You planned the meeting and told everyone where and when to show up. And then some of them didn’t.
In your world, this meeting was the most important part of the week, and the initiative you set is going to be mission critical for those involved. But, you’ve overlooked the fact that everyone else may be having a different experience. Furthermore, you’ve made the lack of attendance about you. It feels personal.
It isn’t personal.
Now, maybe a couple of people do have it out for you, but even that isn’t about you. When we take things personally we make a big jump in our mind and start believing that we are the only person who has ever had this experience. Naturally, this is not true.
Take the story of the mustard seed. There is a woman who loses her child and comes to the Buddha to heal her suffering. He sends her on a journey to collect a mustard seed from each home. However, she could only take a mustard seed from a home in which there had never been the loss of death. She returned to the Buddha without one seed, for the loss of death had touched more than her own life. And in that, a common humanity was revealed.
It helps to remember that you aren’t your role at work, or your title, or even what you do. In the same vein, you aren’t what others think of you, and your value isn’t based on what you know or what you have in the world. What and who you are extends fully beyond the world of things.
Do you remember your first job? Are you that job? It’s likely that you’ve left that job and found another one and are now in a different role. Perhaps you went from carry-out girl at the local grocery store to Senior Vice President of Ice Chips. The you that is you has nothing to do with those titles, although your mind will tell you otherwise.
Our conditioning keeps us recycling in this way. We have a singular view about our role and what it means and what it says about us. And when others don’t show up how we think they should in relation to our role, we take it personally.
There are other options, though. We can try to see reality clearly, which forces us to stretch ourselves and honestly question our motivations and intentions.
If you would like to suffer a bit less in your day-to-day work, try to notice the impersonal nature of life. Who among us won’t eventually encounter gain and loss, praise and blame, pleasure and pain, and missed meetings? We all will.
Why add another complication to life by making it personal?
The Leadership Weekly
Weekly wisdom from the DS Leadership Life team.