Damon and I were on the prowl, hunting for settings we’d seen in movies and on TV: Central Park, John Lennon’s apartment the "Dakota", Ground Zero, Museum of Natural History, Empire State building, Grand Central Station, Times Square, the New York Public Library, and many others. We saw The Lion King on Broadway, and even watched the Pride Parade. We indulged like an over-eater consumes a buffet.
Several weeks earlier I’d watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” For reasons still unknown to me, visions of the Innovation Diffusion Curve, presented in that talk, raised from my subconscious mind and landed in my sphere of awareness with a thud.
Sinek distinguished how innovative ideas spread. He said 2.5 percent of the population are true creators and innovators, 13.5 percent are early adopters of new ideas and products created by others, 68 percent are evenly split between the early and late majority, and 16 percent are defiant resisters.
Giving birth to new ideas, in a society of risk averse over-thinkers, is no picnic. Newness threatens the status quo, raises red flags and triggers defensive alarm bells. The moment I saw that ideas travel with a predictable timing delay, I knew what was eroding my marriage and creating self-imposed limitations for me at work.
On the streets of NYC, with Randy nearly 5,000 km away, I realized the stories I’d made up - about my life, our marriage, and Randy - were untrue. My experience of life shifted with my point of view.
I entered conversations with an expectation that resolution would occur within the span of one discussion. I may have been thinking of the idea for days or weeks but I’d drop it on Randy’s lap expecting an instant positive response. My expectations were rarely met. I reacted to Randy’s initial response.
Poor Randy...he was never trying to rain on my parade! What he needed was time to process his thoughts and add his own magic. His brain is oriented to consider details, resources, timelines, and budgets—all the essential aspects of a successful outcome.
Seeing this dynamic for what it is - naturally diverse - was life altering. Once I returned home to test my theory, I found that within a day or two, Randy would circle back to the topic, adding a different perspective and specific details to make the concept immediately actionable. We crossed the full spectrum, from polarization to connectedness, to form a team; independent, yet inter-dependent.
Forget about Cupid! A single insight re-awakened me to my love for Randy. Twenty-five years of pain, suffering and martyrdom melted in the humid June air. Instead of me gallantly fighting an uphill battle, victim of a broken marriage, the two of us could now come up with solutions we both supported and were excited about. All I had to do was present my idea, the rationale behind it, and give Randy time to process in his own way.
I fessed up to having an “automatic no” response, too. Mine gets triggered when someone makes a request of me when I have my mind on something else, or when I judge their idea as not taking important factors into consideration. In true crazy canary fashion, it drives me crazy when people throw new ideas around before the last ones have been fully implemented.
Human beings are like dominos. One idea - a well-meaning comment, or derogatory eye roll - sets off a chain reaction of responses that spill across the imaginary borders we erect in our minds to separate personal from business, private from public. We automatically run new ideas through the filter of our lived experiences.
Faces may have aged a bit since then, but all the difficult people in my life disappeared without ever going away. I no longer label resistance to change as a character flaw. When I do encounter it, I look at the situation and circumstance as the start of a process. Instead of getting wound up, I can relax and come from a peaceful knowing.
There’s only one person for me to manage in this world, me. With that discovery I was granted instant access to the central control panel of my life.