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Make a choice not to lose your cool.

Posted Oct 19 2009 10:02pm

If only they would be more reasonable. You probably have said this over a hundred times. Maybe you have said this version. “If only they were easier to deal with.” That’s what we discussed on a call today.

After exploring numerous approaches to make the situation better nothing seemed to change. The other person stayed in their unreasonable mode…or at least that’s the way you saw it.

Perhaps it’s a situation with a past spouse regarding the welfare of your children or it could be with a coworker. The other person in your mind seems to be unreasonable; perhaps even pathologically so. You’ve tried everything. You are frustrated. You want them to change.

I’ve been there countless times. They won’t change unless you change first. Be the example. Don’t go to their level. This is such a common situation. Your challenge….don’t get plugged into their stuff. Since they won’t change, your only choice is to change how you react to them. And over time the dynamic will be different.

Most important is not to take what’s happening personally. When I was a trial lawyer, there were many times when I had to step back from the fray and be the observer. Actually noticing myself interacting with the other attorney. Over time I realized that I had a choice not to get plugged in.

Ask yourself how you want to feel after the interaction. You can be assertive without losing your cool. But there is a fine line that once you cross, your blood pressure starts to rise and you are in the middle of a confrontation. Visualize yourself in control as the interaction in progresses. What I mean control is to be in control of your emotions. That is a choice.


Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach, inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes will be released in early 2010. 415.453.5016

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