There are times when we may expect things to go wrong. Usually that means we’re prepared for it physically and mentally. We still may not like it, but those situations go down easier than stunning surprises.
We learn a lot about ourselves when our stress level is exceeded–and so does everyone around us.
Keep an eye on yourself
All kinds of things at work can tax you:
- Coworkers who don’t pull their weight and dump assignments on you
- Bosses who break their promises to you
- Job loss, reassignment, and/or poor ratings out of the blue
- Customers or colleagues who make false statements about you
When you’re pushed to the brink, what do you do?
- Pick a fight, go on the defensive, or play the blame game
- Curl up in a ball, seek sympathy, or start looking for a way out
- Look for solutions, ask for information, or seek help from your network
- Take a deep breath, assess what’s really going on, and develop a workable plan
I like things to be under control, predictable, and within my ability to influence. So it’s also a test for me when a crisis creates excessive turmoil.
Accept what you can’t control. Be grateful for what you can.
When you’re having a bad day, someone else is having a worse one. The news this past week was proof of that.
Thomas “TJ” Lane shot five fellow students at Chardon High School in Ohio, killing three of them. The parents of those students and the entire community were forced to deal with a chaotic situation never expected. Each was forced to look outwardly and inwardly to hold it together.
Phyllis Ferguson, mother of slain Demetrius Hewlin, had a plan that worked for her. She told ABC News:
I forgive him [Lane] because, a lot of times, they don’t know what they’re doing. That’s all I’d say.
I taught Demetrius not to live in the past, to live in today and forgiveness is divine.
I heard her say in several TV clips that to keep hatred for the shooter in her heart would mar her memory of her son.
When decisions, situations, or coworkers upset you at work, what drives your next steps?
Then there’s this: Julie Hays from CNN reports how
Severe storms tore through the Midwest and South Friday into Saturday, killing at least 39 people.
The National Weather Service confirms 42 tornadoes hit 10 states, stretching from Alabama to Ohio.
This comes only days after another deadly line of storms spawned multiple tornadoes, damaging hundreds of homes and businesses across seven states.
Think of what it must be like to be going along at work, at school, or at home and in less than a minute:
- People you love have been killed by a twister
- Your home and your car are flattened, your belongs lost
- The place where you worked is destroyed along with your job
- You have no neighbors, no place to go, no records, electricity, or communication
- Your plans and dreams have disappeared and you’re left to start over
This is when we come to grips with what really matter to us. It’s when we see who we are and what we’re made of.
Who do you become?
When a project goes bad or your appraisal isn’t what you wanted, do you look for solutions? Are you grateful for the resources you have to draw on? Do you have the grit to go forward?
When the chips are down, people are watching us, something which can give us purpose.
Each of us can become a source of strength, a clear-minded leader, and problem-solver when there’s trouble. Gratitude for our inner strength and the connection to others is often a source of the empowering brightness we need. Shine on!
Photo from Photojournalist Alton Strupp via Flickr