Stop Worrying and Start Living

Stop Worrying and Start Living

I was talking to some of my team yesterday and discussing how, in business, you simply have to face up to tough decisions and things you wouldn’t necessarily want to do given the choice. Last week I wrote about eating the frog which has struck a few chords it seems from comments and emails I’ve had. That technique is a great way of dealing with individual tricky situations but what about stress and hard times in general – how do you deal with that?

In my business over the years, I’ve had to take people through disciplinary procedures, I’ve fired people, dealt with horrendous computer system crashes, irate clients and many many other difficult situations. These have an impact on my general stress levels and work/life balance and over the years I’ve learnt ways of dealing with this. I’m sure you feel and suffer the same and please believe me this is not a post to get sympathy.

Dealing with difficult times is something you have to do if you want to progress in business and guess what, quite often it’s these times that teach us more than the good times so there is a positive spin on this already. In fact I remember someone saying to me once that the clients who moan the most are often your best as they point out the problems within your business. You should thank clients that moan at you – they are teaching you a lot.

I use a few visualisation/positive thought techniques to help me when the chips are down – I’d like to share a couple with you this morning.

What’s the worst that could happen?
In his book, ‘How to stop worrying and start living’ (aff link) Dale Carnegie’s first chapter focuses on thinking about what the worst thing that could happen to you is – Are you likely to goto jail? Are you likely to die? Will you lose your entire business? No? Well let’s start to put a scale of how bad this really is then. By working out what the worst that can happen to you is and dealing with that, you can start to deal with it and move on.

How did they do it?
My Grandfather was in World War 2. He landed in D-Day and was blown up and shipped back to England pretty quickly. He also served in the desert and received the military cross for bravery. I remember fondly as a child, he used to recount stories to me of his time during the war. I learnt some very valuable lessons from him. None more so than just getting on with it. He lived through some awful conditions but never once moaned about them or felt he’d be dealt a tough hand. He taught me to get on with things and face up to the fact that life isn’t always peachy. I miss him dearly now and thank him for some of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learnt.

What would others do?
Last year I was lucky enough to attend a talk by Floyd Woodrow – One of the SAS’s youngest recruits at 22 years of age. He now runs a ‘performance optimisation’ company working with business and sports leaders. He talked about leadership that day and one thing in particular stuck in my mind. When faced with a difficult situation he uses a number of techniques. One is to touch his ear which he has linked mentally to pleasant visions and ideas and the second is to consider what others would do in his situation. Faced with a tricky decision he quickly sums up what 4 or 5 other people he highly respects would do and then makes his mind up. Perhaps a useful tool for you to use? You can follow Floyd on Twitter.

I have to say folks, on reading this back to myself this post feels a little negative but it’s really not meant too and I don’t feel at all down today – I thought it would be a good follow up to eating the frog and hopefully give you some ideas for techniques to use when you’re next feeling like things are against you. After all, if you’re down, think of all the people around that you will also bring down with you.

Chin up and keep smiling :)

Now Your Thoughts

  • Do you have any techniques for keeping your chin up during adversity?
  • What keeps you going?

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Comments

  1. I agree with you on this one Al.
    Sometimes, when your feeling down, you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, how ‘bad’ is it actually? The chances are there are a lot of people in much worse situations.
    Just like Dale Carnegie’s first chapter, what is the worst thing that could happen in the situation you are in..

    • Thanks Mike, Thats exactly it – I think the tendency for many of us is to think the worst and react too quickly (myself included in certain situations) and not think things through. Once you can put things in perspective it often helps.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

  2. Hear hear! Terrific post Al, and just the reality check we all need from time to time. Its so easy to become immersed in your own day-to-day problems and worrying about things quite often leads to making mountains out of molehills.

    Thinking back to how our relatives would have coped during wars is a brilliant way of putting some of our problems into perspective!

    Cheers,
    Jed

  3. I always think that when things are really bad there is only one way they can go – up! I had a series of blows at the end of 2009, which led to a stressful 2010 but so many amazing things have happened over the last few months that life is definitely back on the up!

    Whenever I’ve been through stressful situations in life I’ve found that things have turned on their head at the 11th hour and it’s all worked out alright. The trick is having faith during the tough times and not giving up.

    Alison

  4. Brilliant – my mother has always said “noone is going to take you outside and shoot you” if I’ve fretted about a difficult situation.
    So far she’s always been right!

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