Over the past week, a number of strangers offered comments that were unsolicited. Although I was in a business setting, I heard, “The blouse is new, the shoes look clean but the jacket is outdated.” “Your name really is this ______, not what you are calling yourself!” and finally, because I had small drops of moisture on my glasses and wanted to take the drops off, “You shouldn’t be cleaning your glasses, you should be speaking to the people other there!” Perhaps these comments belong to the new phrase “organizational rudeness.” As a Professional, you learn to listen to and not immediately respond to words so as not to take the words personally. What causes you not to “take it too personally”?
A man may cry out in pain and may blame everyone around him in a hospital, and the staff doesn’t take it personally. A woman giving birth may cry out against her pain, and the staff doesn’t take it personally. What causes us to not take anything personally?
I am reminded of the philosophy of Miguel Ruiz who offers that it belongs to the person speaking in anger, to be angry. It belongs to the person speaking rudely, to be rude. It belongs to the person who is out of line, to be out of line.
Mistakes happen and most are true accidents of time, of attention, of nature, of unforeseen events. It’s how we behave when an accident occurs that drives a conversation or event.
While attending a conference recently, one of the event coordinators laid long fabric I.D. holders on the welcome table. I placed one around my neck and fastened it to the Name Badge. Within minutes it become clear something was wrong and I didn’t feel well. My eyes were burning and I knew I was exposed to an allergen, perhaps on the I.D. holder? I returned the I.D. holder and the Coordinator knew by looking at my face what was wrong. I didn’t ask for, yet She sincerely apologized and we went on our separate ways. No discussion took place, nothing was taken personally, we just went about our day.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”* I do believe this phrase needs a bit brushing off, so it can gain popularity again. What do you think as you choose Who You Want To Be Known As? Enjoy your week!
“Jo Ann” M. Radja, Career Management Coach & Change Agent May 2, 2012
*The Christian Recorder in 1862 suggested the Sticks and Stones phrase really represents courage –“True courage is doing what is right, despite the jeers and sneers of our companions.”