Thursday, June 19, 2014

Today Did Not Go As Planned

“If you conquer yourself, then you conquer the world”

Paulo Coelho, Aleph

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”
Lao Tzu

“Not being able to govern events, I govern myself…”

Michel de Montaigne

Today did not go as planned, not that any day does, but today was really weird.  Still, it wasn’t a bad day.  I got hit with an unexpected disappointment, but because I stayed calm and handled it quickly, I repaired things and undid the damage.  There is a lot to be learned in what happened.
In the eleven years I’ve been buying and selling on eBay, I’ve never gotten negative feedback.  Today I did.  I was upset.  I wanted to say rude things to the person who left me the feedback, but I stayed calm.  I told the fellow that he should have contacted me first.  Though I felt his claim about the problem was a little exaggerated, (a small problem that I’d warned him about), I gave him a full refund and told him to keep the product.   In addition, because of the defect, which I only discovered upon retrieving the books for shipping, I included additional comic books, free of charge.
When all was said and done, after several e-mails and two phone calls to eBay, the problem was resolved.  I got the negative feedback removed and the customer even apologized for his rashness.  In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that huge of a problem, but it felt like it at the time.  Had I not stayed calm, the outcome might have been different.  Here’s what I learned from the situation.  Because I stayed calm –
·      I got what I wanted, which was a retraction of the negative feedback.
·      I was able to help my customer feel heard, respected, and taken care of.
·      I was able to teach my customer proper etiquette, thus making it possible for him to not repeat the situation with someone else, and cause more stress.
·      I kept my customer for possible future transactions.
·      I felt good about myself. 

It is easy to sit here, in my chair with my Muse, and write about how important it is to manage emotions during difficulties.  It’s much harder to actually do it, especially when I’m feeling angry, sad, regretful, or afraid.  It’s harder but it’s not impossible.  But just because I have an emotion, doesn’t mean I have to let it make choices about how I behave or feel. 
I can have my thoughts, but they don’t have to have me. 
The last year and a half has been a time of emotional healing and growth for me.  Today I feel like I hit another milestone.  I know I will always be growing, but today I was able to Get Started and Keep Going…even though things did not go as planned.