Friday, December 16, 2011

Don't Mess with My World

I was running a few errands the other day and was leaving a parking lot. As I turned onto the main street, I saw a drink cup fly out of the window of the car in front of me. Being the "save the world and recycle" kind of girl that I am, I was appalled and considered getting out of my car to pick up the cup and give it back to the driver. I figured I would just be left standing in the road with a paper cup as the offending driver drove off ahead of me. So, I gave up on that thought.

It turned out that we were both stopped at the next light side by side, with her to my right. My convertible top and windows were down and her window was open. So tempting, so so tempting. I just had to say something (being the "say what's on your mind" kind of girl that I am!) and so I did. "Please don't throw trash out your window" I said in a polite tone. She yelled back "Did you see me throw trash out my window?". "Yes, I did.", I replied. And she continued yelling all sorts of things back at me - including "mind your own business!". "It is my business. You are messing up my world", I replied. I felt sorry for the three kids in the car and only hoped they would see that throwing the trash out the window was wrong, not that their mom going ballistic was right. Maybe the driver would stop and think next time before she threw something out her window. I can only hope. It ended peacefully and I am still alive. She rolled her window up and I considered making a u-turn and going back to pick up the cup.

I think it is important to speak up when things are not right. It is not always the easy thing to do but sometimes it is the only way to get things to change for the better. Let people know things are not ok.

I occasionally give out cards to my yoga students. There are three questions on the card -

1. What am I doing that you like and want me to keep doing?
2. What am I doing that you don't like and want me to stop doing?
3. What am I not doing that you would like me to start doing?

They said there wasn't anything they wanted me to stop doing. I guess things are all right - at least in my yoga world.

Confirm Receipt

I noticed on my phone that I missed a call from one of my personal training clients but there wasn't a "message waiting" symbol so I let it go. Sometimes people accidentally dial your number and hang up quickly before you answer. The next morning I went to pick him up for our workout session and he wasn't ready. "Didn't you get my voice message?", he asked. "No, I didn't", I replied. I checked my phone and there were no messages. I didn't doubt he called and left a message. Cell phone technology leaves much to be desired. I told him it wasn't a big deal but to think about the implications in other business situations. He is a young man, new to the business world. I suggested that he confirm receipt of messages when dealing with business associates. As he could see, you can't rely on voice messages and text messages to always go through or be read by the other person. Their time table for checking messages may be very different than yours. He agreed to the importance of confirmation.

A few years back I was carpooling to a yoga event with a girlfriend. We were going to ride together in my convertible. The weather was perfect for a "hair blowing in the breeze, sun on your face" kind of day. A friend of hers decided to join us for the class. My car only has room for two ("Useless" - is how one friend's husband has always described it. I say - room enough for my friend and our two beach chairs. Who needs anything else!). I needed a top down day and left her a voice mail message on her work phone that I would ride on my own and meet them there. After a while I didn't hear back so I called again but couldn't leave a message because her voice mail box was full. I called and left a message on her cell phone and her house phone and e-mailed her, but never got a confirmation that my message was received. I went to the rendezvous spot to wait, thinking she hadn't received my message. She happened to drive by on her way to the class and see me in the parking lot waiting. She pulled in and asked why I was there. "I thought you were going on your own!". "I never got a confirmation that you received my message!", I replied. A simple e-mail, text or quick call back would have avoided a lot of confusion.

In yoga, I ask permission to adjust a student's pose. And they give an indication it is ok or let me know of an injury or issue to watch out for as I help them get deeper in the pose. I always encourage them to listen to their body as they move into poses and pull back if it doesn't feel right. Your body is trying to return your call and let you know the message was received. Watch for those cues.