If It Doesn’t Work, Do Something Different!
“Remember the Alamo!” That rallying cry is what came to my mind when I instructed my client to “Remember the Bagels!” It may sound a bit silly, but those words are to remind her of an important principle:
“If something works, do it more! If it doesn’t work, do something different.”
What, you may ask, does that have to do with remembering bagels? Well, I’ll tell you.
“Susan” stated she had been trying to please her husband for many years, but it seemed nothing she ever did was right or good enough. A recent example, she said, was the daily bagel run. Her husband was very busy, with an important job in the community so her assignment was the "bagel run.” She would go pick up the special bagels he liked and have them ready for him to eat before he rushed off to work.
However, there was always something wrong with the bagels. They were sliced when he didn’t want them sliced, they weren’t the right kind and she didn’t get his order right, etc. etc. He always complained, and she began to feel resentful, used and abused! Then SHE was the one who began to complain -- to others, of course! She didn’t like that role and now sought my help.
She tried many things that didn't work:
She told him how she felt – unappreciated, criticized and unloved
- She tried to keep doing it better
- She tried pouting
- She tried the silent treatment
- She tried getting angry and slamming doors
- She asked him to stop complaining every day about the bagels.
Nothing worked – he never changed.
This scenario reminded me of Dr. Phil’s famous quote “How’s that working out for you?” In other words, If it doesn’t work, do something different!
Well, what she had been doing didn’t work – it was time to do something different!
The next day that’s exactly what she did – something different!! She very kindly said, “Since I can’t ever get your bagel order right, you’ll need to take care of that yourself.” Well, that changed things a bit – he said, “that’s ok, I’m sure you’ll get it right next time.”
(Have you ever noticed boundary-breakers will try any means necessary to keep things going their way!!?)
But she didn’t budge from her new-found resolution and let him get his own bagels.
A week later I received a call: “It worked!” she almost yelled. “It worked! He actually started going after his own bagels!”
After celebrating with her, we came up with something she can do or say to keep doing what worked – and “Remember the bagels” became her own rallying cry.
“Remember the bagels” - I don’t have to yell or pout.
Along the way, she had learned some important principles:
- You can’t change someone else
- Stop complaining about what’s wrong and DO something
- If it works, do it more. If it doesn’t work, do something else!
So ask yourself, “What’s not working for me? Instead of hoping those 15 pounds will just magically come off your hips or that your friends or co-workers will start treating you with a little respect, what can you do that’s different? When you discover what works, do it more