In March of this year, I was sitting around a table with some of the most successful people in the world. We had three days together and on the last day, someone brought up the (then) presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Another lady in the group boldly said, “Yeah… he’s part of that Mormon cult, right?”
Well, the leader of the group’s son is a Mormon and there was also a Mormon missionary in the small group as well. Talk about putting your foot in your mouth. Of course, the room went silent. The leader looked at the missionary and asked him directly if he was “offended”. He didn’t answer the question. Instead, he asked the leader if HE was offended since his son was of the Mormon faith. His response was eye-opening.
He remembered when Tiger Woods’ father was on Good Morning America responding to some derogatory comment about his race. They asked him, “Aren’t you offended”. His reply was that he was NOT offended. He said (and I am paraphrasing), “That comment was offensive. But my people are not offended. The black race is no worse off after that comment than before it was spoken. It has more power to affect the person who said it, than me.” What a brilliant distinction.
You see, you can be offensive all day long. BUT, offending ME, causing me to waste MY time on resentment, anger, and holding a grudge is not an option. Be offensive all day long. But, offending ME is not offered as an option to you.
I can’t lie and say that I ALWAYS maintain this mindset. (Hopefully you wouldn’t believe me anyway!) But what if we did? Could you imagine the implications this distinction could have in our businesses, our careers, and even our homes? What would it look like for you to maintain total ownership of your emotions, your responses, your energy? What if other people’s actions didn’t have the power to affect your day, your mood, your sales, your business meeting, etc.?
When I look back to how many times I have allowed a comment or argument to literally ROB me of productive time for work, romantic time with my husband, joyful times with my kids… UGG.. It is literally sickening.
I don’t know that any of us will ever get this “right” all of the time. But, when I looked at how much time and energy and productivity “being offended” has cost me, I came up with a little ‘trick’ that has helped me dramatically. When I am tempted to allow someone else’s actions or words to ruin my mood… when I find myself running over an argument in my mind, thinking of what I SHOULD have said… when I am unfocused in my work because of something “offensive”, this is what I say to myself:
I CAN NOT AFFORD TO BE ROBBED RIGHT NOW. THAT PERSON WAS OFFENSIVE, BUT I CAN NOT ALLOW THEM TO STEAL FROM ME… MY TIME, MY ENERGY, MY FOCUS, MY DAY. I CAN NOT AFFORD TO BE ROBBED RIGHT NOW. If I am really “offended” I will add, “ESPECIALLY BY THE LIKES OF THEM.” 🙂
The more I do this, the more successful I am. The more I produce. The more I achieve. But, most importantly, I am more peaceful, reasonable, loving. I am more engaged in the here and now. I am less distracted and more effective. I am happier. Try it next time you are “offended”. (And if you need ME to say something REALLY offensive to get you going, just let me know!! ) 😉 To US!!
Guest Blogger: B. Michelle Pippin, Keeping you Encouraged, Empowered and Equipped!!