INTENTIONAL BEE STINGS (impact deserves explanation) by Dwayne Castle


Photo by Daniel Höhe on Unsplash

INTENTIONAL BEE STINGS (impact deserves explanation) by Dwayne Castle

I recently had a couple of "pre-cancerous" lesions taken off my face. When I showed up at the dermatologist's office I filled out new patient paperwork, and was quickly taken to an exam room.

The doctor came in, gave me his name, and in one smooth motion approached my face with a can of something and aimed it at my face. I stepped back and asked him what he was doing. He said he was going to freeze the spots with the contents of the can. I think he said it was nitrous, but it looked like the can of air I use to blow dust off my keyboard. I’m sure his can costs more than mine.

Then he aimed the can again and once again I stepped back to ask another “important to me” question: “what is this going to feel like?” He said that it would feel like bees stinging my face. Then he gave me the look like "can I do this thing now?" And then with a shrug on my part, he began stinging me. Two spots. Two bees. Long stings.

The experience reminded me of a story Alan Alda shared in his book “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating” (Random House).  

He shared about how a surgeon had cut a piece of skin (the frenum) from under his lip without adequately explaining his actions or more importantly, the consequences of his actions; permanently turning the career actor’s smile into a sneer.

My experience also challenged me to do a better job of not assuming people impacted by my actions and decisions are aware of that impact on them. Being Relationally Driven means that we value the other person enough to keep them informed and to even include them when possible, in the decision-making process.

It’s highly probable that the course of treatment that the doctor took was the best treatment option. However, had he taken a moment to explain what was going to happen instead of attempting to go all Jason Bourne on me, it would have eased my mind a bit and enhanced my overall experience.

I’d love for you to share your stories from both sides of the proverbial can of nitrous. Have you ever had a time as the client, when it would have been nice for someone to explain something "face stinging" important to you? In what ways can YOU do a better job explaining things to your customers or to those in your sphere of impact?