Tags: ASK, Judith P. Siegel, Tom Peters, Woody Allen
One day back in 1989 I threw my phone against the wall in my office and it broke into a thousand pieces. Five years after that incident I received, for the first and only time, a letter to my home from a former rep who worked for me, indirectly. Even though I got the impression that the fellow was drunk when he wrote it, it was painful to read. In addition to my many sins he said it was well-known that I threw a phone at one of my employees.
What happened was this: it was the last day of the fiscal year and one of our best reps had worked really hard for a customer, met his every whim patiently, and the customer promised to sign the order on that last day — and this was an order that the rep needed to make quota. Well, the sniveling, conniving bastard didn’t even show for work that day. When I heard this, the phone flew — it flew out of anger at the coward and out of sympathy for the rep. There was no one beside myself in my office at the time.
Now, in addition to overreacting, I have under-reacted and, hopefully, reacted perfectly at least on occasion. The problem is that people tend to remember the highlight reel of fire-works.
So, I’ve decided to work on eliminating overreacting without getting ulcers in the process. I found a book, suitably titled, “Stop Overreacting” by Judith P. Siegel. I found it by just perusing, as is my wont, the New Book shelves at my library. I had to laugh!
The book offers a number of brief case studies that are helpful in keeping my belief intact that I’m not as bad as other people. (But as Tom Peters once wrote, that is not a great strategy for success.) The author asks the penitents to review their childhood for clues to the sources of overreaction. I dismissed this at first. I thought that if I was going to dish on childhood, I want to be on a psychiatrist’s coach, as if I was in a Woody Allen movie.
But as I did the exercises I did come up a possible source. It was not something horrible or tragic or even embarrassing. It was just something about everyday living that, perhaps, over-weighs on me.
I’m now happy about overreacting in that it gives me something to work on – something to react perfectly to.
(Full disclosure: I am referring in the above to non-sports overreacting. That is an Everest that I need greater training for.)