I’m going to share a quick example with you of something that I discovered about myself that falls along the lines of, “Be careful what you’re saying to yourself, or thinking, because somebody important is listening: you.”
Let’s suppose I was away from work for a day, or even part of a day. An email came in and somebody really wanted something, like yesterday all of a sudden, and it didn’t even have to be something to that nature, but just, it’s been an hour, a day, a week, before I’m getting back to somebody.
Here would be a typical way that I would respond. I’d say something like, “Hi Kevin, I hope you’re well. I’m sorry I was not able to get back to you sooner. I was away yesterday with my son at his hockey tournament.”
That’s me telling myself that I’m putting myself and my own needs down below everything else.
But see, here’s the thing: That seems normal enough, right?
But I’m not sorry.
When these emails come in and the phone is dingin’ all the time, I’m not sorry that I was with my son at his hockey tournament in this case, or sometimes it’s, “I wasn’t feeling well and I went home,” or, “I took a day off,” or, “I was with another client,” or, “I was on another call.” I realized that I was responding almost every single time, “I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to jump as soon as you rang.” But, no. I was living my life and I’m not going to be sorry for that.
But rather than having that sound like something that I’m putting on somebody else, that’s a “me” issue. That’s me telling myself that I’m putting myself and my own needs down below everything else. So, once I caught on to that, I started to change it, and I do this verbally as well as with email and text and stuff like that.
So now I’d respond to a note like that something like this. Let’s suppose somebody’s emailed in and I wasn’t there yesterday. I was with my son at his hockey tournament. They want everything right now. I’m just getting to it now, a day later.
I’d say, “Hi Kevin! I hope you’re well. I see you emailed yesterday. Thank you for reaching out. I was with my son at his hockey tournament, and it was great! Now … Let’s see what we can do to help you.”
Feels much better.
When have you caught yourself doing something like this? What did you realize you were saying to yourself and how did you change it?