We can’t please all of the people all of the time. I know, I know. But many of us really want to, don’t we? We want to do a good job, we want to treat people with respect and dignity and we want to deliver services and products that are high quality and ethical. We want to be honest, trustworthy, thoughtful and above all helpful. And still, we can’t possibly please all of the people all of the time. It’s intellectually, genetically, anatomically and socially impossible!!

When you spot a curl at the corner of a lip, or a sideways glance from one colleague to another, or an arm moves to a keyboard in one square and a giggle appears in another it can disorientate you, catch you off guard and knock you off track.

The more I’ve learnt about self-awareness, the more I’ve tried to be conscious of movements in the environment – digital or physical. It took me a while to realise how far off track I was derailed when I did spot that subtle change in the people around me that suggested they weren’t pleased. It took me a little while longer to work out how to spot it and still stay on track.

For me, I’ve had to make a conscious decision to….

🔴 spot and stop – to acknowledge my observation but not enter into a dialogue with myself about it
🔴 park it – to acknowledge the gravity of the impact and make a deal with myself to worry about it later
🔴 reflect afterwards – to find a time and space to reflect on in a helpful and constructive way

To be drawn into reflection in the moment can be debilitating impacting on your ability to think straight, carry on doing what you were doing, achieving the thing you’d come to do and ultimately your professional reputation with everyone in the room (particularly those who didn’t see anything!)

For room readers and reflector, give yourself the time you need to unpick and unpack what you saw, but make the choice about when that happens – do it in a time that adds value to you, not devalues you.