As soon as I saw him I knew the meeting did not go well. His eyes were blank and face catatonic, showing clear exhaustion. His jaw, however, was tight and his upper lip raised in a slight snarl. He stared straight ahead as he walked quickly down the hall clearly trying to exit as quickly as possible without drawing attention to himself or talking to anyone. I took a deep breath, feeling deep compassion for him knowing the challenge of the meeting and debating if I should say something or give him space.
Bob was just meeting with our bread and butter client who had grown with us through the years. Bob had expressed concern that they might have to scale their contract back and were themselves downsizing. We had stayed late last night preparing for how we could continue to add value and support them, rearranging their contract to accommodate where they wanted to scale back but offering wrap-around service to support them even better. The adjustment could have been a win-win, holding the same cost but adding more services and sustaining the budgeted income for us without overextending ourselves with additional offerings. It seemed genius. Bob was very excited to share the proposal with them. I was optimistic as well. If we could simply stabilize our current client load and secure a few new clients we would be able to avoid downsizing and keep our teams intact.
The teams had finally gotten in sync and were really thriving. They didn’t realize the cuts that were coming and everything seemed like times were good. We knew staff cuts would change the culture we had worked so hard to create.
I felt beside myself and was busy imagining how the client responded. A pit started to develop in my stomach as I allowed my emotions to momentarily run wild. I realized I had not moved from the spot in the hallway where I first stood watching Bob. I took a deep breath and gathered myself. I knew getting worked up and telling myself stories would not be helpful.
I went back to my desk to do my 5 emotional reset activities.
- Clear. Spent 10 minutes in meditation to notice my emotions and clear my mind
- Focus. Focused on the vision I had for myself and the leadership team with whom I served
- Address. Sent Bob a quick text to support and encourage and offer my ear if he wanted.
- Appreciate. Sent quick check-in emails to my current clients
- Act. Got into action and began my follow-up with the three prospects I had this week
I was back in business. It is so easy to get emotionally tanked with the ups and downs of leadership. I am determined to not be overcome by my emotions. I am committed to staying in a strong but supportive place because this allows me to lead well.