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“You will live your life secure in that you are no longer manipulated by what other people want you to do and be, but are directed by your own inner desires.”

—H. Stanley Judd



During a recent business meeting, I found myself the unwitting audience of an obviously staged performance of Good Cop/Bad Cop. The two people involved had prepared their roles well and I was, at first, just as shocked by the bad cop as I’m sure I was expected to be. The use of inflammatory and condescending language and the confrontational style did get my attention. The good cop’s softness, suggesting an apology for the attacks, also sucked me in. I was on guard and off balance as planned, but I’m not clear about why my cops thought their performance was necessary in the first place.


Thankfully I was able to switch my perspective. I went from first-person (i.e., as the target) to third-person (i.e., to the role of an observer). Though still actively involved in the meeting, I was able to detach from the whole thing enough to watch it, in a certain sense. From this vantage point I noticed all the small theatrical effects (which were quite impressive), and I could observe my own reactions. This change in perspective gave me three very positive benefits:

  1. I had enough of an emotional buffer to think about the business objectives clearly without the fogginess of defensive feelings.
  2. I learned a lot about my business associates’ motives, insecurities, fears and integrity.
  3. I had the opportunity to appreciate just how much I’ve learned about myself and how I’ve really become a person who is in charge of her own life.


The meeting lasted 2 hours. All the meeting objectives were easily met; I was completely agreeable to the ideas presented and the requests made of me. If my associates had foregone the theatrics, I honestly think we could have been done in thirty minutes! And so I scratch my head wondering 2 big things:

  1. Why stage the performance in the first place? Am I just not seeing something? If I’ve missed something, I guess I’ll know soon enough and then learn another valuable lesson. In the meantime, I’m just moving forward with a high expectation of success.
  2. Will the environment of this business relationship support my goals and values? I know that, unless all my environments of people, places, and things support and reflect my values (such as integrity, openness, loyalty and respect), I cannot succeed in anything, including business.


So the next time you find yourself in emotion−reaction mode, try stepping outside the performance you’ve been sucked into and watch as a member of the audience. Ask curious questions as you watch: Why am I reacting this way? Am I over-reacting? Is the other person behaving in a manor I accept? Is this person reflecting the values that mean the most to me? Can I trust this person to hold my feelings in high regard? The answers to these questions will tell you a lot about yourself and the other person. That’s when you have the power to control your results.


“You will live your life secure in that you are no longer manipulated by what other people want you to do and be, but are directed by your own inner desires.”

—H. Stanley Judd


What do you think? Have you ever experienced a similar situation in which you were obviously being manipulated? Did you step outside the performance or were you taken along for the emotional ride? Were the results of that encounter what you wanted? E-mail me your thoughts at Lorraine@Peacemaker-Coach.com and let me know if I can share them with the rest of our community here. I’ve benefited from the comments I’ve received and know that others will also. I’ll keep your submission anonymous, if you prefer.


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Coach Lorraine Esposito, PCC



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