As a coach and practicing attorney, I am no stranger to being annoyed by other humans. Recently, I found myself dreading a particular meeting that was planted right in the middle of my afternoon. I had a million things that I wanted to accomplish that day and I was already feeling like I was running out of time and my day hadn’t even started yet. I could feel the anxiety rising in my chest as I wondered
How am I going to get all this done?! Where do I even start?! Why is there a random meeting in the MIDDLE of my afternoon? How can I get anything done if I’m ALWAYS IN MEETINGS?!
As I was thinking through the items on my calendar, I realized that this particular meeting was one that I could potentially cancel. I realized that the issue at hand was one that had been resolved by another team over email several weeks prior. So I emailed the meeting attendees the prior correspondence and indicated that I did not believe our meeting would offer anything in addition to the items already discussed and resolved in the correspondence I re-shared with them.
Sweet relief rushed in — I have more time to actually accomplish something today! I stood up for myself and my time. Job. Well. Done!
I should note that one of the individual that called the meeting was known for being a little bit persnickety and had a reputation for being a bit of an overthinker. Regardless, I felt good about my reasoning and my plan of attack and felt strongly that the meeting was no longer necessary given that the impacted parties had already resolved the legal issue.
As most of you have probably already guessed it, shortly after my emancipation request, the meeting organizer responded confirming their desire to continue with the meeting. They felt that there were underlying business considerations they wanted to make a case for.
Immediately I felt my chest and face flush and my blood pressure rising. As legal counsel, there was no need for me to be involved in any rambling meetings about business rationale and business decisions!!
From my point of view I was simply the wrong party to play audience to these requests and I was busy, GDI! Stop wasting my time!
I found myself railing against them in my head and imagining how this meeting was going to play out — them making their case, me sitting there annoyed, arguing with them in my head and anxiously awaiting my opportunity to shut down the meeting and end it as early as possible. I could see myself politely informing them that I was not the proper party to be hearing these business concerns but rather it would make more sense to have other business team members in the discussion.
This all occurred in the first 10 minutes of my day… So there I was hoping for a productive day yet boiling in frustration before anything had began.
I realized in that moment that the reason I was dreading the meeting was because I knew how frustrated I was going to be as I sat there and endured the discussion. I was making this 30 minute meeting into something monstrous and unbearable. Thirty minutes of my life! That was all they were asking. The amount of energy I was wasting fuming over this innocuous exchange was almost laughable! If I had directed that energy to my real work, I could have checked everything off my to do list already!
Furthermore, whether or not that meeting drove me crazy or not was completely within my control. As I felt my blood pressure rising and spinning about WTH I do this job, I realized that I could let this exchange sour my entire day or I could take my power back. I could decide that I would attend the meeting that had become an inevitability and I could show up with curiosity and observe what they had to say and be prepared to have an open mind. I could decide not to let a 30-minute meeting that I could not reschedule ruin my day.
If this resonates with you and you find yourself vacillating between frustration and irritation all day long, schedule some time to visit with me and let’s see if we can get some tools in place to move away from frustration and start taking control of your emotions and your career. Life is so much more fun when you do!
The power to be annoyed and irritated with the meeting and its organizer was 100% within my control. I soon realized that there was no need to be frustrated and let this simple exchange turn a day full of opportunity into a day full of irritation.
I resolved that I would stop thinking about the meeting and view it as another opportunity to learn from those around me and be open to the possibility that just maybe there was something useful to the client that would come out of this discussion. If nothing more, it would afford me the opportunity to observe myself and take control of my mind and the drama that it was offering me. And that is always time well spent.
Besides, if an annoying 30-minute meeting was as “bad” as my day was going to get, I would take it. In the grand scheme of yin and yang, if this meeting was my “darkness,” life really wasn’t so bad after all.
Photo by Yan Krukau