Yesterday morning took an unexpectedly unpleasant turn for me: it was emotionally charged and I was pretty upset! I took time out and thought about what really happened, what was the true long term impact? And do you know what, I realised that although things had been unpleasant, the reality was that the problem facing me was only short term. I took a moment to refocus on the bigger picture and told myself that no matter what happened, I was acting in a way that upheld my own values and whatever the outcome of the situation, I would handle it and things would work out perfectly in the end.
Then I drove home. I passed my favourite cake shop. And made the decision not to have an emotional response to my challenges by reaching for something sweet. (Something I have definitely been guilty of in the past!). I told myself that at the end of the day, I might still be disappointed by the way my morning had turned out, but I would not add to that by eating enormous quantities of malteser cake!
This evening, I had a coaching call scheduled and I knew that I was still not in the best frame of mind. I needed to take responsibility for this and make changes to ensure I could serve my client well. Again, I reflected on my values and my long term goals and I reminded myself that my setback was really only minor. I worked on my physiology (powerful body language = better results) and listened to my favourite cheesy music to change my state and ensure I could function at my best.
And guess what - all these techniques worked! I had a great call and was offered immediate thanks and feedback saying what a difference I had made.
So what's the learning we can all take from this and every other setback? I think it's important not to feel like a victim when bad stuff happens. And it does happen - to everyone! It's the way we handle it that makes the difference. So here are the four things that worked for me which we can all use:
- Perspective: Imagine taking yourself up in a helicopter above your life so you can see your timeline and look into the future. How impactful is this bad time going to be next week.. next month.. next year? Most of the time you will see the issue for what it is - a bit of a setback - and you can choose how you want to deal with it in a way that makes you proud of yourself.
- Be congruent; Act in a way that fits with your values and morals so that you know you have done the right thing no matter what.
- Change your focus: Choose to focus on something more positive and more significant. It's one of the quickest ways to get in a better state.
- Change your physiology: Choose to use body language that reinforces the positive attitude you have adopted.
Good luck! I'm going to be making sure that today is a better day. I'd love to hear any techniques you have to handle challenges!