Dealing with disappointments

Taming the control freak within me

20 March 2015

Planning is my middle name. Or maybe it’s control-freak? I want to be chilled and relaxed, but I can get quite stressed when things don’t go the way I want. I snap, react immediately full of emotions and very often I have regrets afterwards because usually I see that I overreacted. It is like the important-urgent matrix: easy to explain, difficult to execute!

Maybe I plan too much. Trying to make things perfect gives me extra work and extra stress. I love working on the small details, which results in a lot of elements that can go wrong. I make it more difficult, having to reschedule, to things more than once or finding out I didn’t have to it at all because it was not necessary or someone else already did it. And ‘it’ can be anything; planning a meeting, making an assessment form, designing a flyer, writing a newsletter, etc. I get pissed off when people are late or change plans last minute. I get very upset when people do not deliver what they promised. And when I am not happy, I feel like punishing people… I want to take revenge and make them suffer like I suffer.

Of course it is never as bad as it sounds. I actually get extremely angry for a couple of seconds and after that I am all compliant and understanding. Sometimes I am upset a bit longer, thinking of horror scenarios on how everything goes wrong because somebody makes changes to the plans, giving me ample time to write an email. That is where it goes wrong; I send an email in anger, while I know I should not do that. Or face-to-face, I snap before I even think and the damage is done. I do not find it hard to say sorry, but it is too late; I should have kept my mouth shot or kept the email in my outbox for a bit longer to reconsider and think again before pressing ‘send’.

In my mission to make things perfect, I make contracts, MoUs, write minutes after a meeting and keep record of most things that are agreed upon. I want to be able to provide evidence in case things go wrong. It is what I teach my students as well; try to record as much as possible and always check whether you and the person you had a meeting with, are on the same page. But however many contracts or MoUs are signed, things can still go wrong.

It almost happened to me last week. Well.. some things did happen (I sent an email while I was upset and apologised afterwards) but it turned out well because I did send this angry email full of evidence what had been discussed and agreed upon. So in a way it was good that I kept all correspondence and that I could mention the date that things were agreed from their side. I managed to reverse a disaster, but it has slowed down our process which means we are now waiting for artwork for our digi-flyer for the party on 11 July in BAUT. Promotion for the event will start much later than we aimed for and hopefully this does not affect the number of visitors too much.

What I did manage on time (only just though!) is to receive 150 lovely South African bracelets. For the Music & Braai party at BAUT we do not sell paper or pdf tickets, but we sell bracelets. €10 for a bracelet gives you access to the party full of live music from South Africa with EJ von LYRIK, bFAKE and Mr Sakitumi & The Grrl. It is going to awesome, because EJ is great, bFAKE are crazy and fantastic and I am a big big fan of Mr. Sakitumi.

Lessons learned:

- always make a contract or MoU, because things can go wrong and,

- wait sending emails; leave them in the outbox for a while until I am calm(er).