When it’s not fair

why-do-we-get-so-stressed-outI was driving home and was at a point where two lanes merged into one shortly after an intersection. The cars ahead of me nicely merged together like a zipper, well before the lane ended. I left space to allow the car slightly ahead of me in the other lane to merge into.

That’s what you do, right?

Well, he didn’t merge. Instead, he attempted to get two cars ahead by speeding up past the cars ahead of me.

No one let him in. The car directly ahead of me actually sped up to make sure he couldn’t get in. So, he ended up directly in front of me anyway.

I don’t know what was going through the minds of the people ahead of me, but I imagined it was along the lines of “it’s not your turn you have to wait” or “Nope, no way you’re getting ahead of me.”

And I was struck by the fairness of it all. He had to wait his turn, it was only fair.

I laughed when he had to merge in front of me, but maybe not for the reason you think.

I laughed because none of it actually mattered. It wasn’t going to make any difference in how quickly any of us reached our destinations.

In fact, about half a mile later, the car that sped up to block the merge turned onto a side street! It wouldn’t have cost him any time to let someone merge ahead of him.

Why do we get so stressed out about these things?

In the above example, there was a commitment to fairness playing out – you have to wait your turn, that’s what’s fair.

It made me think of where I’m committed to fairness and where other people might be.

But how might a commitment to fairness show up in your business?

  • Someone with a similar product/service comes to the networking group that you’ve been attending for a while and everyone is raving about how great their product/service is – but no one has done that for you and you’re annoyed or frustrated. After all, you’ve been there much longer than she has.
  • You’re in a group program and you find out one of the other members is getting something you’re not and instead of asking about it, you compare notes with everyone else and stew on it.
  • Everyone gets x amount of time to talk about their business at your favorite networking group and you’re really annoyed when someone takes more time, after all, you didn’t get to talk that long.
  • Someone just started a business similar to yours and is having more success than you are, but you started first! You should be having that success!

Here’s the thing, being fair isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And fairness is taught to us from a very young age (stand in line and wait your turn).

So, it’s completely natural to find yourself miffed when you perceive something isn’t fair.

But here’s an important question to consider: Does being upset about the unfairness serve you or your business?

In the examples above, the answer is no. Being upset about unfairness only wastes your time and energy.

One of the other things happening in all the above examples is comparison. You compared yourself to them and it led to a feeling of unfairness, a thought that tells you they got something you didn’t and that’s not fair. As a result, there’s an underlying “me vs them” mentality.

What if instead of getting upset about it, you did one or both of these things below?

  1. Notice what you’re feeling and get curious about where that’s coming from for you.
  2. Get curious about the other person.
    If they’re more successful than you are, get curious about what they’re doing differently.
    If someone received an extra or bonus in a program you both participate in, get curious and ask (without judgment of them or you) how/why they received that bonus.

Opportunities to learn and connect are lost when you’re worried about fairness or comparing yourself to others.

Where do you notice yourself worried about fairness or comparing yourself to others? How does it show up for you?

If you’re feeling brave, share in the comments below.

Days that start badly

Early in this blog’s history, I shared Stop that Bad Day. The gist of it is that my day started with a shattered glass full of orange juice and make-up on my shirt. I think I left the house in my third shirt of the day (and there weren’t any kids involved, just me).

I could have assumed that these things meant the rest of my day was going to only get worse from there.

Instead, I decided that the worst of the day was behind me. It would be clear sailing from there!

I’ll admit that I don’t remember the specifics of the day (it was almost 6 years ago).

However, we all have days like that. Days that start badly.

What do you do when that happens?

How do you react?

  • I should have just stayed in bed – these things always seem to happen to me.
  • The day would have been good if these things hadn’t happened. I wonder what else will go wrong today?
  • Oops, well, I know not to do that that way again.
  • I’m glad no one else was affected!
  • That was an interesting morning! Let’s clean it up!
None of the reactions are bad. But I bet there’s one that is how you immediately react and another that’s how you’d like to respond.

Our responses are interesting because they happen so quickly. Most the time we’re well into it before we even notice what’s happening.

And that doesn’t go just for days that have bad starts.

It goes for everything.

And other’s pick up on that energy – even when we don’t notice it.

So, what can you do about it? How can you shift your default reaction?

It starts with noticing how you currently react. That’s it. You don’t have to do anything about it right away, just start noticing it.

Then think about how you’d like to respond. What would that look like? feel like?

And if you’d like some help with that – I’m hosting a free interactive webinar on June 15 at 1pm CT. I’d love it if you joined me. You can find all the details here.

Woman thinking: How do you think this was perceived?

First vs lasting impressions

Woman thinking: How do you think this was perceived?A couple weeks ago I shared a story about a woman attending a new networking group, it not being quite what she expected and her leaving. You can read it here.

This week let’s go over the second question: How do you think this was perceived by the two ladies remaining?

First impressions are an interesting thing, but not the only thing.

After all, the very first impression she made was a good one.

She walked in pleasant and smiling and very clear about what she did and who she served. She came prepared with not only business cards, but a brochure!

She was interested in the other women there and the group. She asked all the questions you’d expect someone new to ask and was conversational.

And then she said she had to leave, I have all those things to do back at the office — I’m so sorry. And left.

The women remaining looked at each other and shrugged after she left — apparently building a business relationship with the two of us wasn’t high on the agenda today…

The first impression was good, but the one they left with — well, I bet she won’t be coming to mind anytime soon for a referral from either of them.

And the lasting impression she left wasn’t probably what she was thinking about as she walked out the door.

Maybe the work on her desk was more important then the lasting impression she left or maybe it wasn’t. Or maybe she got caught up in the conversation in her head and the uncomfortableness she was feeling and found an escape route.

The maybe’s don’t really matter.

The fact is she left, and that wasn’t good or bad — it was an action that she decided to take.

And the remaining ladies reacted also isn’t good or bad — it’s their perception of that action.

The easy thing to do here is suggest you think about how you’ll be perceived before you make any decisions (staying, going or otherwise).

But that won’t server you. You’ll never be able to leave a 100% positive impression on 100% of the people you meet.

And trying to do that will drive you batty and you’ll always be stuck in your head.

Instead before you walk into events, think about how you want to be (set an intention). What do you want to feel (or embody)?

Then, if you’re at a meeting or event that isn’t a good fit, check back with yourself — if I were fully embodying the intention I set, what would that look like? Would I stay or would I go?

Have you ever left a bad impression on someone and was okay with it? Or maybe you didn’t realize it until later? Share in the comments here.