When I got out of the Army years ago, I needed to find work and landed a job with the local utilities company as a meter reader. This worked out well for me since I was going to night school and I was off by 3:00 PM every day. After the first day, I realized that I would need to face one of my biggest fears….BIG, LOUD BARKING DOGS. Despite the fact that I was equipped with all of the latest tools to repel dogs (i.e. mace and a high pitch frequency device), nothing seemed to work. The dogs would charge when I went into their territory.
After a week of this torture, I was ready to quit when a veteran meter reader took me aside and gave me a lesson I will never forget. He said, “the only sure-fire method that I have found that works consistently is to….. WALK TOWARD THE BARKING DOG!. Be steady and respectful, but be confident and secure. Nine time out of ten, the dog will retreat, the tenth time the dog will bite you. But the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor. The dog senses your fear right now and is taking advantage of it.
I tested out the advice from this sage and IT WORKED. During the two years that I performed this job, I was bitten only once and it was a ‘nip’ by a chihuahua.
I have since used this wisdom in conflict situations and it has worked remarkably well.
What “barking dog’ have you walked toward lately? Which one have you avoided? What ‘barking dog’ must you take a step towards in order to deal with a nagging conflict? Perhaps it’s finally time to muster up the courage and step forward. The odds are overwhelmingly in your favor.