3 P’s were among my goals this year.
I would be Productive. Positive. Patient.
In other words, the kind of person who never gets Pissed Off.
Someone other than the kind of person I actually am.
I can’t help it, I’ve always been like this.
I can be particular and it’s easy to piss me off.
I hate inefficiencies, things that take longer than they should, and general stupidity.
I also hate the misuse of “me, myself, and I.” “Let John and I know if you have any questions…” – NO, that’s not correct. “John and myself wrote the proposal…” – NO, that’s not correct either… But I digress…
I’m not proud of my pissed-off propensity. It’s just who I am. So, I’ve accepted it as a hard-to-change character flaw I hoped others would find endearing. Or simply ignore.
But this year I vowed to change. I’d focus on those 3 P’s to reduce my pessimistic and pissy tendencies. I would be more productive, more positive, more patient!
I am here to report it is Day 2 of the New Year. And I have not passed my own Pissed-Off test.
In fact, I’ve failed miserably.
It’s not my fault, you see. Temperatures plummeted and my newish car battery went kerplunk. Just as my kids were headed back to school. Just as I had put together an entirely productive “To Do” list for the day that I was positive I’d get through, we couldn’t get a pulse from that persnickety battery so we had to call for Roadside Assistance, which provided an estimated rescue ETA 3 hours away.
The positive part of all of this (see, I stayed positive!) is that the car died in my garage so it wasn’t like I was stranded in the frigid cold. But I had planned to get through my plethora of tasks for my business before I had to partake in my other part-time job as Uber driver to my two kids and their after-school basketball and swim practices. But the car jumping, dealership calling, insurance checking, and single-car juggling husband chauffeuring put a pause on that productivity.
And then, finally, when the very nice gentleman from Roadside Assistance made it here and got my car engine purring, he urged me not to turn it off for fear it wouldn’t start again, but to head right to the dealer for a new battery.
Which I did. Without an appointment. Which meant take a seat and wait.
Except they rushed me through to get me through, putting me at the top of the service list. Why?
Well, I got a little pissed off. Maybe more than a little bit.
The battery was no longer under warranty so I’d have to pay. And while most batteries last an average of 5 years, some even 7 or 8, mine is special. It lasted TWO. I’ve also spent a lot of money on this vehicle ever since we got it and, well, I was a little irritated about that. Also, it was noon and I hadn’t yet had a shower or put on makeup, or had a proper cup of coffee.
I went a little Karen, even though my name is Val.
As I said, it’s not my fault.
So, yes, I got a little pissed off and wasn’t positive or patient. I complained about paying for the new battery. I questioned why this luxury vehicle seemed to require frequent repairs. I suggested I’d sell it back to them and buy a Toyota because I drove a Toyota for years and never had problems like this.
It did turn out to be productive though because they clearly wanted to get the Crazy Lady out of their waiting room as quickly as possible so she didn’t disturb the other customers. Also, they don’t want anyone talking about buying a Toyota at the Acura dealership.
So they got me in, they took my money, they made the fix and they got me out.
And then I left, new battery installed, and during the pot-holed path home I reviewed my resolution to be more productive, positive and patient this year.
It’s Jan. 2nd and I’d already blown it.
New Year. Same Old Me.
I’d say it’s due to the extenuating circumstances. But it’s not. It’s who I am.
It doesn’t mean I can’t try again and stay positive about my ability to be more patient. Would that be productive? I don’t know. At some point we have to accept who we are, flaws and all.
Here’s where I point out that not every battery lasts an average of 5 years either.
You see? We are each unique in our own way.
What about you? Are your resolutions still going strong? Did you get to the gym? Stay present with your kids? Organize your finances? Skip the wine in favor of kombucha?
Or did you already throw in the towel because… we are who we are and we do what we do despite our best intentions to do differently?
I could give up. But I’m going to keep trying because I know there is value in the effort. And because I have another 363 days this year to get it right. I’m positive this will be a productive exercise and I promise to be patient with myself for my shortcomings.
As long as the car starts tomorrow.
If it doesn’t, I’m pronouncing it now – I’m going to be particularly pissed off.
Valerie Gordon is an Emmy-winning producer, a longtime storyteller, and the founder of career and communications firm The Storytelling Strategist. She speaks at conferences and works with corporations to help future leaders with storytelling skills for impact and influence. The author of “Fire Your Narrator! A Storyteller’s Guide to Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Life,” she believes in the power of inner stories on our external results.