In life, there are some people whose role it is to block another from getting ahead. They stand in your way, even when there is absolutely nothing at stake for them. These people, I refer to as the gatekeepers of life.
A few days ago, I was out with a reporter who was collecting information about the tornado that hit the region of Vaughan. We noticed that the house that she intended to visit had a whole lot of construction going on; expectantly considering that was one of the house that the tornado damaged. The workers were completely blocking the drive way, but since Josie, the reporter, was not completely certain whether that was the exact house, she had to ask the construction workers for help. She kindly let them know that, she was a reporter and wanted to meet with the owner of the house. “Excuse me, does this house belong to Sarah?” The first man shrugged his shoulders as he sauntered away. “Would I be able to pass?” There was no response because the man was already out of sight. A second man walked out of nowhere, “Ma’am you might get hurt, you can’t walk here.” The reporter repeated her initial question to this man hoping that he might have some answers. But he had no idea who the owners were. “Would you be able to see if the owners are home?” The second man went to ring the door bell. Immediately both the reporter and the owner recognized each other and exchanged contact so they would be able to communicate on a later date.
Those ineffectual construction workers never had to make the connecting as difficult as it was. Although the men were just doing their jobs and had nothing to do with the owner, the situation could have been resolved without the unnecessary hassle they placed on it. And even though it was not the responsibility of the construction workers to connect strangers to the owner, a child could have figured out what the right thing to do was.
Those gatekeepers are often more potent on the phone. We always get those receptionist who feel that they need to block everyone from getting through to the manager. They will twist their hair and do their nails as they have you wait; because they really don’t care about your needs. Sure, it also has to do with the way your tone is and your phone etiquette, but if you don’t play your cards right, you won’t get the help you need. This is precisely where I got the term from- those receptionist or admins are the real gatekeepers. And knowing that life has many of them, we all have to know how to get around them?
Leslie Buterin, in her blog: Cold calling, Mistakes you must not make with Gate Keepers, suggests that you “Think about the gatekeeper as a professional who truly wants a mutually satisfactory outcome for all parties; change your language and tone and address her in a way that gives her place and position as the executive that she truly is; and watch in awe and wonder as the one you thought of as a pit bull transforms into your strongest ally”. To do this, you should attempt to refer to the administrator by her first name, be respectful and don’t utter rude comments.
We live in a world where we will always need help and we get this from people, some known and others unknown. Everyone wants to be respected and appreciated and when there is a lack, no one wants to help us. No one wants to help a meany. Therefore, we have to keep in mind, when faced with an assumed obstacle, that at times it’s not really an obstacle. It’s someone that wants to be seen and feel kindness. My intention is to see everyone as my friend and treat them of equal importance. That way they get their appreciation from me and I get what I want, a mutually satisfactory outcome.