Monday, December 1, 2008

When Emotion Shows Up Tactical Work Stops

I spend a lot of time coaching people on navigating emotion. And, it always cracks me up when I find myself doing something I teach others to do.

So, last winter, I was in a well-known sporting goods store buying a new pair of ski boots. I had demo’d a pair and was ready to buy. At the cash register, the price rang up as $35 more than the “sticker”. “What’s up with that?” I asked.

“It’s for the special footbed we put in the boot.”

“Huh. That’s interesting, because it wasn’t disclosed that the boot I demo’d was a different price.”

“We’ll take out the footbed then.”

“But that wouldn’t be the boot I demo’d then, would it?”

At this point, the guy launched on me and began a tirade along the lines of me trying to steal something from the store. I noticed my own Italian blood starting to get hot and I took a breath. And then, I followed my own advice… “when emotion shows up… tactical work stops.”

“Huh. I notice that I am starting to feel angry right now and that you seem very agitated to me.”

“You’re damn right I’m agitated! And blah blah blah.”

I stood silently watching him unload. You see, by noticing my own emotion, and then noticing him, I was able to detach and become an observer of the scene. And, I was very clear that I was only going to buy the boots for the listed price, and that the footbeds would be included as demo’d.

Once he had worked himself down, I asked “So, where are we?”

“Alright. You can have them for the listed price.”

Thank you.