Just the other day my coworker and I sat down with the goal of completing a project. We had two hours to wrap it up before I was booked in back-to-back meetings for the rest of the day. Our progress started off strong but about half way through a group of coworkers stopped over with a question,

which led to a conversation,

which took us off track,

which amped up my anxiety…

…and suddenly I was incredibly serious. I quickly (and dare I say harshly) shut down the conversation and got back to work. We finished the project and sent it off just in time for my next meeting.

And there you have it – my typical clunkiness when I switch gears from my energetic, social self, to my action-oriented and task-driven self. My tendency towards people and building strong relationships results in me being easily distracted, but my action oriented nature energizes me to be efficient and task-driven.

During that next meeting I received an email from one of the coworkers involved. It started “Dear Friend” and asked if I had a moment to connect at some point soon stating that I seemed a bit off and she “just wanted to check in and make sure all was well.” Her caring email led to a in-depth conversation where we discussed how my value of efficiency and action is tilted by excessive social space, and she helped me think out some ways that we can communicate in a clearer way moving forward. The conversation was developmental for me and helped to secure the positive growth of our relationship.

I commend her for being in such a straight and beautiful place that she did not fall into the “drama triangle.” Instead, she recognized I was on tilt, approached me, and helped me move away from that space. It takes courage to actively have these types of fierce conversations.

It is a challenge that many of us face every day – do we allow someone’s actions to turn us into a victim? Or are we proactive enough to take ownership for our emotions, stay straight and beautiful, and offer them the opportunity to grow from the experience? I challenge each of us to look for ways to provide meaningful and developmental feedback to those we care about.



Danielle Aaronson

Danielle Aaronson

Danielle’s mission is to inspire leaders to make intentional choices that move them to positive action. She speaks at conferences, management summits, and leadership programs as well as facilitates efforts with executives and senior leaders at organizations seeking to influence their culture. Her mantra, “be the change you wish to see in the world” has allowed her to strive every day to be the best she can be and help others recognize the potential they have to make a positive difference. @deaaronson

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