Chapter 3

LABELS . . . That Actually Make Sense

imageSixteen minutes later, class started up again. She could tell because the door closed and something told her this was not the time to exercise her authority and stay out of the class to handle one more e-mail. Plus, it assuaged some guilt to run back into class just as she had told her sister she would. Right on time, as the trainer began, Cybil quietly slipped in and took her seat. She met eyes with the trainer and returned her smile.

“So, let’s take a closer look at all those difficult people you work with. No names and no pointing, unless you want to point at yourselves. Have you come to the realization that in some cases you might be . . . hmmm . . . let’s see, how do I say this . . . part of the problem?” She said it with just enough playful sarcasm that we got the point, yet didn’t feel as though she’d singled us out. Something about the added levity made palatable the suggestion that we caused our own difficult interactions with our choices, perceptions, and expectations.

“The reality is,” she proceeded after waiting for buy-in from most of us, “that we aren’t difficult, and neither are those folks in your head right now whom you wanted to point to earlier this morning. Sometimes just knowing that can make some of your difficult people disappear, but there’s more to it than just knowing that information.”

She continued, “It’s ...

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