I heard a story earlier today that touched a nerve and I felt a surge of anger rise from a place I know will quickly turn from flame into fire.
I asked myself if the point of the story was to test me or if it was something else and spent a moment considering whether it made sense to let it bother me.
We don’t always have to give energy to things that chap our hide and the ability to modulate responses isn’t just a sign of maturity but a useful tool.
So I dipped my head, closed my eyes and considered why it upset me. I came to a conclusion that didn’t surprise me because I am very consistent in my positions in some areas.
That centered me and I made a silent vow to pursue the answers to some questions or to completely release and headed off to the gym.
One of the guys there asked me if I was going to watch football and what teams I wanted to win. The guy next to me shouted something back at the questioner that made me cock my head to the side.
“He is one of June’s men.”
I made a face and then I heard them say something about the Texans and realized the guy had probably said “He is from Houston.”
Have I mentioned I am the cranky old man at the gym who complains about them playing the music too loud.
I once interviewed for a position at a cemetery to sell plots and whatever other services they offered. I was fresh out of college and in need of a job and though this wasn’t my first choice I figured it wasn’t a life long commitment.
The interviewer and I went back and forth and she told me I wasn’t asking the right questions.
Her remark irked me because I thought it was presumptuous, condescending and a bit obnoxious. Don’t ask me what questions she thought were incorrect because it is more than 30 years ago and I don’t remember the specifics.
What I know now is I think very differently about questions and the importance of asking good ones.
Age and experience help because I recognize good questions are how you get real information, substance and knowledge about directions to go in.
Some of it is definitely tied into my professional life because much of my career has been connected to getting something more than a yes or no answer.
We could break in down to transactional or strategic questions and get into something that has more depth than I choose to write about here.
Instead I’ll say I think people sometimes overvalue strategic questions as a tool for uncovering information.
Because questions that provide a yes or no answer sometimes offer as much or more value as the strategic question.
They can provide you with a definitive path in a short amount of time and there is much value in that.
Relationship building in business really isn’t that different from the personal world.
You can relate it to dating if you would like.
If you know definitively that you have no interest in spending time with a person there is no reason to go on three or four dates just to be certain there is nothing there.
But if you aren’t certain about potential than giving a yes to going out with them is a useful way to get additional information.
I am a big fan of going out for coffee or a meal in both areas of life. You learn a lot about who people are by how they act in these settings.
You learn about what questions you ought to ask and you get a sense of who you are with or so I always have believed.
Decades ago a writing teacher asked us if we could tell the story of who we are and how we became that person.
I received an A on the project and if I am not mistaken the paper I wrote is located in a box in the garage. It has been years since I read it but I have played around with digging it out and taking a look at it.
It would be interesting to write an updated version now but I wonder if I could be as honest about some things as I was then.
It is easy to put things out here when you haven’t much life experience and an endless highway of time and opportunity.
Much more complex do so when you have responsibilities and obligations and consider how your words may or may not impact others.
Kind of makes me snort because I was told again about how very blunt I can be and I thought about how much I hadn’t said.
We only get one time around the carousel, so you need to consider how hard you wish to ride or to be ridden.