Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
One of the things I’ve noticed over the last few years is how much we, as adults, feel scared. I’m not talking about horror films here either (a genre I’ve never really understood).
What I mean is that life and work can be a series of unpredictable challenges, for which we have often had no prior experience or training. As children we would have had similar experiences, perhaps our first day of high school, the day before an exam we haven’t properly revised for (most of them in my case), or the dread of the end of term school report.
Psychologists often suggest that we have four basic emotions that underpin all of the states of mind and body that we label as feelings. They are: Happiness, Sadness, Anger and Scare. This means that scare, fear and anxiety are part of who we are and that everyone has access to these emotions.
However we are often told as children ‘don’t be scared’ …chin up, stomach in, it’s only one exam Richard and you will be fine. This is clearly kindly parenting, but it doesn’t give us anything to chew on. We don’t learn anything, or have any new words, or ideas to counteract the instruction.
When we are now all fully grown up and calling ourselves ‘adults’ we feel scared of things and are missing grown up ways to deal with it. Business is scary for many people and mounting a sales campaign, chasing a bad debt and worrying about future cashflow can feel very uncomfortable.
Luckily, because we are adults, we don’t have to repeat childhood responses and we can find new and constructive ways to take care of ourselves. Here are 3 of my favourites…
1. Know that it’s Ok to feel scared. I’m inviting us all to recognise when we have a feeling and instead of suppressing it we can embrace it …because it is giving us useful information about the situation we are in. Knowledge can lead to action!
2. Write it down. Being able to read back our feeling means we can test it and ask what is this really all about? The first scare may be hiding a deeper fear or it may be papering over a lurking sadness. Often we know deep down what the problem really is and it can take a while to admit it to ourselves. Writing can lead to greater awareness!
3. Phone a friend. Make it a good friend, someone you have real faith in, who will listen to you and who won’t gently humiliate you with platitudes. Invite them to help you generate new options in order to deal with the situation facing you. There are always options when we look hard enough!
Feelings are part of being human. Being responsive to them is part of learning to grow up, be the age we are (intead of feeling a frightened 12 year old again) and taking action to resolve things.
It is Ok to feel scared. It is Ok to acknowledge the information this feeling brings. It is Ok to feel scared and to take action at the same time. We can all walk and chew gum, as they say in the movies!
This week, we can all do some thinking about our feelings in order keep on top of our business issues.
Next week: Is Social Media Still Useful?
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Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in
Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish
Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age
Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish
An insider's guide to working for yourself
Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish