Bingo - that last bullet hit me. I'm generally a proactive person. When I start a project, I swing into action with a fury. (Now, I often start another project before I finish the first one, but that's another column).
So I'm sometimes surprised when the rest of the world is not on my timetable. When I stand back and look at this mindset, though, it's actually pretty presumptuous. Who said she should call back within an hour? Is my request more urgent than those of others? Am I the only situation she's dealing with?
Back to center-of-the-universe thinking. This doesn't allow for a sick child, car problems or out-of-town company. Let alone work deadlines, day-care pickup or a dental appointment.
I've found that our well-intentioned efforts to keep ourselves organized can become unhealthy when they spill over into expectations placed on others. It's natural to want to be in control of your own life. But when you have to be in control of the people around you as well - when you literally can't rest until you get your way - you're on a slippery slope to being a control freak.
And if you're on the other end of this communication, you need to be careful that you don't fall into the trap of "jumping to" with someone else's demands. With some folks, this is automatic behavior - especially if you're wanting to please others.
Although there's nothing wrong with being accommodating to a point, you may need to consider setting some boundaries if you feel manipulated. If you can't "just say no," then take some small steps. Agree to the request, but on your time frame. Accept part of a project, but not the whole thing. Undertake this committee assignment with the understanding that future requests will need to be rotated.
As actor Bill Cosby responded when asked about the secret to success, "I don't know about the secret to success, but I know about the secret to failure: trying to please everyone."
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and founder and chairwoman of The Arnold Agency, an integrated marketing communications firm in Charleston. Reader comments or questions may be mailed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or e-mail livinglifefu...@arnoldagency.com.