“Hey. It’s my damn crosswalk!”

That’s the exact thought that went through my head (although with a different adjective, which has been changed for the sake of a PG rating…). I went for my Saturday morning run and took a regular route through a main area of my city near my home that requires me to cross four-lane road that leads in and out of the city. At 7:30 in the morning the traffic is pretty light, however I always bypass the light and take a detour down the sidewalk about 300 feet to hit the crosswalk to get to the other side. I know that the crossroad is my right of way, and being rather impatient at times, I strategized that this was the best route.

On this morning, I caught a bit of traffic in both directions (in this case, traffic equals about a dozen cars!). As cars whizzed by, I found myself going from irritated to indignant as they ignored their duty to stop. In my head, the opening of this missive was exclaimed in my head. At that moment, a car stopped for me. The remarkable thing about it was that they were the final car in either direction. He or she could have simply gone with the knowledge that I had no further reason to wait. I waved thankfully with a renewed sense of charitableness.

As I continued, this thought came to me…

My affronted response is not unlike what we have seen in the current political landscape. People becoming incensed with others for difference of opinions; leading to judgement that if the other person doesn’t agree with them, they are either misguided, uninformed, or dumber than a tree frog. In essence, my agitation turned into that response. Even though I thought I was in the right with my right of way, those that didn’t agree suddenly became adversaries without me allowing for a number of different factors.

This exhortation about one’s “crosswalk” is not limited to political clashes on social media. They also occur in business. How many small businesses – especially those that are family businesses – suffer internal drama between family members who argue over processes, methodologies, and financial decisions? Often, the discord turns into both believing they have the “right of way;” that it’s their “damn crosswalk.” And in doing so, they stall communications and undermine growth and success. Additionally, it will often (and likely) encroach into family dynamics and impact everyone around them.

I acknowledge that I can slip into the “my damn crosswalk” mental state. That means I need to identify, correct, and move on. My goal is to be more like the driver of that final car that kindly stopped for me; offering encouragement and support when it could easily have ignored. Regardless of whether it’s in your business or life, I encourage you to identify, correct, and move on. You will ultimately be happier and mentally healthier.

Quote of the Day:

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep..”

~ Saul Bellow (20th century American author)

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