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Finished or Unfinished (Discovering Your Preference Part 4)


Finished or unfinishedDo you have a job that requires open-ended projects?  Or do you have a job that requires completion before moving to the next project?

This is the last of a 4-part discussion on preferences.  One of the situations that will cause a great deal of stress in a person’s life is having a job that does not coincide with their personality preferences, and the situation of finished or unfinished is a real stressor if you’re in the wrong arena.

As you read the words – Finished – Unfinished – take a moment to feel the words in your body.  Say one then take 3 breaths and then say the other.  Let the word resonate with your body.  Notice how you feel as you savor the words.  Which of these feels comfortable to you?  Which gives you dis-ease?

I’ve worked in Human Resources for more than 32 years and I’m a person who can live with “unfinished”.  However, as I was trying to organize my new office I asked one of my co-workers for assistance with the filing system.  I had been having some difficulty coming up with a system that really worked – and this was in the days of actual filing cabinets.  My co-worker agreed and she came into my office to assist, let’s call her Jennifer, and she likes things to be “finished”.  I explained to her what I was trying to accomplish and what I had done.  She nodded and promptly went to work.

Jennifer worked all day organizing and redoing the files.  I could tell she was getting frustrated but I stayed out of her way, because she knew what she was doing.  At the end of the day she came into the office, slapped a file on my desk and stated emphatically, “I’m Done”!   With excitement I answered, “Great”!

“No”, Jennifer says, “I’m not finished, I’m done”.  “This cannot be done.  Nothing is black and white, it’s all gray and one thing is always waiting on another and it seems as though everything is open and can’t be closed.  I’m done”

Jennifer was totally frustrated and stressed out because she wasn’t able to organize and complete the task of my files as I requested.  I, on the other hand, felt good about the fact that she was not able to organize a system.  (Hang on – it’s not what you think)

I felt good because I knew if she couldn’t organize it any better, than I was doing the best I could.  You see I realized that the nature of the job is to be able to handle a lot of moving parts all at one time.  I was comparing myself to others and thinking, “I should be able to do a better job”.  However, I was doing the best I could.

Once I understood the gift of what I thought was an inadequacy it no longer was a weakness; it was a gift.  I needed Jennifer’s gift of having things finished to teach me that I also had a gift of living in the unfinished.

So who are you?  A person who likes things finished?  Or, a person who can live in the unfinished?  Recognize and claim your gift.

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