The go-over-your-head disrespect
Marc Winter, New York, NY

“You can’t control other people’s perceptions or emotions,” says Marc Winter. “All you can do is be humble and tell your story.”

Marc felt disrespected when someone he worked closely with shared some tough feedback about him to his manager without pulling Marc aside first. At the time, he’d didn’t even know that he’d done anything questionable.

“That action wasn’t worthy of the relationship that I thought we had,” he says. “I felt confused, angry, and little hurt. I spent days playing back things in my head: Was I overlooking something? What did I miss in our exchanges that would make him do that? Why didn’t he just approach me for a chat?”

The negative emotions that surfaced were so unpleasant that Marc hesitated to confront the person directly. The incident kept preying on his mind, however, undermining his own self-belief. So he had to talk it out — and the conversation was eye opening.

“I learned that I was right about some things, but there were other things I’d done that I was blind to,” he says. “I didn’t know how they’d been perceived. It taught me that I had to be humble because some of the assumptions that I had weren’t true.”

He also discovered something very simple, but very profound: “Effects always have their causes. Often times, the causes are bigger than what you can imagine. So you can’t go into that conversation with an attitude of, I’m right and you’re wrong. You need the right mix of self-belief and humility. Or else you won’t learn anything.”