I kept backing away to avoid the splatter of saliva as I was vehemently told the story of an argument that had taken place the day before. I will spare you the curse-laden details. The short of it was two grown men almost came to blows over how or if they were going to share a piece of gym equipment. The only thing I could think was, “That was 24 hours ago and you are still literally spitting mad? That guy is stealing your time. Let it go!”
Whether it is the person who cuts you off in traffic, a hurtful phone call from a family member or an attack by a boss, many of my clients find themselves rehashing destructive events over and over in their minds. It can cause them to lose sleep, snap at their spouse or kids and drag their coworkers into a downward spiral of depressing pessimism.
Allowing someone take up space in our head, without so much as paying a cent in rent, severely limits our ability to perform at our peak. Here are the questions I talk through with my clients to help them vanquish the demon of rerunning a destructive event:
What are you feeling? The first thing you are going to say is “angry”. That isn’t going to help you. What is causing the anger? Do you feel wronged, disrespected, treated unfairly, or disappointed? Find a feeling words list if you need to. You must get to the bottom of what is causing your anger take over your life.
Is there anything you can do to change the situation? Maybe you need to have a follow-up conversation, provide an employee with more training or apologize. If there is something you can do to make things better, create a plan to do it. If there isn’t, acknowledge that the situation is over and done and that nothing you do is going to change the outcome.
Have you shared the experience with someone who can help? When we are angry we often want to tell people who will share our righteous indignation. They only wind us tighter and help us build resentment. Instead, talk to someone (coach, mentor, etc) with a calm head who will help you talk through the problem, develop solutions and dissipate your anger.
What can you learn? Every situation offers the gift of experience. Take time to figure out what there is to be gained from the circumstances, even if it only serves as an example of what not to do.
What will you do differently next time? There is no doubt another disagreement is looming in your future. Articulating how you want to handle it differently next time will help prepare you for when your emotions are running high.
What event keeps playing in your head even though you have tried to banish it?
As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential!
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Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known motivational speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer. As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of life through active leadership, powerful teamwork, effective communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills. She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time. To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, please call 302-307-3091 or contact her here.