"Skype Call Canceled:" A Contextual Learning Environment Provides Opportunity to Apply Glo

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

"Skype Call Canceled."

Those are the words that appear in the subject line of the latest email in my inbox.

I had been waiting about 20 minutes, anticipating a video Skype box to light up my computer screen. I was wondering why a meeting with two colleagues that had been scheduled the previous week was delayed. Worse yet, this is the second time this particular meeting has been rescheduled. Both times, I had set aside the time to meet via Skype, showed up a little ahead of schedule, and then learned at the last minute about the cancellation.

"Why am I always the one who bothers to show up on time?" I think. Then my thoughts turn darker.

"People don't seem to value me or my time," I say to myself. "Maybe I don't value myself. What can I do to prevent this from happening so much in my life?" I remember many similar situations in which I showed up early or on time, only to have others cancel, arrive an hour or so late, or just not show up to a scheduled meeting.

As I open and read the cancellation email, I learn that one of the two colleagues had "spaced out [the Skype call] due to other elements inundating him."

I feel myself growing tenser. My jaw clenches.

Please let me know when you are available next week to Skype, the email concludes.

I try to reason with myself. "I've been late at times, too. I've had to reschedule. Why am I

struggling with all this? I need to be more flexible. Maybe I should charge a large cancellation fee so people respect me and my time. Maybe I need new colleagues. Maybe I'll reschedule and then cancel at the last minute so they know what it feels like. I'm out of this project. Maybe I'm done working. Life is too difficult. Everybody is 'crazy busy' these days."

My back starts to hurt.

"I have no idea what to do," I think to myself. And then I prepare to go on a walk because I know it will make me feel better.

Then I think, "Hey, this might be a great time to apply one of the global leadership cards." Suddenly, I feel energized and excited. Maybe I'd discover some new options.

Here is a situation in which one person is inundated with work, another person is feeling unsuccessful in getting three people on one Skype call at the same time, and another person—me—is frustrated that I keep showing up for meetings on-time or early, only to have others cancel at their whim. My colleagues were launching a significant, multimillion-dollar business, and they had been working on the project for several years to get it to its current stage of development. All of this merited a new approach.

What a great opportunity for me to apply some new capacities as a global leader. Here is a perfect contextual learning environment: A real problem, in the moment, on the job, the "stuff" that makes the concepts in the Presence card deck tangible. I needed some bite-sized wisdom!