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Scene #1

  • What! Who? Now what do we do?

I was disappointed. I was upset. I was enraged! No, not really that much, but this young girl working at the Starbucks on 5th and 42 taught me a lesson.

  • No problem Ma’am, I’ll make you another one.

I felt relieved, I felt served, I felt terribly embarrassed. Scene #2

  • SORRY, the computer didn’t register your appointment.

  • What! But I set it up online because you told me over the phone that it was faster and easier. And I wasted my time and I’ll be late to …

  • No problem, we’ll sign you up and you’ll be next.

I was left with my mouth open and my heart crushed; all I could do was smile at her. “Ahhh…This crazy woman,” she must have thought. Here, the medical receptionist taught me yet another lesson. Oh, so I get it! If something doesn’t happen how I expect it, plan it or hope, it’s not the end of the world. Hey, wait! Isn’t that what I profess, isn’t that what I believe in, what I teach, what I was taught? And then it came to me crystal clear. A teacher is not perfect, is not a know-it-all, and doesn’t always practice what is preached. A teacher, a parent, a coach, a leader, or an authority figure is a human being, with natural feelings and innate emotions that are only tamed through learning that, because you set an example to others, you should control them. It takes time, education, effort, experiences, mistakes, saying the wrong thing, or even saying the right thing when you are not supposed to say anything at all. Now, I realize we are swimming in other waters and the current doesn’t always flow smoothly. Operating in this ocean requires the prevalence of serenity and of understanding that not everyone is always synchronized with your scheduled program. And you are not always in tune with other people’s channels. You leave a door open to conflict (most of the time, unnecessary) if you don’t have the patience to decipher the best satisfactory outcome, with results that don’t disrupt the peace and benefit everybody. Although you might not accept it, check yourself every time you have an outburst or a reaction for something that doesn’t go your way. I go back all the time to check these pearls of wisdom from my mother's and my mother-in-law’s acumen; women who admit time and time again they still have much to learn. I’ll pass them on to you so, next time you are on the verge of embarrassing yourself, you can pull them from under your sleeves as fast as you can possibly fit them in the moment.

  • Take a big breath

  • Think

  • Think twice

  • And think again

  • Relax your jaw

  • Check your facial expression

  • Bring your shoulders up to your ears and roll them back and down (actually part of a yoga pose-Tadasana)

  • Find yourself to smile

  • Smile a little longer

  • Look into the person’s eyes (with kindness)

  • Ask if there’s any option, another item, another of whatever you expected and you didn’t get

  • If no momentarily option, ask when it will be possible, available

  • Say thank you and leave elegantly if you don’t resolve it at the time or if you leave with a partial solution. In doing this, you are not being resilient; instead, you’re acting with a high level of consciousness

  • Show great appreciation if there’s a quick solution, after all

  • Leave the experience with a smile on your face

I must admit that many times I agreed with these smart women in my family just out of respect; especially when I was younger, when I acted like I knew it all, when I thought I could gulp down the world. Although these points might seem trivial to you, I suggest you try them. Don’t forget that it is in the simplicity of things where it all becomes apparent.

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