he calls and with surprise i answer unsure of its purpose. it’s clear he’s uncomfortable and beating around the bush. i laugh inappropriately to what is said, a nervous response.

he says he doesn’t want to lead the conversation or put me on the spot, and that it might be more appropriate to allow me time to think and then reconnect next week. he finishes speaking, leaving space for me to respond.

i’ve known and worked with him for over five years yet we’ve never talked on the phone so silently i was marveling at how little he knew about me and how he was unsure what words to use to drive the conversation.

in the space he’d left i laughed inappropriately again and told him i understood what he was trying to say between the lines and was fine talking in that moment about whatever he wanted to talk about. although extremely private in personal life, business life demands being an open book, so the ask in itself wasn’t unusual.

i had nothing to hide, but knew that being transparent and truthful was going to change a handful of people’s lives and make a huge impact overall. even while speaking my heart hurt and it was difficult to keep the words “i feel” out of my speech but it slipped through at least twice.

my heart was heavy after the call, mainly because it was just the beginning of a long process i was asked to be part of, one that in the end would bring pain, the kind of pain required for change.

for better or worse i provoke upheaval, even when attempting to work in a silo.

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