Career Tip – A Return to Basics

If you’ve been working for any length of time in any capacity or industry, you have likely faced stressful points that make you want to scream. But as you’ve been working for any length of time, you know that a “pillow” is the only one who can take those screams, in a calm and supportive way.

What we get from these experiences is a chance to step back and reflect on what’s happening and how much we really control what’s happening. No, I’m not speaking in riddles; but I am making a point.

It’s unlikely that this is the first or last time that we will experience challenges in our workday, workplace or work life. It’s how we rise to the occasion and use those challenges, which enable us to grow and do more. You’ve heard the saying, “the best revenge is living well?” Well the best response to the challenge is “using it to make you stronger, more agile and successful.” How can you get to this point without investing a small fortune in pillows?

Take the time to look at the challenge, outside of its occurrence and when you’ve had a glass of wine, cup of tea, playtime with your children or pet. You’ll know when you’ve released the resistance and emotion attached to the challenge. Then you can apply some personal reflection to it.

Look back at the other times when you’ve experienced this kind of stress or challenge. What was happening? How did you feel through it? What did you learn from it? How are you different as a result? Let me give you a personal example to clarify how this can work.

I worked for a tough, tough manager. She was someone no one wanted to deal with. She has a very sharp mind and if you don’t keep up with her, she eats you for lunch. I finally (through lots of tears and headaches) learned to go with her flow. I learned it wasn’t going to get me anywhere otherwise. When I moved to a new job, she fully supported my promotion. Later, she asked me to come back to work for her again. Well, this is something no one had ever done! Now she was an executive and even tougher! I liked her and I KNEW her so I decided, “heck yeah I’ll work for you again.” I had many, new, challenging moments with her. But she pointed out that I was now a different person than in the past and had grown to “manage” her well. What was it?

I reflected on previous challenges with her and how I got through it; and who I was as a result. I also realized it was the meaning that I was attaching to her challenges. When I realized it had nothing to do with who I was or how talented I was, it no longer bothered me, personally. That was the growth she saw in me. It turned out to be the best manager-employee relationship I’ve had. (And yes, I would work for her, now a Vice President, again!)

So don’t discount the challenges that you face. Use them! Here are some tips to help!

Tip #1 – Nothing has meaning, save the meaning you give it. We always want the best for ourselves; however in our minds we make things worse than they really are. How? We give it a negative meaning vs. trying to create something positive instead. We do this, mostly, so that we’re not disappointed. So why not try a different approach and by giving it a positive meaning. Decide your own meaning and you’ll be more than surprised with the result! What do you have to lose since you’re thinking anyway? smile

Tip #2 – What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. This is a mantra for a lot of people today. But we don’t have to be this dramatic to realize that we are much stronger than we think. Using just a tiny bit of reflection, you’ll see you’ve been down this road before and it’s always worked out for you! (or you wouldn’t be reading these words…you’d be…well, you know…)

Tip #3 – Declare, this will be for my benefit! What if we just made the declaration, right here, right now, that no matter what, I will take more from this event than it could possibly take from me! This stirs your energy and gets you focused in a powerful new direction.

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