We all struggle at times while building our Juice Plus+ business. We get discouraged. We get knocked down. People don’t show up. People complain. People don’t return our calls. They ignore our emails. They cancel orders without telling us.
We eventually learn how to handle these setbacks. We learn to stay calm, keep our cool, maintain our perspective and realize the wisdom of “letting it go” to fight another day.
But when people go on the attack—it’s a different matter. The drama sucks us in. Before we know it, we are the people overreacting—stiffening our position, defending our motives, and declaring just how right we are. We’ve been hooked.
On occasion, people we work with get twisted, bent out of shape and swiftly target someone to blame—when their life or their business isn’t working.
Psychologists call this very human experience projection—people unloading their hurts, frustrations, sadness and fears on another person, group or situation. The first wave of emotions encountered is usually their anger.
About ten years ago, a fairly successful person in my organization—I’ll call her Leslie—asked me to meet with her at Starbucks to discuss the business. Prior to this meeting, I had not paid much attention to some “emotional stability” issues going on with Leslie. But, I soon discovered that I had scheduled an appointment with a character from the not-so-famous B-movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Before I had taken the first sip of my soy latte, Leslie had shredded, diced, chopped, pulverized and bloodied me beyond recognition. It only took about 3 minutes.
“Juice Plus+ is a huge scam”, she announced to me. Jay Martin and all the people in Memphis were corrupt, and I—yes, little old me—was a lying, materialistic, greedy, manipulative and scheming con artist. And, that was just the first minute.
Leslie was having a bad day. Her employer, who happened to be her sponsor—frontline to me—had recently let her go. Thus, the tsunami of resentment and bitterness. I was an easy target. And I knew that her rage was not about me.
But, I still got hooked. I still felt the overwhelming urge to defend Juice Plus+ and the company and myself and the compensation plan. I knew better. I knew that her assault came up from a wounded place, a scary place inside of her. Yet, I persisted in explaining myself to “help her understand.”
Don’t we hate it when someone thinks we’re not who we think we are?
The Starbucks meeting went south in a hurry. The more I explained and defended, the more she felt invalidated and put off. That’s how it works.
I know that many reading my words are now nodding, smiling and recalling their own appointments with “Leslie”. She obviously moves around a lot.
Is there a technique or formula for dealing with folks like Leslie? Hardly, and if I were to offer a packaged response, the person in pain will always know that our well-crafted words are still a ploy, a trick to deflect their anger and protect what’s left of our own fragile peace, security and self-image.
I can’t come up with anything that works with those people, but I can share an experience I had recently with another “Leslie.” I was different this time—ten additional years of experience and personal growth may have helped. And the outcome was different. Instead of defending and explaining myself, I said something like this:
“I can see that you’re really upset. I want to hear about that.”
A fairly decent conversation followed.
In my future blogs, I will keep weaving in the principles I’ve stumbled upon when relating to difficult people and situations. In the meantime, my best advice remains, Don’t Get Hooked.