So, things are quite kicked up in everyone’s lives right now. There are squabbles and changes, some abrupt and ugly and some smooth as silk!
Perhaps the year that we have all experienced is shortening everyone’s tempers and compounding emotional outburst. In my experience, there seems to be an increase in misunderstandings and embolden actions.
I was knee deep in a very uncomfortable telephone exchange with a person who was aggressively declaring their position and who, throughout the exchange, took a few deep breaths to allow for any comment or inquiry in the hostile dialogue.
The volume of the other person was quite loud and, unbeknownst to me, was audible through my headphones to my daughter, who actually was in the other room!
This call went on for quite some time and all my tried and true “coaching” methods were falling on deaf angry ears.
“I understand,” I offered.
“I can hear what you’re saying,” I repeated numerous times.
“I see your point of view,” I tried to interject.
“I am validating your perspective,” stated to allow for a more even exchange.
“I’d like to understand,” waving the olive branch.
These were some of my responses to the verbal attack. In my years of coaching, I have been a lifelong learner of people and this call made me realize I need some more coaching myself! (A lot of self laughter here.)
With focused resolve and really not making any headway, I shifted to simply allowing space for this person to air their grievances in totatility. Then I see out of the corner of my eye my daughter holding an index card with bright pink words on it!
Remain calm and be the bigger person
Don’t you just hate it when the student becomes the teacher!!!????
There was my daughter standing, basically shining a light on the situation in the way that I had previously shared with her many times during the course of her childhood. And she used my pearls of wisdom towards me!
(Don’t lose your power.)
Be the bigger person.
(Do you want to be right or do you want to be loving?)
When the call was finished she said, “Who was that?”
Instead of answering her questions I asked, “Was I not calm and did you think I wasn’t being the bigger person?”
She simply said, “No not at all. I just thought I would remind you of who you are.”
Out of the mouth of babes!
So many times when confronted with a person who is emotionally triggered, even the best of us get rattled. Understanding that it is about their emotional state and stance can be challenging in the heat of the moment with prolonged verbal discharge thrown at you.
Remaining calm is a practice and being the bigger person is even more of a conscious choice in these life moments.
I think I’ll get that tattooed on my arm!
Remain calm. Be the bigger person!