I met a local business owner for coffee and talked about him hiring me as a coach. He told me about his goals and he shared some of his biggest challenges and fears. He was pumped about starting coaching. We shook hands and I drove away with a clear expectation that he would call me to move forward.

Except, he didn’t call. So I called … nothing. I reached out three times over the next three weeks. No response. What went wrong I wondered? I thought he was in. I thought he wanted this. What did I do to screw it up?

Two weeks later he emailed me. His mom had died. He was the executor of the estate. He got hit with a lawsuit from a vendor. He had been sick with the flu. The perfect storm.

Five weeks of silence after we first met, and he contacts me out of the blue to get started. He is now a client.

My lesson in all of this was that his silence wasn’t about me. In fact, it is almost never about me. If someone doesn’t get back to me, it’s probably because they’re busy. It’s probably because they got distracted by something else in their life. I don’t help the situation by taking it personally.

If a colleague at work isn’t cooperative or is outright hostile, it’s about them, not you. If your fiance cheats on you, it’s about them, not you. If your wife is depressed, it’s not about you.

Now, I’m not saying that your actions don’t affect the people around you. I’m saying that when you behave badly it’s about you and when others behave badly its about them.

You are not responsible for the behavior of other people. And by feeling bad, or feeling responsible for their bad behavior, you are giving your power away and you are missing the opportunity to focus on what you can actually control…your own behavior and attitude. Focus on being the best you that you can be; encouraging, loving, grateful, humble, and positive, and give others the space to do the same.

Take the lead,