Doing the Wrong Things Right

Can a person be happy and sad at the same time?  This is a joke I heard from one of my sons the other day and no, I can’t share the punchline with you.  But it is possible.  It happened to me today.

Last night, I had a meeting with a group of motivated people who want to support their community.  They have been working together, pretty much under the radar, for a couple of years.  I met with them to talk about what they have in place and next steps in their development.  We hit it off great and the meeting was very successful.  They were encouraged about their future direction and I drove home feeling like I had done well.

I did so well that the leader of the group sent my boss a very nice email.  I did do a good job.  Unfortunately, I promised something which is inconsistent with the direction we are going.  I promised something which, if delivered, may hinder my ability to accomplish my main goals.  I put a lower priority above my higher priorities.  I was happy that I did well but I was sad that I should have known better.  I should have understood or realized that this was not the best decision, especially since I’ve done it once before in a similar situation.

As I’ve been thinking about this, I realize that I have done this many times before.  Doing the wrong thing right seems to be a pattern for me.  In one of my jobs, I decided to keep doing small survey projects when requested when my boss told me they were not as important as other work.  I won’t bore you with more examples but there are many.

Why do I do the wrong things right?  Perhaps because I would prefer to do what I enjoy doing.  Perhaps doing the right thing requires me to say “no” or be a bad guy and I don’t want to disappoint someone.  Maybe it’s just easier to do the wrong thing.  Am I trying to take control or prove that I know better?  Maybe I just have faith that I can do it all and am ignorant of the risk.  Or it’s my passive aggressiveness at work.

I don’t really know the answer.  I don’t think there is only one answer or that it’s always the same answer.  All I know is that it makes me sad.  But hey, it’s something for me to work on and I love a challenge.  Here’s to doing right things right.


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