My cousin Danielle works in a bank here in Ottawa. Just last week she was robbed (again)!
She tells the story as calmly as you would tell me about your weekend.
When I asked how she remained so calm, she looked at me as if I was crazy and said “It wasn’t my money. As long as I gave them money, they were happy and they were going away. I didn’t get worried about it because I knew I could give them what they wanted.”
She put it all in perspective, and remained calm.
Do you stay calm when dealing with your difficult person? Are you aware that virtually all the time, it really isn’t about you, it really is about them?
When you’ve got that co-worker that insists in pointing our your every mistake, mentioning it to your co-workers and boss, making you feel incompetent, that it really isn’t about you making a mistake, it is much more about them feeling better about themselves (because it wasn’t them that messed up!)
When you’ve got that co-worker that talks incessantly? That just never shuts up? It isn’t about you at all, it is about them liking the sound of their own voice, and feeling important.
It is a little easier to take when we look at this way isn’t it?
Here are some tips to staying calm in a stressful situation:
– take five deep breaths. The kind of breath that goes from your toes to the tip of your head
– slow down. If you are walking, slow it down. If you are driving, try driving the speed limit for a while. If you are sitting around a board room table, pay attention to your “fidgeting” and try to sit still
– de-personalize the situation. Ask yourself if it was anyone else in your shoes, would the same situation happen. Sometimes it is personal, but most times it is not.
– Imagine you were giving your friend advice in the same situation. What would you say to her?
Don’t be quick to respond, bite back or react to your difficult person. Take a minute to figure out what is that this is really about. Is it about you, or really about them?