the Obstacle Course

I’m having one of those days, ok, two of those days in a row, when there is a longer list than usual of things that aren’t coming together.  I have a big deadline for Monday, and all three sources of internet connection that I might access aren’t working consistently.  Texts aren’t going through. Documents are missing.  Nasty things got downloaded to my computer while I was trying to access support through my IT helper. Our database is blocking our emails going out to clients. And this morning, our company server is down.  Those kinds of days.

I started my day yesterday with an intention to be clear and loving.  I kept greeting these experiences that way but ya know…..  I felt pretty defeated as I went to bed.  It feels like a good excuse to descend into a crabby, negative, muddled mood.  I mean, really?!!!!   But no.  Really?  It’s a moment when a part of me feels extraordinarily righteous and entitled to feel a little sorry for myself.  But this isn’t the world out to get me.  There is no actual hostility in this experience except what I create.  They are just separate events.  Interesting opportunities.  To stop for a minute.

I keep a notepad by my desk and when I feel all caught up in a situation, I write down the situation and come up with at least one thing that the obstacle can gift me with.  Even if it’s patience.  That’s a fine gift.  My obstacle list can refocus me back to what really matters.

I greet the customer service and technical support people with love and gratitude.  When you’re in a difficult spot, don’t you wish you could reach out and call someone who could help?  At the end of those 800 numbers are folks who solve problems for you.  There are often many people, pieces of equipment, systems, and design that goes into someone being there to help you.   It might not seem perfect, but there is a lot of human kindness and effort in those systems.  There is a seed of good intention. Our species has a design to be helpful.

When I call each of the multiple customer service people today, I’m going to look for that kindness and give it in return.  I remember one day late last year when I was trying to solve a complex situation with a customer service representative who lived in Manila.  Our communication was not so easy initially and I felt that surge of hopelessness and aggravation when you’re sure that you’re not going to end the call with your problem solved.  But I softened around this and expected and gave kindness.  It was the final hours before a winter holiday and when I acknowledged that she was working on a holiday and thanked her for that, there was a magic switch that came on.  My kindness was so unexpected that she lost her defensiveness and we had a lovely connection, ending with her sharing her traditional Phillipino recipes for holiday food .  I still remember feeling a warm affection for this young woman across the globe and it felt like a gift. And she fixed my pretty urgent issue.

So far, these obstacles have gifted me with a moment to take my puppy for a 20 minute run where I would have been torn about working as soon as I had my morning coffee.  They have allowed me a moment to write this post and writing always feels so good to me.  They’ve allowed me an opportunity to be grateful to my employees who are so hard working and committed to the work that we do.

This might take me several tries to send this post to you.  It might crash my computer 🙂 but if it gets to you, may your day bring you gifts, however they may be packaged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *