Over the past few months, we’ve discussed with friends and neighbours various different ideas we have for our property. As we have wrestled it back from the weeds, stinging nettles, and 8 foot high thistles, ideas emerge. We discover things about the land, how it works, what grows where, and remnants of past use. Some ideas have been clear including needing more space for our family. And getting rid of and re-cladding ugly buildings. But most ideas are just that, ideas we are playing with. Ideas that evolve each week.
Therefore, when another neighbour brings up in conversation the ‘commercial operations’ we are planning, it is a bit surprising. And it is a bit upsetting. He must have heard from someone else about one of the countless ideas we’ve had and either assumed it to fact or it was presented as fact. However, it was just one idea of many. It is a bit upsetting because we feel misrepresented and awkward.
And yet, we are misrepresented all the time. And we misrepresent others. It is not a rare event, it is the norm.
When we communicate our ideas, our vision, our opinions to another, they are heard by another through their life experience. Our words are interpreted through their lens. Their dreams. Their ideas. And their hopes. Their fears. Their anxiety. Ideally this is balanced with their understanding and experience of us, but we are unlikely to be their starting point.
Therefore, when someone else communicates our idea or dream, they communicate their interpreted version of it. And there is a high chance of misrepresentation. Often the misrepresentation is slight and have little impact, but other times it is significant.
And therefore, we need to communicate often. More than once. And consistently. And yes, we can communicate nuance – what is ‘certain’ and what is ‘just one of many ideas we are exploring’.
Nowhere is this more true than in periods of change.
And yes it is hard work and repetitive. Do it anyway.