Events will happen in all of our lives … but it is our reaction to those events that will determine how they affect us.
It is easier in the business context to keep things in perspective, but the same principles can apply in our personal lives too.
One business example might be losing a key client, which is a big deal … it stings, it affects financial performance, it affects people’s incomes and it might even affect people’s jobs. That is no small matter, but if we allow that “event” to send us into a tailspin we will only hurt ourselves more. We need to apply logic to the situation and downplay the emotions.
Some years ago we lost a big client, and it was a big deal. The immediate reaction was disbelief, then anger, which quickly morphed into concern for the company’s well being. Emotions are a fact of life, and we are all prone to getting emotional to varying degrees. As CEO my job was to get past the emotion as quickly as possible, and start to assess the impact, learn some lessons from the situation and develop a plan to move forward and keep everyone focused on the many positive aspects of our business.
We drank champagne to celebrate the departure of a client that was significantly demanding and who regularly had caused us indigestion and got down to plotting the next steps for our company. It wasn’t the “end of the world”, we grew from the experience and life was good.
We all have situations that we need to deal with, so here is my advice … whether it is a business problem or a personal problem. Here are 10 tips based on my own life experiences:
1. Deal with your problems, don’t hope they go away.
2. Small things can seem bigger than they actually are because your brain blows them out of proportion, especially if you “brood” rather than talk. Talk! Truly understand the “problem”. Talk it out with those involved.
3. Don’t let emotions govern your actions. Yes, get mad. Yes, get sad. BUT make sure anything you do is based on facts, and a thoughtful review of the situation. Talk … and talk some more.
4. Lean on your friends and mentors.
5. Balance the negative impact of this situation with all the positives in your life. You should have a list somewhere of all the things that make you smile, all the things in your life for which you are grateful. Review it often!
6. Try to avoid the negative influencers in your life. The last thing you need is someone “winding you up” about the situation. What you really need is people that are level headed, willing to offer balanced advice and who will not inflame your emotions.
7. Try to distract yourself so that you are not thinking about the problem 24/7. A classic example is a marital problem, perhaps even a divorce. Try to keep your work as a place that you can forget (as much as possible) about your woes at home. By focusing on doing a great job you can give your mind a rest from its worries.
8. Try to associate with as many positive, “glass half full” people as possible. A positive attitude is contagious.
9. When you truly understand all aspects of your “problem”, and have the emotions “under control” take time to think through all of the possible solutions, or next steps. Get help with this.
10. Sometimes we need to talk to professionals to get things in perspective. Everybody has an opinion, and they are not always helpful. A trained professional will provide balanced and unbiased advice.
Life is short … don’t get consumed by the tough situations and certainly don’t waste your life worrying about the things that might happen. Choose to focus on the good, to deal with issues and to be happy!