It had been a terrible morning. I had been angry, very angry. I had not been this angry in a while. Of course I had not gotten almost anything done. My to do list had gone down the window.
It had consumed me, having spent few hours sending messages to my sisters and my best friend about the reason of my anger, specifically who was responsible for my anger and why.
I entered in a loop and couldn't get out of it.
I was being conscious that this anger was not productive but was stuck on it.
I decided to relax a bit and asked my brain to bring me some of my "spiritual solutions" to get out of this emotional mess.
Deepak Chopra has a book called "Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life's Greatest Challenges", and even when I have not read the book, I have studied spiritual solutions for a while and have applied them to many of my personal and business challenges.
So I knew that the solution will show up in my brain and it would be a huge awakening or "aha moment" as I call it. The bigger the conundrum, the bigger the "aha moment".
So finally I remembered (I knew already, but had forgotten it temporarily) that my anger was due to me being upset with me. Some spiritual masters say: "the other doesn't exist". I don't know if the other does exist or not but it is vey useful to think like that. You realise that the whole drama that you have created is you being upset with you.
The beauty of this is that forgiving yourself and making a new commitment is totally doable. Changing someone else is not.
So then I remembered the conversation with the person that had upset me. During that conversation he said things that I didn't agree with. But instead of calmly and assertively expressing that I did not agree and stating my position aligned with my values, I ended up saying sayings that were completely against my values. Just in the name of being "conciliatory".
It is a bad habit that I still have not kicked out, being a "people-pleaser" and being afraid to behave authentically, according to my values. And now I was incredibly angry about it.
So I decided that I could offer myself compassion and empathy (the same that I normally offer to others) and give myself another chance.
I had the "aha moment" that I needed two things: preparation and courage.
Preparation is key. I knew before hand that I confrontation was brewing with that person but I didn't examine internally what was my position and how I was going to state it. So when the time came, I scrambled for words and ended up compromising my values.
The second one is courage. I needed courage to simply state my position calmly, irrespective of the irate and aggressive (and even insulting) comments from the other person.
The funny thing is that even when I said things against my values, I ended up receiving aggressive comments anyway. I might have as well stated what I thought calmly and assertively.
So, what does my story have to do with your business?
I have seen over the years people losing control with employees, prospects, business partners and clients. That has definitely been detrimental to their business.
I have seen a CEO to erupt in anger against an IT employee taking too long to set up a projector and losing completely a prospect that was in the room.
I have seen a manager saying something unpleasant to an employee and losing the trust and motivation from his team.
I myself lost it once with a colleague, went to Human Resources over him and had to back off and simply have a frank conversation with him, that luckily solved the issue.
How to avoid the pitfalls of anger in business?
An spiritual mindset will go a long way in using that anger constructively.
When you realise that you are mostly angry with yourself because you have gone against your values, you can decide to give yourself another chance, clarify what is important for you and how to act in the face of similar situations.
For example the CEO that is losing control knows better than that. Inside of him, he knows that the meeting preparation should have started 30-60 minutes earlier not 2 minutes after the prospect showed up. He knows that he has established as the number one value of his company, the respect and care of employees and now he is doing the opposite. That accentuates his anger.
During the days and weeks after that episode, it is critical for that CEO to come to terms with the fact that he screwed up, not his IT guy. He should forgive himself and go deeper into is values, re-evaluating what is important to him. And recommit. I love that word, recommitting. It is always possible to recommit to something that is important to us. Today I am recommitting to writing this blog and this is something that makes me very happy. And I recommit to to speaking up my values.
I urge you to review your values, even if you write your top 5 in the back of a napkin and take a pic with your phone. Then, recommit to these values and be prepared to act in alignment with them in every interaction. That will avoid a lot of angry moments in the future and the loss of business that comes with it. And in the process, you will learn valuable lessons about who you are and what is important to you.