So, there I was in front of the ATM. I put my card in as instructed and then it asked me how much cash I wanted. I punched the button for $50.00 (a modest sum) and the MACHINE told me that there was no money in the account!!!
Now, I know that I have bank underdrafts, overdrafts and between drafts and that I had made a healthy deposit early in the week, so I knew this MACHINE was LYING. I thought about trying again but I was so debilitated by the experience, I slunk away hoping that the people in line behind me didn’t see the transaction.
I felt such SHAME! Of course, when I thought about it, I knew that was silly because it wasn’t true and no human knew about the incident anyway. So instead of taking the healthy alternative and forgetting about it, I avoided ATM machines for the next few months and got my cash with use of my card at Safeway…
We can all laugh at this now but I bet a lot of you reading this can relate. I notice that even today I feel shame for the people ahead of me in the checkout line at Safeway who give items back because they can’t pay for them. I have looked in the faces of these people and not one time could I say they were feeling shame. Certainly the clerks didn’t say anything and everyone but me acted like it was a very normal occurrence. So I did restrain myself from offering to pay for the items they couldn’t afford but here I was feeling a feeling that they weren’t even feeling.
How dumb is that? There are probably enough real shame producing actions in the world. Like really hurting someone on purpose or cheating old people with a Ponze Scheme. I guess this all starts pretty early on in life when your parents said “You should be ashamed of yourself” or something like that. It comes from a feeling that you have done something wrong. So I guess in order to fight it, I need to first understand that what I did didn’t rise to the level of the kind of wrongness which should produce SHAME.
So come on…..does this make sense? Are there a bunch of others out there feeling this useless feeling? If so, let’s admit it and start using our resources to get it out of our life!
I have been so annoyed with myself for the smallest thing. When I am winding down for the night and in my nightgown and robe, I am constantly getting up to go into the kitchen to get my chapstick (no, I am not Susie!). Especially in the winter, my lips get very dry sitting in heated rooms. I know you are finding this fascinating but I am getting to the point……
So, just last night I decided to do something to stop getting up every hour to get the chapstick. What did I do? I put the chapstick in the pocket of my bathrobe. Now I can get it anytime I want and all I have to worry about is washing the bathrobe with it in the pocket.
I then began to think of all the other things that are a constant bother and how simple it might be to solve my angst. After all, I teach time management and this is right up there with annoying problems of how we use our time.
So what kept me from coming up with this idea years ago? Was I so comfortable with being annoyed that I didn’t want to take time to find a solution? Was I just lazy? Was being annoyed an integral part of my life that I just accepted?
Now I am looking for other things that annoy me. There is a lot about technology that is really frustrating. Working hours to get a new piece of software up and running just for the thrill of “doing it myself” is probably foolish. At $65 for an hour of work, my IT guy would probably cut that time in at least half.
Then I was reminded of a time management tool I teach. First you decide how much you charge on an hourly basis. Let’s hope it’s at least $200-$250 an hour. If not, that another discussion. Next you decide you will do nothing that doesn’t produce that hourly rate. The full rate doesn’t have to be immediate, as focused networking will produce that in the future. However, if you are still cleaning your house when you can hire someone to do it at $15 an hour, you can easily see how this whole thing works. For years I tried to balance my personal checkbook without success. Finally one day I woke up to the idea that my accountant who did my business books could also do that account for $45 an hour. Now my balance is always accurate!
SO LET’S GET PERSONAL. WHAT IS ONE THING IN YOUR LIFE THAT IS ANNOYING YOU RIGHT NOW? HOW CAN YOU MAKE IT AT LEAST LESS ANNOYING? OR CAN YOU COMPLETELY GET IT OUT OF YOUR LIFE? HOW MANY BUSINESS THINGS DO YOU DO THAT PRODUCE LESS THAN YOUR HOURLY RATE?
If you want some help with this exercise, give me a call or shoot me an email. Or post the problem. I’m sure a lot of other lawyers will value your input.