Reset to Zero

“Anger is a great force. If you control it, it can be transmuted into a powerwhich can move the whole world.”  William Shenstone  

 As a child, you know to ask your parents for a favor at precisely the right moment.

Timing is everything.

You would never ask your parents for a new bike immediately after they had a big fight.  You would wait for that precise moment when the world and the stars were in proper alignment.  The same is true for bosses.  That is why my boss is the best boss ever.

One day, I needed to talk to my boss about an important challenge I was having.  As I approached the office, the door was slightly ajar.  Slowly approaching, I realized that a co-worker was being reprimanded for some errors he had made earlier in the week.  Out of respect, I stepped back far enough so that I could not hear what was being said.  I considered leaving, but the problem was urgent.  The days of my childhood came racing back as I considered leaving.  I could wait until later, not knowing what could happen if I asked now.  I did not want to face the Pandora’s box that was unleashed by another employee.  Just as I was calculating my options, out walked the reprimanded employee, followed by my boss!

My boss saw me and invited me in, so I was obviously faced with an immediate decision.  I quickly thought, “Do I go in and face the wrath left over, or do I select the better part of valor, turn on my heels and go back to my cubicle?” However, before I could make a decision, my boss had flashed that famous smile, and invited me into her office and asked how she could help me.

My fear and dread vanished as I realized that there was not an ounce of anger left over.  The amazing thing was, she did not even appear to be angry at all.  I thought, “How in the world did her anger vanish so quickly?”  I could simply not understand how someone could be so frustrated one moment and perfectly calm and congenial the next.  To be honest, I had never seen behavior like this before from anyone, much less in a boss.  Typically, I saw bosses who, once they were angry, would remain that way and word quickly spread to stay out of their way.

However, my boss helped answer my question, gave me some great suggestions and wished me well. I left her office with my fear lifted, but still questioning how she got rid of anger so quickly.

Over the next few weeks, I pondered what she had done.  She had displayed some amazing self-control and focus.  About a month later, I finally mustered up the courage to ask how the feat was accomplished.  She quietly responded, “Reset to zero.” She said that she had learned the technique the hard way, after getting angry with the wrong employee in the past.  She told me, “One day, my anger simmered over to another employee who was not involved in the problem.  She ended up getting the brunt of my anger, even though she was not involved at all.  My anger and frustration left her in tears and she packed up her things and quit on the spot. As a boss, I was devastated.  I promised I would never direct my anger at the wrong individual again.”

She then explained to me how she learned the concept of “reset to zero.”  She was working on her computer when it suddenly froze.  After calling the IT help line, to see what could be done, they instructed her to reboot.  The IT technician responded, “When the computer gets overwhelmed, sometimes we have to reboot and it resets everything to zero.” She thought about it, realized the power and understood she quickly had to implement it into her life.

By asking my boss what reset to zero meant, I learned a valuable lesson on management and life.  I learned that, sometimes we all have to reset to zero when our anger gets the best of us and we get overwhelmed.


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