It's You and the Gatekeeper and the Battle of Wit.
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there's no fixing that. ~ Mevlana Rumi
Phone sourcing is venturing into the unknown wilderness.
You never know what you’re going to encounter.
It can be unnerving.
“Who’s calling and what company are you calling from?”
“And you need this information WHY?”
“We only have names here at the front desk. We do not have titles.”
“I can’t transfer you unless you have a name.”
“Do you have a name?”
I often ask myself why these questions make blood run cold.
I also read a lot.
This morning I was reading the writings of the 13th century Persian poet Rumi. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi
I came across the saying at the beginning of this piece and it stopped me in my tracks.
I think the hardest part of the poem to understand is the second line.
Darkness is your candle.
How can darkness be light?
By allowing ourselves to be drawn by the darkness we can learn to lay the course of the unknown wilderness by the coordinates of our senses.
My bathroom has no windows.
It’s an interior room.
When the door is closed and the lights aren’t on, it’s pitch-black.
Many times when I go in there I don’t turn the lights on.
My husband Bob doesn’t get this.
But I do.
By using the bathroom with no lights on I am forced to rely on my senses of touch and hearing.
After many years I know now where everything basically is but it’s still kind of a rudimentary and somewhat unsettling experience.
When I make my way to the sink to wash my hands I hear and feel the water running that I cannot see.
But I can see it.
I can see it in my mind’s eye.
This exercise in awareness makes me a better communicator.
It makes me a better phone sourcer; I’m sure it does because my senses are attuned to the signals I cannot see over the phone.
When I call, I see the Gatekeeper reach for the phone.
I notice her checking the Caller ID.
I picture her environment – the desk where she’s sitting, the console before her, the lighting around her and people within earshot.
I hear the commotion going on around her.
I feel the headset over her hair and her fingers on her keyboard.
It helps me relate to her situation and empathize with her challenges and forms the basis for how I address her.
I can do all this because my practiced imagination takes over.
Close your eyes and imagine your surroundings.
Imagine getting up from the close safety of your chair and walking to the nearest door.
Now imagine yourself walking through that door into the adjoining room.
What do you feel?
What are you “seeing”?
Did you keep your hand on the edge of your desk as you moved towards the door?
What happened when your hand left the desk?
You were on your own, weren’t you?
Was it scary?
As you moved toward the door did you keep your arms extended to prevent yourself from bumping into something?
Were your hands in front of you, palms outward?
Did you really need that protective cover?
Weren’t you moving slowly through the darkness?
Was there really a danger of hurting yourself?
What were you afraid of?
The path you travel everyday?
You may not know the invisible path but you can learn it.
You can learn it by traveling into the black night of your fear on a quest past the boundaries that have you hemmed-in and tongue-tied.
Fear can be your friend just as darkness can be a candle.
It’s the judgment of fear that will lead you to courage.
Don't see your fear as a sign that this is an insurmountable obstacle.
If you persist you will learn the tricks you need to get what you need from the gatekeepers.
PROOF: Ï got fired from my first telephone sourcing job and now I get paid well for making the same kind of calls.
My lack of success forced me to figure out what I needed to do in these situations just like the darkness forced me to figure out how to feel my way around the bathroom.
You can figure it out yourself or do yourself a favor; take a shortcut and learn it from others.
The point I'm making here is that there is always a way forward even when you think there isn't.
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