Updated: Oct 28
"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!
Now my thoughts start to transform. I feel my body relax. I'm engaging in a completely new way.
"How can I create something positive here that benefits everyone involved?" I ask myself. "What new solution might help to end cycles of canceled meetings? How can I provide a new form of leadership in this interaction that might shift everything and help move the project further ahead, rather than keeping me stuck in feelings of futility, anger, depression?"
I grab my Presence card deck. I shuffle the cards. I start to imagine myself and my two colleagues interacting in a more positive and productive way.
"How can I act in this situation in a way that will bring about the best outcome for everyone?" I ask myself.
I stop shuffling. I pull out a card from the deck.
"Peace," the card says.
I read the text.
Hmmmmm. A lot to reflect on in this card. Peace.
I wonder: How can the balance of Peace create optimal alignment? Management experts say that an aligned organization outperforms competitors by most of the significant financial measures, so I recognize the importance of organizational and team alignment. Peace as a pathway to alignment seems modern, timeless, and pertinent.
I re-read the text several times. Then what really strikes me is the question: "How can I use conflict for my own growth?"
That gets me really excited. Yes, this is a great opportunity for me to grow from a difficult situation. Personal growth wasn't one of my first responses. Wow! Yes! Here is a great opportunity for me to mature, evolve, and provide new leadership to myself and the team.
I reflect some more. Then I write the following email in response to the request to re-schedule:
"Thank you for the opportunity to grow and apply one of the WA leadership cards—Peace (see attached card)—to perhaps help get everything aligned.
I wish peace for each one of us and peace for the project so that everything can come into manifestation easily and with as little conflict and inundation as possible.
I'm available most anytime next Monday or Tuesday [for another Skype meeting].
Lots of peace to you and [the other team member]."
I surprise myself. This kind of response was unimaginable to me just a few minutes ago. It definitely is growth. My response is heartfelt and authentic, something I genuinely believe. I attached the front and back of the card to the email so my colleagues can read the Peace card and benefit from the text and graphics. I am making a positive contribution to moving the team and the entire project forward to a new perspective and a new place of understanding. I also am able to apply some wisdom and compassion to everyone, including myself. Managing a large-scale project from a place of Peace seems to be an evolutionary leap forward.
What happens next? What new potential might have been opened? We can all stay tuned as I await a reply and see if my new way of interacting with my colleagues makes a positive impact, provides global leadership, and creates Goodwill in Every Interaction.