“I want what everyone wants,” I said to the pastor trying to counsel me.
He looked askance at my trans presentation and asked just what I thought it was that everyone wanted.
“I want to be seen, understood and valued for my unique contributions to the group.”
After thinking about it for a while, he admitted that might actually be something that everyone wants.
When I watch the Bon Appétit Channel — https://www.youtube.com/user/BonAppetitDotCom/videos — and read the comments, I see what people like: watching a team of smart, focused, diverse people at work. They are food nerds who have formed a family where everyone is seen, understood and valued for their unique contributions.
Very few of us plan to make gourmet Peeps from scratch, but all of us like seeing bright people band together to fight challenges in passionate and caring way. That intensity is compelling because it is something we want in our life, a reflection of our dream to be part of a great, focused team.
When I remember the best part of my life, it was the days when I was part of a startup software company, a big team working for creation. Like all startups, I was connected to different groups in different ways, but my primary affiliation was to product management, the node of Marcia, Janet and myself who together knitted the tasks and initiatives together.
After that, I worked hard to create other teams, based on the same kind of close interactions, the fighting fail and fighting fun that fuelled integration towards achieving shared goals, knowing that people who won’t fight with you won’t fight for you. I knew what I needed. After all, I used to cry at Tom Peters books even before joining software, and my team building days date back to high school..
Finding people who know how to share focus, let alone people who have the skills to let go of their own myopia to do what is needed, well, that I have found is very rare indeed. And the older we get, it seems, the less we want to engage new tricks of coming together.
This is true in the big population, of course, but it is even more true in the area of trans. It is very hard to herd cats, as they have said. That’s one reason I instantly clicked with TBB, because Sabrina was always out to build a team at SCC, empowering every individual to contribute, knowing that personal responsibility is the basis of shared success. It’s not what they are going to do, or even what we are going to do, it is the combination of personal actions that moves us forward.
Maybe Sabrina learned this because of her work in the space program, or maybe she joined the space program because she wanted to join a smart team, but either way, it was a deep connection between us. We trusted each other on stage the first night we met because we both recognized good, flexible, integrated team members. We had each other’s back.
It is truly a joy to know and be known by others with whom we work for shared goals. By trusting other people, we form the beautiful and delicate tension of conflict for good, always being surprised by other viewpoints, always being rewarded with constructive change.
I long for the shorthand and the safety of being part of a smart team, but the BA comments tell me that I am far from the only one with these longings.
What do I think women want? The Sex And The City gals have the answer. We want good partners: smart, attentive, trustworthy, playful partners who see, understand and value us for our unique contributions. Compromise is required, as well as engagement, the ability & willingness to do things you don’t want to do, as long as you know they are the right thing to do, trusting even when you don’t quite understand why they are important. We’ll do that for you and for our kids; why won’t you do it for us?
Being part of a great team means that you will always be challenged. Mastering new skills, expanding your vision and fielding feedback will push your comfort zone, but one of the best parts of being part of a team is that you will always have people around to support and encourage you. Change is the only constant in life, but as part of a team it’s easier to feel confident, aware and motivated about moving into a better, more empowered future.
Raising the bar is what great teams do, for the results, for the process, for the individuals within. Living with high expectations is an uncomfortable gift, making demands while returning rewards. When others have low expectations of you, seeing you as abject, it’s easy to live down to them, easy to lose pride and presence.
Bold, vibrant and life affirming, great teams come together with shared purpose and passion to give us the power to be more than a singleton, a community who symbiotically becomes more than the sum of our parts to create greatness beyond expectations, possibilities beyond separation.
When I wrote that in 2002, I was simply expressing my team dreams, my need to be seen, understood and valued for my unique contributions to the group.
Isn’t that, just, though, a sign of my deep humanity?