Six months ago, I had a major self-doubt over an incident. I was doing all I can to help my team for a group presentation, but I was very much held back by one of the team members for not pulling her weight in the project. In fact, she reprimanded me for doing too much. But I did what I did because I wanted everyone to look good during the presentation. But judging from how things have gone, I wondered if I was half as good as I thought I was. Did I do it out of kindness, or did I do it to show-off? I doubted my ability and questioned myself.
I had an in-depth discussion with a group member about what happened, and she sent me the quote above by Will Smith. A powerful quote by Will Smith – “Never lower your standards to keep people around you. Make them meet you at your level. Self-respect is power”.
That gave me a paradigm shift. Instead of focusing on the negative, which was the self-doubt and get affected emotionally, I shifted my focus onto keeping my standards.
Then something happened again recently. And it reaffirmed my belief in this quote.
Tested once again
I have a membership with BNI. BNI is a networking marketing platform where we collaborate with each other through referrals. The weekly chapter meetings start at 6.30am daily around the world. Before the meeting starts, we have to set up the room to impress the visitors and for them to network comfortably with our members. You guessed it right – we must complete the set up prior to the arrival of the first member. This could only mean one thing – we would have to set up before 6am.
So on this fateful day, I arrived at 6am only to find that another chapter has set up their meeting rooms perfectly while our doors were still closed. Normally, we do not have a competition, but the other chapter was testing out a new venue on this very day and their meeting room was right next to ours. Now, I am all about healthy competition, but a competition is only healthy when we start with a levelled footing. However, it was clear that we have lost right from the start.
I immediately scrambled about trying to set up the room while the other members ambled in one by one. I felt pressured to set up the room even though I was not on duty that day. The members who have arrived were all asked to help, regardless of whether they were on duty. But, one member made a statement saying, “we need not worry about what others have done, just be ourselves.” And he made that statement in front of a visitor. I honestly wished that the ground would open up and swallow me whole at that moment. I felt nothing but shame.
Losing my cool
I lost my cool upon hearing that statement. I know we did not do our best, that was why we were scrambling to set up the room while visitors were hanging around waiting for us. Impression was down the drain. Truth be told, if I was a visitor, I would have selected to visit the other chapter that was ready, not my own. Because they were the clear winner in terms of efficiency and processes.
I let slipped a rude remark towards the said member amidst some other urgent matter involving the visitor host arrangement. I regretted immediately and apologised on the spot, albeit half-heartedly.
Everything went on smoothly and the meeting ended well despite the delays in the morning.
I was contemplating if I should explain why I lost my cool to the said member. It took me a while to wrap my head around the idea because I was not sure if explaining would help after many rounds of disappointments with other people. But eventually, I did it. Two weeks later.
I apologised to the said member, explaining to him why I lost my cool.
- We left a bad impression to the visitors for the delayed set up.
- We lost precious networking time with the visitors, our own members, and cross-chapter members because we were not ready.
- We failed to bring out the best of ourselves because of the delay.
- We were in a comfort zone. We lost the drive to improve ourselves.
- We were not accountable for our own actions.
After my explanation on WhatsApp, the said member merely replied with a “noted”. I was not sure how he took it. I wondered if I offended him.
Rising to the challenge
The next day after my apologies and explanation, it was the said member’s duty to set up the room for our weekly meeting. When I walked in at about 5.55am, the same member did 80% of the setup, all by himself. I immediately dropped my bags to help. Setup was complete by about 6.05am
Upon further inquiry, he told me he arrived at the meeting venue at 5.45am. All the other members on duty were late, but he did not bat an eye and just went to work straightaway. That was impressive! I highlighted his effort to the leadership team and asked for him to be recognised in the next meeting.
The lessons learned
The 2 lessons for the day – to communicate and have self-respect. If I did not explain the reason for losing my cool, the member would not understand why. When he understood my reason, which was for the greater good of the chapter, he rose to the occasion and took up the challenge. He stepped up and improved himself to the next level.
With that, it was buh-bye self-doubt and hello self-respect. I thanked him later during the day, after the meeting, and we have both agreed to be a better influence for the other members. Leadership is after all about enrollment. If we can enrol the rest of the members to improve themselves, then there is no stopping us in getting the dream jobs/clients that we want.