During one of our All-Hands staff meetings, Mike Tousignant checked in on the nitty gritty of our back-end operations with our Director of Operations and Admin, Sarah Rochniak. Sarah has spear-headed the transition from MindBody to WellnessLiving over the past year, and much of the problem-solving from each academy in regards to connecting with the software company falls directly in her lap.
As Sarah filled us in on the news with the WellnessLiving transition (deep breaths, everyone – we’re almost in the clear!) Mike asked her if anything currently bothered her.
Surprisingly, given the amount of responsibility Sarah holds, she said no. Nothing currently bothers her and when it does, Sarah never stays annoyed for long.
This may seem like a personal check-in but – hold up – it’s really for everyone.
Things happen, crappy things too. Constantly. Sometimes these incidents make up real dilemmas that need addressing, while other times they’re offshoots of people’s emotions – people’s bad days projected off of you while not really being about you. Amid our own busy days and busy minds, the result can feel stifling, swirling and overwhelming.
Just as Professor Ian’s philosophy proposes an attitude of extreme ownership over getting stuck in victim mentality, Sarah’s ability to move through irritations and let them go keeps her from getting stuck in the mud. If we got affected by every negative thing that jumped in our paths, we’d never climb out.
To Sarah, staying on a negative thought just isn’t worth it. Staying in a sour mood doesn’t help anything, and ultimately you’re the one you have to spend the most time with.
When to leave it alone
When we realize not everything is about us, it becomes a lot easier to take things less personally.
Of course – it’s never fun to wind up the punching bag for someone else’s feelings. But, it eases the blow when we take our ego out of it.
When we feel like every negative thing is a personal attack on us, or our integrity, we become stuck in a reactionary fear state. We feel constantly under fire, and the subtle (and not so subtle) stress can have long-lasting effects.
We begin to have difficulty discerning real threats from perceived threats, and start building our responsive behaviors in reaction to this.
We may even perpetuate the unpleasant circumstances by challenging those people with our defensiveness, putting them even more on edge. Then it’s just one big game of chicken, climbing on each other’s shoulders to try to knock the other over in the pool – feeling better only when the other person goes down.
You’ve definitely felt it. And hopefully as years went on, you’ve noticed when something’s really worth digging into versus leaving well enough alone.
Sometimes, your integrity gets brought into question, and you find yourself feeling rightfully motivated to remedy the situation. Often, these situations stem from some basic misunderstandings and only take a solid conversation to straighten out. With a bit of radical candor and ownership, you can open the dialogue making the other person feel seen and heard before they even concede.
Unfortunately, there may be times when you just can’t talk somebody down. They have an idea about you, or about something, and no matter how false it is, they won’t budge. These can make the most infuriating moments because you feel completely unseen and invalidated.
While we may feel the rug swept out from under us, may want to dig our heels in and argue until we’re blue in the face, these are the times it’s especially best (hard as it may feel) to let it go.
We never know what’s going on behind the scenes in someone’s life. We might think they’re just an a**hole, but maybe they’ve got someone at home gaslighting them, keeping them pinned to another false narrative. Most times, the fight-or-flight mentality that has us all tensing when we sense it from another person comes from something very real in their own lives.
The more grace we can give those in that space of their journey, the more we liberate ourselves from chains that don’t even belong to us.
We can’t change how somebody thinks, or how they perceive us – especially if we’ve done everything we can on our end. At a certain point, we just have to let go and trust the process, trust our own intentions and commit to only that which we can affect.
Do it just for you
One thing that stuck out about how Sarah approaches problematic situations in her day, or moods that get her down, comes down to curating your personal environment.
If we’re pissed off all day, the only person this ultimately hurts is us. We’re the ones who have to spend time with ourselves, trapped in our bodies and heads. Why wouldn’t we want to keep it clean? Scrub all the unnecessary junk from between your ears, and set yourself up for success by not succumbing to the dredges of other people’s (or our own) emotional garbage.
Who wants to spend all day with even their own bad mood?
Even if your motive for keeping bad vibes out is slightly selfish, ultimately it helps everyone around you. (This isn’t to say be positive-only, we know how toxic that is! Feel all your feelings. Just don’t indulge in the junk.)
As we reflect, analyze and better ourselves, we should always try to be working outward – looking at how we affect others and how we can do better by being more intentional about our role.