Congruence and Instant Karma

Several hours a week I answer questions in the live chat feature on the website of a popular WordPress caching plugin. I never would have thought this might help me becoming a better man one day.

Most pre-sale questions I answer during live chat are either feature-related, or compatibility-related, or they get highly technical:

  • “Does it do [enter any feature ever, logical or not]?”
  • “Does it work with [enter other plugin/theme/CMS]?”
  • “How does it handle [enter any non-trivial technical edge case ever known to humanity, or not]?”

Sounds little exciting? Well, not every oyster holds a pearl, but you may find a pearl in every oyster. I had an eye-opening experience in that chat today, simply answering questions like the ones above.

Congruence: Being in Alignment with Yourself

This morning I read the latest edition of my friend Jenny Beaumont’s newsletter “Making Connections”. (Sign up now if you haven’t yet, it’ll make your inbox feast on substance once a month.)

Jenny writes about Congruence in that edition and shares an experience she had with a teacher on the Urban Pioneers program back in high-school:

This is what was Wayne referred to as congruence: an alignment of the image we actually projected versus the one we thought we were projecting, or how we thought about ourselves. […]
Did this image seem to line up with what others thought about us? Did it line up with what we thought about ourselves?

Based on that experience, Jenny refers to the conscious choices we can make as adults regarding how we see ourselves and how we bring that image into alignment with our own actions (or not):

I can see myself as generous, and consciously be generous, or not.
I can see myself as kind, and consciously be kind, or not.
I can see myself as unsuccessful, and choose to change that perception, or not.

Instant Karma

So, with that inspiring story of Jenny’s and my own thoughts on it on my mind, I enter my chat shift.

An anonymous visitor shows up and starts asking questions.

The questions start to go in the direction of compatibility-related and technical in general:

  • Will the plugin work with WooCommerce? (yes)
  • Will it play nicely with MaxCDN? (yes)
  • How is cache clearing handled? (automatically)
  • …and when files are edited directly? (manually)

From the person’s questions an image of a tech-savvy WordPress person starts emerging—a freelance developer, possibly, planning to use the plugin for a client project.

My answers seem to make my visitor happy and confident enough to proceed with purchasing a license. After the purchase is completed, an account is created on our website, and I can finally see whom I have been chatting with.

The name I see indicates I have been talking to a woman, and I suddenly become aware of the fact that I feel surprised.

Wowza.

I can see myself as open-minded, and consciously be open-minded, or not.
I can see myself as inclusive, and consciously be inclusive, or not.
I can see myself as an emancipated man who thinks and acts outside of gender stereotypes, and consciously be that man, or not.

Thank you for the lesson, woman with tech knowledge. Looks like I still needed it.

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