I married up.
My wife Barb is the polar opposite of the term high maintenance, and certainly not a diva. My patience for anything or anyone that I might consider high maintenance is thin. And I should know what a high maintenance diva is. Regrettably, it is me.
Look, we all have our idiosyncrasies. I have to honestly self-assess and say that Barb took on the harder part of this relationship very early. She knew what she was getting into with me. I remember going to football and baseball game in the old Kingdome in Seattle before we were married. It would often be wet and dreary outside, so we would be properly “layered” upon entering the stadium. As a domed stadium, it was always a warm and cozy 72 degrees. I recall vividly unraveling all my layers and then making Barb could hold all of them, as I needed my arms for cheering on the home team.
But that was 30 years ago, right? Well, I realized I haven’t evolved quite far enough when in December we went as a family to see The Nutcracker. I took off my overcoat, folded it neatly, and then sat somewhat like a lost dog that didn’t know quite how to handle his coat. Barb took it.
I don’t need to go over 30 years of my “diva” behavior. Those of you that know me well already know. Suffice it to say, it’s a constant evolution going from an only child to being mentored by a wife who grew up in a family of 6 kids. Let’s just say I at least now know what it looks like. Slow learner or not, I’m getting better.
Who’s a High Maintenance Diva (HMD for short) in your life?
For the moment, let’s take the spotlight off of you. You can do your own self-assessment like I did. This article is more about others in your world. HMDs come in alls forms. Consider these – employers, employees, co-workers, clients, customers, vendors, family members, friends, constituencies, and the list goes on. HMDs can pop up in any aspect of your life, and often it’s through no fault of your own. How long you keep them around is on you.
P.S. The customer is NOT always right. Many times they are flat out wrong and rude. You don’t have to put up with that.
The decision to ditch HMDs from your life is really up to how you (and perhaps your employees) are affected by them. Not all clients are worth the trouble of rudeness, bad language, poor communications, and onerous expectations. Sometimes clients need to be fired. If there is a person or a group that are causing you undue and excessive angst, and you’re in a position to leave that group or role, then do it. Life is too short and you don’t need the aggravation. Do you have an employee that causes more joy when they leave the room than when they enter it? Have you retained relationships with people that cause you dread just because you don’t want to deal with it?
Here’s the deal. You will run into people that may rub you the wrong way or cause you additional work and “hand-holding.” That’s part of life and often these folks can be coached (like Barb so dutifully and patiently trained me), or at least softened to the point that they don’t cause you stress. The people that cause you a disproportionate amount of anguish and anger need to be exorcized from your world. That may be them leaving or you leaving. Regardless, carrying excess “baggage” through life – professional and personal – is never any good for your health or future. You can sever these relationships professionally, and some of them may be difficult.
In the end however, life is too short and you want to invest your valuable time in people that make you better, bring you joy, and make the destination more enjoyable.
© 2015 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved