It might be an unconscious inspiration…
How do you react if a customer blames you for everything’s gone wrong and requires an instant compensation act from you or your boss wants you to come up with a –at first glance- unrealistic solution?
Especially if the situation requires immediate action stay calm and take a step back; it is easier said than done, but I’ve learnt that mindfulness is the key. It can help you a lot and within minutes.
So I take a moment and ask myself; how do I feel right now?
If I leave out all the negative/demanding feelings/energy coming from the other person; what does she/he actually say to me?
And then focus on the task:
What needs to be done to get the best result?
What resources do I have?
How much time do I have?
Who can help me?
Especially the last question is particularly important. Not only because we often don’t want to ask others for help (in the wrong assumption that it’d mean we depend on them) but sometimes we simply just do not consider it enough. There is such a deep pool of resources within our network we too often forget about. Sometimes a simple remark of a friend or colleague can lead you to one of the greatest ideas ever. Again, mindfulness is the key! Be aware of the qualities and (hidden) talents of your network. Don’t be afraid to ask them openly about their knowledge and experiences and most important, for their honest feedback.
Also regarding physical aspects can mindfulness at work do a lot for you. Ever considered how you sit on a desk in front of your laptop or computer after working for hours and being totally absorbed by the content you are working at? Right, your back is bent like a banana and your eyes probably haven’t twinkled for the last hour, let alone being closed since you got up in the morning. In the minute you get aware of your sitting position you change it immediately. And with this, take the aware moment for a little break; rub your hands for a while and put them over your closed eyes, breathe in and out deeply, reopen your eyes and let them wander around in distance for a little while. If you sit in a café there is maybe a little kid or cat who conjures a smile on your face – enjoy it deeply before you continue your work. If you sit in an office look out of the window; catch a glimpse of the bright blue sky or watch the pattern of the rain drops on the glass – it might be an unconscious inspiration!
Mindfulness can also be a strong and important tool in human relations and its conflicts. If work related or not; if someone shouts at us, blames us, or acts in a weird way we cannot understand or which makes us uncomfortable, bewildered or perplex, a very simple but effective question can help;
How do I feel right now?
Because first and foremost it takes the focus back on us, not on the other person. That person is in their own point of view. Especially in work-related interpersonal conflicts it is very important to stay objective and not being overwhelmed by the negative perceptions of another person’s individual view and behaviour. And it doesn’t always make it easier at first glance, because some people cannot deal with not getting the (negative) attention the try to create. But if you stay deeply connected with you and your feelings, there is little to no chance to overreact or fuel the conflict. Instead of ping-ponging the negativity back, step back, listen to what the other person has to tell you and in the end, say “thank you for letting me know, I can see your point and I will respond to you in due time – but not now”.
Of course, if you speak to a customer, this answer should be slightly adjusted, e.g. “I totally see your point” And you listen to them, really keep listening to them… it doesn’t matter how much you disagree because he/she is the customer and wants to be heard. And then you add what seems appropriate, e.g.: “I will figure out what went wrong and will offer you a solutions / a compensation as soon as possible”. The mindfulness takes place by not getting involved in the negative/demanding/offensive feeling of the opposite person but by listening to them carefully. Whether you are dealing with a difficult customer or within an interpersonal conflict with a colleague or friend; people want to be heard. And so does your inner self. Connect and listen to your feelings and you automatically become mindful.