I have worked for myself for over twenty-five years, and I thought I had seen it all. I have worked with many great clients and some not so great clients. The other day, however, this guy took the cake for worst client ever!
Everything Was Going Fine – the Client Was Happy
For the past few months, I have worked closely with his business partner. We have a great working relationship and even joke around on the phone each week. We are both friendly and respectful to one another. I have even complimented him on how great it is to work with them. They pay me on time, and we are working on multiple projects together. They seemed to be happy with me, and the feeling was mutual.
Then the World Turned Upside Down
Then the other night, the web-hosting service I use for my clients went down. Not long after, I got the most aggressive, threatening text message of my entire career. I never expected anything like this from them so it was especially shocking. The thing is, I had nothing to do with the problem he was experiencing. He simply overreacted and needed someone to blame, and I was the dog he decided to kick. He started off by threatening to sue me for huge amounts of money and then making unreasonable demands; it was over-the-top crazy.
Oh My God, Now What?
When I first read the text message, my stomach lurched, and I started to go down the rabbit hole of fear and panic. Then my mind started spinning all sorts of worst-case scenarios until I heard my EFT coach’s voice in my head saying “slow down.” That’s when I remembered something crucial; I am not powerless here; I am a different person and I have tools and skills I can use to change this.
I sensed that this man was simply angry and frustrated and felt victimized. Because he could not control things, he needed to lash out at someone. The goal of his message to me was to alleviate his own suffering by bullying me into fixing something. Unfortunately, I did not have the ability to fix it, it was out of my control and was not my responsibility.
Practical Use of What I Have Learned
So first I did a couple of rounds of tapping on my emotions that were running high, like fear, and anger and of course a touch of resentment thrown in for good measure.
Then, I calmly drafted an email response. It had such a different “feeling” and energy to it, unlike anything I have sent before to an angry client. I asked my higher power/God for help with writing it, and my fingers typed and out came the perfect message.
First, I apologized that he was experiencing some difficult issues. Then I stayed strong and firm, reminding him what my service was and what it was not. I also reminded him of how great our working relationship has been, how much we have accomplished and how much “extra value” I have provided. I closed the email by offering to help resolve the issue and work with his team but stating that I was not responsible for this problem.
Could I Allow a Positive Outcome Here?
All of this happened at 9 o’clock at night, so after the email, I went to bed. Just before going to sleep, I did a short meditation and asked for help in “allowing” myself a positive outcome. Even though I still felt some emotional turmoil, I felt compelled to do this, and I think it was vital that I did.
I also asked God to help me send this man (who was obviously hurting is some way) love and forgiveness. It was surprising how easy this was, considering his actions (viciously attacking me without reason). I allowed myself to send him the pure, comforting energy of love and was so glad that I could.
I went to sleep, and the next morning, I received a much more professional request from the client “asking” not demanding for my help, to which I happily agreed. As the day went on, I felt better and better.
A Better Way to Handle a Difficult Person
At one point during the day, I felt myself slipping back into fear and what-ifs. So I did another longer meditation on helping me allow a more positive outcome for myself, but also for the client.
During my meditation, I started to daydream about the possibility of things working out really well, like beyond my wildest dreams. I could easily forgive the client’s hostility, and we would go back to working together but with a much clearer understanding of boundaries and what I can and cannot do for them. I think I made it clear that I would not tolerate any aggressive, or bullying behavior. A few minutes after I finished that meditation, I received a thank you from the client for my help.
How amazing! I could have handled it so differently with a very different outcome. In fact, the old me would have dashed off an angry email complete with defensiveness and veiled insults for his unprofessional behavior. Then I would have ruined my night by worrying about his retaliation and piling on more guilt, fear, and anger until it turned into a big mess. If I had, I am sure he would have responded in kind. It would have been just awful, and I would have felt all the effects of it physically.
So What Did I Learn From This?
What a great lesson! I cannot believe how fortunate I am to have experienced something so awful, only to see how beautifully and differently I could handle it. It left me with such a sense of confidence, power and more control over my life and interactions with others.
We all deal with difficult people and stressful interactions. I am grateful to have found a solution which allows me to handle them better and enjoy a positive outcome. I can rely on my spiritual guides/higher self to help me when I am caught in a tailspin and find a calmer, better way.
In this situation, I didn’t need to wallow in negative emotions or feel like a victim. I took quick action and turned it around simply by being willing to accept a better outcome. I really let go of (gave for healing) all the anger and fear which could have prevented me from having such a positive experience.
What a growing sense of freedom I feel from this potentially devastating incident, which I have allowed to be a lesson and make space for even more positive outcomes in my future.