Oh hey, y’all, it’s a three-day weekend and I’ll be honest: that really makes no never-mind to me anymore in my new life, where pretty much any day I choose is the weekend, and many weekends are spent doing work that I love.
But since it’s Presidents’ Day weekend, I’m thinking about the nature of being President, what it means, especially now.
And because that’s how I roll, I'm thinking about what it means to be President of your own life, especially this little notion I have about being pres(id)ent, i.e., being the captain of your particular ship, using it as an opportunity to be the best possible version of yourself, large and in charge AND ALSO self-aware and in service and humble and kind.
In other words: I’m thinking a lot about what it means to be present,
to be president sans id.
For those, me among them once I started rolling this idea around in my head, who’d like a reminder:
For obvious reasons [#45 much?], I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking a lot about unchained id lately, that set of uncoordinated instinctual trends. [This as I walk around in my treasured "I already miss Obama" t-shirt that I bought in DC on the day of 45's inauguration.]
I observe what's happening around us, filled with a lot of rage and despair like a lot of people, but mostly looking for the lesson. Like, OK, this is happening and what good can I make of it?
This has translated, for me, into thinking about the nature of my own Presidency in my own life, in my own business. What can I take from what I'm observing and how do I translate that into how I operate in the world.
What kind of President am I and do I want to be?
Because in a way that is so much truer and closer and real-er than the trainwreck of DC, we are each of us President of our lives, and get to choose the nature of our presidency, how we live it, express it, share it with others.
This whole question of id and the nature of my own presidency is feeling particularly hot to me, because of a recent seemingly-unrelated experience I had: a dinner party at which I felt invisible for the better part of 3 hours. It's taken me a lot of words to figure out WTF happened that night, why exactly I went quiet, disengaged, bored. Why I left with a headache. Me who is usually warbling from my seat at the table, playing with words, making stupid jokes, chair-dancing like a muppet: quiet. It's not like I'm asking to be the center of attention, but I expect to participate equally. Instead, every time a question started to make its way around the table (What were you really good at in high school, was one), just before it got to my husband or me, the "conversation" would snap back to one particular guest who was holding forth at the end of the table. Over and over. I had my hands on my temples at one point, pressing back the headache from the alarm bells going off in my head. But it took me until this morning to name it. Oh, right: don't waste your breath. Narcissist at the table.
It occurs to me this morning that even though I've seen this person multiple times, by now, probably yeah, he might know my name. But for a million dollars, he couldn't tell you ONE SINGLE FACT about me, my life, my work, my values, my passions, my interests. Naturally I could make you a long list about him. Because the "conversation," when he's at the table, snaps back to him very fast.
Oh no: it's that set of uncoordinated instinctual trends.
Duh, it's not like I'm surprised. Duh, he's a narcissist.
And it's not like I'm new to this arena. I've met, worked with, endured and eradicated from my life many a narcissist over the years. I've worked hard to ensure I'm living in a mostly narcissist-free zone. But that damn dinner-party experience really got to me. For two reasons, I think.
1. Obvies, like a lot of people, I'm hovering in Code Blue narcissist-OD thanks to current events. Just so little bandwidth to take on more and closer to home.
2. But most important, as I approach the 3-year anniversary of the founding of Do Your Thing and consider all of the boons of having embraced this new chapter in my life, I realize that what I savor the most is this feeling that I am, at last, President of the company of Me, finally able to really use what I know, what I have experienced, who I am, in service to others. On my terms. I am stronger and more confident than ever, truly pres(id)ent in a way I never had been before. So it's more shocking to me than ever to experience that oxygen-less invisibility that comes from sharing space with a narcissist holding forth. It makes me profoundly angry. Like I just can't tolerate it. And then I go quiet since throwing shit at people at the table is, although warranted, funny and also extremely satisfying, uncouth.
As my President, here's my State of the Union.
I am absolutely using the occasion of this holiday to consider all the ways in which I will be a President who is pres(id)ent. That is, who remains self-aware. Who checks her id. Who leverages every opportunity presented by running a business to grow, not just my revenue, but my own self, getting clearer, better, kinder all the time. Growing in skill, growing in confidence, growing in my ability to serve and lift up others. In my ability to teach and train and encourage and mentor and learn from and cheerlead others. In my willingness to take responsibility for my actions and for those of my team. In my courage to say yes and to say no appropriately, to hold boundaries and/or be flexible where necessary.
To be, in short, the best damn President I can be.
Do I feel great about going quiet when a narcissist's in the room? Not really, but I have learned that there's no point talking. You can't change them. They're only listening to themselves anyway.
So as my own President, I choose to fight them the best way I know how: to use their example as a springboard to being the best me, the most effective me, so I can roll out in all my presidential glory and make with other presidents something strong and beautiful that withstands all that bullshit unchecked id.
This holiday, ask yourself, what does it mean to you to be pres(id)ent. Then, please: be that. All us presidents have work to do.