Angie here: How much email do you get a day?
The problem with the kind of work I do (writing, speaking, coaching) is that it does revolve around emails. Even my volunteer work for writing groups requires a lot of email communication. So how can I cut back?
What would you do?I once asked a famous author for an answer to a question. I wrote it on the back of a business card and asked him to simply have his assistant email it back at his convenience. No rush, no pressure.
That famous man spent 5 minutes lecturing me on the fact that he did not have time to answer my question because he received 137 emails a day, while he yelled at me, and embarrassed me, in front of a long line of people. He spent time name dropping, sharing his importance, and impressing upon me my lack of worth.
Here I'd thought I was being respectful of the famous man's time and personhood. Silly me. Ironically, I received more than 137 business emails a day at that time, and often still do. But what a stunning revelation that "Famous Man" thought 137 emails would impress me. Hmm. Should I tell him how much email I get a day? Such a dilemma. I chose to stay quiet. He obviously had a mindset.
Then the famous man asked me if I'd like my copy of his book autographed. I'd already read 1/2 of it in between speakers at a large conference.
What would you have done?I laid the book on the table. Then I shook my head and said, "No thank you." And walked away. I did not look back.
Yes, I'd paid for the book–full price. Yes, I'd read everything that famous man had written up to that final mid-book moment. No, I'll never read another word he writes again. None of his books are on my shelves any longer.
I left the book for him as a gift. One I do not know if he understood. The gift of respect. I respected myself too much to allow someone else access to the intimacy of my mind who would treat me in such a manner. I really hope I never do that to another human being. I learned what kind of person I wanted to be that day too. So he gave me a beautiful gift by example.
I learned something else. When someone's mind is set hard, it's not worth my struggle to "make" them open their mind to another possibility. Why? I can't make anyone else do anything. The Bible clearly says not to throw pearls before swine. It's not meant as an insult, believe it or not. It's meant for us to understand there's no reason to hit our head up against a brick wall for someone who will not budge in their ignorance. Let them wallow in it until they are ready to get out of the mud. Only then are they teachable. Trying to share something too soon is non-productive. (And that particular famous man taught on that very topic that day. Irony.)
People do watch what we do–not just what we write.1. Have you ever met a person who you used to admire, but that changed your mind because of their "real life" persona?
2. I'm curious what you've done to minimize unnecessary emails. What has worked for you?