A few years ago I was sitting at dinner when the fellow next to me, who had sucked down a few too many cocktails, got in my face about my work.
He told me it was clearly all rubbish and that I was “a snake oil salesman.”
I tried to keep my cool, and for about ten minutes I laughed it off, but then I blew it.
Long Fuse, Short Reach
I have a long fuse, but a vicious temper, and like Bruce Banner, you nor I want to see that.
Luckily, it didn’t get too bad. No punches were thrown, and he got to stumble out on his own two feet. But I learned I must do better.
About a year later I was at dinner with a banking buddy when the guy sitting alone at the table next to us injected himself in our conversation.
Hearing us discuss how my friend goes from MD to being a master of the universe, he offered his well-considered opinion that I was full of it.
I kept my cool. I didn’t react. Like starving a fire of oxygen we gave him nothing to argue with and he soon flamed out.
I knew I did a decent job when he asked for my business card, but when I told him I was all out of cards for douchebags I knew I could do better.
Make People Right
The other night at dinner the woman at the table next to us got in my face about how that “Tony Robbins stuff is a bunch of crap,” and this time I did even better.
I apologized profusely. I told her, “I apologize, it is obviously my fault.”
For about a minute I told her how right she was. How much I appreciated her speaking up. I told her it was my fault for rambling on, and I apologized for offending her.
I didn’t do this sarcastically or tongue in cheek. Inside my mind I made her 100% right and I wanted her to feel that way.
She began smiling and we had a nice conversation in which she decided she was going to read The Power of Positive Thinking.
That felt good to me. Not because she came around to my way of thinking, but because I was able to put aside my smallness and get to the right outcome.
Whether you are right or wrong, if you can get beyond yourself and help someone else feel good, you are wrong not to make them right.