I’ve been in the middle of a move (moving is considered one of the top stressors in life) from a downtown noisey (noise is another BIG stressor!) San Diego high rise to a place that feels a lot more comfortable to me: suburbia (ahh!).
I was almost completed with the move, and was on the way back up from the Parking Level 4 (below ground), to the 23rd floor. Nearly exhausted, I was on my back up to fill my cart. Lost in thought, the elevator brought me immediately “into the moment” as it lurched to a sudden sharp stop. I looked up horrified, knowing it was too soon to have arrived at my chosen floor. I caught a fast glimpse of the lighted #9 before the digital output disappeared, and I started feeling a sliding and slight bumping. OMG, an old nightmare of mine was coming true!
After what felt like minutes, but was probably closer to a few seconds, the elevator bumped to a stop again. “BREATHE slowly ” (always do this through your nose– or you can CAUSE a panic attack) I told myself, being a practiced stress relief coach. I also realized that standing up was crazy, so I slowly settled down, and relaxed my body in front of the panel. I rang the alarm, but heard no reply. There was a call button, and I pressed that. I could hear it dial a phone number. As the phone picked up, a 911 type of operator did NOT answer the phone. Instead were the dreaded words you definitely DON’T want to hear when trapped in an elevator somewhere in a high rise let me know my call had been picked up.
Again, I waited, what seemed like an interminable time until someone picked up the phone. A service that answers emergency elevator calls like mine, for people trapped probably all around the country answered the phone. When they finally answered I proceeded to tell him that I was stuck. He gave me instructions, but it became apparent that the doors wouldn’t open and I would be stuck for a while.
“We’ll call the technician on call, and they’ll get there asap”.
How reassuring! NOT!
“We’ll also call the fire department”.
I asked approximately how long that should take, but the answer was non-commital.
“Are you alright?” he finally asked.
“I’m doing slow breathing and trying not to imagine the worst”, was my answer.
But I had to ask him my worst imagined scenario:
“Will this elevator crash to the bottom?” I asked, almost too afraid to listen to the answer.
“Oh no, when they malfunction, there are in a locked position, and won’t fall”.
Talk about poor customer service training! Wouldn’t you think the FIRST thing that should be told to a person stuck in an elevator that they need not worry, because they won’t be dead or injured from a fast ride from gravity?!! Without this information, I could envision many people dying from the stress and ensuing PANIC instead of the crash!
Lesson for entrepreneurs: Always answer the questions, or possible objections your customer NEEDS to hear without them having to ask them! It shows that you can solve their problems and objections without them even having to bring them up! Many people are non-assertive and will leave without purchasing because they didn’t feel confident with you or your offering.
So, feeling relieved, I sat down, back against the wall, and concentrated on breathing, and feeling gratitude that my life was not about to end in a way I had dreamt in nightmares. I then thought that this time was a kind of gift to realize that I had a lot to be thankful for. And finally, I tried to imagine why this had happened to me this particular day. I pondered how the universe had also delivered me another gift: the opportunity to sit down, and take a rest. It was one I didn’t deliver myself, and so the elevator stuck and locked safely on whatever floor, gave me that opportunity. When the doors were finally opened about a half hour later, I emerged calm, rested, and not traumatized.
One of the fastest and most effective stress relievers is to focus on your heart and feel and experience gratitude. It stops you from feeling negative thoughts, calms down your physiology and makes you feel much better!
A close call with potential injury or death puts things in a different perspective. But you don’t NEED to be dying to live as if you were. How differently would you live your life if you knew you only had 1 year to live; 6 months, 1 week, 1 day, 1 hour, or even minutes…?
What do you think, & what do you do when under stress? Try gratitude and see how well it works!