audience).
It seems that you question whether you should be here, because you don’t feel like you fit in. You see a lot of talking in BOCT and you are a person who prefers to act.
About your not fitting in - I have to disagree. I have never once seen things that way. Your contributions are clear and strong, to my mind. I see no fundamental misfit.
The people who started BOCT are well-educated and literate, for the most part, and they are going to sound like it when they write. What we have in common is the same passion you have. That is the most important thing we share. Beyond that, we are a diverse bunch, more than you may know! Diversity is virtually always a good thing, as it keeps multiple points of view on display for us all to consider.
We all have different skills to contribute. Some of us are action-oriented, and some are thinkers. We need both - and all points in between. I, myself, mostly think and write. I do this to help others clarify their own thoughts, as thinking is an excellent and often necessary precursor to action. I choose to do what I am best at, and advise others to do the same. We win by playing from our strengths, yes?
It looks to me like you may be having a stress-management problem. I comment about this because I have been also. These are demanding times, for many of us. Personally, I have in recent days felt a bit overwhelmed with writing and editing tasks, and people needing bits of my time. I have had to work at keeping balance. This is NORMAL for a well-engaged, committed person.
Stress, of the right sort, and in the right amounts, is what causes personal growth. The trick is to manage it so we get growth but not burnout. This is a problem for everyone, but surely more for some than others.
I advise others what I advise myself to do: Take some time off. Get enough sleep! Exercise and get outdoors. Mostly, realize that managing ourselves in demanding times is what we all need to work at, and that doing that work WILL make us better at it.
We all are the decision-makers in our own lives. We get better at this by doing it over and over and by noticing consequences. By observing others, we also can improve. We don’t have to repeat mistakes we see others make!
When you decided to join the BOCT, I suggest that is probably a good decision. Here you will encounter a fairly diverse group of folks and points of view, but we also have some strong shared values and commitments. This diversity can be annoying at times, and distracting at times, but also highly educational. If being here has been hard for you on occasion, I hope you will decide to stay with BOCT even though it is challenging. We don’t get stronger by doing the easy stuff!
Some of us are far more action-oriented than they are thoughtful. Some are highly involved in local politics, or highly focused activities that have a national scope. We NEED people like this in BOCT as role models for other people, people who are looking for ways to get involved but don’t know quite what to do next.
So…just by showing up and telling us what you are doing you are achieving more than you know. That is something to think about.
There is room for all of us, and need as well. Be yourself. Be deviant - or not, as it suits you. Human beings are a highly variable animal and this is a strength, not a weakness. Stay with us and you will make us stronger!
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