Thu, 5 February 2015
I live in an area that occasionally receives lots of snow in a short period of time. This weekend was one of those occasions. We got dumped on for hours causing many schools and businesses to close. Now, I live on a court that is situated off of a side street that horse shoes a semi-main road. In other words, I am a bit off the beaten path. No road that I’m on or near is considered a priority. I tell you all of this to say that usually when we get a lot of snow like we did this weekend, we end up being snowed in…….for a while.
In my years living here I have seen garbage trucks get stuck in the court, some utility trucks and one time a plow that scooped it’s way a bit too far into the court got stuck. He was trying to plow the road and steer clear of the court but missed. My neighbor helped dig him out and so, out of appreciation and possibly a bit of guilt, he ended up plowing us out much earlier than he would have.
Last year we had historical amounts of snow and might have spent weeks snowed in if it weren’t for the efforts of my husband and a neighbor who used their large snow blowers to circle the court again and again and again to create a path large enough for a vehicle to travel in our out of the area. They worked hard to help out all of the neighbors living on the court.
Today we received the best gift! A pickup truck owner with a plow on the front spent about an hour plowing us out. He maneuvered and pushed snow. It was a tedious task.
What does all of this have to do with drama and attitude, you might ask?
Well, it relates to drama because we, unfortunately, have a neighbor not well versed in the art of gratitude. As a matter of fact, he becomes quite negative when receiving a favor. He creates negative outcomes for himself and I think he is completely oblivious. His negativity generates drama and I thought perhaps others could learn from his story.
You see, he seems to live with a fear or paranoia that people are out to get him. He looks for the negative in a situation and reacts with anger and aggression. I watched it happen last year during the big snows and again this week.
As I said, last year my husband and a neighbor spent hours snow blowing a path for the 5 families who live on the court. It was tough, tough work. They were drenched in sweat as they leaned in with all they had into their powerful snow blowers. My neighbor probably should not have even been out there! He’s in his 70’s and has had knee replacement surgery. He walks slowly. It was surprising and a bit concerning to see him working that hard.
As they worked, the wind blew and some snow continued to fall. They blew the snow into the center of the court so had to constantly adjust the machines to aim the snow to the right spot. Occasionally the wind picked up and sent snow flying.
My angry neighbor came outside. Did he say thank you for all the hard work they were doing? No! He yelled at them, stopping them in their tracks, to tell them that a bit of snow was blowing in his driveway as they worked.
Ummmmm…..not nearly as much snow as was present EVERYWHERE around us! They listened, tried to explain that the wind was out of their control, promised to do their best and then got back to work,
Shortly after the twenty something year old son from that house came out, got in his car and got stuck in the court. Great!
My husband and neighbor stopped their work and went to try to help. The son stayed in the car while his 70 something father, 70 something neighbor and my husband all tried to push. The neighbor continued to yell.
The result, my husband and neighbor left them to deal with the stuck vehicle and got back to snow blowing. Who wants to work that hard to get yelled at?
This year as the man in the truck plowed our court that same neighbor stood in his snow-filled driveway, arms folded, waiting for a bit of snow to end up in his drive. I had just returned from running out to give the man a plate of brownies and sat inside thinking, “now what!” I was also thankful that I had shared the brownies. This angry neighbor wouldn’t be the only spokesperson for the court.
The truck owner was taking great care to situate the building piles of snow in between driveways. A tough task in a court lined with houses!
The angry neighbor walked into the street to flag the truck owner down. I could hear his voice and see his gestures but couldn’t make out what he was saying – but it appeared to be……..don’t get anymore snow in my driveway. And his tone was aggressive.
Well, the driver didn’t push snow in front of his driveway but sure wasn’t as careful in that area.
I wouldn’t call the truck driver vindictive. I would say that he just wasn’t as inspired to do his best on that side of the court.
After the brownies, the area on my side was wonderful.
The lessons for you today……..ask yourself, where are you forgetting to acknowledge the intended good deed while focusing instead on a small inconsequential negative outcome?
Did someone bring you coffee but forget the sugar?
Have one of your employees taken initiative to re-organize the supply closet and moved an item to a spot you can’t reach?
Did your team work super hard today but still get a complaint from a disgruntled customer?
An attitude of gratitude takes you farther than a negative one. No, don’t ignore what must change but make sure your focus is on the right place for the best outcomes. You might end up with a pile of snow half covering your driveway….just sayin…….