CHECK IN (don’t be judgemental)
Week fifteen of 'wake up' - Don't be judgemental
As Chris put it we were taking another week off to ‘check in’. I never find these ‘weeks off’ wasted time because I get a real sense of everything; where I’ve come from, what I’ve learned on this journey, what I am continuing to learn about myself and they also give me a perception of where I’m going. These types of weeks also give me the chance to re-examine some of the challenges and from time to time to think about creating new ones. I decided this week to check in to a challenge my wife suggested to me a few weeks ago; don’t be judgemental.
The rules were simple enough, anything I hear or see that I would normally find infuriating and stupid and react to I could not judge for four days. This included the teenage-girl music the lads like to listen to on the radio even though the youngest is twenty four! I love music and have an eclectic taste but if a track comes on the radio I don’t like I’m the first to change channels – no arguments! I have one philosophy with music; if it isn’t deep I won’t dive into it.
To help me in my quest and to make sure I was doing the challenge properly I told Sarah and Aaron about my plans and asked them to note if I was failing in the challenge and to gently remind me. They both thought I would fail the challenge miserably because I can be judgemental when I want to be. Their laughter rang in my ears as the challenge began.
By the end of day one their laughter had turned to congratulations as I found different ways of keeping my cool and not judging people on their faults/mistakes. Because I was aware of what I was doing, and Aaron and Sarah were watching me like hawks, I found a lot of humour and calmness in the first day of the challenge and I didn’t lose my rag once or judge silly mistakes from the staff. When I made one remark about an ex-member of staff I quickly retracted my remark and apologised. It was a fun first day made even more fun when Aaron decided to join in with the experiment. Then Pete joined in briefly before reverting back to type within ten minutes, he struggled with the concept, ha, ha. And there I was thinking I’d struggle with the experiment and Pete’s not even judgemental.
On the second day two incidents happened early on that on another week I would have reacted differently and my calmness freaked Ricky out. He said he preferred me with fire in my belly and was not enjoying this calmness one bit, he said he was on edge. I laughed loudly. I could understand Rick’s feelings because I’m their boss, the leader and they expect certain things from me, I fight their fight, I defend them, I have all the answers, I’m the sheriff of Dodge. When I lose my rag I’m doing it on their behalf as much as my own, their anger and disappointment at a moment in the shift is channelled through me.
By day three my new attitude was in place but without Aaron and Sarah around I had to watch what I was saying and caught myself having a little bitch about something of nothing. It was then I realised that I do need someone there to monitor my harsher judgments at least until I turn a corner. But at least I was still trying. I joked with Ricky telling him I only had one day left and then the Hulk would be back, he laughed and thanked me, Ricky was missing the Mark he knew, he didn’t think much of this new Mark. I knew deep down this was a difficult challenge in the environment I worked in and my role in that environment. Ricky was proud of me when I didn’t snap under the pressure from a member of staff who had left their brain at home (oops, I’m slipping off my pedestal).
The fourth day - PLEASE STOP READING NOW.
Your opinion of me is about to change. Let’s just cut a long story short and say I was pushed a little too far by the person who had smashed three plates in one day, was acting weird like he was on drugs, who was a little too back-chatty for my liking and whom Ricky thought he could smell alcohol on his breath. ENTER you know who – The Hulk. Then the rage! Up until late in the evening Ricky and me were impressed how the challenge had gone but I snapped and ruined all the good work.
After the incident I apologised to Ricky for witnessing such an outburst but he said it was bound to happen because I’d sucked in all that anger for nearly four days and there had to be an outlet for it. I think Ricky was relieved. He was far too kind. When I’d simmered down and after Sarah had calmed the situation I apologised to the person in question, shook his hand and that was the end of that except for the guilt. They push me too far, they prod and they poke and then I bite and I’m the one left feeling guilty!
I knew before the challenge that I was known to have a short fuse from time to time and I only accepted the best from people and refuse to let someone take the piss out of me. I had a few stories in my locker, it was the way I was raised, but this challenge bought it all home to me with a slap in the face from a slippery fish – I did have to change. I knew it was going to be an ongoing challenge – one day at a time and all that, that’s all I could do, no promises, (inside my eye there was a flash of green lurking, waiting) don’t be judgemental. I’ll say that again for my own benefit – Don’t be judgemental.
This challenge was the toughest so far and it wasn’t even part of the ‘wake up’! So much for checking in!