18 February 2013

Reluctant Administrative Hero


In movie lore, the archetype of the reluctant hero must be drawn out of their daily routine and forced to do something they can't do, something they detest and causes them to crumple. But in the circumstances of the story, they summon inner courage and strength, and triumph over the adversary, be it real or mental.

These days I am that guy. Today (and twice last week) I did some administrative work, and really pushed through it. Against all odds.

I'm inspired by a couple of things I've read recently. One is a kernel of wisdom in a self-help book, about pushing through the pain of something you can't handle/don't like. And getting to the rewards on the other side. There was even a diagram.

The other is the interview I read with Hoopla's Steve Roe on the excellent Luke and Michael blog.

That - and the pressing needs of a move to a new country/freelance mode of working - has inspired me to do some admin. And not just go through the motions, but really get into it.

The problem is: I hate it, it's terrible and soul-crushing. It's the worst thing ever. Or at least that's what I thought. It turns out that my hatred is out of all proportion to how hard or sucky it really is.

And so, I'm just trying to come to grips with daily and weekly admin. In maintaining the heroic ideal, I think of it as 'fighting the admin monster'. But now I know that he doesn't exist in the paperwork or flight bookings or calendar allotments I try and do, no rather he exists in my brain.

And so I fight him and each item checked off a list, and each piece of paper properly filed away deals him a heavy blow. Not coincidentally, it gets easier for me. Almost as if "whenever you do specific tasks over and over again, they take up less of your brain power over time."

And besides, as a freelance writer, trainer and performer, there's nothing but admin to do. Well, I suppose there is the writing, training and performing to do as well. But to make all that happen, I must work through the admin. And seeing how I must, reluctant or not, there's nothing for me to do but to do it.

Just like every other hero.

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