• Eric Dahl

Taking the High Road

I considered many titles for this week’s Blog from, When you are Given Lemons Make Lemonade, Making the Best of Bad Situations, Silver Lining in Every Cloud and Karma is a Mother. But, this was the title I chose to go with since it is short, sweet and to the point. The irony is not lost on me that I have preached this to many of my co-workers and staff members during my career in TV land and then this last week I get to live it again. Taking the High Road to me means not lowering ourselves to the level of others and trying to remain morally good people, positive and not lashing out at others that figuratively stab us in the back. I personally have found it daunting over the years to adhere to my own advice especially when I’m pushed to the point of anger (which is seldom). To clear my head in these matters I typically take a walk, go to the gym or go to a music store or pawnshop. My staff jokes with me that they know how bad things are going if I come back with an instrument from the music store – which is true! The catalyst for this week’s Blog starts five years ago when I began working with some friends to bring a story to light. Recently in the past few months it looks as though we will be able to achieve this coverage and now it could go national. Unfortunately, sometimes a project grows in size and other supervisors become involved and we begin relinquishing control. What was our original vision and plan has now changed and although it was our idea and involved a lot of work and meetings we are now a member of the cast and not leading the project. This has happened to me previously and I’ve come to terms with finding satisfaction in the accomplishment and not being given the credit. For me it isn’t about the credit as much as it is wanting to fulfill my personal vision of what it should be. I’m one of those people that needs time to ponder a major change like this from many angles to come to terms with it. The choices are limited. I could back out of the project completely, at which point all of the work that has been devoted to it would mean nothing and the project would fail. Or, I can come to terms with my new role in this situation and make the best of it. Obviously, we all know that I am going to go with what is behind door #2 and make the best of a bad situation and complete this project even if it is no longer my vision or what I had hoped to see from its conclusion. In my opinion, these situations tend to develop when others are so impressed with our visions that they want to take partial credit for it and have their finger print on it as well. It should be flattering, but instead comes across as micromanagement. I have found that in managing creatives sometimes, even if we have suggestions or tweaks, we just need to applaud them on their creation and move on occasionally. Creative thinkers are not easy to manager or motivate, but we are driven to continually challenge and push ourselves to be something better. I don’t feel that I am in competition with anyone but myself, but I certainly wish I could accomplish more and faster. But a time management and organization skills discussion are for another Blog. I still feel railroaded from the recent developments, but at the end of the day I will see this project through to the end even if my role has changed. To walk away from the concept would mean failure and I can’t come to terms with that. The High Road is not the easy road to travel. It requires self-sacrifice, soul searching, harder work and a lack of revenge or striking back. But the view is better and at the end of the day we must be able to live with ourselves and the actions we have taken and be bigger and better people. Growth in our careers and personal lives are frequently paid with hardships and that is the price to travel the High Road.

The view from the High Road is always better!