Recently, I met with a friend to coach her through a professional essay.
Tell about the most important professional decision you’ve made within the last five years. How did you make the decision, what was the plan of action, what were the ramifications, and what did you learn?
She balked a little at that word ‘professional’, since she has been a stay-at-home mom for two decades.
I quickly asked her think differently about that. She is the CEO of Family Enterprises, and that title includes financial officer, menu planner, chauffeur and chaperone, keeper of the calendar, supervisor of homework, referee of all disputes… the list goes on. Don’t think for a second that job doesn’t require some professional skills!
She told me what she had chosen as her topic: her decision to get a family dog. A yellow labrador.
She told me how she had delayed the process for three years. She kept telling them no. She was sure the responsibilities would land in her lap, and as the mother of five children, her band width was full. The children were finally old enough to be in school, and she was beginning to find her freedom to leave the house. A dog would tie her down again.
Then she thought further: if she maintained a consistent no until the children moved out and could get dogs of their own, then she would simply go down in family history as the One Who Kept Us From Getting A Dog.
When her family began researching and looking at dogs on the internet, she asked them in turn to research the tasks involved in keeping such a pet – and show her how this would, for sure, not become solely her responsibility.
And then she agreed to see the dog they wanted. And she knew, in agreeing so, she had ultimately said yes. Because one does not merely visit puppies.
She hadn’t wanted a dog because she hadn’t wanted the mess. She said, “But then we got her, and then I fell in love, and the mess was worth it.”
She told me her ultimate realization:
“Mess brings joy.
And that’s just not something I am ready to give up in my life.”
Now if that isn’t a great thesis statement, I don’t know what is.