I have had far too many examples of instances when I allowed my emotions—such as frustration—to dictate my mood, my decisions, and my
interactions. There have been plenty of times when I needed to practice
one of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and “seek first
to understand, then to be understood.” You can’t reinforce this enough
in both the workplace and at home. I thought I would share a personal
experience to illustrate how easy the concept is and how conscientious we
need to be to practice it.
I have a neighbor of over eighteen years with whom I rarely had any
issues. We are not close, but have a cordial relationship. He has been a
good and helpful neighbor. He does, however, have a dog that I have often
worried about when it was near my kids. Admittedly, the dog has never
barked loudly enough to scare me, charged after anyone or anything that
would have caused my angst. Instead, I didn’t like the look or the breed,
and simply had a bad feeling about it.
Late one night, the dog was out in his yard barking loudly. It was
atypical and was getting on my nerves. The barking and whining wouldn’t
stop and went on for many hours. I was tired and cranky, and I couldn’t
sleep. Yet, I didn’t do anything to check on it or fix the problem. It became
obvious that my neighbor was not home so in my eyes there was no one
to call; I guess it was just easier to stew over the situation and periodically
complain to my wife.
After hours of this barking, my wife couldn’t stand it any longer and
walked across the yard in the dark. The dog was tangled and stuck, and
was calling in its own special way for help. Although I had a predisposed
nasty and angry attitude about this dog before this event, it was only exasperated as the barking continued. My wife quickly understood the situation, untangled the dog, provided him water, and said he was the sweetest thing. We later found out that another neighbor was supposed to let him out and had forgotten.
I’m sure that there are more professional examples that I could share,
but the innocence of an animal made this example stand out. We need
to fully understand situations prior to judging and overreacting to them.
There are more sides to a story than just our own.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
- Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
- Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
- The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby