You know I love me some Coach Taylor, so I never miss a chance to share his wisdom, but for this weekend’s mindfulness challenge, it happens to be especially relevant. It may actually be more like “full heart, clear eyes” in our case, but we’ll still give it to him. This week, we talked about dealing with difficult people, and using mindfulness to find compassion for where they may be coming from. It’s no easy task, but people don’t ask MBAs to do easy things, right?
So, you know what’s coming next here. I’m going to ask you to put on your big-kid pants and open your heart. Somehow, somewhere, someone is going to get on your nerves this weekend. Maybe you know you’re going to bump into someone in particular, or maybe they’ll catch you off guard. Perhaps an irritating stranger will grace you with their presence at the restaurant table next to you, or while waiting for the bus. When they show up, notice your reaction to them – probably some internal response like, “Ugh, here we go,” or “Honestly, who cares?” That’s your cue to take a breath, or maybe ten, and ask yourself if it makes any difference to be irritated at them. You might even catch a little clarity in the midst of it about yourself and why you responded so strongly to them, but I’m not asking for miracles here. It’s just an opportunity for you to notice your internal response, decide if it’s externally valuable to share, and if not, maybe make an effort to let it go. After all, it’s a lot for you to have to carry around, and you’ve got better things to do.
Because I know we have some overachievers out there, I’m going to share the varsity-level version of this challenge as well. If you’re ready – and I don’t even know if I would be – you can take this moment of compassion to the next level. In that moment when you are taking your breaths, and tuning in to your response, you could actually concentrate on sending that super irritating person some good vibes. I know, what??? It’s SO tough, but in mindfulness terms, it’s called a loving-kindness, or “metta” meditation, and you can find some guided versions here, as well as elsewhere online. Like I said, it takes some practice to even begin to approach this, but I know you like a challenge, and maybe this weekend you’ll be feeling extra spry and want to try it. If not, stick with version one, and just check in with yourself and breathe. They may never know the difference, but trust me, you will. Give this your best, and I can say with confidence that Coach Taylor would be proud. After all, this is No-Fail Friday,” so you “can’t lose.”
Photo credit: Abigail Keenan (Stocksnap)