Personal Leadership is essential. It’s remarkable how much better we perform and how much more we understand when we do what’s in our own hands.
My coaching client Sue started our meeting wanting to talk only about the last two days. Sue has important tax documents due to the IRS tomorrow. She’ll submit them online but because of travel plans, she can’t sign them tomorrow. She has to sign them today. Making yesterday and today the only two days left for the tax accountant to finish the documents so Sue can sign them today.
She Lost Confidence
Sue sent all the information to her tax accountant eleven days ago, and was disappointed when the accountant asked the same lame questions about Sue’s spreadsheet that he’d asked before. While Sue was grumbling in her office in Georgia, the accountant in Seattle told Sue her taxes would be done by a different member of the firm who’d never done Sue’s taxes before. Oh, boy, that got Sue going.
Anger Felt Like A Solution
Now it’s looking like the new person didn’t start on Sue’s documents until four days ago. With less than two days to go. He peppered Sue with questions that don’t apply to Sue’s situation; Sue got hotter. He was unfamiliar with Sue’s taxes. Sue felt that could only lead to errors and Sue paying more taxes that she had to. By the time the third email of questions arrived, Sue was flaring.
She Stopped Time
Sue was at her angriest. Then she did something remarkable. She stopped time. She stopped thinking and stopped muttering. She stopped long enough to stop all the chatter and stressed-out complaining in her brain. She stopped long enough to see the gap between how things were going and how they could go. She stepped into the gap and asked herself how she really wanted this tense conversation to go.
She Knew What She Could Do
She said aloud that she wanted clear questions and answers with the tax man, and to help him work quickly without errors. There were things Sue could do to help that happen. There were things that were in her hands in the situation. She decided to use the chance to make this better. She decided to do what was in her hands.
She Did What Was In Her Hands
Although the last email of questions had inflamed Sue, she could see now that feeling inflamed and placing blame wouldn’t get her anywhere she wanted to go. She breathed, calmed herself, took her emotions in hand, and took constructive action. Sue smiled and phoned the tax man whom she’d never met.
What A Difference
Sue stopped thinking anything else and just asked a question. She forgot about being pissed off. She forgot about being worried the guy was unqualified. She forgot everything and just asked a question. She just asked. She asked why the irrelevant questions were necessary. He said the tax software requires all kinds of questions he wouldn’t ask if he were doing taxes by hand. The software won’t even let him go to the next page without answering questions irrelevant to Sue’s tax situation.
Now Sue understood. What a difference that calm question and answer made in her attitude. Sue thanked the tax man for his patience and apologized for her own strongly worded emails.
Energized and Relieved
Sue felt cooperative, energized, relieved, and hurried to find the data asked for. She was extremely proud that she had done what was in her hands. The taxes were filed on time. Sue got a nice refund.
Power and Relief
Sue was thrilled to tell her Coach she had stopped time and done what was in her hands. She felt a calmness and a power. We enjoyed discussing how much more resilient she will be the more she uses the technique of doing what’s in her hands.
It seems like this technique is needed more and more every day, the ability to stop, see the gap, and being willing to stand in the gap, doing what’s in your hands.
Do you agree it’s a powerful technique? Have you ever tried anything like it? Please “comment” !