“What would you do if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?”
I have been working with a client, “Adam”, for over a year. One of the things that I have observed about Adam is that he is often unreliable in the area of meeting commitments around money. It’s not that he intends to be dishonorable; it’s just that he won’t take a stand for what he believes in within his corporate system. For in that system, if you don’t fight for resources you need to do your job, you are likely to have them taken by others who are stronger. When the resources he needs are reallocated, he gets very embarrassed and sometimes pushes this frustration onto others.
I have seen this pattern of behavior with Adam before, and thought that because I was doing such a good job for him – in fact, I was doing an awesome job – the outcome would be different. I expected this because I wanted it to be different.
What happened? Adam and I had a conversation the other day about a financial commitment that he made. He was explaining to me that he was not in a condition to honor his commitment at this time. My reaction was one of anger. How could he do this to me? After all that I had done!
I was aware enough to know that it would not be a good idea to finish my conversation with Adam in the state of mind I was in, so I asked to talk about this matter later. When I had some time to think about what had transpired, I realized that I was expecting Adam to be different that he was. I was not accepting him just as he is, because he did not meet my hidden agenda. I realized that when I did this extra special job for him, I had laid some requirements on him on how he should “take care of me”. These requirements were unspoken and formed the basis of expectations that I had of Adam.
When he did not meet my expectations, I was angry and felt unappreciated. All of this reaction was facilitated by my own actions and not his. If I had thought about Adam and what I could realistically expect from him, I would not have expected him to act differently than he had in the past. After I recognized my role in this situation, I felt calm and was able to finish my conversation with him satisfactorily.
I also have two new behaviors to work with. One is not projecting my needs onto others and the other is not expecting someone to act in a way that is different than what I have experienced from them in the past.
Have you had any experiences like this? What did you do?