The Sunset Rule

Do you ever get annoyed with other people?

Of course you do—especially with people that you work alongside.

Why? Because you all have to create outcomes together, and when something doesn’t go right, it often feels like you’re unsupported by others.

Annoyance goes up, and people let you down. If you let that annoyance continue to build, it becomes a worse problem.

I have discovered throughout life that whenever I’m upset with somebody, and I fail to handle it immediately, it starts to grow in my head. By the next morning, I am really ticked off at that person. And I’m starting to make up a story about them that isn’t even true.

Maybe that’s happened to you.

I’ve adopted what I call The Sunset Rule: never allow an argument or disagreement with somebody to go past sunset.

If I’m annoyed about something, I call the person up and say: “Hey, I just want you to know, I’m really upset about this. This didn’t go well. And we need to get this on track. I want to hear your side, but we need to get this figured out.”

Through direct, clear communication and pushing the integrity needle to the high end by having those crucial conversations, magical things can happen.

You’re never helping out the situation by saying: “Oh, I didn’t want to say anything, I’d only be making things worse.”

When you do that, you’re welcoming victimhood. It’s also a way of torturing another human being because they don’t benefit from your perspective, and you don’t get to hear there is another side. And where’s the good humanity of that decision?

So, whenever you get upset with somebody else—and you will, probably today—make sure to clean it up right away. If someone on my team gets a phone call at the end of the day, they know something went wrong, and we’re going to talk it out and then hug and love each other at the end of it. They know that.

Having the conversation before sunset allows for the problem and the stories that we make up about it to not get bigger and uglier in the dark.

– Roxanne Emmerich

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