Picture this (as I channel Sophia from “The Golden Girls”)…
You’re in a meeting at work, and a bunch of people (AKA a cross-functional team) are discussing the project at hand. Suddenly someone speaks out of turn…and they use that tone. You know the one. It’s the tone that makes you think things like, “who woke up on the wrong side of the bed” or “what crawled up her/his a$s”?
Now, flip the script. Imagine your morning went something like this:
- the alarm didn’t go off
- you skipped a shower
- kids/partner are asking you for everything under the sun
- your shirt needs to be ironed
- coffee gets spilled on your pants
- you run into work just in time for the meeting and have no idea what’s going on
What are the odds that you’ll use that tone, and not even realize it? There’s no bad intention, you’ve just had more than a day’s worth of struggle before 9 AM, and sometimes you just can’t do any better.
We rarely see others through that lens. When you know your circumstances, you can justify your behavior, yet when all you see is the behavior, you rarely consider the circumstance.
Think about the guy who cuts you off in traffic. Have you never done that? Maybe you were rushing to a sick family member or a friend in need. Maybe that person is, too.
At the end of the day, we’re all human. We all have shit going on that others don’t know about. We can justify our (sometimes bad) behaviors because we know our circumstances. Consider extending the same to those you encounter. Not only will it DRAMATICALLY reduce your stress levels, it may even create some ease for another human.
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