It was Wednesday afternoon.
I had a 15-minute gap in between Zoom meetings.
My phone rang.
I didn’t recognize the number, but I was expecting a call from a local repair company.
I answered it.
It was not who I expected.
I was caught off guard.
On the other end of the phone was an emotionally revved up person calling me about a member of my family and they quickly dragged me into their problem. Now, I’m 5 minutes late for my next call and completely distracted and emotionally charged. I was no longer in control of the one thing I could have controlled in this situation — my emotional response. Frankly, I did not like the way I handled this situation, and now I have some cleaning up to do.
Situations Will Show Up To Test You
Situations like this can pop up daily — we all face them. What matters most when this happens is how we respond.
Our emotional response is our “in the moment” reaction to a situation. We can be in complete control of our urge to respond productively instead of emotionally. Most importantly, a productive response is not always an immediate response. Just because the other person is “ready” to throw a pass to you doesn’t mean you have to catch it and throw it back right away.
How Can You Better Control The Urge To Immediately Engage And Respond?
You get a fiery text, slack, or email… the kind where you feel your temperature rise a bit and your emotions react.
The most productive response when challenged by unexpected or emotional news is often to not engage directly or quickly. Don’t meet fire with fire.
Take a moment. Take a breath. Allow yourself time. Evaluate the situation, problem and question in front of you. Beyond your feelings, focus on the facts of the situation. This is how you reframe what you are experiencing at this moment into a productive path forward.
Rather than typing a feverish, agitated and emotional response, suggest a course of action. Ask the other person to get on a call with you…hear where the other person is at and what is really going on…all the stuff that gets lost in digital communications. If it’s not a code red emergency, give it some time before the call happens.
The greatest strength to continuously develop is how you respond to situations that test your temperament and patience.
Growing your self-awareness can help you to stop and spot the issue and moment where you need to alter the way you respond. We may not always react the right way, but we can aim to be better next time.
Commit to continuous improvement. We will connect better and grow together.