If you think differently from others

” – No, I will not manage this project!”

The meeting had lasted an hour and a half in the heart of Paris, in the fancy districts.

The sales team was on top of things, it was a rare opportunity to get in touch with this “big” French company.

During the meeting, we had to understand their needs in order to make a proposal to the client to work with them on this project.

My job was to define the project, say exactly what we were going to do, how long it was going to take, when we were going to deliver the outcome, what resources we were going to need, what the risks were, etc.

And at the end, the sales team would put the amount to be billed at the bottom of the proposal (I’m caricaturing but that’s pretty much it 😉 ).

This is what we call pre-sales.

It was a classic for me at that time, except that during this meeting, something was wrong.

As the client answered the questions we asked to understand their needs, I felt heaviness, a sense of “It’s not going to work at all”.

This feeling grew as the meeting progressed to the point that I wanted to leave before the end!

The meeting finally ended, we left and had a quick debriefing on the sidewalk before heading back to the office.

When my boss asked me what I thought about it, I think I spontaneously answered “this is a stinky project!”.

Not super professional, but it came from the heart! 🙂

I added that we were going straight into the wall with this project.

I must admit that I had a hard time justifying why.

Ah but JP, you cannot say that, you are defeatist, it is a customer with whom we try to work for years!

The dialogue continues for a few moments but I end up saying in an almost capricious tone:

– No, I will not manage this project!


A few months later, I welcome a consultant for his annual review at the company’s headquarters.

We head to a room upstairs that I had booked, but through the glass walls, I realize that it’s packed, with some company’s top leaders.

A colleague sees me and goes out to apologize for the room, he tells me that there is a crisis meeting on a project with a big client because the project has “gone South“..

You guessed right!

It was the project I had refused to manage several months earlier!

A tree-like thought

So, no, this is not an article to strew roses at my feet, but to illustrate a recurring difficulty for some people.

Their way of thinking is different and they don’t always realize it, often they don’t accept it and will end up judging themselves negatively.

Imagine a discussion with several people to solve a problem.

The problem is set, and everyone is looking for solutions.

The discussion begins with a first scenario, it is explored, the course is imagined, the obstacles are identified and it is obvious now that it will not work.

The discussion around the table then moves on to a second solution scenario. We explore in a similar way and if it doesn’t work, we move on to the third scenario, and so on.

After an hour, the group has finally come up with a solution scenario that will work!

If you think in a different way, this solution-finding process is laborious and exhausting for you.

Because in your head, once you’ve defined the problem, it’s as if you’ve explored all the scenarios in parallel, in a tree-like fashion as some say. So you were able to identify THE scenario that would work, eliminating all the other branches of the scenarios that would fail.

All this in just a few minutes..

And often you don’t understand why others don’t see right away that this is “the one” solution. Like the nose in the middle of your face!

It’s so obvious to you that you have a hard time justifying, explaining why “this solution” will work or why the others won’t solve the problem.

Finding the solution will have been easy and quick, but discussing with others to explain it for an hour will have exhausted you..

Frustration, doubt, judgment of others, comparison, self-judgment, … The feelings are not always the most positive.

Especially since you feel the gaze of others …

Neither better, nor worse, just different

This is a phenomenon that has been talked about more and more for many years (empaths, etc.) but I realize that many people are still not aware of it and that it weighs them down because they do not accept their own way of functioning.

So, explained like that, it’s good, it feeds the ego a little bit to think that you can find a solution in 5 minutes where others will take an hour.

But it’s like many things, there are two sides to the same coin.

With an arborescent way of thinking, you’re looking for a recipe to make pancakes on the internet and an hour later, you’re watching a video about the pyramids of Egypt and how they could be an energetic portal for interstellar travel!

“… but by the way, what was I looking for in the first place?”

And two people with a tree-like way of thinking are going to have an exciting discussion but it’s going to go off in all directions.

Someone with a linear way of thinking is going to get lost at the first fork in the road to another topic.

That’s why it doesn’t “connect” with many people and very well with others, perhaps rarer.

And that’s without counting the empathic dimension that can be difficult to manage, especially when you are already left out because you think differently.

Explore in a tree structure

I know several people right now who are in the exploratory phase.

They are interested in a more or less broad topic and will spend hours reading, documenting, watching videos, experimenting maybe a trick or two, buying a few things to see, ..

From the outside (and often even for the person in question), it seems to have no structure, no direction, “it goes all over the place”, I take something from the left, I take something from the right, I connect them when they have nothing to do with each other, ..

But in fact, this is their mode of operation, it is a preparatory mode, they acquire not only knowledge, but a culture, a way of thinking, they structure the subject in their mind without their knowledge, they prepare the foundations on which to build something later.

Very often, after a while, they realize that they know certain subjects as well as or better than people who have been in the field for longer. Especially since they will have a transverse approach and will be able to communicate as well with an expert on the subject as with a beginner, an investor or an artist.

During my studies, 20 years ago, I started using Free Software(whose philosophy I love), especially Linux (GNU Linux for the purists) instead of the traditional Microsoft Windows. It was a hobby but I realized with my first professional experiences that I really wanted to work in this field.

And I started to spend hours on a specialized collaborative site (an equivalent of reddit at that time), I read all the publications, all the comments, I spent hours and hours on my free time and my … less free time ;-).

It was stronger than me, almost an obsession!

I felt guilty to spend so much time on it, to be a “geek” and to have to catch up with my work at the end of the day …

I was, in fact, preparing the ground for my future job because later on, I changed companies to work in this very field and I realized that I had learned all the codes, the culture, the way of thinking, everything I was going to need to understand, to integrate into teams, to convince clients, etc.

Yes, sometimes it can become obsessive and it’s good to take a break or two :-). But keep in mind that there is an intuitive side that guides us as well and you will notice (or you have noticed in your past experiences) that there can be a feeling of “It’s enough”.

I have accumulated “enough” information to go about it differently now and refocus my energy.

You are normal!

It doesn’t matter what labels, what boxes we try to put these people with this way of functioning in, the important thing is to welcome and accept your own way of thinking, your own way of functioning.

Moreover, this way of thinking free from boxes, from labels, is precisely its strength, to think outside the boxes.

Don’t listen to that inner dialogue that judges you, that tells you that you are becoming crazy, obsessive…

Listen to YOU, your intuition, your instinct, your feeling.

How do I feel?

Is it pulling me up or down?

Welcome this way of functioning, welcome yourself as you are and you will see your impact change for your life and for the world!

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