Unconventional Wisdom

We learn to live with paradox in recovery. Some of the best wisdom I have ever received in recovery would be (and is) considered nonsensical in “the real world” and even more so to my rational, logical lawyer mind. Yet when I apply certain wisdom or advice that has worked for others, invariably I find it works for me. Years ago when I was overly wrung out from meeting client demands, stressed out and pissed off in a slingshot position that nobody at work was “doing what they were supposed to” (according to my time table, of course), my sponsor suggested that I reframe my attitude towards my job. He pointed out that I was overly identified with work and that as a result, I was amping up my expectations of myself and others and everything was becoming personal. Normal advice “in the real world” usually follows the line of “manage them this way” or “work harder” and “give it your all” and “never give up.” Instead, my sponsor said, “Why don’t you try giving it your best 70%?” I was thunderstruck. This advice went counter to every fiber of my being. I am a “bring a bigger hammer” and “get it done yesterday” guy. But I tried it. And it worked. I calmed down. Amazingly, my staff got more productive. And everything still got done on time and with high quality work product. Most importantly, I began to have some peace. Today, when I can feel myself amping up to start barking orders, I pause and ask myself, “Are you giving this your best 70%?” Just asking myself that question allows me to take a deep breath, slow down and prioritize what is most important and pressing.

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