A Clean Mind

Blogging about a less stressful way to live…

Client Melts Anxiety From Jerk Boss

A client of mine does not like where she currently works. It used to be a better fit for her, and then a new boss came in. And everything changed. Then little things would happen that made it even worse. Not a fun place. Not a fit. My take was that life was making it pretty clear that she had done her time there and that it was time to move on. She had gotten what she needed from there, and they had gotten what they needed from her. Whenever she would mention a new “little thing” that had happened, I would just remark that of course that happened! How can we be surprised? That’s to be expected. It’s not about that specific thing, like the new receptionist being not nice. It’s about the fact that her time there is done. The new receptionist is just a symptom for the real cause, which is that… her time there is done. It’s like a water fountain that was really flowing and then had been turned down to a trickle.

So she came into work one morning and as soon as she walked in the door, her boss said something like, “Come see me in my office after you get settled in.” I asked the obvious question with a smile on my face – “How did you feel after hearing that??” Of course we all know the answer – totally anxious!

Let’s stop the frame right here, because this is where it gets interesting. This is the moment of truth. This is where we have a choice between two totally different ways of living. And she nailed it. Her past self would’ve freaked out and been a basket case as she headed to his office. Her current self has been practicing, though, and she stopped the freakout in its tracks. Thank you! The whole world rejoices… First, she breathed and let go of the anxiety. She let it be there but without making a problem out of it. And it became substantially reduced, as it does when we simply let it. Feeling, check.

Then she moved on to thinking aspect of the situation. She calmly told herself that all she had to do was go talk to this guy. She’d see what he had to say and would respond accordingly. She didn’t have to try to predict the future with a story that would make her feel worse. So she went to his office. As she was listening to him say some things that weren’t totally totally true and that were even somewhat ridiculous, she was able to just smile and nod her head. She didn’t protest or argue, because it wouldn’t have made the situation any better. She was aware of her elevated heartbeat, but she knew there was nothing wrong with that. That’s what happens when you’re summoned to the principal’s office! It’s called adrenalin and cortisol pumping through your system. That’s normal. No big deal.

She made it out of the meeting just fine, and she was very proud of herself for how she handled it. The morning is the most anxious time of the day for her anyway, by far – that’s how her body is now. So to be ambushed by the boss as soon as you walk in the door is quite the test for her. A major test. And she passed! She passed big time. I was very proud of her. She did exactly what we talk about here. Learn another way. Practice it. Develop it. That’s all. It works just like anything else, be it a sport, a musical instrument, dancing, a foreign language, technology, or whatever. She did great. Now maybe her boss will come in…

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All anybody really wants is peace. The good news is that peace can be learned. I’m serious. This should be taught in middle school, but it’s not. So I’m teaching it now.

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