11 Aug Manage your enemies?
A horrified friend recently forwarded me an invitation to a webinar with the subject line: “Manage Your Enemies.” Both of us were nearly speechless.
Manage your enemies? Do I have enemies?
Something my friend Patrick said answers these questions in an odd way. With his trademark sincerity he remarked, “I’ve observed some people are not self-aware.”
That. Is. True.
It’s also way more complicated than that. So a simple way to think about it is this:
Mostly, we are not aware.
But we don’t have enemies.
We may, however, have foils – people who trigger, tweak and distract us. A foil puts our best qualities and our most embarrassing qualities in stark relief. Usually at the same time.
Yeah. That’s by design.
Even at work.
Correction: especially at work. I’ll push this to the edge and say that the universe sends these people to torment us. And that’s pretty funny… eventually.
Because we are just not very aware.
We need other people for that.
And calling a person who is not an enemy but is making your work life very difficult “a foil?” That’s ninja-level awareness, which leads to Jedi-level self-awareness. OK, maybe Jedi-in-training. Regardless, it’s so good I can hardly stand it.
No, we don’t have enemies. We just have foils. We might even be someone’s foil.
And even if we believe we can’t work with our foils, I can say with complete confidence, they always work on us.