Last Thursday didn’t go so well. It started out all right – my flight to New York was on schedule despite terrible thunderstorms.
A voice came over the loudspeaker. “Sorry, folks, we’ll have to delay take-off due to the weather. Please be patient.”
Then the next announcement: “We’re looking at a one hour delay.” I glanced down at my watch. With luck, I’d still be able to make my Broadway show.
Thirty minutes later, I stopped crossing my fingers. The crew had a new message. “Uh, JFK is all backed up. We’ll be taking off three hours late.”
A groan went up from the crowd. I waited for the blow-up. But then…nothing.
No one threw a tantrum or cursed out the flight staff.
Instead, people shrugged their shoulders and went back to reading or playing a game. They went for coffee. They walked around. They channeled their frustration into action, taking the sharp edges off a situation that could have easily spiraled out of control.
What was that surprising turn of events at the terminal? A spiritual moment. Because having a practice is deeper than uttering a magic phrase to skip past the tough stuff in life. It’s about looking difficult situations in the eye, then choosing what to do next. That’s been our focus in the May series, Coping With Crazymakers.
Let’s recap some of the practical techniques you can use to keep your center in the midst of crazy:
- In “You Know What I’m Doing?”, we learned that we don’t need to join in as a crazymaker stirs up chaos. We can automatically detach from the confusion by remembering core intentions, like being calm, peaceful and cooperative.
- “Stop. Pause.” talked about the value of using “what” questions vs. “why” questions. Stepping back and asking, “Stop. Pause. What are we doing?” opens the door for positive dialogue, even in the craziest situations.
- “The Biggest Kid” showed that sometimes we’re called on to be the most mature person in the room. Dealing with a crazymaker can have a surprising silver lining: you develop the ability to see the pain behind their actions with compassion.
- “No End State” demonstrated how insisting on perfection is a quick way to make ourselves and everyone around us crazy. Do you want an instant formula to turn poor choices around? Show and receive grace, and then move forward.
You can’t stop people from being crazy. You can’t ensure that everyone around you will never be unhappy or disappointed or feel anxiety. However, you can use the ideas we’ve discussed this month to shift the energy quickly and take the sharp edges off your words or actions, and that’s essential.
Staying out of the fray is the only way you’ll have time to follow through on the vision you created in January. The wonderful relationships you’ve been working on since February. And what you’ve brought into being this Spring with positive actions and words.
When you can brush off bad behavior or someone else’s hard day, you’re the boss of you. In fact, you’re a great boss of you.