When Monkeys Attack


This morning I realized one of the things that pulls most of my energy away from other things, sending it where I don’t want it to be.  I spend a lot of time playing the “this is not my monkey” game.

I realized this game I play when I was cornered by a cohort who is stressing out about a request the test team has made – they want a full data refresh in their test environment from PROD.  This request is not a small task.  And my cohort has decided that it is not necessary – and the answer should be no.  I don’t blame her, to be honest, I mean, it would require a team to spend pretty much 4 days solid over the weekend to get this done.  And for what gain?

I have listed my two main concerns that have caused my team issues in the past.  They are annoying gnats, but not showstoppers.  I expressed it when asked – pointed out why people were anxious to seize this moment – and made it clear that this is NOT MY MONKEY.

“But you should care!” is the mantra being shouted at me by my cohort.  So I spend 20 min  basically mentally acknowledging she is venting, mentally acknowledging she is looking for support on her side, mentally acknowledging she needs to articulate.  And mentally reminding myself to just shut up and let her go.

But when she demands I should care – and my mental fortitude does not hold.  I feel the need to defend that position – my capacity of things to care about is limited – and so it is not on there, I don’t have the capacity to care about this one. I can’t.  But I have spent 20 min already today defending it.  Another meeting where we spent about 15 min already.  Yesterday, I spent 90 min defending my “care list”.   And doing that defense drains me in ways I don’t realize until I have to shift gears – and I find I’m running low on gas – on energy.

Then as I’m dealing with this  issue – I have a friend who is in crisis trying to unload on me.  And I have to put up my guard to make sure that things don’t get rubbed off on me.  She has this way of trying to make her problems my problems.  So I play the “not my monkey” game there too.  I listen – I offer advice if asked – but wowza – it’s like playing a game of tag where she’s trying to tag me, making me “it”, and I have to run away.

And I would love to say that she doesn’t do this often but she does.  Too often these days – to the point of saying “DEAL WITH YOUR MONKEY!!”

Because while I respect my cohort and I love my friend like a sister, I only have so much to give – and spending any time or energy on monkeys that are not mine just depletes me for things that ARE mine.

Because these are really the only monkeys I want…

On the rim of a glass with alcohol – sitting with someone who is worth my time and energy and love.

Yeah, I’ll take that monkey.

What do you think?