Ever assumed someone’s mad or going to be mad at you? C’mon – we both know you have. How can I say that with certainty? Because ALL of us do that! It’s human nature. We want our interactions to go smoothly with others. But life’s not perfect and it never will be.
People will get mad at you, no matter how careful you are and you have to reach a point where you can accept that. There are some people who are never pleased no matter what we do. But, that’s a topic for another day. Today, I’m continuing the discussion on assumptions. What I’m referring to is assuming someone’s mad at you and how you react in relation to that assumption.
I had this happen to me last week. I needed to set a boundary with a client. She hadn’t been following through on her agreements and the boundary had to happen otherwise I was not serving her to the best of my ability. That’s what she was paying me for! I was determined to follow through, even though it was uncomfortable due to my assumptions she would be mad. I want to share what came up for me as I prepared for this conversation:
Defensive Posturing: I immediately started running through scenarios of how she would react when I set the boundary, so I could adequately prepare. That sounds like a good idea, but what I found was that, I was coming from a place of defensiveness. It’s just the natural reaction to someone getting upset with us. We know we are not perfect, so we try to justify.
Fight or Flight Mode: Assuming this person was going to get mad, made me want to avoid the conversation completely. I just didn’t want to deal with it. But I was coming from a place of expertise and service. This was not something that could be pushed under the rug. It’s my job to stand firm for my clients and see potential in them, that they do not see. The opposite extreme is also common. Rather than withdraw, some people will just pick a fight preferring to me on the offense rather than the defense.
As soon as I recognized these thoughts, I took a step back and really looked at the whole scenario. I looked at what our agreements had been and all the opportunities I had offered her. I looked at where my motives were in having the conversation. This honest, inward appraisal allowed me to drop the defensiveness because this wasn’t an issue of me having done wrong. It was an issue of me genuinely trying to help this client get where she wants to go. With that clarity, I was even more certain that ignoring the situation was not a possibility.
So, I had the conversation. Did she ask why I was setting the boundary? Yep. Did she get mad about it? Nope. I was able to clearly explain why it was necessary and in her best interest. She knew where my heart was coming from and that this boundary was important for her. It allowed our working relationship to be stronger and for her to move more quickly to the goals she desires because she knows I’m holding her accountable rather than letting her revert back to the old behaviors that have held her back in the past.
So, the lesson to be learned? I exerted a lot of time and energy worrying about her reactions; assuming she was going to be mad. Sure, I’m not perfect. However, it was a great learning experience to see the process I went through. It wasn’t a waste by any means. It allowed me to come to that conversation clear in my intention and motivation so I could serve her to the utmost.
Your Vibrantly Live Challenge: I’d like you to think of a scenario in which you assumed someone was going to be mad. How did it go? Don’t beat yourself up if it was not perfect! But really evaluate the process you went through and how you can use what you learned today, moving forward.
Be sure to share your ideas below. Until next time – get out there and vibrantly live! Bye!