How spicy green beans can relieve my stress!

By Jonel Thames Leake, CPCU, ASLI, AAI, CPIW, DAE, CLP

Many years ago, I was co-chair of a Region 1 Conference. There were hundreds of attendees and, as anyone involved in planning a conference knows, it was a great deal of work. At the end of the event, we distributed paper surveys asking what people liked and what could be improved upon. Our committee was thrilled to see that there were very few suggestions for improvement. The conference was a success! There was one complaint, however, that I remember to this day. One individual’s only negative comment was that the green beans served at the Saturday luncheon were too spicy. Our committee members realized that we couldn’t make everyone happy and that a different vegetable would not have affected the success of the event. We all giggled at the thought that someone would take the time to complain about something so trivial.

Why am I blogging about something so unimportant that happened approximately twenty years ago? Because every time you work on a committee or plan an event and make decisions, there will be others who disagree with you. If you pick blue napkins, someone is likely to say that the purple ones would have been better. If you offer class A, someone may wonder why you didn’t offer class B instead. 

When these disagreements happen in IAIP or in my life in general, I ask myself if the complaint is important or if it is the equivalent of spicy green beans. Would the complaint be an improvement if I acted on it? If it is a suggestion about something important, I give it consideration and may change it. If it is the equivalent of spicy green beans, I smile, say thank you and go on with my day.

Our lives are very stressful and when we are working on a project, we want everything to be perfect. It is so easy for us to take any complaints to heart and to beat ourselves up. So, the next time someone complains about a decision you made, join me in asking the question “Are we talking about spicy green beans?”. If the answer is yes, forget the comment and move forward. It really does work!

Jonel Thames Leake has co-chaired two Region 1 Conferences, one Region 1 Hub Conference and has worked on numerous events at all levels of IAIP. She is currently serving as the International Secretary. She utilizes her spicy green bean comparison in her IAIP, work and personal life.

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