As a kid, I would often hear my parents refer to this time of the year as “the dog days of summer”. I never questioned them on it, I just somehow knew they were referring to it being so hot outside that everyone was miserable. Of course, this was before every home and business had the abundance of central air like we do today. The only relief was a fan or two scattered throughout the house.
It was also a time of the year that the heat would shorten tempers. Everyone seemed a bit more cranky and on edge. As I reflect back on those days, I realize I learned some valuable lessons along the way that also relate to our business.
First, when dealing with agitated people, I have found that we must stay more in control of our emotions and not allow ourselves to be drawn into whatever drama may be going on in their lives. Staying calm in the heat of a tense situation actually diffuses the tension.
Secondly, since most of us want to be “in control” at all times, we may have a tendency to push harder to keep control of a deteriorating situation. Just the opposite is usually what is called for, let loose of the need to control and allow the parties involved to feel they are in charge. This is counter intuitive but it often times makes the actual problem go away.
And thirdly, I always remember a situation I had at one of our regional conferences many years ago. I was at a resort ready for the opening day of a three day conference when the water in the place was not working. Needless to say, there were more than a few agitated folks in the conference center since everyone had to forego their morning shower.
Our opening speaker was Rosita Perez, a professional platform speaker who gave her speech while she played her guitar. She too had experienced the inconvenience of the water problem but somehow pulled herself together and proceeded on with her message. Feeling the highly charged energy in the room, she related a story about how her husband would sometimes have to remind her how to respond to a situation like this when her world seemed to spin out of control.
He would say, “Rosita, there are two very important days in your life, the day you were born and the day you die, so for everything that happens in between…”Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”! A great message I have always remembered. I hope it will be helpful to you also.