I’m the jerk from track 14.
You were in front of me during the cattle-car late-afternoon rush to board the mid-town direct to Dover. Track schedules were off, boarding was late and tensions were HIGH. As we crushed onto the über narrow, impossibly slow escalator down to the track, the conductor called out those most terrifying words “LAST CALL” and that’s when it began.
People behind me yelled, “Hurry” and “GO!” I willed the 20 people in front of you to walk instead of ride. Miraculously, they began to shuffle down a little, opening up space in front of you…
Which you did not fill.
I tried to energy-flow you to walk the last dozen steps down so I could sprint for the doors as someone yelled “they’re closing!”
You did not budge.
Here is what you did not know: 1) I am new to NYC commuting and I HAD to make that train to collect my son from school. 2) That I would try to squeeze my way past you as we neared the bottom of the escalator, nearly knocking you over in the process.
Here is what I did not know: 1) The train was not actually going to pull out of the station with so many people still trying to board. 2) There was a small elderly woman standing in front of you on the stairs.
You had every right to use those… um… colorful… words to express how you felt about me in that moment. And even though no one was injured and I repeatedly uttered “I’msorryI’msorry” I still acted like a jerk, I felt like a jerk, I WAS a… jerk.
I spent the next 10 minutes trying to locate you on the train so I could formerly apologize. The bad news is, I could not find you. The good news is this will never happen again.
I spent the whole ride home contemplating what I could have done different… done better… how I could have walked my walk as a motivational speaker. The easiest and most obvious answer: I could have ASKED you!
Like… duh, right? It seems so simple, however, stress causes our bodies to disengage from our brains. When stress pressure is building, and you feel like you are going to burst, remember these words: RELATE to DEFLATE.
When you are in a stress mess, as your step ONE, turn to the cause and engage them in dialogue, ask or inform them about how you are feeling… nicely! Not guaranteed, but it is a great place to start, it will work most of the time, and it sure beats being a… jerk.
Within 5 seconds, you would have assured me the train would not leave without us. So, Tall Hipster with Hemp Knapsack, I sincerely apologize. If we meet again, please let me buy you a black coffee and hear your spoken word perfomance.
A motivational work in progress