Here We Go Again [en]

[fr] C'est reparti. La course. Vite vite vite. Trop pour une personne. Déceptions. Personnes qui proposent leur aide et se retirent: une composante culturelle? Réduire mes attentes. Y'a encore du boulot.

It’s back. The Urge. The Urge to quickly quickly quickly do this, do that, get on the computer in the morning, do this, finish that, OMG-I-wanted-to-do-it-3-days-ago, here’s my list for today, urgent, urgent, quickly deal with it.

What’s going on? Well, first, the Dip. Those of you who know what I’m talking about will know what I’m talking about. As for the others… well, hey, a little mystery here and there can’t hurt, can it, in this age of public people everywhere. So, the Dip is back, and Deadlines are coming up (I resisted the temptation to say “looming on the horizon” right there).

Deadline 1: Friday morning, I’m heading off to the mountains and my chalet again.

Deadline 2: in a month minus 1 day, it’s Going Solo Leeds.


Actually, it’s not astonishing that I feel crunched. Stressed. Running. I’m trying to do more than one person’s work. So, no wonder I can’t keep up.

I’m also learning to not get my hopes up when people offer help. It’s sad to say, but often people are enthusiastic, come forward, and have second thoughts when it comes to actually taking the plunge.

I realised it’s cultural, too: very un-Swiss. I’m not saying there aren’t unreliable Swiss people, but here you expect people to be good to their word. Reliability is very much valued. When somebody says “I want to contribute”, you usually expect them to do so. It also means it’s pretty difficult to find people to say “I’m in”.

I’ve had a few disappointing experiences over the last 6-8 months. In my dark days, it feels like I just can’t rely on anybody — but that’s not true either.

I think it’s a combination of various factors. I’ve noticed amongst my more entrepreneur/Valley/less-risk-averse friends a tendency to talk about lots of projects or “things they’re going to do”, start many things, and then drop a lot, too. Not all that is spoken about happens. “Fail early, fail often.” Be creative with your ideas, talk about them around you, try them out, and let go of them if they don’t seem to catch.

All good.

But I’m not like that at all. I have ideas. I talk about them as “perhaps maybe at some point I might possibly eventually try to start doing this or that”. It’s very difficult for me to make the step to say “I’m going to do this/I’m doing this”. Because when I do, I’m married to the idea. It’s going to happen. Giving up is not an option. (I sometimes do, but it’s agonizing and horribly difficult.) Once I have my mind set on something, I have a really hard time letting go or seeing things differently.

It’s not all cultural.

It’s a mix. Some cultural, and some personal. In a more entrepreneur-oriented culture like the US, I guess you’ll find more people who start things easily, go for it, and turn to something else if it doesn’t work out. In a very cautious and risk-averse culture like Switzerland, well, you don’t bump into that many people with that profile. It’s only recently in my life (these last few years) that I’ve started meeting such people and counting them amongst my friends and network.

On a personal level, well, I’m particularly risk-averse, and (as NNT would say) particularly ill-equipped for dealing with probabilities. When somebody says they’ll do something for me, I know there’s a chance it’ll fall through, but I somehow can’t keep my emotions in line with that intellectual knowledge. I build whole worlds on the sand of people’s words, and forget that they are likely to crumble. When they do, it feels like everybody and everything is letting me down.

Another situation in my life where suffering less seems to depend on my ability to adjust my expectations.

There’s still work.

3 thoughts on “Here We Go Again [en]

  1. Stephanie

    Keep your head up

    As long as you gave it your best, nothing to feel bad about.

    Your musings get me back to my 'consumed to thrifty' thoughts as related to time/work rather than money

    My best moments lately have been idle ones or should I say trips to museums.

    They broadened up my perspective

    Wish I could join you in Leeds which I never visited.


    'The French Guy from New Jersey'

  2. One of the things I learned in my “multi cultural experiences” (from France to the States, from the States to Germany, from Germany to Morocco… different countries, but I'd say as diverse as yours) is the different ways of saying things.

    Or let's say it is something I'm still learning…

    A commitment is not worded the same way in Germany or in Morocco, and the strength of a “yes” is not the same. As everyone knows what a “Ja” means, that's fine. But a “naam” is totally different. As Moroccan are not as structured as Germans, actually a “naam” might means “hell, never, but I can't say without being impolite”, or “maybe” or sometimes, the same thing as a “ja”.

    I agree with you our expectations are not only cultural, they also depends of what we ask from ourselves. Someone very demanding with herself will be also with other people, and someone who sticks to her words will expect others to do so. They usually do, the question is just “to which words” …

    I'm not sure you should reduce your expectations, per se. Maybe you should word them more strongly, and when you get a commitment from someone, just repeat him what you said here… or direct him to this post.

    In such cases, the stress-killer is the magical “fall back situation”.
    My husband, who is totally Moroccan and therefore quite fatalist (the famous Inch Allah) gets totally crazy at all my “worst case planning”.
    And he points that what I call “worst case” is precisely what I won't plan, coz when I found a solution for a problem, it won't be a worst case (pas très sure de mon anglais sur ce coup là, pas vraiment l'impression d'être claire…)
    Nevertheless this “ok, what can I do if this happens ?” helps me a lot to reduce stress.

    Even if the answer is : OK, if this happens, everything is screwed up, and I just have to commit suicide… at least I know it !

    Many things can be replaced, done differently, have less quality. Not all, and not all at the same time, but it helps to decide in advance on what we can compromise.

    I worked on several big projects on Germany, and we were implementing software in different countries. I noticed the Germans had a “over quality” approach, when the French were just “managing it”. At the end, when you saw the French implementation and the German one, both working, the question was “Is the cost of the high German quality justified ? Did the French better because they saved 20% of the cost for 5% of the quality ? “

    Actually, not an easy question, because it all depends of the cost of a failure that would have been prevented by the higher quality.

    And we go back to risk aversion…

    I have a lot of admiration for all you do, and how you do it. You develop yourself and your business, and you started, as I understood, from a position of a teacher, which is not exactly the best place to get experience for self-entrepreneurship. You already made a first event all alone, from scratch, very quickly, and it was a success. So the second one will be the same.

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