Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rules of the Road was digging through one of my notebooks today, organizing stuff and reading old notes and whatnot, when I found a page I wrote on 7/13/2006. I don’t know why I wrote it down that day, but it is something I’ve talked about to my professional colleagues and friends for a long time. As I was reading it, I realized it applied quite well to the drama and issues that crop up in guild management.

It was simply titled “Rules of the Road” and had the following content:

  1. Don't stress out about things you can't control - ignore them
  2. Don't stress out about things you can control - fix them
  3. Confront someone as soon as you recognize the problem - don't let it fester!
  4. Help people who sincerely ask for help
  5. Fight for what you believe in
  6. Admit when you are wrong
  7. Reserve the right to change your mind
  8. You do NOT have to justify saying no to someone

My dad taught my 1-3 when I was growing up. He had ulcer issues as a younger man because he let stress build up too much. Those rules help you get grounded when you feel stressed and show you simple ways out, even when, as in Rule #1, the out is to ignore the issue.

Numbers 4-5 are extensions I’ve added over time to help me guide my life. Help your friends. Admit when you make a mistake. Do not be afraid to change your mind. Don’t let other people convince you that “flip flopping” in the presence of new information is somehow bad. When you know better, do better.

The final one is the newest addition to the family. Sometimes many people, when presented with a request they has to say no to, will seek a rationalization or a story that they can use to justify saying no. Here’s the thing… you don’t have to justify saying No. You shouldn’t be rude, you should be always polite and respectful, but you can just say, “No, I’m sorry but I can’t,” and leave it at that.

This game is a game. We pay for it. There is no good reason to let yourself get into a situation where you are angry or upset. Passion is good, negative emotions are not.

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