VooDoo Lucky Charm Kitty | The Notorious D.O.G. (designed by a Houston graffiti artist - now that I know that, I see his work everywhere) | He Answers to Chaos
I am pretty naturally high-strung, even more at work. I want to do a good job. I think we all know that feeling, regardless of your field. I feel like I feel it more intensely because a bad event doesn't go unnoticed. So if I failed, everyone was going to know. There was no hiding this.
Is anyone a Seinfeld fan? Even though it was a little before my time, I have seen most of the episodes. There is one where George decides to do the opposite of his first inclination and everything starts going his way. Instead of making up a life for himself, he tells a woman he meets that he is unemployed and living with his parents and she actually wants to go out with him. He orders the opposite of his favorite food at a restaurant. Things like that, and he had good results. So I decided to take that approach on event day. Instead of doing what came naturally to me - trying to control everything, looking over shoulders, being in the middle of the chaos - I chose to step back. I told everyone my motto for the day was "Calm, Patience, and Understanding." I was choosing to be calm all day. I was going to have patience with everyone working on the event and realize we were all on the same team. And if something went wrong, I vowed to be understanding - we are all human and we all make mistakes, so instead of blaming and covering my ass, I was going to come up with a solution first. Patience morphed into peace throughout the day, which worked too (yes, I forgot my own mantra). And it was the best thing I could have done for myself.
People who knew me remarked on how "zen" I seemed (and some asked if I had come by some Xanax... the change in me was that drastic). When there were too many people and too many things happening, I straightened nametags. I hung signs. Instead of getting in the middle of the fray, I let the person who was supposed to be in control of that aspect be in control. Things went wrong and instead of getting annoyed, I got creative. I trusted people to do the jobs they came to do and got out of my own way. It was weird. It was still tiring. I still worked my butt off, but I took more control over my own role in all situations. I worked on going with the flow. And you know what? It all worked out. I can't do it all alone, hard as I might try, and it was much more gratifying at the end to work with a team. Now, I can't say I can promise to continue this pattern in all things in the future, but it was a great exercise in changing my attitude and it actually working for me.
Have you ever tried doing the opposite of what came naturally to you? How did it work?