Remove in 2020 #4

#4 Worrying About Satisfying the Impossible Person

Too often, I find myself spending a great deal of time trying to satisfy resistant people. I worry about it; I stress about it; many times, I lose sleep over it. It takes time to recognize the “impossible” person, and it is important not to confuse the slightly-resistant person with the impossible one. But, once you see that people won’t be happy with whatever you are offering, it’s time to cut ties with them or at least stop worrying about trying to get them on board. I know working with a person who is repeatedly resistant, not open to feedback, and makes no effort to change will only end up draining me of the energy that could be given to others. Writing this person off is a path of last resort, but sometimes it becomes better to move that person down the priority list rather than to keep investing time that could be better spent helping others.

**Note: This is not a concept to apply to our students. Kids do not have the cognitive ability to rationalize problems fully. They have a fully developed limbic system and an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, which makes them very emotional creatures rather cognitive decision makers. Adults, on the other hand, have fully developed cognitive functions. Their decision-making ability should be more rational than a 16-year-old.

Here are a few practices I am going to try to put in place to keep myself from being brought down by the impossible person:

  • Reread Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott to try to make sure I am addressing and not avoiding difficult conversations;
  • Reread The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier to continue to improve my ability in coaching others;
  • Use trusted friends to help me better manage my frustrations when working with people.

I hope to work (over the course of this year) to remove the four leadership improvement ideas I have shared over the past month. So, here is to working towards a year without giving in to impatience, running everything myself, suffering from burnout, and worrying about trying to please the impossible person.

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