My obsession with the idea of a following officially continues. I secretly wish there was a mini-series entitled “The Following” airing on PBS right now. But all I’ve got is that The Porcupine went on vacay so, rather than getting myself to hot yoga, I spent his week’s absence pondering whether a following is a curse or a blessing. Can a following become the ole ball & chain if people feel like they own you? Did his followers go into withdrawal from his five-minute rounds of Titan Method?
These reflections are related to my on-going quest to be indispensable. Never having felt indispensable to anyone, it became my personal holy grail to be so. It also became my favorite talking point in my numerous job interviews during these past few years. Being indispensable to a boss became my mantra in order to increase my job security. One day I was interviewed by a remarkable woman who challenged this viewpoint. Rather, she desired to be dispensable so that she could leave her team with the knowledge that they could adequately carry on without her. Although I didn’t get that job, I’d found food for thought.
It’s funny how life conspires to teach us something when we least want it. I found myself in a new job where my co-worker held the enviable position of being indispensable to the firm. Not initially realizing this, I didn’t pay attention to the question of where this would leave me. It recently left me without a job.
You might think that finding myself unemployed would have confirmed my suspicion that it is best to be indispensable. Oddly, I learned quite the opposite. The experience of working along side someone who actively excludes the contributions of others was supremely unsatisfying and frankly – egocentric on her part. It communicates something critical about an outsize need for validation at the expense of others and demonstrates how you overvalue yourself in relation to others.
As later in the summer I watched a good friend leave us too early from cancer, I realized that our goal as mothers is to be dispensable – to leave our children with the strength and tools to carry on. Why not base our goal of job security on making our team, our crew, our posse, and finally, our followers strong and independent, able to think on their own? Be the master teacher who transmits so much enthusiasm to your students that learning becomes independent of any classroom.
A French friend once extolled the virtues of vacation by pointing out that it is when we feel at rest and peaceful that new ideas emerge and when inspiration has a chance of finding us. I don’t know about you but I don’t have my sexiest thoughts when I’m multi-tasking but rather when I am in repose. Girls – likewise don’t be afraid of sitting alone at a bar, as isn’t it when you least expect it that someone finds us?
Just as it’s beautiful to see a strong guy be gentle, it’s especially inspiring to see someone indispensable to a multitude teach us how to be dispensable. I was glad to see Omar step away from his classes for some personal time. Maybe it was in this moment that he experienced a great personal discovery or possibly dreamed up Titan Jacks. He knows that when you let something go, what should come back does. And what came back were his true followers.