“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.”
– Lao Tzu
Jed wakes up feeling good, ready to take on the day…as soon as he gets that first cup of coffee. He fills the pot, grinds the beans, pushes the button and…nothing happens. Sometime in the last twenty-four hours, the coffee maker has decided to crap out. Right now, the only thing percolating is the hot rage behind Jed’s eyeballs. He considers throwing the thing through the window but, luckily, he realizes replacing a window will be way more expensive than replacing the coffee maker. So it’s off to Starbucks where two dozen other caffeine vampires are brooding as they wait for their next fix. The girl behind the counter, whose name is apparently Jellybean, seems to be having a day. She’s mixing up orders and the line is now backed up out the door. Jed weighs the idea of taking a hostage until Jellybean gets him his triple venti double caff, extra hot with room.
Abby’s boss has just sent out a company-wide Slack that he’s hosting the whole team to tapas and bottomless sangrias after work today. The problem is that tonight is also her best friend Jade’s inaugural wine and watercolor soiree that she’s been planning for months. Truthfully, Abby would like to curl up on the couch with her cat, Murphy, and binge the new season of Handmaid’s Tale rather than go to either event, but she knows an “invitation” from her boss is really a polite mandate to attend. Jade, on the other hand, has no such understanding. When Abby breaks the news, her friend completely loses it and throws down a serious guilt trip, insisting that Abby only looks out for herself and that, if she really valued their friendship, she would find a way to get out of the tapas and sangrias. Abby spends the rest of the afternoon feeling frustrated and powerless, and chews over the idea of being an actual Handmaid rather than having to navigate who to disappoint.
Gavin is about to head into a meeting to give a presentation he’s been working on for weeks when he gets a call from his sixteen-year-old son’s teacher informing him that Cameron was caught cheating on his Ethics exam. Gavin is so shocked by this news that he doesn’t even catch the absurd irony of what he’s just been told. He immediately insists that there must be some kind of mistake. Cameron’s a good kid, he would never cheat. But the teacher claims to have irrefutable proof. Gavin’s presentation turns into a complete shit show because all of his focus is on thoughts of his son being a cheater. He takes it personally. How could Cameron bring such shame and dishonor upon the family? He wonders how the heck he’s going to show his face at Open House next week.
The truth is, Jed had no way of knowing that today was going to be the day the coffee maker died. (Although, if he’d been paying attention, he may have noticed the machine had been making some strange noises the last couple of days, but that’s for another conversation.) Abby has no control over how her friend is going to feel about being dumped for overpriced appetizers and fruity wine. And, no matter how good a parent he might be, Gavin can’t manage his son’s decision making every second of the day. If Cameron decides to cheat, Cameron’s gonna cheat.
If you really pay attention when you’re feeling upset, frustrated, worried or generally triggered, you’re probably trying to control something you cannot control—what people do, how people feel, and what happens in the world around us. That encompasses most of what goes on in a day, right? The fact is we have two key places of power—what we do and how we respond to the people and events in our lives. And THAT, my friends, is something IMS can support you to master! So when you feel yourself starting to simmer under the collar, pull out our tools, practice our techniques, and employ our strategies for mastering your life, one cup of coffee, one hurt friend, one misbehaving kid at a time. Because the more we try to control the things over which we have no control, the more those things will come to control us.
Learn to master your places of power at (you guessed it) the Power Series! Click HERE to grab your spot.