Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We Shall Overcome

No one can ignore that times are tough. The economy is struggling, the job market is dry, and many companies are in survival mode. I was recently asked by an undergrad what differentiates great professionals from general contributors....

My answer: The Ability to Overcome Adversity!

The morning news is full of doom and gloom and our bar stool buddies don't always speak with optimism. Those who have endured our economic decline have something in common: they have figured out how to take what is coming and make it work. There is no schooling or certification that will help you understand the best way to handle adversity. It comes down to challenging yourself to see the forest through the trees.

Here are 3 ways to endure troubled times:
Pick Your Battles
Find the Silver Lining
Don't Ignore The Elephant 

...the forest through the trees
We are a prideful herd. We want to win. We put a lot of effort into things and when our work is challenged, it offends us. I once spent 30 minutes on the phone with a person who took that time to explain to me that she did not have 30 minutes to complete her portion of a project. Our pride often overwhelms our ability to get things done. We often do not wish to participate if we feel there is not a gold star in it for us. We want our work and our ideas validated and rewarded. We want to follow an intent that matches our personal desire.

Simple fix: with everything you do, understand what it means to your personal purpose. Sometimes you just have to take action to cross an item off the list. Standing your ground is essential to your personal integrity but don't waste your personal stand on report processing. Choose your battles wisely.

To Nod without Agreeing
People will get upset and will wish to be herd. Sometimes if you listen and let them get it off their chest it helps them move on with their day. You don't have to agree with people to hear them out. Nor do you need to oppose people's viewpoint...they seek empathy to help overcome their personal strife.

It is much easier to be negative than positive. It is much easier to sit on the sidelines than to be in the game. This is why certain people complain at happy hour but dare not voice a concern in a team meeting. It's work, there are a lot of stupid tasks that confront us....complaining about the 'to do' list only makes it longer.

Cutting Corners Around in Circles
Integrity is a core value of every organization. We roll our eyes and say - "yea right"! But every person is faced with decision making. These decisions are critical to our lasting impression on this earth. Sometimes you have to acknowledge oversights and short comings. Sometimes you have to admit you are wrong.

Great leaders make hard decisions and deliver bad news. Challenges only get more difficult if you choose to ignore them.

I'm sure the aforementioned advice seems almost infantile. But, we cannot allow the mundane to distract our mission.

Frustration is a choice made in reaction to a challenge. Always seek a solution instead of finding a way to pass blame. We can meet each day with a smile or a furrowed brow. If you allow others to determine your goals you will always be miserable. Get out in front of it and determine your own destiny.

Don't Forget to Remember!


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