I awoke the other morning with a start. It was the first day of June, and I heard a sound that seemed out-of-place. The furnace was rumbling to life. Was it seriously that cold outside – in June? Ah, Cleveland. Despite the chill in the air, it is summertime and it seems that every conversation I am in comes around to one thing - love.
The truth is that I’ve been on a self-imposed hiatus with respect to relationships. I hit the “pause” button on love while I worked through some things. I recently hit “play” and the first couple of outings have been a little less than ideal, but I promise I won’t go all “Taylor Swift” on that (no offense to Taylor Swift and/or her fans). Instead, I am thinking about what we stumble upon as we set our hearts on the course of finding love. It seems my first reminder is about the importance of honesty, honor, and humor.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that I am a Pisces and that makes me, by default, a hopeless, hopeless romantic. I love fairy tales – Prince Charming, white horses, the grand gesture, riding off into the sunset, happily ever after – all of it. It’s awful, really, how sappy I can get with it. I have to remove the rose-colored glasses (standard issue for us Pisces), and see the situation for what it is. I’ve experienced great love. I’ve also kissed my share of frogs, been bitten by several snakes, and fallen down more than one rabbit hole. Honesty – be real about what’s happening.
In contrast, my business glasses are clear and sharply in focus. I was on a call last week regarding a seminar series I am co-developing. We were discussing conversion rates to determine what portion of the target market might attend our initial session. I referred back to my marketing days and said, “five percent, maximum.” There was quiet on the line. One of my colleagues scoffed that my estimate was incorrect and dismissed my experience. We would be much more successful than any marketing model might suggest. As I heard him reinforce how our content was rich and had great value, I caught myself thinking about rose-colored glasses. He was certain we were well-experienced and highly capable. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this program?
My response, “well, about 95% maybe even more like 98%.” (just sayin) We shouldn’t take it personally, it has nothing to do with whom we are and what we do, rather a statistical outcome. We left the meeting at an impasse and I was still stewing when I met a friend for dinner. She was stewing on her own issue, about dating. She had been seeing someone, liked him and thought there was something there, but it seemed as if it was fizzling out. I sensed disappointment as she questioned her confidence and worth. She asked my opinion. Honor – strive to maintain respect for self and others in our actions and choices.
Having been there, I considered all the things I could say and found myself wanting to tell her about this meeting and statistical outcomes. How many times do we walk into dating under the auspices of the “this could be it” outcome. We lose sight of where we are, which is really at the beginning of meeting someone new. I wondered what it would be like to view a date as a meeting with four possible outcomes: Yes, Maybe, No, and Oh Hell No. The minimum requirement to “convert” is two “maybes”.
Can we allow the harshness of statistics to converge with the softness of a heart wanting to be loved? Can we allow the rose colored glasses to lighten just enough so we can see that it’s not about us and it’s not personal if we don’t get the outcome we would like? That person we met who didn’t say “yes” didn’t change any part of the person we were before we met them. Is it possible to honor who we are and choose to appreciate and love our selves first and always?
By hanging on to the hope of something that didn’t convert, do we limit the opportunity to allow what our heart seeks to find us? Is it okay to accept that the odds may not always be with us, and that that doesn’t create a need to settle for the frog (or snake) when we know we want and deserve the Prince (or even king).
Statistics aren’t always on our side. If they were, then we would never have the opportunity to tell our friends about all the “Oh Hell Nos” we come across along the way. Humor – find laughter even in the less than ideal moments.
Another statistical law – these odds reset with every new person we meet. We don’t accumulate “losses” to increase the likelihood of finding the yes-yes. Another story for another day. Until then, I’ve got both pairs of glasses in tow and my sense of humor in check along with the melody of “Summer Nights” playing in my head as I set out on the trail