A lady friend of ours just had new cabinets and countertop installed in her kitchen. The guaranteed two-week job stretched to nearly five weeks, and most days were filled with inactivity. You know the drill: “The supplier was out of parts.” “The plumber had an emergency call.” “A section of the granite was not cut right.”

In the fourth week our friend lost her patience, and told the contractor, “I am a company executive. I have overseen numerous construction projects at our facilities. I’m no novice and I’ve had it with this inefficiency. Get your crew moving and finish this job by the end of the week.” Two days later the job was complete.

We were helping our friend inspect the final product, and at one point she said, “You know, he deserves a taste of his own medicine. I think I’ll take a few weeks getting the final payment to him.” (The comment surprised me because this woman is not at all vindictive.)

She paused about ten seconds after the comment, and then added, “No, I won’t sit on it. That’s not who I am. I’ll mail the check tomorrow.”

“Not who I am.” I just nodded and smiled at her look in the mirror, and the resulting perfect example of effective coping. I imagine she slept well that night!

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