Some things in life are more challenging than others

From time to time we get hurt. There is very little danger out there these days, as all the bears have all but disappeared, but there is plenty of opportunity for us to suffer emotional pain. A break up, or the death of some one close to us on the personal level, through to the less impactful but still difficult business related problems we might face.

For some of us, business is more than just work. Its our lives and livelihoods, and there is little more important. Losing a deal, missing an investment, losing money on something, or I guess the ultimate, losing your job or even worse, your own business cause varying degrees of pain for us. So here are my thoughts on what to do about it.

1) Nothing – Thats right, do nothing. Allow yourself to heal. If you had broken a leg, you’d be happy to get plastered up and consider yourself invalided for some time? You’d allow proper recuperation, according to the medical advice, you may even take a few weeks off work to make sure you got yourself fit again. But emotional pain? We are more likely to try to hide it. Grin and bear it. Carry as normal. Except things aren’t normal. That’s why you are feeling the pain. So allow yourself to hurt.

2) Be kind to yourself – Dont place all the blame for a situation on yourself (unless you deserve it! A different blog that one!) It hugely unlikely that what has happened is your fault. In fact, its likely what you are feeling is a mixture of frustration, vulnerability and helplessness. You’re a good person. You don’t set out to hurt people. So give yourself a break, and just allow yourself to grieve without judgement.

3) Get perspective – One of my favourite phrases is ‘There are a billion people out there who couldn’t care less!”. Hurt is all about where you stand and your position on things. We are able to change that position by carefully considering your view of the situation. Put it into context. Cosmically speaking, how important is this issue? Or even, how important is it compared to your health? Or to some one really close to you? In my job, when things get a little tense, I often recall how my Dads job as a steel worker, and my Granddads job as a miner set them up for far more hazardous an environment than any I am likely to face in the world of business!

4) Relegate positivity to the dustbin – Where it belongs. No one can prevent hurt or pain through a sunny outlook. No one can anticipate those moments on life that knock you for six, and insulate themselves from them with a happy-go-lucky attitude. Cosmic ordering doesn’t take into account the kick in the n*ts the universe is about to visit on you, just when you least expect it.

5) Proactivity v. Positivity – The question is how you deal with the things that have happened to you, not what your attitude is like. Remember, you cannot chose what happens to you, or even as mentioned, anticipate it sometimes. What you can do is chose how you will react (after a suitable period of grieving of course. Make sure you don’t descend into mawkishness)

6) Choice is the most powerful force in the world – Understand you are choosing to feel the way you feel.  Maybe you can’t get close to that right now, but at some point you will realise that each morning you chose your mood, chose what to do, where to go and how you will go about it. Recognising that you are where you today as a result of the choices you have made is the first step to achieving power over yourself and your life.

7) Stay in the present – Don’t bother obsessing over the past, or chasing your thoughts into the future. Unless you have a time machine there is nothing you can do about it anyway. Chose to stay in the present and enjoy the moments you have. Life is the stuff that goes on while you are waiting for something to happen.

8) You are not your thoughts – Allow yourself to think, and have thoughts, but they do not define you. In the meadow of your mind’s eye, watch as the thoughts, like horses prancing through, enter from one side, run around, and leave on the other. Watch your thoughts do this, and recognise they are just that. Allow them to live and flit back out of your mind to where they came from.

9) Be aware of your self talk – What others tell you, and importantly, what you tell yourself, becomes your beliefs about things. This has an effect on your attitude and impact on your feelings. Feeling can get in the way of your performance, your behaviours.

eg. I feel I am under prepared. I am nervous, uncomfortable, I criticise myself with my inner voice “I should have learned this by now. I wish I’d spend more time rehearsing” and so on.

You therefore believe that you are under prepared. And consequently your attitude is negative. A negative attitude has a negative impact on your feelings. WHat do you think your behaviours are like when your feelings are negative?

Conversely, tell yourself you’ll cope. You’ll get through it. You’ve done this sort of thing before. You can rely on your quick thinking and ability to intuit answers. What impact does that have on your beliefs?

Given your beliefs are then that much more positive, your attitude will be improved. A great attitude results in positive feelings. How well do your perform, how great are your behaviours, when your feel so great?

See how that works. (By the way, for more on this, see Mike Finnegan’s i2i)

SO what do you think? Make sense? Can you use this stuff? Let me know. Leave a comment below, or tweet me on @radiojaja

  1. Tony Dowling
    Tony Dowling says:

    i see it as the other way around actually – the thoughts are the interlopers. You are your mind, the thoughts clouds scuddding across the sky, or horses running through the meadow.
    The different facets of your mind are fascinating too, thinking mind, doing mind, critic mind – marvelous stuff!

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Hi Michael! Welcome to the blog! Thanks very muck for the kind words, and stand by for an article all about you and what you do, or at least what we did the other week
      It was brilliant stuff and I am looking forward to sharing it with eveyone here

  2. Sarah Hoss
    Sarah Hoss says:

    I read this by chance while checking out the Oi conference deets and I wanted to drop by and say ‘hi’ – I enjoyed reading this post and can relate to it too. Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed I ask myself ‘in a year’s time, what will my feelings be about this?’ and that helps, like you suggest, to get things into perspective.

    ‘It will always be okay in the end, if it’s not okay yet, then it’s not the end’ is a bit corny but I like it! 🙂 and always remember to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ X