It’s Not Personal, It’s Business

I have heard this statement for most of my adult life. Any company I’ve ever worked for has told me don’t take things personally because it’s just part of the business. But I often find fault with that statement because we are a reflection of the places that we work or represent. We all have our ways of doing things, and people will often acknowledge that our stamp defines our abilities to leave behind various marks. I had a customer recently give me a one-star review, and I know I’ve mentioned it in another blog post. Still, it bothers me because I bent over backward to help this person and me, and I recognize that it’s not necessarily a reflection on me but felt like one. I know people have issues that they deal with every day, and sometimes they lash out at anyone that they can, but when you become the person that gets lashed out the most, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

One of the reasons I love working with people is that most people are good overall. It makes me feel good to know that I’ve helped somebody along the way, and it even gives me a sense of pride. For example, one of the things that I do is the storage facility that I manage is very small. Because of that, I can use my time and resources to treat my customers like a family. Every time I get hold of their birthday information, I send them out birthday cards. It’s not a big thing, but it means the world to many.

I know about 90% of my customers now. Many of them have been with me for a long time. The nice thing about it is that I can call them if something goes wrong and know where things are going to be, but I know which of my customers are good folks and which ones are going to fly off the handle at the littlest thing. My facility is getting ready to get rid of its parking. One of our customers has been renting a trailer for over a decade. The trailer he rents from us sits in our parking area. Since day one, he has been obnoxious, rude, egotistical, and self-serving. I will be very grateful that he is gone, which is an extreme understatement. While I understand that his actions are not personal, it sure feels it because of the way he treats others.

I did a little research online because I wanted to talk about this topic. Many of us deal with the world of business, yet it can sometimes feel like personal attacks when business decisions occur, and they’re not in our favor. One of the questions you can ask yourself is will I care in a year? Most of us get wrapped up at the moment because if it’s something that has a sentimental value to us, our emotions take over. I know I have personal possessions passed down from generation to generation. And I’m starting to sort through those things and discard them and sell them because one of the questions I’ve had to learn is if it doesn’t affect me in a year, then why am I getting bent out of shape? If it will affect me in a year, then yes, it’s probably an emotional decision, but you might want to take stock of what’s going on and be honest with yourself. If there’s something you can learn from the experience, then do it but then let it go.

Another thing you can do is to keep busy. When I don’t want to think about things that bother me, I stay swamped because it doesn’t give me time to dwell on bad things or things that may not be bad but are bothering me. In my case, I study all the time or work all the time. They’ve become excuses not to deal with other aspects of my life, and I will have to deal with those at some point, but it’s been a good diversion. You may want to go out to lunch with friends, get some coffee, go shopping, and do things for yourself. Just give yourself a little time in space to calm down when you’re out of sorts. And then, when you’ve calmed down, you can reevaluate the situation once you think clearly.

Another tip I learned was to realize that everything isn’t about you. This point is so hard to recognize because it feels like the world is conspiring against us many times. Sometimes it feels like everybody else is succeeding when we’re failing, and that’s when we have to remember this isn’t all about you. Intellectually, I think so many people realize that, but it’s hard to separate the two emotionally. Like I said earlier, sometimes somebody can be having a bad day or a wrong moment in their life, and you get the brunt of it, and unfortunately, you’re the one that they felt safe enough to lash out. I can’t emphasize enough that it’s not usually you, but it’s usually something that somebody else is dealing with, and they don’t know how to vent otherwise.

The next tip is something that I do very well with my friends, talking it out. I have a tiny trusted group of friends that I’m allowed to when I need to vent and vice versa. I don’t worry about being judged in those circles because most of us all need that sounding board, and we all do so many things in our lives that we help propel each other up, especially when we’re feeling very low. When I start feeling down on myself, my friend Darla does everything she can to kick my butt in gear and make me remember that I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself or have a pity party; I’ve got to move on.

One of the articles said that I needed to recognize my triggers, and I think that’s true for so many of us. If you’re an extremely emotional person, you need to figure out what sets you off. Often, you might not have control over those triggers, but you do have the power to respond to them. If you can recognize it and identify why what’s bothering you is bothering you, you may have more control over the situation because you won’t blindly react. Instead, you’ll know why you’re reacting that way, and you can adjust accordingly.

I’ll give you another example. I do a lot of work as a volunteer in various nonprofits. One of the leaders did not attend a meeting. This reason was not personal, but it was about the business. This leader has not had a vision for the company. The rationale was to develop a vision and plan for the next decade. Those involved hurt his feelings because they didn’t include him, but he didn’t understand that other people would not have felt free to voice their opinions if we retained him. It wasn’t personal, but he took it as an attack. Instead of using the experience to grow from, he threw a child as a temper tantrum and ignored the people involved. Even though we chose not to forget him, he couldn’t set aside his frustrations. While no one had a problem with him coming to the first few minutes of the meeting, the moral of the story was we needed to be able to think and speak without a hindrance.

No matter what, remember you’re not alone because there are many people out there going through the very same thing. Sometimes we all need that sounding board, and we just need a chance to regroup. Catching our breath when we’ve experienced hostile exchanges or had decisions that affect us negatively down the road can take practice and a lot of control. But if we learn to take better control of situations and our emotions, we have a better chance of being more adaptable to any decision that businesses throw our way. That’s not to say you won’t get upset on occasion. But it is to say that no matter what happens, you can control the narrative on some things. Have a great day, everyone.

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