Remember those days when we used to write each other little love notes and send them to each other or leave them in places around the house where we knew our love would find them? Remember the smile on your face as you wrote them? Remember the smile on your face when you found one?
While I was attending college in Los Angeles finishing up my senior year, my soon-to-be wife, Julie, was in Portland, OR working at a stock brokerage firm. This was before the internet. This was before cell phones. Back in those days, we spoke to each other every Sunday evening.
My pockets would jingle with coins as I crammed myself into a little tiny phone booth near my house. We had to limit our conversations to 10 minutes. Oh, those were the days! In addition to our rushed conversations, Julie would write me little love letters every week. Each day I would run out to the mailbox to see if a new card had arrived. It warmed my heart and reminded me that in a few more months we would be married love-birds living together in a two bedroom apartment…
Remember that raw emotion of being in love, feeling in love, falling in love…
Now, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I recently received another letter. This one was not a love letter. Instead, it was a critical business letter. It was three pages exactly, single spaced, typed. This letter was full of high-voltage, in your face, no holding back emotion. There’s no need to go into the gory details so let’s just say that there was some truth in the letter but mostly it was over the top.
Bottom line, I read the letter and was immediately emotionally hijacked big time. And I thought to myself “The —- with Playing Big!” I needed instant gratification, some good old retaliation! I went to grab my cell phone… it was on… this was it… if that’s what he had to say to me, this is what I was going to say to him… let’s get ready to rumble!
Luckily, Julie was around and she grabbed my hand and reminded me “Steve, you’re emotionally high jacked!” I was shaking, sweaty, and even blood was coming out of my eye sockets. I said calmly to my Julie, “let go… I need to call him now!”
She was now pleading with skills of a hostage negotiator. She wanted me to rethink the decisions I was about to make. “Give it some space, Steve! Please don’t ruin a relationship you have worked to build for over ten years.”
I finally relented and let go. I gave her the letter and the cell phone. I waited three days. I needed those three days. Eventually, we invited the letter writer and his wife over for a dinner. We really did. I reached out to him and managed to Play Big. Actually, Julie truly Played Big and pulled me along with her. The result of that dinner was a rescued relationship. We sorted through some misunderstandings. And I am pleased to report that nobody was injured. I didn’t sabotage myself and I didn’t insult him. Our relationship was saved by my disengaging temporarily so that I could re-engage effectively and more powerfully.
(You may remember the last post about emotional high jacking. This was a very different type of situation. Instead of being scared for myself and my home, I was furious at an accusation. However, both situations required that I become aware of myself and force myself to act in a way that would be the most beneficial to the long-term outcome.)
A big part of Playing Big and Emotional Intelligence is SELF-AWARENESS and EMOTIONAL SELF-MANAGEMENT. Bottom line: you need to Play Big and stay smart in our relationships
Playing Big Tips when you receive a Non-Love Letter:
Characteristics of Your PLAY BIG SELF
- Does not jump to judgment
- Remains calm during challenging times and relationships
- Pauses to reflect before reacting immediately
- Doesn’t put self-imposed limits on what is possible
- Has ability to be present and engaged
- Understands how emotions affect behavior
- Can see from another’s frame of reference
- Can admit when wrong
- Accepts the small-self in themselves and works to improve
Note: There are some vital relationships your personal and professional life that will require you to Play Big. Stay smart and you’ll succeed in the end!
Steve Gutzler provides business and peak performance coachings, trainings, and key notes focused on Playing Big and building real results in your professional and personal life. He also focuses on “Emotional Intelligence for Extraordinary Leadership,” perfect for sales meetings and team trainings or events. Find out more information at Stevegutzler.com or contact Steve directly.
Hurry, the 2012 calendar is being planned now!