The Vibrant Moment – Remember: Learn Something New!
Tools from the Center for New Psychology
Publisher: Doris Jeanette, Human Energy Coach, Mentor
Sometimes, I sit around my unique swim club with my friends and complain about all the things we do not like about it. All of our complaints are real problems. These problems seem as if they are out of our control. We feel hopeless and helpless. Are we really hopeless and helpless? Maybe yes and maybe no. When you feel hopeless and helpless the first thing you need to do is see if you really are hopeless. Often, you feel helpless and you are not.
The Lombard Swim Club in Center City, Philadelphia is a success story of how a neighborhood community saved their outdoor swim club from greedy developers. Thirty-seven years ago our community bought the swim club from the owners. Today 400 of us own the club and 1100 of us enjoy the benefits of outdoor lap swimming in a Olympic size pool, a baby pool, art, drama, bingo, free coffee and open bars. We enjoy the city skyline, moon, sunsets and planets right in the heart of Philadelphia. This gem is half a block from my home. It is my home away from home.
So, what do we complain about? The money being wasted, the dirty bathrooms, irresponsible lifeguards and overstaffing. All of these could be corrected if the board and management were effective. But they are not effective. Can those of us who own the club be more effective in helping the board and management be more effective? We have tried and failed so we give up. We got rid of single use plastic glasses a few years ago and back they came this year. Weary from trying, what do we do?
When I swim I obsess about all the problems instead of enjoying my swim. My obsessive thoughts tell me that I must stop complaining and take action. Instead of writing my regular letters with my same old complaints clearly explained, I tried a new approach. I crafted a list of direct, straightforward questions. My assertive questions were excellent. There was no opinion or blame. I shared the questions with my friends. Together four of us sent the questions to the finance committee, president and manager. These assertive questions are forcing the board and management to address the issues they have been ignoring and denying.
I gave the questions to scores of members so they could be included. Last year I stood alone with my concerns at the annual meeting. This year there is a movement. Many of the other owners are taking a stand with me. Even if we do not get all the answers, we have already raised the awareness of the problems so that they cannot be ignored and denied anymore. Since I took action a month ago I have enjoyed my swim club much more.
So, the next time you are obsessing about something, see what direct and assertive action you could take that would be effective. You may be surprised at the outcome if you remove all blame and say the truth as clearly as possible. Being assertive is often effective. Never underestimate the power of being effective.
Being effective improves your self-esteem. I feel so much better no matter what happens or how fast.
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