People are unpredictable.
I’ve been the “people business” for a long time. As a pastor’s son, as a pastor myself, and in various people -oriented jobs and one thing is certain. People can surprise you.
I work with a variety of people, from all different histories and stories. I like to hear about them, I like to listen to them and get to know them because I like people.
In order to work with people, you have to know ahead of time that people can drive you crazy if you let them, and that’s why you can’t let them. Because you’ll be crazy.
All. The. Time.
So in order to keep your sanity, you have to constantly be prepared to be frustrated, run around, yelled at, confused, misunderstood, etc, etc.
There’s a quote – I don’t know who said it first – but it goes like this, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” It’s a good statement, and fairly accurate. Rarely do things “accidentally” work out the way you want them to. There is always some planning and/or work involved.
The same is true in working with people. One of my strengths is working with people. I can be very patient, understanding, I can communicate clearly and help people see varying points of view. I work hard at it. I listen, I learn and I apply what I learn. It’s a strength of mine.
One thing that fascinates me and frustrates me at the same time is that there are other areas of my life where I fail. Regularly. Miserably. Constantly. And no matter how much I try, I forget to apply the same “people” principle.
I never want to fail. But sometimes I want to do what will lead me to fail. I don’t want to be considered a failure, but I will do the very thing that leads me to be a failure because I want to do that thing.
I don’t plan ahead of time to be prepared to overcome my temptation. I can plan for people at the drop of a hat. I can communicate, counsel, make people laugh… I’ve got a gift (and sometimes a curse) of attracting other people.
So, here’s the bottom line. I have to put into practice the same principle that makes me a good people person.
Plan ahead of time. Plan to be tempted, plan to be frustrated, plan to not always get what I think I want.
And be prepared to overcome that with the knowledge that something else will come along in the future. And I’ll be able to enjoy because I’m not stuck in the misery of another failure.
Plan. Plan. Plan.
Don’t give up. Even if you’ve failed. You still have another chance. And another.