Punch today (not your coworker) in the face.

Have you ever had someone pull a total jerk move at work, and you just sat there kind of aggravated and bothered the rest of the day?

For the most part, I chalk it up to the person being stressed or tired (or maybe just a jerk--hey it happens). But sometimes, things can feel personal, and it’s hard to let it roll off your back.

I have a suggestion for the next time that happens. Think about what actions (the facts, not the story) caused the feeling you have, and then discuss it! For example, I once had a colleague leave me out of an important strategy meeting. The story I could tell is that the coworker intentionally left me out of the meeting because she is a (_____) and does not value my opinion.

When this happened to me, it disrupted my workflow until I decided to take control of the feeling and call my colleague on what I viewed as a crappy action. And while it did not necessarily solve the problem, what it did do was take the pressure off. It gave us a safe place to vent. It gave me a greater understanding of the other person’s personality type and perspective on how they thought they were trying to be helpful. And the best part, even though we couldn’t change the course of action, our conversations ended in a laugh.

In fact, before the incident took place, I realized I had created a story in my head about why they handle things the way they do. But actually taking the time to talk to the person about the reasons behind their actions helped clear the air and build trust.

So here is the point: our feelings are ours to manage, regardless of what actions other people take. When you say, “he makes me so mad,” or “she annoys me,” you are giving your power away to someone else. I think we forget (or maybe do not realize) that so much of our energy can be managed by looking at things through a different lens.

You can (and will) still disagree with someone’s leadership style, but at least when you take the time to gain some additional intel, you understand their frame (skills/demands/pressures) and can navigate without emotion. By the way, although communicating with colleagues about how you can work better together tends to take a lower priority, it is never wasted time!

The next time Phil in accounting annoys you, stop for a moment and think about how you can take control of your feelings. And let’s be real, aren’t you way too badass to be impacted or thrown off course by someone else’s actions?