Yesterday I felt like an Indian traffic policeman …. Cars coming from every direction, a couple of the drivers following rules, but most flout them, horns blaring, accidents happening and just inhaling noxious gases that poison one’s thinking besides settling in the lungs.
I started the day with a client situation, that was an involved but good conversation and before I could move to the next meeting, I got news of a resignation that nearly put me in a binder, and it happened while I was reacting to pointed questions on another call, came up with a bunch of alternatives for the resignation situation and before I could go forward and close a thought, I had to react to a couple of renewal dilemmas… In the five minute break I got, I tried to re-energise myself by calling my “sunshine” friend and Amit, while you brought a smile to my face, the other news about our friend’s father disturbed me. The sluggish progress on some things, the unrelenting pursuit of a selfish agenda by some folks and the feeling that I may have tipped my hand early in a situation all further aggravated the feeling of being out of control. Things recovered a bit, with the energiser call, the successful retention and the impromptu lunch outing but the lingering headache just intensified. I finally had to pop a pill, get back home and just relax to get back to normal.
Nothing special in the day I described above, it’s all that happens in any executive’s life, but what is the mechanism to cope with this ?
A few things I do when life feels out of control –
1. Write things down… Something about putting things into a writing makes them doable and gives you a sense of control.
2. Have atleast a 5-layer “vent” band :):) – 5 people in different locations, different professions, different work timings, different access points with whom you can just say what comes to your mind, safely and without fear. You need a minimum of 5 because on a given day that one special “vent” buddy may not be available.
3. Tell yourself several times “this too shall pass”
4. Go out for coffee, lunch, snack, walk, whatever, but step out of the office and “see” something else. Helps to calm the mind and just get it back on track.
5. If you can get a quick nap, it’s the best pressure release valve.
6. Think of what is the worst that can happen and usually you immediately feel better.
7. Assume it is all happening to a friend and give yourself advise on how to deal with the situation. You will find some amazing work arounds all by yourself.
If all of the above fails, just let life be out of control – it will come back in control by itself or one of the above will work finally. Think again of the Indian traffic policeman – he tries to control the chaotic traffic and many times just takes off his hat and stands in a corner and let’s things be chaotic. Cars get dented, people fight, some get killed, potholes get filled, new potholes get created, barricades are put up and removed, lights turn green, red and amber and life goes on – exactly like a day at work ! The lesson is – just as the traffic lights change, so do things change at work, just as barricades come and go, challenges come and go, some differences of opinion get sorted out, some lead to exits… And work life also goes on. Relax. Take a deep breath. Chill… Like one of my “vent” buddy would say !
Today is another day and you are breathing – that’s all that matters, really.