Not Your Circus, Not Your Monkeys

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

I once had a manager who loved to ask loaded questions. “Do you remember two weeks ago when I asked you for that report?” Don’t answer! It’s a trap. If you say yes, the next question is, “Then why didn’t you do it?” If you say no – “So, you just don’t pay attention!” At that point, even a fake coronary won’t get you out of trouble. Because he’ll do CPR and then say, “Well?”

What that usually means is he was supposed to do the report and his boss just asked the same question. “Do you remember a month ago when I asked you for that report?” Now he’s in trouble and no boss is ever in trouble on his own. In lifesaving courses, the first thing they tell you is that a drowning person will do anything they can to climb on top of you.

And when that happens, there’s only one thing you can do – sink. The faster you go down, the quicker they’ll let go. Then you can try again, and odds are they’ll be a little more cooperative. Okay, that works in the water. I’m sorry to say it doesn’t work in the office. The moment you start to sink, the boss will put his foot on your head and push down even harder. Okay, some bosses.

Thankfully, most are a little more compassionate. Even in the military, they’re learning that you get more out of people when you treat them with a little respect. Sure, they have to do whatever you say. You know it and they know it. And one of the first things they teach you in the military is how to delegate. You know, pass the buck. “I told Glardon to do that!”

But that’s how things get done in the real world. The top dog needs something done, so he calls in his leaders and says, “Make it happen.” They call in their managers and say, “The old man wants this – make it happen.” And the managers find somebody getting a cup of coffee and say, “Since you’re not doing anything else right now, I’ve got a job for you.” Sound familiar?

So, you go back to your desk fuming, because this is the first cup of coffee you’ve had in three days. You have a pile of work the boss doesn’t know about, because six other people have dumped work on you this week alone. There’s no way you can get it all done, and now you have one more job to add to the pile. So, you make a phone call. “Honey, I won’t be home tonight.”

Yesterday we talked about time, and how we always find time for everything but our dreams. But you know, there comes a point where you’re so busy you can’t even remember that you had dreams, much less what they are. And it goes that way until you’re so stressed out, your only dream is running away forever. I know, I’m preaching to the choir. We’ve all been there.

It’s estimated that up to 90% of medical conditions are related to stress. That’s a pretty grim statistic, especially when you consider that stress is largely within our power to control. I didn’t say “eliminate.” There’s only one way to completely eliminate stress, and funerals are expensive. But we can control stress and make it a little less prevalent in our lives.

We can start by putting things in perspective. Mom always used to ask, “Will it matter twenty years from now?” Okay, that’s a tough question when your kid just colored the front of your first Bible in red crayon – the one you’ve had since you were ten (the Bible, not the kid). Thirty years later, those marks are still there. But you know, they really don’t matter.

Another way is by using one of the very first words we ever learned … “No.” Oh, you’d be surprised at how many people act like they’ve never heard it before. “What do you mean?” I mean no. I don’t have time for this right now, and I’m not taking it on. Your crisis is not my emergency. I’ll help any way I can, but the answer today is no. Period.

Sure, there are times when you can’t say no. This week has been one of those times for me. Just don’t let it become a habit. Because odds are, while you’re burning the midnight oil doing somebody else’s work, they’ve already gone home and had dinner. And they’re not giving you a second thought. It’s almost like somebody told them to get a life and they listened.

Well, get a life! Don’t let other people dump their load on you. It’s all about balance – being productive and helpful, but not to the detriment of your own well-being. Know when to say no. I promise you they’ve heard it before.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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