I remember the exact day I decided to never let another person’s actions dictate how I feel. I was in a meeting with the CEO of one of our biggest partners who, at the time, held a disproportionately large part of our business. The CEO was rude, smug and completely unreasonable. He frustrated and angered me to the point that I literally couldn’t speak. I allowed that moment to get the best of me and completely lost my space. Rather than calmly and thoughtfully engaging in an effective dialogue, I had to use all of my energy to just sit there quietly and not completely lose my shit.
I remember thinking, this will never happen to me again. I committed myself to working on holding my space in all situations because every single time you lose your space, you lose. Period. For the most part, I do a good job with this and rarely lose my space. This weekend, however, a moment got the best of me and was a great reminder of how little is accomplished when that happens.
I was at the airport, as I am practically every week. The woman who was checking me in was terse and relishing her power role. I could tell from the way she looked at my small roller bag that things could go awry.
Airline Attendant: “You have to check your bag.”
Me: No, I don’t. I travel every week with this same bag.
AA: Sir, you need to check this bag.
Me: No, really, I don’t. It is a bit inflated because of a pillow, but will flatten down or I can take the pillow out.
AA (rudely): It has to fit in that baggage measure template.
So I start taking some things out, including my pillow, and I’m getting mad. We’re making a total scene, and I’m realizing that I’ve lost my space, but there’s no turning back at that point.
I walk over to the baggage thing and I push and cram my bag down as hard as I can until it fits. Yes!
I look up and see a manager heading over our way. He looks at my bag and says, “Nope. The wheels are sticking out about a half inch. I say out loud, “Are you serious?”
By this time, there are 30-40 people watching this situation. And he says, “You’re going to have to check the bag.” Now I’m really pissed, so I go to pick the bag up. And it’s stuck. I mean, not just a little stuck, but completely stuck. Now I’m pulling and pulling and I’m starting to sweat. And I realize in the moment, I’m the ass…I’m that guy. They’re all just following the rules and I’m being an idiot.
I spend the next 15 minutes wishing I was anywhere else as I continue trying to remove my stuck bag from this contraption that clearly had it in for me. Finally my wife mercifully helps me pull the bag out. So I walk up to the counter with my tail between my legs and say, “I guess I will check my bag.”
My wife and I had a good laugh about the situation for the next hour, as it was another stark reminder that every time you lose your space, you lose. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing to throw you off. You control your own mood/space/energy, etc., and each time you are challenged by external forces, it provides an amazing opportunity to hold your space and grow.
Follow me on Twitter: @EricRemer1