I had a wobble last week and I have decided to share it with you.
I want you to know that however long you have been sober, bad days, high emotions and dealing with them ‘in not the best way possible’ is normal. But also that they can sometimes lead to mini-epiphanies. On reflecting on the events, I think this wobble had positive implications for Club Soda…!
Panic fuelled by rejection
I have discovered that panic fuelled by rejection, tiredness and plain stress is a norm when creating a new business. I am passionate about what we do, and we are learning so much – I want to keep Club Soda going and I always want to share what we have discovered.
But those emotions, alongside my activist personality type, can make me impulsive and act immediately on my feeling of rejection, injustice or … well just about anything!
This is an urge I have been trying to tame. It is a negative trait, does not support good relationships, and more often than not means I cut my nose off to spite my face (a phrase my mother used often and suggests that this behaviour predates my boozy years).
This week I pulled out of speaking on something that I had invested a lot of time in prepping for (the Nesta health conference) despite the fact the subject we were discussing is something I am passionate about – self-efficacy. The Good Help Bad Help project is a piece of research that has eloquently put into words what we do and I am proud of our part in the report. I recommend you take butchers.
But I suddenly felt like we were putting more and more time into the project, and leaving less time for the already massive task we have set ourselves of improving our support to you. I felt rejected by my peers (the public and voluntary sector in which I worked for a long time) who wanted to hear about what we do, but only ever want us to do this at our own cost. Yet when we ask if they could put a link to Club Soda on their website (either above or below the one they always have for AA) it seems to be ‘too hard’.
And here, on reflection, is the positive bit to come out of my fit of panic.
I realise I don’t mind putting work into something as long as it is valued through an act of reciprocity which will benefit our members (who pay for my time). In the case of Nesta I asked for a blog about self-efficacy.
Just for the record, Nesta has agreed to write the blog. They dealt with my panic well (thanks guys!), but this wobble has allowed me to step back and think about how we work.
As a community, reciprocity is a key technique built into Club Soda for you reaching your goals:
- You ask for help, it is freely given, and you do the same in return for others.
- Across the country, fellow members are organising socials in their own time.
- Our Facebook group is effective because we have volunteer admins across the world.
- We encourage you to share your experience on our blog.
- Our webinar hosts get to talk about their projects in return for sharing useful tips for you.
There is a lot of voluntary reciprocity in our community
In future I will extend this principle to our work with ALL our partners in this community of collaboration we are building. We will deliberately ask for reciprocity.
Sometimes that may be a very functional financial relationship (like a drinks producer sponsoring one of our Mindful Drinking Festivals, or our members buying one of our online support courses). But in many cases it may be about writing blogs, sharing personal stories, giving advice, promoting our services, making an introduction, providing space, cheering me up on a difficult day… and so on. Although I may call it something else as I can never spell reciprocity!