Last week we talked about the vast differences between reacting and responding to every life situation. If we make a concerted effort to remain calm at all costs, especially when managing a team of people made up of very different personalities, we win. In leadership, this can be a demanding exercise but worth the extra effort. When the situation heats up, my challenge is for all of us to take a deep breath and try not to overreact. This will prevent you from underachieving at home and at the work place.
The person in my life that practices this discipline better than anyone I know is local TV meteorologist, Charlie Neese. Charlie is a weatherman by day, but also a passionate public speaker who has dedicated many hours to teach leaders how to balance, prioritize, and live life to their fullest potential. Charlie is also an amazing man of principle, wisdom and integrity and has dedicated his life to being an incredible father, husband, friend and professional. I know first hand because I have the privilege to live with him as his wife! The following are Charlie’s words of insight from his own blog about the subject of responding with great honor:
Snow in Middle Tennessee is a rare treat so when it’s in the forecast, lots of people wait with bated breath for the first few snowflakes to fall. Kids pray all night that they’ll be able to trade a ride on a school bus for a ride on a sled speeding down a hill Folks in this region get very excited about the white stuff. A few years ago, a forecast for snow didn’t quite pan out. The next day, I had several e-mails waiting for me from disappointed viewers. But one was particularly harsh and personal. It said, in part, that I was the worst meteorologist she had ever watched and she was never watching again! As I read, it made me angry. I started to fire back an e-mail, but then I stopped… I tried something different. I thought there must be a deeper issue; this woman was way too upset at me for what actually happened. So, I decided to write back a note and told her that I, too, was disappointed with the missed forecast. I remembered how let down I felt as a child waiting all night for a snow that didn’t happen. Finally, I told her I appreciated her taking the time to write, whether good or bad, and that I hoped she would again one day give me and my forecasts a try.
Later that day, I received a note back. It was a note of apology. She thanked me for responding and went on to explain she was sorry for what she had written. She wrote a story of some very tough times she has been experiencing, and that she was just taking out her frustrations on me. Last, she told me that she would certainly watch again.
I learned a big lesson that day. What if I had reacted and fired back an angry note to her? Where would that have gotten me? I could have made the situation even worse. This is the way a lot of arguments with spouses start. Someone has a short fuse because of a bad day and then the other decides to overreact because of other frustrations. An argument escalates and by the end of it, you don’t even remember what you started arguing about in the first place. In the meantime, a lot of pain has ensued. Sometimes it just takes stepping back and asking, “How can I respond in a composed and mature manner?”
So, watch out for those times when a situation seems completely out of proportion to the truth. There’s generally something else at work here. Try to remain calm and show a little grace. This could save you, especially in your close relationships, from some very hurtful and unnecessary arguments…
Thanks, Charlie, for talking the talk and walking the walk and for teaching me the lessons of grace you so commonly extend to me and our family.
Friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed my husband’s thoughts. You can check out more of what Charlie has to say about life balance, life lessons and leadership on my favorite blog at http://lifebarometer.wordpress.com
And, good news – Charlie has generously offered to be my weekly summer guest blogger for the next few months, while I focus on an upcoming three month project. I hope you enjoy reading more of what Charlie has to say – I know I’ll be tuned in!