dylan richards

Embracing my foibles

I have a confession to make: I am quite possibly the world’s worst organizer.

To be fair, I may not be the worst… I’m sure there are a lot of people who are much further behind on the scale of organizational ability, but I’m at least in the top percentile. If there was the equivalent of MENSA for people bad at organizing, I would be a lifetime member. Of course there wouldn’t be – no one would have the ability to organize one – but I would be there. Or at least we could get together for a coffee and commiserate.

The surprising thing is, most people who know me would disagree with this. “But your life is quite organized! You aren’t in crippling debt, you plan and execute events for people… you organize really well!” All those things are true, but there’s a reason I manage those things so well: I stopped pretending I was a good organizer.

For most of my early career, I wanted very badly for employers and friends to like me. I had the idea that if I was bad at administration or planning, I would be out on my ear. So I would promise things, fully intending to do them, and then accidentally letting them fall off the radar.  As time went on, it became more and more apparent, until eventually a dear friend Sharon sat me down and said “Dylan… every one knows you care for them… but when you say you do something that you can’t… that makes you a liar.”

That rocked me. Honesty is and has always been one of the things I have strived for in my life.  To hear that I was falling short shook me to the core. I asked what I should do and Sharon said, “Just be honest”. So I was. I started telling people that I would love to help, but would probably forget. I applied for jobs and said that admin was my biggest “growth area”. I scaled back. I asked for help.  And then, all of a sudden, people started saying things like “Wow, that was well organized!” or “Dylan is always there when you need him.” When I got my first performance review that said “Well organized and efficient” I almost choked.

We spend so much of our lives trying to make sure that we are strong, competent, and aware we forget that our weaknesses and areas of difficulty are the exact areas where we grow. We grow not only for ourselves, but in our communities. When we say “Hey I’m really not great at this”, we give other people a chance to step up and help with their strengths, we allow people to know us better, and we get to experience and learn in our growth area.

So be proud of your weaknesses, your foibles, and the areas where you need to grow. It’s those very spots that make you the amazing and developing human being you are.