I get a call from a client. Their boss is just wearing them out. Don’t get me wrong, this person can handle the pressure, but call after call, email after email, they are not they can take it anymore. They are on the precipice of doing or saying something that they will regret. Their big next question is, “what can I do?”
It’s interesting how independence and self-reliance are a double-edged sword. They draw attention to the otherness of people who are not us. As in I’m going to do me and you do you. And if I don’t like what you are doing, that’s on you. What Aikido has and the Connection Code has taught me is that in our relationships, the distinction between you and me is illusory. The reality is we form a system and each of our actions affect the others. I still get to be me and you get to be you, but you don’t get to eject out of your part in the relationship if you don’t like the dynamic.
So I ask my client, what is your response time? How responsive are you? I know the answer. Super-humanly responsive. And I ask the next question, do you always need to answer as fast as you do? Spoiler, the answer is no, I want to make them happy, but it doesn’t always matter from a business respective. That’s just how I roll all the time.
I ask my client to consider being more deliberate in how and when they respond. I ask, do you think by always responding so super quickly to every request, whether it is warranted or not, you are actually helping to set the pace without any real connection to a business need? Let’s say you get 1 email every 5 minutes and your reply in 5 minutes. So in 1 hour you will have read and written a total of 12 emails. Assuming that response time is self-imposed, what would be different if you replied in 25 minutes. Now you have a total of 4 emails in 1 hour with no change in value or effectiveness.
Don't play high speed ping pong if you don’t need to. If you enjoy it, go for it! But, if you are being burned out, I’m guessing it is not enjoyable anymore. Be like those ping pong players who lob the ball way up into the air. Lob it once in a while and give yourself some time to breathe. And do others a favor by giving them time to breathe.
Never drop the ball, but that doesn't mean you have to be an instant response machine.
You are contributing to the pace. The key is to remember you can only control your response, not theirs. But, by managing your response, you will influence their response.
Think about it another way. Is it your goal to give people what they want (people pleaser) or what they need (problem solver)? I'll take the problem solver any day of the week.
If you try this let me know how it goes in the comments below.
Watch this first guy. Just amazing stuff.