Defining Moments and Influencers Shaped Your Thinking – Now What?

Mad Dog Picture This…

Your team is presenting to three decision makers from one of your key customers.You have a new service specifically designed for one of their costly business problems. Their questioning has been intense because what you’re proposing has yet to be proven. Their questions are discriminating; however one VP’s skepticism is becoming very obvious. He asks pointed questions, using a sarcastic tone, and it ignites an aggressive, defensive reply from you. Suddenly you realize you’re acting like a mad dog and making things worse. You strive to tone it down and manage to get back to discussion mode. However, the meeting ends on a very awkward note.

Oh, oh my reputation just took a hit!   If only this had happened to one of your team members, you could have intervened and reduced the damage. But, as the senior member, losing your cool and letting the sarcasm get to you was unprofessional and uncharacteristic. It also means your behavior is directly responsible for putting the project in jeopardy.

You’re wondering – how could I have let this happen? Disagreeing with a customer is one thing, but attacking their questions is unwise. You know and understand that any new venture involves risk for all parties. So how did you get caught up in an all out attack?

What inner force took control of the conversation? You’re hardly the first person to be caught off guard by a powerful reaction. In our formative years, we observe our influencers behavior and decide for ourselves whether we will act like they do or not. As a child, we are either attracted to or repulsed by the way we see others get their needs met. What makes us tick and ticks us off has roots in our past.

Our influencers’ behavior can have a lasting effect on our lives The challenge is to develop a level of self-awareness about why it matters to you and how to handle it when triggered. Reactions are flashpoints, similar to a race car accelerating from 0-60 mph in mere seconds. Reactions surface, when something from our past is triggered. They are rarely about the present circumstances. The more intense reactions are indicators of a vulnerability or strong belief shaped by your life experiences. For instance, you may have grown up with a raging parent and vowed never to display that kind of behavior. The vow may have served you well, but today something irritated you enough that it let the genie out of the bottle. You need to find out what specifically released that raging genie so you can be forewarned the next time.

How could something that happened so long ago be so alive today? Reactions do not vanish, they merely go underground. It’s critical to identify the reactionary internal process that you use to keep these buried. The nameless ones retain power over you and will erupt at inconvenient times – just like encountering a mad dog when you have no weapon for self-defense.

Defining moments and influencers shaped your thinking Every reaction has deeply rooted reasons and a specific set of signals and triggers tied to it. Learning what and how this shaping took place is essential self-knowledge.

Who’s in control your tendency or you? Believe it or not you have control over your reaction because it’s tied to your private thoughts and beliefs. You can turn a reaction into a response if you choose to. However, you must name it first otherwise it’s in control not you.

Now getting back to that hit on your reputation…You have damage control ahead.

  • Your customer relationship is in jeopardy
  • Your team is wondering how you went from a calm, cool headed to ballistic
  • Your executive team will soon want to know what happened and why
  • What’s worse is you aren’t quite sure why you lost your cool

The first few items you can probably communicate your way through. The last one will take some serious reflection.

You’re not the first person to have lost your cool. However it’s not much fun to be caught off guard and have serious damage control ahead. Having high self-awareness is crucial to effectiveness in positions of responsibility and navigating working relationships

Have you ever done something uncharacteristic and paid a price for doing so? 

Photo credit:  Deposit Photos

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