I was waiting in line the other day at Starbucks when a barista called out the name “Frank.” A large, burly man with a bushy beard approached the counter.

With an obvious look of dread on her face, the barista informed Frank that they were out of the drink he had ordered.

The store was packed, and the staff had been contending with difficult, impatient customers all morning. In a deep bellowing voice, Frank replied, “Is that so?”

I sensed that the barista was preparing herself for an impending Karen-esque confrontation. You can imagine her relief when Frank continued, “Ehh, no big deal. Just give me something else fruity. You pick it.”

Those of us waiting in line who overheard the exchange couldn’t help but to chuckle at Frank’s unexpected response. As the barista left to prepare his alternative selection, I joked with Frank that he sure was hard to get along with.

In the same deep bellowing voice, Frank said, “You know, there are just some things you can’t control. If you’re going to get bent out of shape over your choice in morning beverages, the rest of your day is going to be a real struggle.”

What a refreshing perspective!

So many of us allow our days to be derailed by trivial inconveniences over which we have no control.

As Robert Fulghum, bestselling author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, said: “One of life’s best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire—then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience.”

Good teammates recognize the difference between a problem and an inconvenience.

When teammates confuse inconveniences for problems, they create unnecessary drama. They cause stress for themselves and everyone else on their team.

Frank and I struck up a conversation on our way of Starbucks. He told me that he works in construction and spends most of his days dealing with “whiny contractors.”

“They complain about everything” Frank said. “But I can’t control the weather and backorders. They all think that if they complain enough, their issues will go away.”

Although, sometimes their strategy works. Because if they complain too much, I just stop doing business with them. Bam! The issues go away.”

People often try to justify incessant complaining with the expression “The wheel that squeaks the loudest gets the oil.” That logic might be temporarily applicable. But, like Frank’s “whiny contractors,” the squeaky wheel eventually gets replaced—and rightfully so.

A big part of being good teammate is not allowing yourself to become a team problem. Incessant complaining about inconveniences will ensure failure in this objective. The better strategy is to follow Frank’s example and not get bent out of shape over the trivial “things” which you cannot control.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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