I am sure we have all been in a situation where we unintentionally did something to upset someone and couldn’t really understand why they were upset. This often happens because everyone reacts differently to situations and at the end of the day we all have different feelings. Have you ever upset someone (husband/wife, friend, boss, client…etc.) and couldn’t understand why they were upset? What did you do in this situation? Did you become defensive and tell the other person they were wrong being upset? Did you give the other person the benefit of the doubt and realize that you may have done something to upset them, even if it was unintentional. Pride is one of the toughest things to overcome, but when you can overcome PRIDE, it often times results in a positive outcome.
The WRONG Restaurant
I had a major test of my pride a few years ago when I had setup a lunch meeting with a potential client. I called the client the day before the meeting and we were all set to meet at an Applebee’s restaurant on Dale Mabry road in Tampa. The day of the lunch meeting, I actually left a little early to make sure I was not going to let my potential client wait. I arrived at 11:50am and our meeting was for noon. I decided to grab a table for us as I waited for the gentleman. I then looked at my watch and noticed that it was 10 past noon and I began wondering what was happening. I realized I only had his office number, so I called and spoke with the receptionist and asked for his cell number. When I finally got in touch with him, it was about 12:15pm.
As soon as I said hi to him, I noticed an irritated voice on the other line. He asked me where I was and then went on to tell me he didn’t have time to waste and it was very unprofessional of me to be late. I finally had an opportunity to speak and told him that I was at the restaurant waiting for him. I quickly realized that I was at the wrong restaurant and there was another one down the street about 20 minutes away. I then went on to explain that we must have had some miscommunication, and then the SHOCKER…. he told me not to waste any more of his time and HUNG UP on me. I couldn’t believe, he hung up on me. At this point, I was pretty upset myself. I was thinking about calling him back and letting him have a piece of my mind, but I called him back to explain the situation and he was still irritated and not being reasonable, so then my “LIGHT SWITCHED FLIPPED.” I told him he was being unfair and that I wouldn’t want someone like him as a client and said bye and hung up. You would think that I felt great after this, but I was actually furious and also feeling really bad for what I had said to him. This was not professional and to an extent I could understand his frustration.
PRIDE QUESTION: Would you have called him back again?
Well, after a full 24 hours of being upset, I decided to suck upmy pride and call him to apologize. I called the gentleman the next day and told him I was sorry for wasting his valuable time, and that I would still like to have an opportunity for us to meet and speak. He accepted my apology and agreed to meet again in the future, but that really never panned out.
DID I WIN?
The worst part of this situation was how difficult it was for me to swallow my pride and call the guy back. Why is it so hard for us to swallow our pride and accept ownership for miscommunication and move on? How did I win in this situation? I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders by apologizing and clearing things up. I also did not have to worry about somebody bad mouthing me. As we all know, this is a small world and you never want to “burn bridges.”
I did learn a lot from that experience and believe it had a “Moment of Impact” on me. Next time you get upset at someone, or don’t understand why you hurt someone, don’t take it personal. I believe that is the key to overcoming pride. We can only control our beliefs and reasoning, not anyone else’s. If you can overcome pride and not take bad situations personal, you will lead a less stressful and more opportunistic life.