By Mark Creedon
Here is something I learnt this week…. it’s always good to take a breath
Life is busy. Our personal and business lives are time driven and deadline motivated.
Everything has to be ‘now’.
There’s no waiting, instant is the catch cry.
And in most cases there’s nothing wrong with that.
Instant meals, quick service, streaming, downloads, instant images, they are all a bonus.
But the problem is that sometimes the desire to maintain this instant mantra leads to making decisions which really should have been given some time to formulate, to gather strength or to just be properly considered.
When I was younger my father used to say that if you feel a certain way, write a letter, stick it in the top drawer and look at it again in a day.
If you feel the same when you read it as when you wrote it then go ahead and send it.
However, it was that time and clear light between writing and sending that often stopped impulsive or ‘knee jerk’ reactions which could lead to unwanted consequences.
It was great advice
As a young professional of course I would on more than one occasion completely ignore that advice and furiously pen a letter venting my frustration, anger (and at times pure unadulterated arrogance).
The saving grace then was that even after it had been posted you could head to the mail distribution centre and with much pleading and begging, recover said poisonously penned letter.
Therein lies the problem
Even a letter penned in haste and arrogantly shoved into a letter box was still afforded a time window in which it could be recovered and rewritten with a more even and cooler head.
Then along came email! All you have to do is press ‘send’! The problem is that once that button is pushed then reversing the potential damage of a hastily, ill thought out or even angry message may very well be impossible.
Time and again I have seen a simple email, sent in haste cause untold damage.
The time, energy and resources spent in repairing the damage far outweighs any benefit the sender thought they may be achieving by sending the email in the first place.
So, here is the learning
Just because you can press send instantly doesn’t mean you have to.
An email doesn’t have to be responded to instantly.
Life and death matters are rarely dealt with by email, so before you belt out a hastily thought out response on your keyboard, just stop and think.
By all means produce the email.
Sometimes just getting the frustration out of your system can resolve a whole bunch of stress.
The trick isn’t in not typing the email, it is in not sending it.
Move it to drafts and read it again a few hours or better still, a day later.
It would be interesting to see how many of those emails you’d still send if you took that approach!
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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