A few days ago I received a scathing e-mail from someone I work with. Maybe scathing isn't the right word but it definitely felt that way because he used the words "I am disappointed you...".
Funnily enough, I knew it was coming.
I expected it. Which is why I quickly scanned for those words immediately. To validate my intuitive inner gut.
Yet, it STILL hit me like a wrecking ball.
I won't lie, I cried. I journaled. I talked about it. I tried to make excuses for myself.
Anything to make myself feel better.
But the only thing that CAN make me feel better is a word of reassurance from this person that everything is ok.
That this does NOT define me.
That my worth is NOT on the table.
That it IS repairable.
That I AM capable of better.
So here I am, going through everything in my head about what I'm going to say, and how I'm going to say it when I answer the phone a few days from now to address the issue.
And as I'm doing this, I realize that I need to change the script in my head.
I need to stop being scared about WHAT this person is going to say (on top of what's been said), or HOW I'm going to react, or WHAT excuses I'm going to make and instead change the script and become an observer.
I'm going to OBSERVE how I react to the words he uses.
I'm going to OBSERVE my responses to them.
I'm going to OBSERVE the unfolding of the situation.
Technically, I'm going to remove myself from my body to allow space between me and the disappointment.
I want to see the conversation unfold and examine every feeling as it flows through objectively.
As if this were an experiment that I'm not involved in.
This does (will do) several things:
- Takes the heat and pressure away from "having the right answers". If I'm an observer, there's no such thing as a right or wrong way to answer (or face someone).
- Allows me to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Right now, my emotions are all over the place, making it difficult to really assess how bad the situation is. Maybe I'm making it worse than it is.
- Lets me take mental notes on how to respond in the future if I end up in a similar position. I can be objective about the direction of the conversation and where I could have done better.
So, I'm going to take this approach this week when I jump on the call to discuss the "scathing e-mail". I'm telling myself that the goal is NOT to get that reassuring word, but instead to OBSERVE everything and then debrief on the findings.
Of course, you'll be the first to know how it unfolded and what my findings are.