“Oh. Oh no.”
It was my annual walk around for the Azalea Garden Tour. The publicity chair for the tour would drive me around and, in about three hours, we’d see all 11 gardens on the upcoming tour. I’d write a preview, hitting all the high points and telling attendees what they could expect, and hand it into my editor at the paper about three weeks before the Azalea Festival.
I got a pit in my stomach while we were in the third or fourth garden of the day. There, as in the other gardens we’d already seen, the azaleas were in full, glorious bloom.
I never really appreciated azaleas until I saw Wilmington come alive in the spring. The whole city turns pink. The only other experience I have to compare it to was seeing the mountains of New York and Vermont burst into flame, of the leafy variety, in October the first fall I lived there. I thought I knew fall color. I didn’t until then.
What I knew with certainty, standing in that garden in late March, was that the tour-goers would be lucky if even the Encores, a little later to bloom, but fat with buds already, would have any color left during the festival.
A couple of weeks after my article ran, I talked to my grandma. “Well, Katie. It sounds like the garden tour was even better without azaleas,” she said.
My friend Amaris said to me a few weeks ago, “You can either be the thermometer or the thermostat. React to the temperature or set the temperature. You want to be the thermostat.“
Every time I make a choice, I decide whether I’m being the thermometer or the thermostat.
If I pick up the phone when someone calls me and I sound angry or tired, the phone call is going to go a lot differently than it will if I sound like it’s my favorite thing in the world to be talking to the person on the other end.
If I write a promo email reflecting my excitement about a specialpricejustforyou, the sales are gonna be a lot different than if I write about product I’m trying to get rid of.
And, more importantly, the feelings of the recipients are going to be a lot different.
People who feel good when they work with me or interact with me are going to be a lot more likely to work with me in the future.
If I feel good when I’m working with someone, I’m a lot more likely to want to be helpful to them and to keep working with them.
The thermostat metaphor can be a little tricky. When we set our thermostat we’re choosing our own settings. Are we going to be angry, happy, upset, scared, nervous, excited?
How are we going to approach interactions? What settings are going to get the results we want?
If you set the thermostat to 65 in my house, I’ll be happy as a clam and my friend Kim will, quite literally, require a fleece, hat, and maybe some gloves to be comfortable.
When I wrote that article about the Azalea Garden Tour, my job was to hit the high points and help people know what to expect.
I had to help them understand that while the azaleas would be off peak or out of bloom, they were going to see some amazing gardens with gorgeous vignettes, water features, and planting combinations. They’d walk away with new ideas, and, without the azaleas taking center stage, they’d get to study the bones of the gardens and notice details they might not have otherwise. They’d have a good time.
If I can be the thermostat rather than the thermometer, I get a better result from myself. I’m calmer, happier, more productive. Over time, that will have an effect on those around me or it will sharply reveal to me those I don’t want around me so I can continue designing the life and work I want.
‘Cause who wants to be an anxious pile of crap all the time? I sure don’t. I’d let someone else pay my employment taxes if that were the case.
So, talk to me. I’d love to know how you set your thermostat or if you even notice yourself doing it. Got any tips to share with the class? Hit reply!
Bookmarks of the Week
Why Everyone is Not Your Client
Pets Crave Love Case Study
Need help with brand messages? Email Jenn and tell her Katie from The Garden of Word sent you and she’ll give you her friends & family deal.
Paypal and Stripe Fees Calculator
Business Tips from *My* Favorite Business Guru
On her Facebook page.
This Week’s Read
I loved this. Loved. Loved. Loved. Reviews are mixed, but I thought it was dense, interesting, insightful, and beautifully written.
Have a great rest of your week!
P.S. One trick I use to set my thermostat is not checking my email on the weekend. That ensures that I remain unbothered by work and can get the rest I need for two days.