"Life be not so short but that
there is always time for courtesy."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The test of good manners
is to be patient with bad ones."
-- Solomon ibn Gabirol
"We should give as we would receive,
cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation;
for there is no grace in a benefit
that sticks to the fingers."
[Classic post from 12-29-10]
I learn lessons every day that I pay attention, which is most days. Today we were stood up on an appointment with a client. It's not the first time; in fact, it has happened many times, but this time I didn't expect it, because the appointment was just verified in person about 4 days before. So, we show up, each driving distances to get there and the owner is not there, no message, no nothing. We call him and he isn't even in town.
Okay, this is a business reality. I'm not a green-pea, but it is oh so tiring. Some people have so little respect for others that they don't give it another thought that they are being rude. I find this obvious tidbit of business reality to be disgusting. I also find that it happens quite often in business and that is equally disappointing. I accept it as an undesirable reality that I want to avoid.
Still, this evening, I was pissed. I held my breath and left the premises, but I wasn't any too happy about it. There are other reasons surrounding this particular deal that added to that, but I was angry and I noticed that I was angry. So, my partner and I decide to have a meeting of our own, and we drive to a location a couple miles away. In the meantime, I'm analyzing my reaction, and I'm curious why I'm upset. It would be so easy to be angry for most people under the circumstances, but I really disliked responding that way, so I controlled it totally but wanted to get deeper to the why part.
What I came up with is that I was upset because this person didn't appreciate us and what we've done for him for several years, and especially the last year. Then I thought about how everyone sees something different when they look at a picture. Everyone will interpret things differently--even those that seem to be the same are all unique in their view. This business owner is no different. Though I think he was rude and ungrateful, he may very well feel something so different, and may not even express it except to himself.
But, back to the investigation. . . it wasn't about how he feels, or even what he did or didn't do, or whether he appreciated us or not--no, it is about me and these were my feelings of anger, not his. I am creating my own anger based on my view of the picture, or my interpretation of the event. I got over the anger part very quickly, and it changed into a curiosity of why I felt the way I did.
Here's what I ended up with after several hours of back-of-the-mind reflection: I wasn't giving freely. I was hanging on to my gift. We had given this client a gift, and I know that the best and right thing to do when you give a gift is to let go of the package, and let go of the outcome. If they like it, fine, and if they don't like it, fine. I give it and it is no longer mine, it is out there. If they want to then throw it in the trash, it is of no concern of mine since it is now theirs to do with as they please. But, that isn't what I did. I was expecting a grateful response. I was expecting appreciation. I was expecting a change. My bad. I learned a very long time ago to own my own feelings, and I was claiming blame on the client for mine.
The thing I must remember is to do what I feel is right, give heartily and FREELY, and let it be what it will be. In this, I can be true to myself and my philosophy, and at the same time let go of any expectation in that. I am so glad this happened tonight. I am grateful to be reminded of this. Thank you.
Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. Even In Business. In Other Words, Give Without Any Expectation Except The Love In Your Heart.
Spread Some Joy Today--Love is ALWAYS a better way, and it will bring so much joy to all that it touches--especially the giver.