Mondays are for mistakes.
Today’s mistake: choosing to be right rather than solve a problem.
Here’s the story: the first Sunday of each month our church heads to a restaurant after services. We have a standing reservation for about 50 people
We’ve been doing this for years. 1st Sunday of the month. 12 first Sundays a year. For several years. The only times we miss are for Vacation Bible School and when a holiday (like Easter or the 4th of July) falls on a 1st Sunday.
Two months ago I am on my way to the restaurant when I get a text from a Hillcrster saying the restaurant doesn’t have us down. I immediately think there’s a mistake and I’d clear it up when I arrived.
And it turns out there was a mistake. On my end. The front-end people and the manger explain we didn’t booked the room and so we don’t have a room.
It’s at this exact moment where I have a decision: I can choose to solve a problem or I can choose to be right.
Yep. I opt for the latter and I double down on being right and winning the conflict.
I start with the obvious “there’s got to be a mistake”. The manager counters he doesn’t have us down. I can move on to solving the problem or be right. I stick with being right.
My second move is historical: “we’ve been here on the first Sunday of the month for years”. The manager replies with I checked the books and we haven’t had you down like in forever. Oh how I really, really wanted to ask to see the book . . . !
Another opportunity to solve the problem. I stick with being right since it’s clearly a winning strategy for me.
My final move insinuates the manager is new. I ask if there’s been a recent change (like in the last month!) in management. No, the manager explains.
It was a bad strategy. I wasn’t going to win the argument, and even if I would have won (whatever that means), I still had a problem to solve. I needed to make sure we had a reservation moving forward. I also needed to make sure we were still welcome as this pastor (me!) was displaying conduct unbecoming!
There are so many situations like this in life where you and I can choose to be right or choose to solve a problem: With your parenting. With your marriage. With your coworkers. Your boss. Your clients. Your customers. Your students. The customer service rep on the phone or at the checkout.
Will you choose to be right or to solve a problem?
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