Has someone (or something) ever pissed you off so much that you go red? The type of scenario when your body temperature rises, rational thought goes out the window, and emotions rule the moment?
Its happened to me more times than I care to admit, and I’ll hazard a guess that many of you know that feeling. Today’s article is a wakeup call to all of us who fall prey to our emotions in a way that does not serve us well.
Last week I was in Philadelphia attending a leadership program, and one session stood out in particular. It was led by Mark Horstman, author of The Effective Manager (great book for any of you managers out there). He told a story about getting in an elevator with his business partner. As they made their way down the building floor by floor, the elevator stopped and another gentleman joined them. The man entered and turned to face the door, with his back towards Mark and his partner. The man had an umbrella tucked underneath his arm which protruded behind him parallel to the floor. The tip of the umbrella began poking Mark in the chest repeatedly in this tight space, which began to annoy him. Finally the gentleman arrived at his floor and exited the elevator with his umbrella, completely oblivious to what had transpired.
Mark turned to his business partner and said, “That guy was a real jerk, he pisses me off.” To which his partner replied, “actually, you got poked in the chest by an umbrella. That’s it. Your reaction is completely up to you.”
This story stuck with me as it was a simple and powerful truth. And I needed to hear it. It is so easy sometimes to get fired up for the most ridiculous reasons (assembling IKEA furniture, anyone?). It’s wasted energy and doesn’t serve you in any way.
Lesson: YOU control your emotions. No person, no “thing”, no circumstance has control over how you feel. If you allow it, you are giving away all your personal power for no good reason.
Sometimes shit happens. Be an adult. Be a professional.
Reign in your emotions and carry on.