Model in action (Sri)


I had an interesting experience at work yesterday that I wanted to share. I ascribe this to internalizing the model through the work I’ve been doing.

I led a meeting with a few other colleagues (at my level) and also my manager. The meeting started on time, and my manager was on his cell phone for a few minutes as I was kicking off the meeting. I introduced the topic, and he didn’t even look up. After a few minutes, he joined the conversation and was engaged as normal for the rest of the meeting.

When he didn’t pay attention the first time, I felt a sudden flash of anger and embarassment – since he was ignoring me, and especially in front of my colleagues. In normal circumstances, the anger would have stayed for several minutes afterwards, and I would have remembered it a few times in the day or this week.

But I told myself yesterday to “Stay with it” and let the anger stay in my body the whole time during the time that I felt it. After a couple of minutes it subsided. It also felt a little surreal, but it almost felt like this was happening on TV, with my manager on the screen, and a caption underneath saying “I’m feeling angry because of a thought I’m thinking”. I didn’t have time to explore this during the meeting, obviously, but I did a model on that whole scenario just now.

My unintentional model (that would have happened during the meeting)
C: My manager was looking at his phone during the meeting kickoff
T: He’s ignoring me
F: Anger, embarrassment at being ignored
A: Display passive aggressive body language, not give him eye contact for several minutes, not accepting his feedback openly
R: Sub-optimal meeting outcome, feeling guilt about taking out anger on my manager, feeling embarrassed for myself for being so petty

My intentional model (“live” during the meeting)
C: My manager was looking at his phone during the meeting kickoff
T: I’m going to feel the anger, and explore this later
F: Watching myself feel the anger instead of actually losing myself in the anger
A: Continued on with the meeting. When he engaged again, I acted as if nothing had happened, and continued.
R: Great meeting. A couple of colleagues stopped by to also point out that they noticed that he was looking at his phone and how rude that was (I did not indulge this conversation but acknowledged their comments)

Model I just ran ( a day after the meeting)
C: My manager was looking at his phone during the meeting kickoff
T: He may have had something urgent come up. I’ve never seen him do this before. He did join on time and was supportive and engaged during the rest of the meeting and did not mean to be rude
F: Neutral (“it happens”)
A: None (I ran this model after the fact)
R: Proud of myself for not losing myself in the anger. Increased ability to separate myself from the thought (even though it was not “live”)

It was fascinating for myself to separate the thought and the feeling from the situation. Ideally, I would have been able to run a model “live” and choose an alternate thought immediately. I didnt do that but did the next best thing which was to stay with the feeling.

Also, perhaps another action have been to politely wait until I got 100 percent attention – but I think this is one of many possible actions, and what I chose was the one that came to mind in the moment.

I wonder how you would have experienced the situation. Would you have run a model “live” and adjusted your thoughts on the fly?
Does running a model live in the situation come with practicing this work? Or does this lead to analysis paralysis when I’m spending too much energy processing each situation instead of acting in the moment?