Oh to be saved of doubt and false hope
It is not even a thing that my column reflects my life.
I don’t try to disguise it and you, wonderful readers and tribe members, don’t pretend not to see it. In fact, you encourage and support me, you generous lot.
The only custodian of sequential truth, if you need to know what triggered what, is Tanya. You can try to bribe the truth out of her but she is the High Priestess of journalistic integrity. She is also my friend. So she won’t tell you a thing unless you need to know, in which case you already know.
So we all go with it.
That I wear my heart on my sleeve and pour it all over the page.
And I get regenerated and blessed each week by you wonderful motley crew of dreamers who save me from despair by saying “me too”. And thank you. And keep on. Writing, breathing, fighting, trying? I never ask you what you mean when you encourage me to keep on. I assume all of it and thank you for it.
And this week is no exception.
Only Tanya will know why this was submitted today and when it will happen to hit #LedaWrites. That part is a surprise for me too. Tanya re-orders things for love, preference or a bit of a “listen to yourself, woman”. She is a good’un, Tanya. You all need a friend like that. We all do. I just happen to have one.
The day doubt and false hope collided
I mean let’s face it. This can start with any break-up story. Any story of disappointment and hurt.
It can be a business venture fuelled by an active choice to believe in humanity. It could be the 784th chance you gave your estranged father to not be selfish. It could be the day a loved one let you down the way they had done before and yet one thing was different: what you thought about it. What you saw in it. What you finally saw.
Like that episode in how I met your mother when the sound of crashing glass follows the moment when your loved one (person, project, situation, celeb) does something you can’t unsee and now you are both bereft and free.
Free of doubt. Bereft of hope that the thing that wasn’t working was you and hence yours to fix.
Did you think this woman may not love you? Now you know she does and this is all she’s got. This is what being loved by her looks like.
You thought this man didn’t care? Now you know he does, and this is how much he can give. It ain’t much. It ain’t rendered enough now you know he is not held back by not caring, this is it.
You thought your favourite author would be an inspiration in real life? And you meet and all you see is a sad, bitter, lonely person. Who spins magic on the page. And can that not be enough?
Whether it can be enough or not, depends. On you.
On how much time you spent agonising and thinking it was you who was not enough. Hoping someone, no, THAT one, out there would bestow you with more. And how you feel when you know actually, it’s not you.
This is as good as it gets where you are.
You are wrong to doubt yourself. Or the situation.
This author? This is who they are.
This lover? This is what their care looks like.
This job? This is what good looks like here.
This organisation? This is who they are.
There is nothing to fix.
You spent days, months, years doubting yourself and the moment comes when your doubt and hope collapse into one.
I have spent so long thinking the reason this doesn’t work is me. And now look.
I am freed of doubt.
My boss values me. My partner loves me. This book is awesome.
It’s still not good enough.
And realising that is liberating in a way you didn’t even know is possible because you spent so long thinking, “it’s me, I am not worth it, he doesn’t love ME, they don’t trust in me. I am not good enough. Yet. But I can become. This is what I do. I fix things. I will fix this.”
No. No you won’t. And isn’t that liberating?
You think I am talking about love?
How many of you suffer from insane impostor syndrome? How many of you think that projects that didn’t get exco love, funding, time of day were a reflection of your worth, your maturity, the quality of your thinking?
Right. So. Just stay with me here.
The moment comes when you know that the person or committee you have randomly or logically but erroneously appointed as a custodian of your worth is not able to tell or judge to an adequate level. They care. That was never the issue. They think you are brilliant. That was never the issue. They are just too small for you. Too closed for you.
Too… not for you.
So there you are feeling like a chump. You have spent, how long? Feeling like you need to earn the love, support and approval of this one. And the moment comes when you realise you always had it. This is what it looks like.
It’s here. All of it.
It’s just, not enough.
Seriously. Park the love analogy.
You have spent five quarters taking a mildly revised PowerPoint to the same SteerCo trying to win their elusive love and approval. And you have gotten so consumed in their feedback and feeble doubt. Their loops of small town politics and careerism that you didn’t see beyond the next presentation and the anxiety between feedback sessions.
Until one day something gives.
Someone gets drunk at a party and says what you need to hear.
Someone speaks freely after the session and pushes you an inch towards where you need to be.
Or you just finally hear it for what it is.
What they are really saying is: HOLLY MOLLY what are YOU doing here with us and how can you really not see what we have no clue what magic you peddle? We see it glitters. We see it sparks and smokes. We know it is potent. But we are faint of heart and the fact that you can’t see it flatters us but doesn’t change us.
You cannot change them.
Not matter how hard you work. No matter how hard you believe or hope or dream. No matter how big you are, you are not enough.
Not enough to make a person, team, organisation want more.
And you know what?
That is good.
No one person should be enough to make another worthy of a future they can’t themselves lose sleep dreaming of.
So when the moment comes and the glass shatters.
Cherish the freedom from doubt and false hope, for a moment.
You have work to do.
Where it matters.
You will know the place when you find it.
Worry and fear and stress will still plague you. But there will be no doubt. And all hope will be true and wholesome. Even when it doesn’t live up to itself.
That’s where you knuckle down and try again. Where it matters.
By Leda Glyptis
Leda Glyptis is FinTech Futures’ resident thought provocateur – she leads, writes on, lives and breathes transformation and digital disruption as CEO of 11:FS Foundry.
She is a recovering banker, lapsed academic and long-term resident of the banking ecosystem.
All opinions are her own. You can’t have them – but you are welcome to debate and comment!