On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your level of politeness to telemarketers and customer service reps? I used to hover between 0 and 4 depending on my mood that hour. Not something I’ve been proud of, but I’m trying to change.

The Universe presented me with the perfect opportunity last week.

I recently changed banks (don’t ask!) and have had trouble downloading transactions into my new accounts via QuickBooksOnline (QBO). I work with a terrific bookkeeper/accountant who shares my screen whenever I’m having issues. The current challenge was seeing my tax refund check deposit showing up in my business account ledger. How did that happen?!

I spent an hour on the phone with Paul from Numerex trying to sort this out. After examining all the possible glitches he could think of, he suggested I call the bank to see if the problem was on their end. After an hour on the phone with TD Bank, it was made clear that my statements reflected correct distribution of funds.

Next step, ring up QBO. Ugh!

As expected, I got a call center somewhere continents away. Again, I shared my screen, this time with a young woman named Ella. She watched me log into my account, promise that I was not a robot, enter security answers and identify blocks on a grid that did not contain vehicles.

The “old Jane” would have felt her blood pressure rising, tolerance level shrinking and attitude bordering on rage. BUT! The “new Jane” who’s been in fabulous, exceedingly helpful therapy for a good year now, wanted to try this opportunity in a healthier way.

With guidance, I’ve learned about ‘signal anxiety’–that pull in my solar plexus that gets my attention. Think fight or flight. Now, with repetition, I recognize that moment of fear as a regression to my childhood. I won’t go into that right now…but I fully recognize and experience the sensation, then do a bit of self-talk. “Jane,” I tell myself in my most nurturing voice, “You’re sitting in your office with an overseas helper working towards a solution on your behalf. Take a breath. It’s going to work out and you’re going to be just fine.” I breathe, whisper the Serenity Prayer, and re-enter the first name of my father’s mother.

A pleasant hour later, after repeated efforts to track down the error, the QBO person says, “This has to go to IT. It’s definitely happening on our end, and we need to look into why that is.”

An admission of responsibility! Unheard of, right?

“Wow!” I say, “Great that you figured that out. What’s next?” She explained what would happen and thanked me for my patience.

Here’s the beauty part. I got the following email message from my new friend:

Hi Jane,

Thank you for being an awesome customer today! You are one of the most positive and understanding customer [sic] that I had! I wish nothing but SUCCESS for your business!

And that’s what’s NEVER happened for me EVER before in my life as a customer. I could not have asked for better affirmation that when I notice and take control of my lifelong anxiety, there is a methodology for helping me cope with it.

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