Life is too short to be an ass

Last week, I was in Melbourne training a group of managers. It was a full day of face-to-face training. The energy in the room was great, the group was engaged, and I loved it. However, by the end of the day I was ready to go home and relax.

I live in Sydney so when the training was finished I hopped in a taxi to catch my flight. On the way to the airport, I got an SMS warning me that my flight had been delayed by 1h30. This was not good news as it meant I was going to get home late.

At the airport I went straight to the Qantas help desk to see if I could jump on another flight. I had bought a flexible fare and was entitled to it. I spoke to Stephen the customer service representative to see if I could find a solution. What I didn’t know is that there had been gale force winds throughout the day, so they could only use one runway and as a result many flights had been delayed or cancelled.

Stephen explained the situation to me: my flight was going to be at least an 1h30 late and all the earlier flights to Sydney were full.

One side of me was getting quite angry: I am a platinum member and had paid for a flexible fare. On top of this I was tired and just wanted to go home. The other side of me argued: it’s not Stephen’s fault, he probably has had a crazy day dealing with angry passengers. Moreover, at the end of the day it wasn’t that much of a big deal as in a few hours’ time I would be on a flight home.

Luckily the other side won the argument.

I paused, smiled, and simply asked Stephen ‘would you mind putting me on the waiting list for the next flight? No issue at all if it’s not possible.’  Very kindly Stephen did just that. Unfortunately, all the flights ended up being full, so I simply went back to the Qantas desk, thanked Stephen for trying and shook his hand.

Unbeknown to me a friend of mine, Gabrielle, was watching. She didn’t recognize me at first. She just saw a man in a suit shaking the hand of a Qantas customer service representative, when other people had been aggressive towards him. As she boarded her flight, she finally recognized me and sent me an SMS asking me if she could write a post about what she had just witnessed.

Bonjour, in this video, I want to share the power of small things done regularly.

I really hesitated to write and film this blog because my aim is not to share how perfect I am. Not at all. You see in the temperament’s profile, I am a choleric melancholic: the driver, organizer. Which means I can be very critical. You should ask my wife TK about it…

Believe me on many occasions in the past I have definitely not been the nice ‘Suit Man’.

A few years ago, I started a very simple routine: every evening when I go to bed, I write down on a little notebook three things I am very grateful for. Just three. I never fail to do this. I picked that up reading both Happier from Tal Ben-Shahar and Flourish from Martin Seligman. Little by little it has started to have an impact on me and has helped change some of my behaviors such as the evening at the airport.

On one hand I could have been angry: angry for the delay, angry to have purchased a flexible fare which ended up being useless. On the other hand, I could have been grateful: grateful that my flight was still going to leave that day, grateful to find Stephen who tried his best to help me.

I heard something recently which really resonated with me: there are people who would love to have your bad days.

This was not even a bad day. All in all, it was a great day with a bit of a delay.

One simple routine, being grateful for 2 minutes every evening, I believe is having a profound impact on my perspective on life.

I train people around the world to challenge and change their work habits. Most of the time profound changes do not come from one massive thing I do with them, but from a few small things we put into place.

So, let me ask you this, what is one simple thing, one simple routine, one simple habit that if you do on a regular basis, could really have an impact for you?

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip.

A bientôt,

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