When most people see our little Scooter, they ask if he’s a Shih tzu, and I tell them he’s part Shih tzu and part Lhasa. Yesterday morning, Oliver’s owner asked if Scooter was a Lhasa because Oliver is, and they sure do look as if they could be brothers. (I believe Lhasas are taller than the Shih tzu breed and their noses are longer.) So this woman saw the Lhasa in Scooter because of her experience – which brings me to a point she told me in our brief conversation about her other experience. Oliver’s owner just happened to have been the Regional Sales Manager, if I understood correctly, for the entire Northwest Region of the telephone company. I believe she said AT & T. (We were both in a hurry to get back on the road, so I’m a bit sketchy about the details.) She apparently retired young and is simply living life, enjoying her grandchildren, helping relatives move, doing whatever she might love to do at this stage of her life.
When I processed that information later as we drove out of Centralia towards Salem, I realized that this conversation had gone straight into the box in my head called, “Re’gret City” (accent on the first syllable). I’m not sad I have this area in my brain reserved for keeping track of all the regrets of my life. I keep “Regret City” there because I love the quote: “Maybe the sole purpose of my existence is to be a warning to others.” That’s not a bad thing. Great inventions of the world, great plays, great philosophical and scientific thoughts have been based on improving on the mistakes others have documented. So I’m documenting this observation:
Being a Sales Manager or anyone in charge of a number of people takes pluck and courage. It takes the ability to look someone in the eye and say “no”. It takes the stamina to endure the stress of perhaps not being liked or the stress of weighty decisions. It takes the ability to think more about the welfare of others than of your own.
I know for a fact that I simply am not able to manage anyone; it’s not in my DNA or in my upbringing. (Sometimes the ability to manage other people or endure the stress of decision making is in conflict with our other gifts.) But the lesson for those of you like me who stand by and let the world chisel pieces from your soul is to take baby steps out of your comfort zone and be brave enough to confront issues head-on and not walk away. You don’t have to do it everyday of your life. You don’t have to do it every year, or even every ten years. But wouldn’t It would be nice if, at the very least, you could do it once! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could look back on your life when someone asks you to think of a time when you were really assertive, that you would have at least one image of you taking control of an issue that matters with dignity, assurance, and effectiveness? If you have already created that moment, inspire us with your story in the comment section.