Category Archives: Blog

Why do I always need to make the effort and the other one can keep on behaving badly?

I’m the eldest of 4 and I have 3 younger brothers. When I was a kid, I sometimes got frustrated with the behaviour of (one or more of) them and then my mother said: you are the eldest, you need to be the smartest… I always thought it was so unfair! (And fairness is a very important value to me). 

However, I now find myself saying ‘similar’ things to the participants of my courses…

Let’s look at the working environment (it can also apply to your family, of course ;-D)
We all have a colleague we find a bit ‘challenging’… and often, when that is the case, communication is not optimal.
Have you noticed that whatever they say triggers you? (Possibly also the other way around…)
And sometimes they don’t even have to open their mouth… Just seeing them creates a reaction in your body… ‘Oh no, what is he doing now? OMG, it’s always the same thing with her! How is this possible?’

Sounds familiar? It can be a peer, a boss, a team member… And if you don’t work in a company but you are self-employed, it can be a client, a colleague, a service provider, …
Just take a pick!

Newsflash: if you focus long enough on bad behaviour, it will just get worse.
Your mind will only notice the bad behaviour (because the mind likes to be right and therefore looks for ‘proof’) and after a while it’s not about the behaviour anymore but… the ‘badness’ will expand to ‘the whole person’ …
HE is impossible…
And every time you see him, and you get triggered, YOU get all the stress hormones rushing through your body… Not him…
So where is the damage taking place? Indeed… in YOUR body!

Furthermore, have you noticed that when you communicate with him in that ‘state’, you often don’t achieve what you want, he reacts quite defensively and … you both end up feeling upset? Again… does this sound familiar?

Would you agree that NOT having the stress reaction in your body, having a better relationship and (possibly) getting what you want, beats what I just described above?

This is why I recommend that you make the effort … 
You can only control your own behaviour… not the other person’s. 
And you changing yours might lead to him changing his…

Now how do we go about? This is where assertiveness and stress management come in and… they are very complimentary.

This is a possible strategy:

  1. I remind myself of the theory of ‘my business, your business, God’s business’…
  2. I try to focus on the ‘OK-ness’ of the person (coming up with some ‘fish’ might help here…
  3. I check what I can do about my own situation (apart from my relationship with the person concerned): how come I’m so easily triggered? Am I tired? Is there too much on my plate? Can I take some of my stressors off my plate? Can I look at certain things differently? Usually, by doing some stress management for myself, I become a bit more ‘zen’ and I can better deal with things.
  4. I carefully think about what message I would like to pass. I make sure it’s as factual as possible. I keep a ‘win-win’ situation in mind: me ‘winning’ and him ‘loosing’ is not going to be helpful in the long run.
  5. I look for a moment that suits the both of us. I make sure I am in the right frame of mind for the conversation: calm, ok-ok, win-win…
  6. During the conversation I try and remain calm. (In order to do this, I might need techniques I need to practice beforehand ;-D)
  7. While I come prepared, I also remain flexible. It’s important to truly listen to the other one and by doing so, it’s possible that I might change my mind and/or strategy. So it’s important to keep on open mind.
  8. I ensure that we both are clear on what has been decided.
  9. I follow-up: if things do not go as we planned, we need another conversation. However, I make sure not to have the exact same conversation as the first one (although I can refer to it, of course). But I focus on what happened between then and now.

This is, more or less, what I do.

Does it always turn out, perfectly? No…

Do I then start again? If the relationship is ‘important’ enough to me, yes.

What do I mean by that? The person is important to me or …. the fact of having a good (working) relationship is important to me. Maybe somebody is not my favourite person but … we need to work together a lot so … it’s in my own interest that these interactions are as stress-free and efficient as possible…

If you think this could be helpful, feel free to use my ‘strategy’ or tweak it!

If you want more information: a lot can be found in the articles and videos I created in the past. Check out the website and YouTube.

If you prefer to do it in a more structured way: I have 2 online courses: ‘Boost your resilience’ and ‘Say the right thing, at the right time, in the right way’. They are self-study (but should you want to, you can book an extra coaching session).

I’m curious… which step will help you make progress?

If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no…

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