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This morning, I was at a store and eager to pay for my items quickly, but the two check-out lanes were not moving. I switched lanes trying to guess which would move faster, but I guessed wrong. As I stood there, certain my arms were getting longer from holding my items and mad at myself for not getting a cart, I realized the manager was staffing one of the cash registers. Clearly they were short-staffed. He was multi-tasking on a high level. He kept a smile on his face, was very respectful to the customers, and even jogged to the places his services were requested.

I didn’t enjoy waiting in line. But being angry, like the man in front of me, didn’t get the line moving any faster. Talking under my breath loud enough so others could hear, like the woman behind me, didn’t get her a discount when it was her turn to pay. Those two were spreading negative energy and making the situation worse. By telegraphing their frustration to the cashier, they were making him nervous, leading him to make errors.

Why do some people take situations like this personally? Your experience of poor customer service is not aimed at you. The waiter, cashier, or receptionist don’t even know you. Can you be sure your quick seconds of observation are enough to justify your conclusion?

Of course you’re on a tight schedule. Of course you expect others to work as hard as you do and take the same pride in their job as you do. But before feeling like a victim, allow yourself to look at the experience in a new way.

Purple Ink’s CliftonStrengths training will give you new lenses to view whatever life brings. We can help evaluate your strengths and teach you how to use them to improve your performance and experiences. Instead of getting frustrated, you may choose to be Analytical about the situation to better understand and accept it. Instead of internalizing anger, you may rely on your Harmony strength to show compassion for the cashier. Embrace your Adaptability strength and learn to live in the moment.

As you learn more about your strengths, you will be able to use them in every aspect of your life.

Schoan Nahre
Schoan Nahre
Schoan Nahre is Purple Ink’s Chief Operating Officer. She is passionate about helping people find their strengths and building on them. She is especially focused on team goals and how every individual contribution matters.

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