Carrying on from yesterday...if you need to get caught up, there is a link at the bottom of the email (for those of you who read via email). If you're reading directly on the web, check out the post from September 4, 2018.
After the story was told to me, I had some curious questions of my own. I asked my adult child about the reaction of the other party and I was pleasantly surprised to hear this:
“Well, it was interesting. Here’s what happened. When I didn’t get sucked into a discussion about my personality, it allowed me to stay on point with the real purpose of the conversation - which was to provide feedback to this person. My boss had asked me to handle the problem of this person’s under performance. The whole conversation started with me having to do the hard thing of explaining why this person’s service contract with us was on the verge of cancellation. Instead of getting sidetracked with a conversation about me, I was able to return to the original point of discussion: her need to improve her performance. Which, by the way, could be done with or without me having a personality at all, either good or bad.”
No one likes negative job feedback. Right? But consider the alternative. What if the vendor had been able to distract the conversation. In the moment, she could have avoided hearing about her work issues BUT she would have forfeited her opportunity to respond to the feedback and improve her performance. Which, by the way, she actually was able to accomplish and resulted in her keeping the contract.
Using the “strong back” “soft front” language of Brene’ Brown, the capacity to not chase after the approval of others in that moment enabled my child to provide a kindness to another. At my ripe old age, I am not sure I would have had the wisdom to do the same. Tomorrow, I will share what I learned when I asked my adulting child how this decision was made because I believe it holds some practical wisdom for those of us who are trying to rise above our defensive and resentful postures to a more hopeful and courageous way of living.