The meeting ran late, the taxi took twice the time estimated to arrive leaving 15 minutes to clear security and board my flight. To my good fortune, there is no line and the security agent is waiting. This was going to work and hope of making the flight was rising in my chest until the agent said, “you have to wait to be called, please step behind the line.” As I walked back behind the line and waited, I could feel the hot fingers of anger tighten around my throat.
In that moment, I heard the voice of my boss 35 years from the past instructing me on how to deal with a difficult client. I remembered him distinctly saying, “kill’m with kindness.” Kindness was the last emotion I could think of in that intense moment. So, there I stood in raging calm waiting to be called. I passed. And, beyond all odds walked on the plane as the door closed on my heels.
When you get in a hurry everything slows down. Patience becomes more expedient than impatience. The agent could force me to wait, but only I could demand patience and composure of myself. Leadership is about exercising self-control when you’d simply like to take control. The real power is understanding the difference.