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A piece of cellophane or a piece of work. Which one are you?

How once cranky heckler nearly ruined a family outing, and how one cool, calm collected dad decided to handle it differently.

A few weeks ago, a lovely bloke named Brett was taking his young daughter out for a bit of an adventure to see the amazing lights of the Aurora Australis that made a surprise visit over us here in the South West.

There was a really good vantage point, on the side of a hill near where Brett and his family live, and while the sun was going down, they joined loads of other people, all getting into place.

This lovely man’s young daughter wasn’t too sure of her footing, but she was OK because she she was taking it slowly and had a slim beam of light pointed at the ground, thanks to a little torch which was a recent gift from Santa.

As she was making her way down the gravel path, she was startled by an older woman, a few metres back who decided it was perfectly appropriate to hurl a heap of loud insults at this child – most of which were questioning her intellect.

Brett told me that his first instinct was to turn around and teach her a few new choice words himself, and ask her if she felt all big and smart having yelled at a child, but the normal anger switch didn’t flip. Instead, he focused on what he wanted – which was a happy, excited daughter, and not on making a fool of himself and meeting the woman at her level.

So, he just ignored her and made a big fuss of his daughter, who pretty soon afterwards was far more interested in the incredible light show, than the cranky old heckler a few rows back.

He was rightfully proud of himself and as he was sharing his story with me, I was reminded of a similar situation over a decade ago and how, one simple shift gave things a much different flavor.

It was back in 2007 and my girls and I were living in Harvey.

I was taking them up to get a better look at one of the biggest comets ever discovered, Comet McNaught before it disappeared again for another 65 years.

The best vantage point was high up on the Harvey Dam wall, so off we went to get a good spot and as we stepped onto the path that took us onto the wall, there was a lady there handing out little bits of red cellophane and lacky bands.

She gave some to my girls, telling them gently, that they needed to be able to see in the dark, and by putting the cellophane over their torch lights, they would still be able to still see their way safely but without impacting the experience of the other comet viewers.

Two similar situations, two very different experiences.

One person reacted; the other one responded.

One poured fuel on her anger, the other extinguished it.

So, the next time you are about to go off your chops and say something that could needlessly upset someone, just because you need to big note yourself, (and let’s face it, we have ALL been there many times) I invite you to ask yourself this:

Am I going to be a piece of cellophane … or a piece of work.

Leanne Shaw
Senior Coach/Trainer
Leanne Shaw

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