“What is my Uber driver doing?!?”
I stood in front of a hotel this week, looking at the Uber app and quietly asking myself this question.
After several minutes, I was getting mildly annoyed as the driver wasn’t moving in my direction. (The Uber app shows their position on a live map.)
My driver seemed to be just sitting in a Tim Horton’s parking lot.
“Is he hoping to finish his coffee before coming to get me?”
I was ready to cancel the ride and take the taxi that just showed up. For some reason, I didn’t, as I wondered if it was just the app’s issue.
After several minutes the driver FINALLY started moving in my direction.
I was in his car a few minutes later, and we were on the way.
I quickly found out what caused the delay.
He went to leave the parking lot immediately after accepting my ride.
On his way out of the parking lot, though, someone backed into the side of his car, causing significant damage.
The car was still drivable and safe, but it was apparent that he was upset about the incident.
Despite his upset, he didn’t feel it was right to cancel my ride, given he already accepted.
That’s when I realized how I just created a problem for myself.
My mindset went to Lay Blame when my driver didn’t do what I expected.
When we Lay Blame, we see ourselves as being affected by a problem, and someone else is the cause of that problem.
In my case, it would have been blaming him for not getting me where I was going soon enough. Although, truthfully, there was no hurry to get to my destination.
Once I saw I had created a problem, I dropped this unproductive mindset of lay blame. Then, I found myself in the mindset of shame.
How could I be so impatient and quick to lay blame? I know better than this.
So, I dropped that thought process too. That’s when I took responsibility for simply being with the person giving me a ride while having a bad day.
I’m telling you this story to illustrate how easy it is to make assumptions and find yourself in an unproductive mindset.
Take, for example, a team member who starts showing up late. Are they lazy, or are they having a problem preventing them from making it in on time?
What about the driver who cut you off this morning? Are they an inconsiderate so-and-so, or do they have something happening in their life that has them in a big rush?
What about the team member who just had an emotional meltdown? Are they simply being too emotional, or has life become overwhelming, and they can’t hold it together anymore?
The truth is, you do not know what’s going on in someone else’s life.
While it’s not your responsibility to fix their problems, you can take responsibility for how you respond to what’s happening.
Rather than assuming the team member is lazy, what if you asked if everything is OK?
Rather than getting upset at other drivers, remind yourself that drivers drive.
And, for the emotional co-worker, why not show compassion and listen? You never know how that could change their day.
Everyone is living their life day by day. Find ways to support each other rather than believing they’re creating a problem for you.
I know you’ll have a better day for it, and so will they.
You’ve got this.