Sometimes, in the course of your day, you receive requests from others that have no basis in reality. Your first response may be incredulity, but then you realize they are serious. What do you do in the face of this?

Here are a few ideas:
• Ask them to repeat the request, just to ground it
• Ask them if they think the request can be done in the time they want or if there is a compelling reason why it must be done
• Ask them what help they can give you and tell them what you think is needed
• Tell them whether you think it can be done or not
• Tell them the extent to which you think you can be held accountable for getting it done, considering the circumstances

The purpose of these suggestions is to ask the question “Really?” in a thoughtful way and bring the conversation to a place of reality, rather than fantasy.

photo: Stuart Miles,