on Grizzlies

Yesterday, I enjoyed a beautiful country drive on my way to a customer meeting.  The person I met with was Grizzly Bear-sized & intimidating.

Gruff & difficult, he talked over me and had plenty to say.

I listened, kept my cool and stuck to the facts.

By the time I left, he apologized for being “so hard on me” and even thanked me for my time & assistance.

Dad was a Rural Municipality Rep. for thirty-some years and, in that capacity, he taught me 4 key things to remember when you encounter folks like this one:

1) smile,

2) keep your cool,

3) know your stuff &

4) let ’em talk themselves out.

People … they just want to be heard.

just listen

How about you?  Ever encountered a Grizzly bear (in a suit)?  How did you handle it?

Categories: Attitude, Determination, Faith, Growth, Joy, Life, Men, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “on Grizzlies

  1. I’d say your Dad’s teaching came in handy once again! I tend to be intimidated, although Motor Man has helped me immensely with that. Folks who knew me way back when would probably be shocked now!

    • It did. Hubbs also echoes the “let them talk themselves out” commentary. I know what you mean about being intimidated, and I find that only happens if I’m thrown in the deep end, unprepared. I’m so glad you have Motor Man by your side to steady you 🙂

  2. great word picture. Those kind of interactions (even when I’m able to keep my cool like you obviously did) leave me drained. You ask about whether we’ve ever run into a grizzly. Two conversations come to mind. One was with a wolverine (not as big as a grizzly, but just as ferocious) I too held my ground, and he didn’t say he was sorry after the exchange. I felt like I was catching the angst that should have been received by my dad 😉 (who was the general contractor on the project and I just happened to be the one to show up when I did) the other time, I had to get the stick out with the grizzly and tap him on the nose a couple of times to put him in his place. If you knew me, you know that is so NOT like me. Conversation also ended up on a great note. He knew he was being a butt head and wasn’t expecting little old me to stand up to him. I enjoy reading your exploits Would love to see you speak @ a town hall meeting 😉 DM

    • Oh those situations are definitely draining…. On your first story, yeah, it sure does sound like you got what (that fellow) he thought your Dad should have gotten. Ugh. I’ve had to tap the nose before, too, and it’s not easy b/c one of two things will happen — they’ll either calm down or they’ll strike — and there’s no way to know which one’s coming!

      When someone’s being a butt head, they usually know it, as my grizzly did. But not all Butt Heads will admit it!

      Thank you for your kind words; I do enjoy public speaking, to a degree, and it’s like riding a bike. Once you get back on, it comes back to you 🙂

      Cheers! MJ

  3. That’s good advice. I remember learning in a training session some years ago that in conflict situations, if a people have a chance to air their views about whatever dissatisfies them, they feel better about the situation – even if nothing changes as a result. They just want to be heard. Wise father.

    • I think that being heard/feeling understood is a fundamental need that too many people aren’t getting met.

      Dad was a man of few words, but he was very wise, kind, playful and he never met a stranger. There were nearly 400 people at his funeral, many he’d only met in passing. He was a gentle man long before there were gentlemen!


  4. Great advice.

  5. Very wise. A lot of times there is another message apart from the words.

    • Indeed there is.

      Half way through the meeting this guy was telling me how he was planning a surprise trip to Paris for he & the wife. People don’t just tell you that. 🙂

  6. I’m actually on my way to a meeting with one right now and I was thinking the same thing. Just let her talk herself out and then we can have a conversation.

    • Yep. It’s a hard skill to learn/master, b/c I’m a talker! But I’ve learned to do it and it always works 🙂 MJ

  7. I like the thought of letting someone talk themselves out…very wise! Glad your cool head and calm presence won out. I struggle with confrontations…even one sided ones. I tend to go right to soothe mode. I need to learn to be calm AND firm. Great analogy! ~ Sheila

    • Thank you; if you take away nothing else, take that nugget with you. The next time some bear charges at you with her viewpoint, let her have at it. Stay calm. Know your stuff. Smile. You will have a much different result than you thought possible 🙂

    • It works. It’s not always easy to do, b/c some personalities are all about the bear and less about the cub. But, for the most part, it works.


  8. MJ, your dad’s a wise man. Though I’m sure you don’t need much help in this department. I imagine you have a VERY strong presence when you walk into a room, and you definitely don’t look like a grizzly bear in a suit!

    As for me, I’d probably roll over and play dead! 😉

    • Yes, he was. He had a quiet/gentle way about him; people were drawn to him. He didn’t talk a lot, he listened more, and he was generous with people.

      I have a significant presence when I know what I’m there for; a former boss used to enjoy throwing me in the deep end (figuratively speaking) and watching me swim. I did it, but it’s not my preferred mode of performance. I’d much rather go in with an idea of what I’m up against and then taking it from there.

      it was tempting to curl up in a ball and play dead, though 🙂

  9. Excellent advice! And well played.

    My first real job after college was working as a bank teller. They sent us to school before we trained at a branch, and some of the best stuff I learned about was how to deal with an unhappy customer. Yes, people just want to be heard. For sure.

    • That is great teachings by that Bank — what a wonderful lesson you learned early on!

      I met a sweet older man at the grocery store last night; he wanted to talk to me about the merits of Rotisserie chicken. I commiserated and he left a happy camper. Probably has no one else to talk to!


  10. Great advice! Works every time.

  11. Wise, wise words. Interesting that he apologized for ‘being so hard on’ you. Was it a sincere apology or just more of the same chest thumping and growling?

    • I think he was sincere. The thing is, because he started talking over me before I could actually make the point of my visit, he made some very general assumptions. After he was all talked out and listened for a bit, he realized that what I had to say was not what he’d assumed. I think that’s what he apologized for — being wrong, and having it be known he was wrong, but my not calling him on it. I let it hang out there in the breeze. (That’s a lesson from Mom — “if someone wants to show their _ _ _. let them. It’s not up to you to spank it!”)

      I have to go back for a bigger meeting in a month or so; we’ll see how he is in front of his cronies. Could be fine, could be more grizzlies!

      😉 MJ

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