Being upset upsets me. I like being happy – who doesn’t? And yet, I know that upsets are normal and common occurrences for all of us. Even we otherwise healthy humans get blind-sided by the circumstances of life. It happened just this morning. I had an early a.m. coaching call and the client was a no show. I waited on the line for 10 minutes – after sending a text and a message – and finally hung up.
For most of my early coaching career, that no-show would have dumped me into a state of serious upset. How dare he waste my time? I got up early just to accommodate his schedule and he doesn’t even have the courtesy to be on the call? Not showing up without canceling in advance is rude and disrespectful! Where was his commitment to me (and to his goals)? I just lost 10 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. Then, the next 20 minutes of his half hour would have been spent with me stewing and blaming him for my misery. That was ‘then’.
Now I handle things like this a little differently. I’ve created a system for handling those times when the unexpected happens and catches me off guard; when someone doesn’t do what they said they would do, when circumstances get in the way of my plans and when something that needs to be said doesn’t get said. It’s my EASE THE UPSET SYSTEM… and it works 100% of the time (when I follow it).
STEP 1: Acknowledge the upset. Sometimes I even say it outloud. “I’m upset. It doesn’t work for me when people don’t show up for calls.” Being upset is not stupid or petty; it is a natural human emotion that we all experience. You have the right to get upset, and every time you do, it’s an opportunity to learn what triggers your upsets… your emotional reactions. Give yourself permission to be upset about whatever is causing you frustration.
STEP 2: Take a deep breath (or two or three if needed) and count to ten. By taking a break to count to ten, you’re giving yourself time to move from being in a state of upset to seeing the situation from a different perspective. Focus on the numbers and intend to create a calm space.
STEP 3: Reframe the situation Turn your negative thoughts – “That was so disrespectful” into positive thoughts – “Sometimes the unexpected comes up. It doesn’t have anything to do with me.”
STEP 4: Google your Brain Ask yourself: How else could I interpret what happened? What is the value here? (and there’s always some value…)
STEP 5: Take Action Your action may be a smile. It may be communicating (to the right person) what your boundaries are. It may be what I did in this case…
Instead of having a tizzy fit, I took a deep breath and reframed the situation from: “That jerk didn’t show up”. to “I have 20 minutes to type up some valuable coaching notes for him”. I saw that HE was the one who lost out by missing our call, not me. I would still be paid for my time. And then I typed up some notes – including a bit of coaching about ‘keeping commitments’ and the power it gives you. I included the date and time of our next scheduled call and reminded him of my policy that “coaching calls must be rescheduled or canceled 48 hours in advance to avoid payment”.
I do get upset. It’s just that I get over it so quickly that most people never even see it happen!