Initial Reactions and Becoming Aware

In this episode JJ discusses some of the challenges faced when updating company wide communication systems and how he was able to step back from a situation, assess how it made him feel, then change his attitude and work to come to a solution that would resolve his frustration and make everyone work better.

July 7, 2020
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Melissa Albers  00:00
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long and features your hosts JJ Parker. And Melissa Albert's JJ owns a tech company and Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  00:18
Hey, Melissa. Hey, so I had I wanted to launch right into this story this morning because earlier this week, we had something happened at work that I didn't realize that I was being such an asset at the time. But now I do Oh, wow. I'm actually

Melissa Albers  00:39
really interested in the story.

JJ Parker  00:44
So this one's this this story is a little business II right so I'm going to use the sort of the business stuff but like, it doesn't really matter what No, these particular technicals are, but I'm so we are Work use this big software package. It's an MRP system Enterprise Resource Management, like super fancy software, right. And it's archaic and hard to use and, and and all this, but it does. It does a lot of stuff. Well. Steve, who runs one of the businesses asked his inside salesperson to evaluate a new CRM software, which is like a subset of what our big system does, right? Yeah. So which is fine. It's, you know, like, the other thing probably needs to get replaced anyway. It's kind of getting a little old and everything well, I, in a meeting last week, Steve just mentioned like, Oh, hey, Shawn is going to evaluate this new CRM system and we're gonna switch to it. Like oh, wait, like You're gonna switch to it. Oh, I was like Steve, like, did you guys think about, you know, these 800 other things that that are tied into the system like, like, this isn't just like a you know, I'm switching, you know, to yellow stickies from greens is it's this is like a big integral part of the way the entire business operates, right? Yes, yes. Oh yeah. Finance and billing everything. So, Steve talked about it, I kind of was like, you know, kind of got pretty anxious about that conversation. And then poor Shawn, who was tasked with evaluating invited me into his Slack channel. So slack is like the old chat tool we use to keep keep in sync.

Melissa Albers  03:00
Keep in sync or not,

JJ Parker  03:02
or not Yeah. And I popped into the side channel and started firing questions at Shawn, you know, about how he evaluated this and if you considered all of these different things, and I realized that poor Shawn just walked right into a chipper Shredder. And I think that chipper shredder was me. shredder named JJ.

Melissa Albers  03:33
That sounds scary. Yeah.

JJ Parker  03:36
Well, and I didn't mean, you know, obviously, I, I, you know, Sean's a great guy. You know, and he, he was taking this assignment really seriously. And he actually did a really great job. And Steve was well intentioned. He wasn't you know, but for whatever reason, this particular topic Just absolutely sent me sideways, right? And I was looking for any and every reason to make it. So everything that was decided was like, like this Dom or wrong or working for problems. And and so this week I thought, why was I doing that? Like, is there a good people, they work hard, they're smart, they make good decisions. And just because I got knocked off center with them wanting to switch a system out, which like logically is like, okay, you want to switch it out? Let's work through that right? Instead of logically just going through that I just kind of went a little bit crazy for a couple of days. Why do you think that is? Well, I think it's because every time we've done a really big systems change at the company. It's been Really hard. Yeah, it's a lot of work. It's a lot of thinking it's a lot of expensive and it's very expensive. Yep. And, you know, like none of them really go according to the initial plan or hope but that's just how it is. I think I know all that I know all that it's not my first rodeo, or even my second is probably my third or fourth rodeo. So by this time an expert right.

Melissa Albers  05:27
Certainly with the clown barrel for sure.

JJ Parker  05:30
definitely gonna miss the barrel. Yeah, it so I was thinking about how past experience how past experiences can really trigger like a strong emotional reaction, even though those experiences might be completely different to the current situation. Yeah, right. Whatever. When you when when we switch systems in the past. Yeah, like, they were tough, but those that scenario was actually pretty different than today's scenario.

Melissa Albers  06:04
Yeah. But one thing I don't hear you mentioning, though, was your kind of your, how you were your, your emotional state, you know, like the State of the Union, the state of what's happening in the world, all of these things going on right now have a huge impact on, on how you even respond to a standard conversation in the workplace. Don't you think? Like, I because I think, you know, you know, you're being hard on yourself right now. And and the way you describe yourself is, you know, not at all how I know you, you're very moderate person. And you It takes a lot for you to get really riled up. As a matter of fact, even when you're in full cry, most people may not even notice. So

JJ Parker  06:53
maybe my internal version of that story externally, people would kind of be like, maybe they did a little miffed.

Melissa Albers  07:00
Or, or Well, that's funny, JJ asked a few more questions than he usually does. And then he was more quiet than normal. He must have been hungry. But I, you know, I thought I

JJ Parker  07:12
was internally. Yeah, you were really not.

Melissa Albers  07:17
What I think it's super interesting though is what you're calling out is the difference between your centered place and your internal dialogue, and how you were feeling what you were thinking how you were saying, all of those things are or, or something was not in alignment. So you were feeling really, really off and it was magnifying your response to Shawn. Mm hmm. You know, because I think while all of those things are true, and very logically spoken the way that you just described the story, the one thing that you never mentioned was the fact that we are all under emotional duress right now. Mm hmm. Everybody Buddy has has much higher emotions than normal. People are having a lot more time to have their feelings, people are having a lot more time to sit around and create and think, you know. And and so I think that's a really interesting thing. So you take that scenario, and the emotion behind that scenario, and you add it to the scenario of oh my gosh, I've been down this road before. And this is I don't like this road.

JJ Parker  08:34
You know? Yeah. Well, maybe I hear what you're saying. Like, like, even, you know, that road, you know, the, the switching out the systems road for me, you know, certainly has an amount of anxiety as certainly as I'm a big amount of change. Yeah. So it would be that what I'm really was really responding to was my The change has happened with the stay at home order stuff come by changing the critical business system was just too much for me to deal with. Yeah, right.

Melissa Albers  09:14
Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, there's nothing wrong with any of that. Like you get to have those feelings.

JJ Parker  09:22

Melissa Albers  09:22
Yeah, I mean, well, but you just do you get through, we all do. Like, that's my point. That's my point. So often when I'm having these conversations, and you and I have had these convert, you've given me these same pieces of wisdom, when it's been, the tables have been turned, you know, it's like, sometimes when we're in the middle of it, when we're in the middle of these emotional stressful experiences. It's impossible, if not extremely challenging to have objectivity about it. And then a lot of times, I think when I get to that state, or when I've been to that state in the past, like, that's a time where you want to avoid having to make other decisions right? Or you know anything else it's going to have a strong impact on on the people especially in leadership you know, especially as a leader

JJ Parker  10:20
right I don't want my chipper shredder to be on wheels around just looking for

Melissa Albers  10:27
oh my gosh, just like that stupid movie Fargo is that your friend there and the chipper? So like, did you so what happened then?

JJ Parker  10:40
Oh, I just like, like an absolute professional decided to ignore the rest of the week. His decision to avoid what I'm gonna do though, is Right after we're done here, I'm going to take this episode. I'm Steve, so at least they know this will be my apology. Oh, wow, I did, I just didn't want to deal with it right? Like I did not want to deal with it. So, like in order to get the rest of my work done for the week, I decided I was actually talking with with one of my friends about how I was going to actually ignore that topic for the rest of the week. So I made actually a conscious decision to not engage with it because I knew that I wasn't in an emotional state to be helpful. Like I could only be kind of destructive around that topic, until I got myself to a spot where I wasn't so anxious about it. Hmm, right. When I should have done or told Stephen, Sean, hey, I'm going to get back with you after I, you know, get myself straight. This is not anything to do, guys. It's mine.

Melissa Albers  12:12
Yeah, but it wasn't it was also the way that they came at it, it was that way because they, they know you, and they approach things in a certain way or certainly, Steve knows you and was approaching things in a way that he knows you well enough to know how you would have a response. And I just wanted to also call out because you know, we do this for each other, but the first thing that you said is what I should have done. So there was judgment there. There was like self judgment around how you responded to it right. And I was just curious, like, what was your process when you said I, I waited until I was able to handle the AR until I had a different emotion or I waited until I could emotionally be different?

JJ Parker  12:59
Yeah, yeah.

Melissa Albers  13:00
So in that waiting, what happened? Did you process it through? Did you try to make it okay, like, what was your prime? Just curious, do you know what your process was?

JJ Parker  13:10
Well, you know, when I realized that I that I was like, had such a strong internal reaction. Yeah, I really sat there into why am I reacting like this? This is that's so

Melissa Albers  13:22
good. Yeah,

JJ Parker  13:23
it's a big project, but why did I have such a strong reaction? That didn't make any sense to me? Right. Yeah. And especially when, like, I knew that, like the intent of, of the whole thing was much more pure and there wasn't any ill intent by anybody. Right. So yeah, so I did I had to, like I had to recognize the emotion. And then for me, I had to really try to look look inside to see like, What things would influence like that? That? Yeah, it's like, and that's why right away when we started talking this morning, but like, is the past you know, these past experiences are influencing the way I'm reacting to an emotion that's interesting. For right or wrong, right like and a lot of times, the past things aren't the same as the current things like the past situations are different than the current situation. But it's so easy to, to not realize that they're different that like, Oh, well, it went terribly before so this time is going to go terribly again, you know it, but you really got to think I really had to stop and think like about that right there.

Melissa Albers  14:57
That's so interesting, because you're right like That happens with all sorts of scenarios and all sorts of people relationships, where you'll have an instant, like, for me, the way that I'm just like, in alignment with you right now is there was a particular customer that I had that every time that he would get upset about something I would shrink back even though what he was upset about was clearly not an appropriate not inappropriate, but his reactions and responses were not like in any other person, I would have been like, no, I you know, this is let me help you with that. And instead with this individual, I would catch myself having an emotional reaction that was different than that. And it took me a while to be able to cycle through Why am I feeling this like just keep going, just do it anyway. And then outside he may not have even noticed any of those dialogue, that conversation in my mind, like, but I was having a reaction every time and I recognized I mean, this is like textbook pride. But I recognize that every time that he did that, it reminded me of my dad when I was little. And so I had this emotional trigger that would go off. And then my, the rest of me had to say, Now, this is why it's not the same. And this is why it felt similar, but it took me a while.

JJ Parker  16:20
Yeah. Oh, that's such a that's such a good word. This this is, you know, he said that it's not the same, but it felt similar. And that's the key right there, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. We get a lot of Yeah, feelings that are similar to something in the past. But the situation's different. Right. Right. feeling kind of overwhelms?

Melissa Albers  16:43
Yeah. Yes, for sure. The feeling overwhelmed and then and then. And it's a very natural response if you aren't really aware, aware of yourself aware of that. The natural response is to just have a strong continue to have that strong reaction was Whether it's warranted or not,

JJ Parker  17:01
yeah, yeah. And then we just kind of play it out. We act, we act on emotion. Yeah. How to Act. And, and.

Melissa Albers  17:10
And then remember, like what I said in Pat in the past, we then take it from there and use our imagination to create things we don't want.

JJ Parker  17:18

Melissa Albers  17:23
Wow, people are

JJ Parker  17:24
willing, I don't want a new CRM system so

JJ Parker  17:34
well, you know, it's funny that we can we started talking about something very technical like, yeah, business systems and what we're really talking about is how these triggers Can, can come up in different ways and these past experiences and whether they're like a system or you know, person, right. You know, I was thinking that like, sometimes I'll come across people who, who are I expect to have a certain reaction to everything I say, right? Because I've reacted that way in the past. Yeah, but but just because they've acted away in the past doesn't mean that they're going to act that way now. Right. So I always have to remember remind myself to give people grace in that way to say, Hey, you know, they might have had a strong reaction in the past, but they might not this time.

Melissa Albers  18:29
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing that story. Because, first of all, it's hard to be to tell your own stories. It's sometimes it can be a little challenging, and it's really challenging to do it when it's recent. So thank you for doing that.

JJ Parker  18:47
All right, and I'm gonna hit the send button on this right over there.

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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