Step away from that “woe-is-me” cry when things don’t go to plan! It’s important to foster a solution-focused attitude rather than wallowing in despair…I know it’s “easier-said-than-done” but with a few techniques and ideas at the ready, you’ll become more adept at dealing with days that are far from perfect!
Last week I shared the different lenses that you can apply to challenging situations and I hope you’ve been putting these into practice. Today I want to share a blog post that I wrote for the fabulous Wearethecity. There are some real gems of advice contained in here…
Just a Perfect Day
This blog title is actually drowning in sarcasm. For yesterday was far from my ideal of a perfect day.
Firstly, my laptop got stuck in a menacing loop of error screens with a recommendation to ‘refresh’. This meant a late night waiting for Microsoft Office to be reinstalled and setting my first task of this morning to reconfigure Outlook.
Then I took a call from a business colleague. Up until now they had been eager and enthusiastic to partner with me with no indication that the hours we had spent pulling together a mutually agreeable MoU document did not match their overall strategy. They announced they would not be signing said document with much apology….
In the words of the Walliams aka Carol Beer in his Little Britain sketch
‘computer says no’ …quickly followed by
‘colleague says no’ …..quickly followed by me groaning ‘no’ head in hands.
But enough of my sob stories. Pack away your violins readers because I’m not writing this for sympathy and, in true Lindsay fashion I’m ready to learn from yesterday and share it with you as I muse the graphic below……
Fact. We all have days that don’t go to plan.
Fact: We all face disappointments, change and upsets (of varying degrees)
(Yay! I feel better already stating those two obvious facts….. we are all connected in a mutual comaraderie of less than perfect days then….)
Take my colleague who arrived for a business meeting wearing her comfy airplane travelling clothes (tracky, trainers) and discovered her suitcase containing her smart outfit had been incorrectly labelled and was winging its way to a different destination….take my colleague who, in the throes of orchestrating a major office move, also has the challenges of a daughter with glandular fever and an elderly mother who tripped and fell and needed an emergency operation on her broken wrist…
Fact (make sure you’re listening to this bit ‘cos this is important!)
How we respond to these situations can have an impact and it is our response that defines us.
I’m all for sharing learning about goal setting, being clear about what you need and want to achieve (SMARTesque thinking) but the key to our happiness and success is flexibility. Flexibility in our thinking and our behaviour when our plans don’t go to plan. And, let’s face it, that happens. We all have less than perfect days.
Last week I delivered training to a group of EAs and Office Managers. Keen to emphasise the value they add to their organisations and how their effectiveness/efficiency or otherwise can have an impact, we drew up ‘impact cascades’.
For those visual learners, think dominos lined up. When one domino falls it will result in them all falling.
Example: If you don’t make a great success of dealing with customer queries the impact could be
You lose customer as they take their custom elsewhere
Reputation damaged (company and yours)
Loss of business and revenue
And so on
Consider my laptop situ then. Had I responded with negativity – spending my day groaning ‘no’ head buried in hands the impact could have gone something like this:
I feel fed up.
I’m giving off negative vibes
I’m not doing anything to solve the situ, to make it better and move on
My husband gives me a ‘wide bearth’ as I glower at him….(as if it is his fault!)
I crash around the kitchen making tea and squish the teabag with such force it tears and I have a black swirly mess of a drink to pour away and start again
My to do pile remains undealt with as my laptop screen flashes menacingly at me recommending a refresh
Quick! Let’s move away from this negative impact cascade and the clatter of dominos falling!
For those visual learners (and fellow lovers of champagne) think a pyramid of beautiful empty cut glass champagne flutes. Now imagine pouring champagne in the top glass and that energy, sparkle and effervescence cascading down with a full glass for everyone to share.
If you make a great job of dealing with customer queries then the impact could be
Customer recommends you/your company – new business
A feeling of satisfaction that you’ve done a great job – boosted confidence
Reward and recognition from your team and manager (increased responsibility for you, a step up the career ladder, a financial incentive?)
Increased revenue for business
And so on …
So, my laptop’s unwell.
I research what ‘refresh’ means
I find the licence number for reinstalling Mictosoft Office
I check through my to do list and identify what tasks I can do without the need for a laptop
I smile (“fake it til you make it”)
I make myself (and my husband who looks suitably concerned at the situ) a cup of tea leaving it to brew in the pot for perfect tea strength….
So – gold medal please – yesterday I orchestrated my own positive impact (albeit I admit that I did groan ‘no’ once..)
I picked myself up, dusted myself off and carried on.
Whilst the day was less than perfect, my response most surely was.
Now please excuse me whilst I reconfigure Outlook.