Vunela Learn (BETA) coming soon. Don't Miss Out! Be the first to know when we go live! Click here

Is It Me Or Them?

Haven’t you noticed that your respect for others goes up when they handle a tough situation with grace? This doesn’t mean caving in or always being agreeable. Nor does it mean aggressiveness or using “power-tactics” to get our way. What is the best way to build your professional presence when the going gets tough?

Take for example, 3 types of situations that drive me crazy:
• When others make promises and don’t follow through.
• When a person argues with me without using evidence or logic – they’re wrong.
• When another person plays victim and/or doesn’t accept responsibility.

I can assume that if only the other people would do what they are supposed to do, it would be the solution. However, I know that these situations are actually triggers for me, and that the true reason I’m emotional is that I don’t feel confident that I can successfully meet my needs. So that is my starting place. This gives me a strong basis of equanimity: personal power, mental calmness, and composure.

It helps me move from reaction to self-composure when I ask myself some questions: “Is this person or thing obstructing my progress, refusing to cooperate, or is my strategy not working?” Then, I take a deep breath and remember what’s really at play.

While it may be true that my strategy isn’t working, this is the trigger rather than the cause of any frustration I am feeling. Every human being has a subconscious need to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. From the moment I “set” my intention to the moment I “unset” it (by achieving it or by dropping it), my subconscious will motivate me to achieve my intention or goal. As a result, I will have feelings of frustration whenever I am failing to achieve this goal and feelings of pleasure when I am succeeding in achieving this goal or another one that I set.

So here are three steps I can take to arrive at a graceful and centered approach to what’s frustrating me:

1. First, I check in with myself to be certain I am truly committed to my purpose and that I truly believe that I have assessed the situation accurately. Our minds can play tricks on us when we have strong feelings.


2. Then, I ask myself: “Is this an attachment to a particular way of getting to the goal?” “Can I let go enough to drop or revise my goal?” For example, when another person makes a promise and doesn’t follow through, I can decide not to proceed on the basis of that person’s involvement. Or I can revise my goal from “achieve this project with this person’s involvement” to “achieve this project with resources I can count on.” Then, I have a basis of equanimity to approach this person – not with anger – but with the intention that I will only work with people I feel are reliable.


3. I use my mental calmness to access a new strategy. Rather than arguing in the face of a non-logical comeback in an argument, I gather my confidence in the evidence and logic of my position. I calmly and graciously ask that person a question that invites them to re-check their information. When faced with a “victim”, I use my questions to generate accountability in them, such as, “so when can you have that for me?” or “what will you do to address that obstacle?” and if I really mean it: “how can I be of some assistance?”


These steps assist me to use my expertise, access my equanimity (mental calmness and composure in difficult situations), and rely on my persistence to see the possibilities when I am faced with opposition and resistance – including my own. I know I can conduct myself with grace – in a respectful and constructive way – and build my professional presence in the face of adversity. You can too!

More Stories
The 4 Nonverbal Cues That Signal Distrust