It’s 730am on a nice, warm Boxing Day morning as I sit in a coffee shop writing this. If you’ve known me personally, or followed my blog, you know this is my usual morning routine, and has been for quite some time.
But today’s different. During my drive in, the traffic was heavy, stores we’re lit up, and parking lots we’re already filling up quickly.
Today is boxing day, and my peaceful morning coffee might be a tad noisier than usual.
I can already sense the frustration emitting from some folks as they struggle to snatch up the best deals in town, and that has me thinking.
We’ve all witnessed that one, irate customer arguing with the cashier over a few bucks, a incorrectly marked tag, a misplaced item, damaged box, you name it. The employee, in their typical minimum wage manner, tries to remain calm and not let it bug them while simultaneously rolling their eyes, but it’s clear the customer is getting more and more upset, and it all goes downhill from there.
Sure, in the end they may have gotten what they wanted, but at what cost? You see, very often – like in an argument with your spouse – putting up a stink to prove your right, especially with trivial things, simply cost too much.
Yes, you might be right, and save that 2 bucks, or proved to your spouse your right, but was it worth it?
Personally, I have a deep distaste for arguing and complaining. Because I don’t like confrontation? Not at all. I just don’t allow myself to be “that guy”.
You know that guy… He honks at the slightest driving boo-boo, he complains that his burger has onions, he yells at his neighbor for shoveling snow on “his side”, he spends his days yelling at the neighbors kids for cutting across his lawn, he demands justice if a product was priced wrong, he complains if his coffee drips, and please don’t ever let his mashed potatoes touch his cream corn.
Sure, some of those may be just silly, and some may be “his right”. I mean, if I don’t want onions, and ask for no-onions, I shouldn’t get onions, right?
Yes, but unless you’re allergic, if there’s onions, just take them off.
Life isn’t that hard.
It all boils down to your ability to master your state.
You see, it’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with letting someone know you disagree with them, we all have that right and freedom, that’s what makes life amazing.
The problem forms when it becomes “who you are”, or more specifically, when you can no longer hold back.
When you’ve lost your ability to control your state, it’s a problem.
When someone cuts you off and you absolutely MUST honk at them, wave that magic finger and let them have it, it’s a problem. When it’s a reaction, it’s a problem.
When you can’t just take the onions off and let it slide and you must say something, it’s a problem. When you just blurt out “wtf!”, without even thinking, it’s a problem.
Again, when you lose your ability to control, or CHOOSE, your state, your reaction to life’s little jabs, it’s a problem.
You might be thinking, what does this have to do with business… Well, EVERYTHING.
You see, in business there are going to be countless situations where you can lose your cool and be “in the right”, and it probably won’t be worth it, it’ll cost too much.
For example, I once knew of a very successful business man. For a while, in fact for most of his life, he had it all, the big house, the fancy cars, thriving businesses, you name it, he had it.
The problem? He couldn’t control his state.
When an employee messed up, and they always do (remember, Jesus Christ himself chose 12 disciples and couldn’t bat 100!) , he lost his cool. He spoke his mind. He lost his shit, and fired them. Pardon the language.
Over time, he formed a reputation, and now, decades later, business is on a downward spiral, and ask anyone about him and they say they don’t like him.
Here’s the thing, he was right, and as “the boss”, it was his right to speak his mind. If he wanted something blue, and a staff member made it red, he had the right to be upset, but the way life’s problems are handled, the way you handle your state now, or in the moment, is what’s going to determine your future success – or lack of.
Now, to be fair, I’m not saying you can never get upset, speak your mind, or demand what you asked for. What I’m saying is that it shouldn’t be an automatic reaction. If someone cuts you off, you deserve to give yourself the freedom to stop, think about this, and decide what to do.
And if your instant comeback to that sentence was “I DO think and decide and I decide to flip them the bird!”, then you’ve proved my point 😉
So many of us run our business from a state of reaction, and this is a dangerous path.
I encourage you, even if only for the next couple days, to take a 5 second delay before reacting to anything.
If someone cuts you off, pause and count to 5 in your head slowly, then decide how you want to react.
If someone brings you onions on your burger when you specifically said no onions, pause and count to 5 in your head slowly, then decide how you want to react.
And so on.
Your ability to master your state will be the greatest single gift you can give yourself this holiday season, and I sincerely hope you give it to yourself.
I firmly believe that many customers can be saved if only someone had mastered their state.
…that so many marriages could be saved if only ….
… that so many businesses could be saved if only…
…that so many child-parent relationships could be saved if only…
…that so many….could be saved if only …..
You get the point.
Master your state, and the world is yours on a silver platter.
To your success,