Controlling Your Reactions
By Don Archer
"Do you want to end up on the evening news?," asked a Channel 8 reporter during a heated exchange. He'd refused to pay a tow bill and I was in full-on fight mode.
Who hasn't lost their temper? Unless you're a saint or permanently sedated, you've found yourself in positions where you've done and said things you shouldn't.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to control your anger when your business requires that you deal with people who, seemingly, don't know right from wrong.
Take private property impounds. Most motorists believe that parking in a space reserved for others is acceptable; but if they were to come out of their home and find a stranger's car parked in their driveway, they'd be outraged.
You can't control other people. You can only control your reactions to them.
For a time, I didn't know that. I believed that when others went against my wishes, had differing opinions or didn't know right from wrong, that they were somehow disrespecting me and devaluing my position in the world.
This view gave them too much credit. It wasn't what the other person did or said that caused me to become angry, it was my own negative beliefs that caused it.
For a while my ignorance got in the way of my business. For instance, I hated cold-calling because it felt like I didn't have anything truly unique to offer. Sure I provided good service at reasonable rates, but so did others. When the immediate response to my offerings wasn't positive, I'd be disappointed.
It wasn't until I quit trying to add customers and decided instead to just be friends, that things started to turn around. No one wants to be sold, and many aren't looking for friends. But it's funny how when you quit worrying about being everything to everyone, you suddenly become more desirable. You're more approachable, and people know you'll provide honest answers ... because you have no ulterior motives.
I'm not suggesting that you'll never get angry again, but the degree to which you can relinquish the desire to control your surroundings decreases the likeliness that you'll be a hothead. That improves your chances at winning.
In that fight with the reporter? I backed down and won.American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at TheTowAcademy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.