Over the past week I had work cancelled that had been booked almost 6 months ago, due to a variety of reasons, budget cuts notwithstanding.
With bills to pay and food to put on the table, it does hurt and I admit to feeling pretty disappointed and frustrated by decisions made that are outside of my control.
As a business owner, these are the trials and the opportunities we face. Which got me thinking....
As leaders and managers out there, how often do you have a difficult business decision to make or receive news that is unfavourable that you have to work through and still keep smiling?
- What do you do?
- How do you cope?
- How do you push through and keep your momentum?
Its seductively tempting to want to voice your frustrations to all and sundry, to look outward and blame and judge or even to look inward and blame and judge. Yet, how helpful is this approach? And, how is it going to help you move forward?
My short but powerful answer to dealing with the problems I face is a simple acronym:
S stands for STOP
Take Time-Out to Reflect on what has happened. Often it can be tempting to go into action mode in order to get some sort of result. My experience is that its only when we stop, sort through and acknowledge our feelings and thoughts that we can sort through the problem in order to objectively address our response to it. Some useful questions you can ask yourself:
- Is what's happening a personal attack or me taking things personally?
- What are my thoughts right now? What is driving these? - often we find that we are not upset for the reason we think we are
- How am I really feeling about this situation?
T stands for THANKFUL
I know this sounds contradictory. Why be thankful for a situation that is causing you pain, frustration or discomfort?
By acknowledging that this situation has happened and being thankful for it, you have a powerful opportunity to re-frame it. And this is important from a neuroscience perspective because your brain starts to go into threat mode in reaction to events you perceive as negative. By re-framing, you give your brain the opportunity to calm itself and this is important to allow you to solve the situation that has arisen.
Some questions to ask yourself to help you re-frame your situation:
- How can I use this situation to help me?
- What in this situation can help me give me a bigger perspective about my current thoughts and behaviours?
- What do I really want?
O stands for OPPORTUNITY
In most instances, the let-down we have opens the way for other opportunities to come our way - if we are open and ready for them.
Have you ever had a difficult/sad/frustrating situation happen which you had to let go of? Then once you had to courage to surrender and let go, something else MUCH BETTER came along?
Some useful questions to ask yourself when exploring opportunities:
- What's holding me back from moving forward?
- What options do I have?
- What other options are available to me?
- Who can I talk to about this that may be able to help me solve/come up with a different perspective?
P stands for PROCEED
Once you have worked through your thoughts and feelings about a situation, you often feel lighter and less weighed down. The science behind this is that negative emotions have a frequency and the more intense the negative thoughts and feelings associated with them,the heavier,more dense and sluggish the frequency. It's why we often feel "weighed down" in adversity and why when we begin to take positive actions, we start to feel "lighter". The feelings we have when we take action are usually higher frequency emotions like "resolve, focus, energy". We are designed for deep insight and thought BEFORE responding with ACTION. That's why if you proceed without doing steps 1, 2 and 3, you will get stuck and your results won't be as successful in most instances.
Some questions to ask yourself once you are ready to proceed:
- What am I going to do first?
- What then?
- And then?
It's useful to note that this process of moving through and working through the 4-step STOP process can take as a little as 7 minutes or as long as a few hours. It really is up to you and the intensity of the thoughts and feelings brought up in such a situation.
What words of wisdom do you have around dealing with and responding to life's let downs? I'd love to hear your stories and insights, please share in the comments section below this article....
And, if this is s topic you want to learn more about, why not check out our monthly webinars where you can learn how to "Master Your Mindset" as well as "10 Habits to a Healthier, Happier You"
Until next we speak, I will see you at the top!
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