Last week was exceptionally hot. It would have been easy to slip into a tried and true, New York sport, competitive crankiness with my peers. Miserable in the heat, I could have spent my energy complaining. For example, how my office was hotter than theirs. How my garden had wilted more than theirs. And how the weather dramatically impacted my ability to function compared to theirs. In fact, I started down that path. But, when my husband innocently asked what I was making for dinner, and I found myself barely suppressing the desire to glare at him and respond “water” through gritted teeth, I knew that it was time to pause and practice what I teach.
Sometimes, when we encounter a moment that pushes our emotional buttons, we don’t need a big, multi-step solution to solve our problem.
So, when we start to get “verklempt” (very emotional in Queens dialect and Yiddish), my guidance to us is simple: engage in “The power of doing just one thing to reenergize and connect.” The exercise is as simple as it sounds: Pause, regroup, find a positive action, and reach out.
For example, if you find yourself participating in a challenging email exchange that finds you feeling like you are talking to yourself, and your concerns are going “unheard.” What can you do?
- Step away from your computer and disengage temporarily!
- Go outside or to a window and do nothing for a bit (aka no phone, no social media).
- When your internal voice calms down, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there another way to approach this situation?
- Am I assuming that the other party knows and understands my concerns? Maybe they don’t.
- When you have returned to a calmer state of mind, go back to your desk, and call the person. YES! I know that this is a radical, shocking suggestion.
- If they don’t answer, leave a message asking for a few minutes of their time.
- If they don’t return your call. Try again and this time, leave a message that explains your perspective in measured, friendly terms
Why should you make a phone call and try to talk? A live conversation will allow you to interact in real-time. This means that you can share context on a deeper level. The other party will be able to hear your tone, they can ask questions and confirm what they heard. It isn’t rocket science, but it is a process and practice that will help you on many occasions.
So, add “The power of doing just one thing to reenergize and connect” to your list of actionable working prompts.
Julienne B. Ryan is a certified AccuMatch BI coach and the author of “The Learned-It-In-Queens Communications Playbook — Winning Against Digital Distraction” and an applied, narrative storyteller, speaker, trainer, and coach. She believes in the power of listening and is on a mission to improve how we communicate with each other, one authentic conversation at a time. Click on this link to learn about her services.