Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Simple Tool for Dealing With Difficult People

Women-arm-wrestleSometimes being a coach sucks. Let me explain. I really hate confrontation. I'm not good at it. It affects every part of my physical and emotional self. In the past week, I've twice found myself on the receiving end of some pretty unhappy energy (and that's putting it mildly). In both situations, the event that was actually causing the frustration in the other person wasn't my fault and there was nothing I could do to change it. Unfortunately for me, even the knowledge of that fact didn't stop the frustration with me. Probably because I was the only (or the most convenient) target at the time.

I teach in my leadership training that successful people take responsibility for the results in their lives, good or bad. So, as a coach this past week, I've had to get really conscious about everything I teach and apply it to my life when (if I'm being totally honest) what I really wanted to do was point the finger and shame and blame the other person for the way I was feeling and start "shoulding" all over myself (as in "He shouldn't have said that to me" or "She should apologize for her rotten treatment of me.").
That's what I mean by sometimes being a coach sucks (but in a good way). I can't forget the stuff I teach when it feels easier not to use it. That's not how it works.
Here's the thing. After each of these encounters, I found myself feeling horrible and obsessing over what they said, what I said, what I should have said (I can always come up with the perfect thing to say about 15 minutes after the confrontation is over. I HATE that!). So, here's the tool I used this past week that really supported me. I asked myself this very simple question:
"What can I control in this situation?"
That's it. It's that simple. And when I took the time to answer that question, I realized that all the frustration I was feeling was coming from focusing on the very thing I couldn't control; the other person's behavior! Once I got clear about that, I could focus on what I could control (myself and my own reactions to the situation) and let go of the bad feelings I was allowing.
Here's one last thing to think about. Holding resentment, anger, or frustration toward another person is like drinking poison and waiting for them to die. Think about it. You're over here putting a lot of energy into how angry you are, replaying the scenario in your head over and over again, getting more and more worked up at the other person. But unless they're standing right in front of you, they're skipping through their day completely oblivious to your frustration. That's sort of a no brainer when you think about it, right?
So do yourself a favor and ask that question up there. Then answer it honestly and let it go. I promise, you'll feel better instantly.
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Your Inside Circle is a collaboration between Julie Anne Jones and Nancy Golya, friends and direct sales trainers who's goal is to provide leading edge training to help direct sellers improve their businesses. They teach people how to combine technology and relationship marketing to reach more people, maximize their time, and grow their business more quickly. You can get "inside their circle" at http://facebook.com/yourinsidecircle or http://yourinsidecircle.com.

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