Baseline & The Sandwich Artist

My patience was thin; I was feeling a little tired, under the weather & grumpy, so I went to Subway for some soup...

Me: Do you have soup?

Sandwich Artist: No not until next fall.

Me: (A little disappointed) OK (looking at all of their posters showing their NEW special pork sandwich) How about your pork sandwich special?

Sandwich Artist: Sorry, we're out of pork.

Me: Fuuuuuuu#k... Ok give me a minute.

Sandwich Artist: Ok.

(A minute later)

Me: How about a Flatizza?

Sandwich Artist: Sorry but our turbo oven is broke.

Me: No, I think I'm good thanks. (Exit). (Thinking to myself, you've GOT to be kidding me!? WTF! Really?!).

It was VERY difficult being respectful and polite, but I was mindful enough to understand that it wasn't the gals fault they didn't have what I wanted, so I refrained from taking it out on her. Instead I smiled treated her nicely and as many do vented later on Facebook. In a while I probably won't even remember this incident and neither will the girl. However She probably would have remembered for a long time if I was some rude jerk who treated her disrespectfully because they didn't have what I wanted. So I at least felt good about that, even though my belly was still empty for the time being.
Funny story that kinda resembles an old Seinfeld episode of the Soup Nazi! "No soup for you!" 
The real lesson here is you can't always control what happens to you, but you CAN control how you respond to it. It is easy for things to get blown out of proportion when WE become part of the problem. 

Now I suppose I could've yelled at the girl who was serving me. I could have made a big scene or got the manager, or written or stormed off to show my displeasure, but what would have that done? AND how big of a deal was it in the first place?As a matter of fact, what is the bigger deal:

1) The person telling me about something that was out of their control: Subway not having what they advertised 

2) Me disrespecting someone and treating them badly because I didn't get my way?

My thought is that the greater offense between the two would have been me disrespecting someone over something so trivial. 

In the courses I teach we talk a lot about having a good BASELINE. Meaning that you are doing your best to not be part of the problem. This simple act can be difficult sometimes and almost impossible at others.
Our internal conflict can cause or contribute to the very problems we are faced with. Not to mention if we get caught up in the storm of emotions how can we  be part of the solution? So, if we can't control our emotions, they'll control us and then we'll probably add to the problem that we are trying to deal with. 
Here are some suggestions for what a good Baseline is:

1) See Conflict as an Opportunity.

2) Use an appropriate Greeting.

3) Tactical Grounding - Breathe

4) Eye of the Storm – Calm, Cool, Confident

5) Separate the persons LV from their Actions

6) LISTEN! (Ask clarifying questions, why are they behaving that way?)

7) Show Empathy (Acknowledge their feelings, act respectful, etc.)

8) Watch your Tone. (It’s how you say what you say)

9) Strive for Most Good, Least Harm for Everyone!

10) Be a Protector of EVERYONE, especially the person behaving poorly.

11) Focus on Solutions.

12) Find Common Ground.

13) Help the person Save Face. 
14) Be patient.
15) Have a Plan if the person does not change their behavior.
These things are simple but not easy, especially when you are stressed. 
Here's a little exercise to put you back on track when you need it:
1) Take a deep breath & Align Your Spine.
2) Put on your Game Face.
3) Say to yourself, I can do this, I’m a Protector!
               Finding space within yourself to Respect, Protect & Empower yourself and others while you are feeling aggravated, threatened or stressed is difficult and it takes the right perspective, appropriate tools and of course constant practice. If you are looking for more skills and practice with this come train with us at:
Keep going!


  1. Excellent post! But...what's up with Subway? My husband and I went in to try a new sub they were advertising, and they said they didn't have it. Then, the lady proceeded to tell us everything they were out of. We left...NICELY, of course! :O)


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