Sticks, Stones and Stuff that Stops your Success!
We’ve all been there done that. You know, that time when someone said something and you immediately mouthed off at them. Tempers flared, accusations flew, insults hurled. What happened after the stormy time passed? Feelings were hurt, confidence questioned, and resentment festered, right?
And all because of knee-jerk reactions.
Recently I was up for a speaking gig at an association conference in Colorado. There was a committee of several people going through numerous motivational speakers videos to select their general session opening keynote. It so happened one of my colleagues was also up for consideration as he’d spoken to them a couple of times already. He and I had often referred business to each other over the years and I considered him to be a friend as well as a colleague. I got the call that they chose me as their speaker because the committee decided they needed something funny and different. The next thing I know I received a nasty email from him accusing me of ‘stealing’ his gig and how disrespectful I was by not calling him about their decision.
Whaaaat??? It was like a stab in the stomach kinda feeling.
Not wanting to add fuel to the fire, I waited a full 24 hours before responding hoping he would cool down. I politely explained how it was strictly a business decision by the committee and out of my hands. Besides, even if I had called him, what would he have said? I expressed how hurt and sad I was that he would think I would steal his gig and ended by asking him to forgive ‘any perceived wrong doing’ on my behalf.
The following two days were not pleasant. I felt my integrity had been insulted and resentment was building inside me. In over 16 years as a professional speaker, I had never been accused of ‘stealing’ someone’s job. It just isn’t the way I roll and he should know that, right?
And then he called. First thing out of his mouth was “I’m so sorry”. He explained how angry he felt and did the first thing that entered his head: lash out. He said he’d felt rotten the past two days but didn’t have the courage to call. In two seconds I forgave him and said ‘we’ve all been there’.
Words spoken out of anger, fear or any negative emotions are often the cause of broken relationships and lost customers. Communications can make or break a deal. Take time to chill out before responding because you can’t undo what you said. There’s a lot of power in the word ‘sorry’ – it can heal a situation and mend a relationship, but it means nothing if the behavior is repeated.
Words of encouragement, support and praise help build strong connections with coworkers and customers.
Remember: Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can break your heart. Words can also build your business and bring you customers.
Which do you prefer?