\ What Are You Thinking? | Christina Brandt

I’ve recently had the misfortune of experiencing truly horrible service from a company of whose I’ve been a long time customer. I wrote emails, I called, I begged for them to come do what they promised and install my deck’s awning…and no one listened or responded in any fashion, for months.

The culmination of all that neglect led me to drive way too fast down I-95 this week with the intent of forcing a showdown at their offices. I wasn’t gonna go postal or anything, but I kept thinking “these people have to pay for what they did.” I was gonna let ’em have it.

When I got there, I found a man working while his boss (the target of my anger) was “at the store.” Deflated, I looked around. Dirty, disorganized, junk strewn everywhere, a company vehicle with a bashed in window…not exactly the kind of place that instills confidence in a customer. I waited a while, then found my awning lying in a heap in a corner. I picked it up, folded it, and left the premises. On the ride home I was a little calmer but still had the “they should pay” story going on in my head.

Then I got coached. When the coach called, I trotted out my tale about the awning. She helped me see that my “they should pay” story was keeping me stuck in a loop of anger and frustration.

So I changed my thinking to “they’re already paying.” How did I know they were “paying”? Their voicemail boxes were full (every one of them – I called ’em!), probably with angry customers’ complaints. Their finances were likely so bad they couldn’t maintain their vehicles, and they lost a customer (me) that day.

The coach asked me to think about the head of that company, knowing that he was already paying. Suddenly I was able to let the anger go and think instead with compassion for him. I don’t know what’s going on with him or why his employees behave the way they do, but I’m free to find a company that feels better to me, and I’m not stuck feeling crappy anymore. In fact, I found someone who showed up on time, repaired stuff the other company didn’t notice, suggested ways to extend the life of the awning’s fabric, and charged me less than the other company would have.

So why did I tell you this little story? Because when you’re angry, hurt, or anything other than joyful, you’ve created a story about your circumstances that just doesn’t serve you. The energy you’re devoting to making someone – a toxic boss, the person who didn’t hire you, or the colleague who stole the credit for your hard work – wrong is keeping you from finding an opportunity or situation that’s right for you.

Compassion for yourself first, and then for others, will always help you find the truth – your true calling, the truest expression of your creativity, a work environment that lets you be yourself, etc. And, the truth brings peace.

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