How much of your day, and indeed your life, is determined by the people and environment around you? Every single day I hear people complaining about their work, whichever side of the fence they sit on – maybe they dislike their boss and disagree with his or her management style, or maybe they are the boss and their employees are not as productive or proactive as they would like.
It’s frustrating isn’t it, when people don’t behave how you would like them to? Or perhaps it’s not the people but the situation – there just aren’t enough resources to do the job properly, or market fluctuations mean you’re constantly putting out fires rather than moving forward. Life (and business) is a rollercoaster baby…but what if it didn’t have to be such a hectic ride?
You see, while all these external entities do indeed have an impact on your situation, they never have the ability to physically impact the way you feel, and therefore the way you respond. It’s actually the meaning you give to them that does. Allow me to give you an example to explain my point. Let’s imagine a scenario where a key team member decides to quit unexpectedly at the exact time a major deal is going through. And let’s consider how this may impact the different people involved:
- For you, the employer and owner of the business, you might feel a great deal of stress because you worry that the deal may fall through and you may lose a lot of potential income that has already been accounted for. So your response might be driven by anger and panic, and may result in you offering the client a better deal to keep them sweet, ultimately impacting your bottom line and quite possibly your quality of sleep!
- The new client may also feel concerned, since they’ve built up their relationship with the team member and now their major connection, whom they trust, has gone. Their response may be driven by worry and fear, and might cause them to pull back from sealing the deal and re-consider other options, the impact to them being more time lost and more resources used to conduct further assessments, so therefore a financial loss and added stress also.
- For the team member, they may feel excited and motivated because they are moving on to new opportunities, so their response is largely positive with no negative impact for them.
Can you see how the exact same scenario has made three different people feel and respond in three very different ways? Although the physical event was the same, the meanings given to it were not:
- You: We won’t close the deal and the business will lose money = stress, anger and panic
- Client: We’re not sure if we can trust this company any more = worry, fear and stress
- Team member: Onwards and upwards to my next opportunity = excitement and motivation
How do you think you would have responded differently if you changed the meaning to something like:
What a fantastic opportunity to allow us to adjust our client relations processes to ensure clients have a relationship with the business and not an individual team member?
Personally you would have experienced less stress and negative feelings, and in terms of your actions you would have been more proactive and created a solution that benefited the company and moved it forward, rather than being reactive and holding it back. Ultimately with this meaning, the result could have been a much stronger relationship with the new client, maintained and potentially even increased business with them, and a new process that would keep clients more secure in the future…therefore better client acquisition, retention and revenue potential – meaning less worry, anxiety and stress for you…happy days!
So if you find yourself getting agitated, angry, stressed, upset, reactive, or indeed any emotion that’s not beneficial, towards a person or situation, stop and ask yourself:
- What meaning am I giving to this situation?
- Is this meaning allowing me to be proactive, find a solution and remain emotionally unaffected?
- If not, what is another meaning I can give to it that will allow me to operate proactively and logically, and not be personally impacted negatively?
Whether you like it or not, you are your business, so it’s critical that you remain in a proactive and logical mindset to ensure it doesn’t impact you personally, and you’re able to keep driving both the business and your life forward efficiently and effectively. Once you can operate from this space you will take full control of everything that happens to you, and full control over the way you feel and respond at all times.
Remember, the only thing you can ever truly control is you. So once you stop trying to control the physical person or situation and focus purely on controlling the meaning you’re giving to it, you’ll jump back in the driving seat and accelerate forward much faster than you ever imagined possible.