This morning I woke up with a tinge of anxiety.
Within moments of opening my eyes, I was already scrolling through the dozens of emails that filled my inbox overnight. Sigh. (Why do I do this to myself?!)
Then I came across a semi-angry email a client wrote to me a few hours after going to bed. He’s a top manager for a Fortune 500. I think it’s important to mention that this client doesn’t realize that I’m the founder of my company, Wekudo--he assumes I’m an event assistant.
He is booking an event for his team on a specific date (which he’s changed three times) and as we were finalizing the event details he emailed me randomly saying, “I’m not sure yet 25, 26, 27… I’ll only know a few days before.” I thought he was referring to the date so I said, “I'm happy to stay on hold and try my hardest, however I want to make it clear that we can't finalize the reservation until there is a date chosen. It's the same as booking a plane ticket or movie ticket. There might be space, there might not be space…"
The next email I received was him lashing out at me with the first sentence being, “??? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??"
I messed up: he'd been referring to the final headcount, not the date of the event.
I love my job. I take everything that happens within it seriously (for better or for worse). But when I read things like that, I can feel my heartbeat rise and my anxiety tingle throughout my body. I quickly closed my phone and became aware of my fast heartbeat. I imagined that the awareness of my breath would help slow my heartbeat down to a normal rate.
"In Asian languages, the word for 'mind' and the word for 'heart' are same. So if you're not hearing mindfulness in some deep way as heartfulness, you're not really understanding it. Compassion and kindness towards oneself are intrinsically woven into it." - Jon Kabat-ZinTweet It!
A few brief minutes of meditation and I was back on track.
A good friend once told me, “Good feelings--you’re on track. Bad feelings--you’re off track. It’s that simple."
The key takeaway from this is: don’t look at your email immediately after you wake up.
Okay, just kidding (but seriously, don’t do it!).
The real key take away is that we need to take more responsibility for our words and actions.
Whether you’re a salesperson, customer service representative, or founder of your own company, the people you work with (clients or colleagues) are all real humans like me and you and that means your words and actions affect them.
When you jump on a sales call, you can inspire someone to take action and be more successful.
When you jump on a customer service call, you have the opportunity to shine and make that person’s day a little better.
I’m absolutely not saying that it’s always easy to do these things, but we need to remember that these people are just like you and me.
That sloth-like woman checking your items ridiculously slowly at the checkout lane: human!
That driver who (might have accidentally) cut you off: human!
That customer service representative seriously struggling to process your refund: you guessed it, human!
Human, each with totally different and diverse backgrounds, thoughts, life experiences, and perspectives.
We each have an incredible and beautiful opportunity to make the lives and days of the people around us better. But each of us is just as capable of making other’s days stressful and negative through a few poorly chosen words or actions.
Without even knowing who is reading this, I know that none of us truly want to inflict any kind of suffering on anyone.
So be careful with your words, your tone, your actions.
Choose a higher, lighter, kinder path.
Make meaning of the seconds and minutes the day presents to you.
And while we’re on this big planet, spinning in the middle of nowhere, try to make it better (or even fun!) for yourself and the people around you.
Lee Rubin is the founder of Wekudo, a marketplace for corporate events and activities. It was at the University of Florida where Lee started exploring the idea of being happy. When she worked for a few years in corporate sales after college, she saw companies struggle with turnover and employee satisfaction. She built Wekudo to help address that struggle and instill happiness back into the lives of employees. Lee has a special interest in art and design and believes the road to corporate success is a superior customer experience. Based between Tel Aviv and NYC, she’s determined to uncover the secrets to corporate well-being and customer satisfaction. She also loves cat Youtube videos, IKEA catalogues and colored markers.
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