Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.
My blood begins to boil raising my body temperature. My palms get clammy as I twist the headphone cord nervously around my finger. I continue to tell the man on the other end of the phone the latest frustrating predicament I found myself in.
I find my final few words and sit back awaiting the question from the other end that would inevitably challenge me to look at the situation differently. Instead of the question I was expecting what I heard vibrating through the phone was laughter.
“Ha Ha. Haha. Ha.”
My internal voice went nuts. WTF is he laughing at?!
Here I am putting myself out there, open to help and self-growth and this dude is laughing at me!
I took a breath and began to wonder if maybe I was making something a bigger deal in my head than it really was. Is that what he was trying to tell me without words?
I did the only thing I could do (besides continue to wonder internally)—laughed back at him and asked what he found to be so funny.
The deep, calm voice that has brought me equal amounts of challenge and encouragement responded with – “You are dealing with humans on a planet that is full of other humans! Hahah.”
We had talked about this somewhat in the past so I instantly understood what he was getting at. We (humans) are all flawed, twisted, and programmed naturally with a whole operating system I have had to diligently study for years to even start deprogramming.
Laymen terms—shit is going to happen.
Then it hit me (again). Lesson one; responsibility is my ability to respond. I have a choice in my response. I can choose to respond to a situation by allowing it to upset me, trigger me, stress me out and be the reason I scheduled the call with the laughing man in the first place.
I can choose to realize that any time I interact with another human—hell, interact with myself—I might as well assume that the outcome may not be rational or be what I wanted, expected, or intended.
Why not laugh it off? Why let it affect me in any way other than humor?
Being a little more realistic for application where the situation is at the office or around people I respect I obviously don’t want to laugh out loud in front of them. That could easily cause a situation I didn’t intend.
So the laughing may need to be internal laughter. That’s no different than internalizing the frustration I had become a champion at. Instead of frustration I would internally chuckle.
Which would you rather take place in your mind when humans behave like humans: laughter that can cause a positive pause before you respond, or the more common and less useful frustration?
Think about it in the terms of cost since it is December and everyone is enjoying the never ending ads and sales. Frustration; high use of energy, thought and emotional investment = expensive. Laughter; light, easy and psychologically forces you to look at the situation differently = FREE!!
Whoa, a sale of a lifetime that you have complete control over. Humans are complex, dynamic creatures. This probably isn’t news, but you are one of them. So am I. When we interact with other humans shit is always going to happen. It is highly likely you are going to be surprised. They may not behave as expected or simply cause you to sit there and think “Really!?”.
Are you going to choose the expensive option and get all frustrated and upset? Or are you going to do what one of my favorite humans does and laugh at the hilarious insanity that surrounds us?
Jessica Soroky, CSM
Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest accredited Coach in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of nonprofit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership.
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