So today is the 2.5 year birthday of my baby RUBR- yes I’m someone who is very in tune with dates and anniversaries. I like to look back on the last period of time to see where I was, where I am and where I’m looking to be. In that process I’ll often think of the important lessons I’ve learned and so on this special day I’d like to explain the importance of understanding why it’s not you, but them.
No this isn’t a lesson in modern day dating- but you might be able to apply some of these principles to any relationship. This lesson I’ve come to learn from running a business and dealing with people in the marketplace. My last blog (eons ago) entitled “The Power of Prompt” stressed the importance of acting efficiently. Since that post I’ve learned that no matter how swiftly I may act, everyone else will remain on their own clock for better or worse. In running a product business during preparation for holiday, I’ve seen the extreme of worse when I need more inventory or supplies and must rely on someone else to help me. No matter how efficiently I may execute tasks, my actions will not influence a manufacturer or supplier to do the same. When I unexpectedly run out of inventory, there are times when my frantic emails are not met with the instant gratification I expect. When the manufacturer fails to respond within 3 hours I have found myself writing consecutive emails – 5 minutes apart- with subjects such as “Please help,” “Urgent problem,” or “In need of great help.” My manufacturer probably scratches his head looking at these titles thinking that I am pinned under a truck or tied up in a basement and he is my only savior despite being more than half way across the world. He will eventually answer and say “yes we have began to work on making the new inventory and please do not worry.” When I saw the phrase “please do not worry,” I realized that I need to do something to stop my worrying. Why am I worrying? Because this man is not responding to me in a reasonable (according to my preference) time frame. So it is his actions that cause my worry- it’s not me, it is them. So what’s the answer? I need to adjust my behavior to meet theirs. I cannot expect people to act with efficiency; I can only expect them to function within the confines of their own comfort and then work with them in a way to promote efficiency. It is basically a lesson in ignoring your own behaviors and adjusting to everyone else’s. If you need something by x date- ask to receive it by x-3 days prior. Pressing your own deadlines to the last minute while relying on someone else to help you meet them begs for mistakes to happen. If you have a friend who’s notoriously late, tell them an occasion begins a half hour early if you want them to arrive on time. You can have everything you want (or at least minimize mental strife like my obsessive emails) if you focus on working strategically with them.