Just “white it out”!

As a business professional, I attend a lot of networking events. I understand and value the importance of meeting people every day. I enjoy learning about people’s stories as well as finding the connections in the conversation. Building a network is one of the most important things we need to do in our careers.

One of the traditions in networking is to exchange business cards. LinkedIn now has an innovative way to scan profiles for an easier connection on their platform which is great when we don’t have our business cards. However, people still like to exchange cards. Some business cards are really creative from the shape of the card to the messaging. As I think about these cards, it takes me back to an earlier time in my career when I got a promotion in my company and needed to order new business cards.

I was so excited about having new business cards with my senior manager title. I remember the day the cards came in… I quickly opened the box and pulled out to put in my cardholder on my desk. However, when I looked closer, I noticed there was an error with spelling on the title. I was so bummed and immediately called my contact where I ordered the cards. When I told the guy about the error —- without hesitation he replied “Bruce, just white it out”. I said excuse me… he said yea just white it out – it’s no big deal. What? I was so frustrated. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Are you kidding? I went on to share how it was not acceptable and he finally stopped me during my rant to let me know he was only kidding and would get the cards replaced and sent over this week. I couldn’t believe that I got so frustrated. Why was I so worked up over something so little? He was chuckling on the other end of the phone and then said, Bruce, are you okay? He felt bad as he was just teasing. But I thought how did I let something so small upset me”. I guess I set the expectations that everything would go just perfect and when it didn’t go as planned, I got frustrated. Isn’t that just silly?

When I looked back, I realized that I was just having a bad day, I was young manager trying be perfect and make my mark in the department and didn’t realize how small this mistake really was. I was so embarrassed. It’s such an easy fix. So, what did I learn from the call? Oh, it was a powerful lesson that would go one to help me shape my future…

  • First, I learned that I needed to be more patient. We all make mistakes. Things happen in life that don’t go the way we planned in both our careers and our personal life. We need to be patient when we talk to people – both internal and external!  
  • Second, I learned to have more compassion. We all make mistakes and that’s okay. My friend Sandra always says “look for the big’s in the little’s”. The big in this little was all about having compassion. Listen to the story and find common ground. It’s all about the story.

What stories are we shaping when we communicate with others? What stories are we shaping with our leadership approach?

I recently had to reach out to a client to let her know I made a mistake on her moving estimate and forgot to add something to the estimate. She didn’t get frustrated. She was patient and allowed me to explain. She had compassion for the mistake too! I was super grateful for the understanding and made sure she had a great experience moving with us!

What am I saying? Let’s make patience and compassion part of our leadership approach this week when talking to others in the workplace as well as in our communities. …and if it’s a little, let’s just “white it out” and keep moving!

Quote of the week: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” Will Rogers

Call to Action: Have you ever experienced something like this? Was it a big issue or something really small? Try to incorporate patience and compassion into your daily conversations this week and watch the stories change. Please share your story… I would enjoy hearing from you!  

This has been A Relocation Minute on “Just White It Out ” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out my social media Facebook and Twitter page. Also, check out www.BruceWaller.com to review my leadership book “Find Your Lane” and Journal “Milemarkers” both available on amazon.

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