How Our Own Actions Teach People How to Treat Us

Posted By Tracy Hooper on Nov 7, 2016 | 0 comments


When I started the Confidence Project almost four-years ago, I decided, “No working on weekends.” (The best business books promote setting boundaries.)

That plan didn’t last.

The Confidence Project was a start-up. I worked all the time.

After a few months, I told myself, “OK, you can work on weekends, but don’t answer emails after 5pm on Fridays & Saturdays. And, no working on Sundays, including emailing.”

That plan didn’t work either. Often, I work on Sunday afternoons, to get a jump-start on the week ahead.

A few Saturday nights ago, Henry and I didn’t have plans. So, about 5:30pm, I decided to do “a little” work while half-watching football and reading the newspaper. Mostly, though, I answered emails.

Four-hours later, I looked up and asked Henry, “Who won the games?” So much for doing “a little” work.

Still, I felt accomplished.

Just before 9am on Sunday morning, the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but took the call anyway. It was a client from California, TJ, who I had emailed the night before.

Tracy: “Wow. It’s Sunday morning.”
TJ: “I know. I didn’t want to call you too early.”
Tracy: “Oh…OK…. What may I do for you?”

He started talking about the workshop that I was scheduled to lead on Friday. And, as he spoke I thought, “We teach people how to treat us.”

My email landed in his inbox at 9:30pm Saturday night, so he assumed, “Tracy works anytime.” Calling me on Sunday morning allowed him to check me off his “to-do” list.

Our Actions Affect How Others Treat Us

We teach people how to treat us in every part of our lives.

You can teach a colleague that you’ll take-on the work they don’t want to do. Or not.

You can teach a romantic partner that you will put up with bad behavior. Or not.

You can teach a teenager that they can speak to you sarcastically or make demands of your time and money. Or not.

It takes confidence to tell people verbally and with our actions how we want to be treated.

I was irked by that Sunday morning call, but I had taught that client exactly how to treat me. His call was a reminder that I hadn’t set boundaries and that it’s time to take down my “open for business’’ sign on weekends.

Try Teaching Others How to Treat You

For the next 30-days, practice teaching people how to treat you.

As for me, I’ve recommitted myself to honoring (mostly) work-free weekends. Wish me luck!

Thank you for your support of the Confidence Project.

– Tracy

Tracy Hooper Signature

Follow the Confidence Project in Rwanda

On November 4th, 2016, I am taking the Confidence Project to Rwanda to work with the next generation of African change makers.

Follow along with the adventure on Facebook!

You can also explore and attend our interactive confidence workshops in your area. Contact Tracy Hooper to learn more!

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