Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Lessons from an Unexpected Source

Since “Back to the Floor” and “A New Beginning” there’s been a lot of thoughts flying around in my head. I am still very excited at the prospect of a new beginning but at the same time, one of the recurring thoughts has been why? Why did I get myself so stressed out to the point where it affected the quality of my life? Not just at work but at home too and to the point where I wanted out? Will it be much different where I am going?

While every issue in the letter in “Back to the Floor” is a huge frustration in my life, I may have forgotten to look at my own reactions to these issues. I may have forgotten to look in the mirror and ask honestly of myself if there might have been things I could have done better, if there might have been situations I could have reacted to differently! The answer of course is yes, but at the time I was so stuck inside that frame of mind I couldn’t see the beyond that. By saying this I am not suggesting that the system is all of a sudden ok! It definitely is not (at least not in my opinion) and I doubt it ever will be hence the reason i started looking elsewhere.

There is, however, an important issue I think i need to address as unless I do, I fear similar frustrations could resurface no matter where I end up working. That issue is how I deal with conflict, which I guess is linked to a need for approval, which I have written enough about. The purpose of this is to get honest with myself about a few things and maybe I should write this  in my journal rather than here as it may not make a lot of sense to anyone. On the other hand, by writing it here, maybe I will be lucky enough to get a different perspective from anyone who chooses to read this.

I could transcribe countless conversations I have had with clients where things haven’t quite gone the way they had hoped. Because they can’t speak to the decision maker or can’t get any sense out of the staff in the foreign call centre, the call ends up on my phone, to the extent that my default reaction when my phone rings at work these days is; BAD NEWS. I realise that this is something I need to address as well. The conversations usually takes the path of me listening to whoever calls me, I let them vent their frustration at me, sometimes in a calm and respectful manner but more often in an aggressive, loud and threatening manner as if I am the one person to blame for their every problem. On a few occassions I have felt strong enough to give them one warning before terminating the call and not pick up further calls from that particular individual, but most of the time I freeze into a state of paralysis where I have no idea what to say and just listening in hope that the call will end soon. At the end I sometimes wonder if I really was the one at fault, which then leads me down the path of fear that the client will file a complaint and that I may lose my job… you see where this leads!

I am a very laid back person and I try to see the good in every person I meet. I also generally believe that there is good in every person, but I think that I need to find out if this line of work really is for me and if it is I think I need to toughen up and learn how to be a hell of a lot more assertive. I am tired of letting people walk all over me out of fear of what may or may not happen as a consequense of being true to myself.

Last Christmas, one of the presents from my brother was a dvd boxed set of the first 3 seasons of a show called “Entourage”

I generally do not watch a lot of TV and prior to opening the present I was ignorant to the fact that this show existed. My brother also introduced me to LOST which I really do love. Every time we spoke on the phone after Christmas he always asked what I though of it, and I kept telling him I hadn’t had the time to watch it. In truth, I thought it was a show purely geared around celebrities and their lifestyles and I didn’t want to waste my time watching it. Funny how assumptions work!! After a few months I gave in and watched it, mostly because I felt guilty for not showing my gratitude by at least giving it a try before judging it!! Now I absolutely love it. I watched those first 3 seasons so many times and still find new experiences with every viewing.

However, this is not about promoting this show but, for those of you who have not seen it, it is geared around a “movie star” and his socalled entourage, which consists of his brother and 2 childhood friends. Their agent, however, is the link to what I am trying to get at. This character’s name is Ari Gold, who is probably the rudest and least caring person anyone could ever hope to meet (at least on the surface). ari-gold-entoruageIf you search “Ari Gold” in YouTubeyou may get an idea. However, he does have qualities that I think I could learn from especially the way he never lets anyone walk all over him and the way he enters in to confrontation with complete confidence while staying true to his values or beliefs. Every time I watch the sequences he is in I notice my mind associating it with how a lot of those not so pleasant conversations at my work could have left me feeling less critical and more loving of myself and how a lot of the problems I had to deal which could have been stopped there and then instead of lingering due to me trying to promise to resolve them just to end the conversation, which always resulted in further problems leading to more procrastination and loss of self respect.  I know this may not make a lot of sense to anyone other than myself.

I have a colleague who has been signed off due to what I suspect could be similar to what I am feeling. I don’t know for sure but at the moment I feel like unless something changes (including me) I am not far behind.

Most days I feel like a dart board during a world championship! I constantly feel attacked from every angle! From people above me to do more and do better, from clients to get things through quicker  and cheaper and solve whatever problems arise, to what I refer to as big brother to ensure that I do not make any mistakes. Do I take on too much responsibility and digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole and if the answer to that is yes (which I think it is) will doing the same job for a different company be much different? From what I know of my potential new employer, a lot of the frustrations would diminish but I will not be guarded from conflict and confrontation!

As Gordon Ramsay would say; maybe it’s time to grow some bollocks!!!

The only question remaining is how?


12 responses to “Lessons from an Unexpected Source

  1. retiredeagle July 5, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    You asked: “Will it be much different where I am going?” Well, that depends on the level of awareness one maintains in going into a new situation. Relying on past habits and patterns, an almost habitual/instinctual response to environment, will only reap more of the same. Risking being “more present” and experimenting with new ways of being in relation will yield different outcomes. Now comes the test. Paying attention to how it begins to unfold and taking control of the rudder will make all the difference.

    • J July 11, 2009 at 2:09 pm

      You are absolutely right; Relying on past habits will change nothing even in a different environment. I have spent the past few days experimenting with new ways of reacting to different circumstances and it is actually working in a very positive way.
      Thank you for your wise words.

  2. viv66 July 5, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I often think I ought to grow some bollocks but then my clothes wouldn’t fit…
    Seriously, I think I need to go on an assertiveness course one day.
    I also think that merely being aware that a rpoblem exists and needs fixing is halfway and more to solving it.
    I’ll chat again soon…

    • J July 11, 2009 at 2:13 pm

      ha ha ha good one!!!

      I agree that being aware that a problem exist is as you say halfway or more to solving it. As far as assertiveness is concerned, I seem to have found the courage to try it (not in an aggressive way) and it has actually worked in a really positive way. Today alone I turned around what started as a complaint to the client walking away with a thank you and not wanting to go through with the complaint!

      • viv66 July 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm

        Well done.
        I wish I could find that courage.

        • J July 11, 2009 at 2:32 pm

          You can!
          For me it involved playing out the situations in my head beforehand constantly telling myself that I am not the cause of the frustration, which in turn left me feeling more prepared for the situation and more confident.

  3. Molly July 6, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    In my opinion, it is not what anyone else says or does that matters. It is how we react/respond to it. And as our awareness increases, we have healthier responses. And, if it is time to move on, we see that too. I definitely think healthier responses and perhaps stronger boundaries for yourself may be a great idea, moving into a new job.

    • J July 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm

      How one reacts to whatever situation is without a doubt what matters and over the past number of days I have seen tried to be more aware of how I react, which as a result has given my confidence and self esteem a boost. It’s strange how often I react to a situation automatically without first taking a moment to just put it into perspective!

  4. Brynn July 8, 2009 at 11:44 am

    J, you are not alone. But the whole assertive route could become dangerous. It could lead to even more conflict? I believe that by the time your ‘client’ has got to you they are so frustrated they can’t contain themselves anymore. You say you are pretty laid back, so be true to yourself, speak to the person calmly, they might calm down as well.
    I’m trying something new, I’m changing my belief system to ‘everything is easy!’, I’ll let you know how it goes. Well done on embracing change.

    • J July 11, 2009 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks Brynn,

      I did think that perhaps trying to be more assertive could lead to more conflict, but I think that depends on one’s definition of assertiveness. My definition is not about being aggressive or arrogant buut about being true to my values and not let someone walk all over me. It also boils down to confidence. I am beginning to see a pattern between my energy levels and my levels of confidence. The more energy I have, the more confidence I have and the better I am at dealing with difficult situation in a calm manner. I do like your experiment with “everything is easy” and please do let me know how this unfolds.

  5. viv66 July 11, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I do rehearse things and try but I seem to have an unerring knack for foot-in-mouth disease. Twice in two days I have said something quite naively and have potentially offended(the second wasn’t) people by saying something that could have been a dig, an insult or a misplaced joke. I speak double entendres without intending them even singly.
    As I said on my blog, I only open my mouth to change feet these days.
    The guy on the trip was a better spoken version of Paul O’Grady(lily Savage) and I accidentally managed to mimic his waspish look when I commented to the others that he didn’t seem to have had a good day; they again fell around laughing. And it’s all innocent too. I can’t believe it. I think I should be locked away from people for a few days while the crap fairy finda another victim..

  6. Pingback: A Different Path « Control Your Destiny

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