Of course, this complaint is not too unusual. There are just so many difficult people out there, we are just bound to run into them on our projects — right?
There is another way to look at it. If I am running into difficult people on every project, what is the common denominator? It just might be me.
There is a story about two monks, one older and one quite young, who encounter a beautifully-dressed young woman standing by a stream. The woman is clearly upset and indicates a need to get to the other side. Without missing a step, the older monk picks her up in his arms and carries her to the other side.
As the two monks continue walking, the younger monk becomes more and more upset, Finally, after several miles, he cannot stand it and blurts out, “What were you thinking? We take a vow to stay away from women, yet you carried this pretty woman!” The first monk responds very calmly, “I let her go long ago. Why do you still carry her?”
I think sometimes we can get riled up and focus on things that are not that big a deal. After all, “difficult people” are not difficult all the time… or, even most of the time. Most of the time, most people are just doing the work. So, we should let some things go and that gives us more time and energy to focus on the important things.
Sometimes the important thing can be a “difficult” person. Let’s take a look at that one in a little different way next time.