Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Sometimes the Way We Look at the Problem, IS The Problem
Another way to think about stress is through the outcomes you
experience in your life. For example, the quality of your relationships, your
satisfaction with a job, your current level of health and stress, and your
financial situation are all a result of how you have responded to situations,
events, and circumstances that have come up in your life.
You might be thinking: “There are lots of things that come up in life that
I have absolutely no control over.” And you are absolutely right! There are
many situations that go on in the workplace that you cannot control or
influence. In fact, there are events that arise in life that are completely out
of your control. It is important is to spend your energy, skills and time
focusing on what is within your ability to control or at least influence.
I discovered many years ago when I was a Correctional Officer that
sometimes the way people view a situation or event is actually the problem.
When you can change how you look at the event or view it through a
different lenses, sometimes the issue doesn’t seem so bad.
“Why is it that people always put their energy into the things that drives
them crazy…stuff that is completely out of their control?” asked a client
during a team building consultation.
“Tell me more about that. What do you mean?” I asked Joe, the team
lead. Joe had been with his company for 15 years, and according to him
he “had seen it all, and done it all.”
“Well, I have noticed that our staff meetings often go off on a different
tangent. It seems innocent at first but then I see the team’s energy
focusing on what they can’t change, such as company policy, the available
budget, and the current economic climate in the world. People get pretty
hot under the collar and it can be tough to bring them back to the rea
l world…our business.”
“Great question Joe, one that would be useful to explore when we meet
with the team. What’s your take on it, though?” I asked. Joe really
seemed to have his finger on the pulse of his team and had a vested
interest in building a resilient and inspired team.
Thinking for a few minutes, Joe responded, “Maybe when people focus
on what they can’t control they can assign blame, or look to who ‘should’
be responsible, instead of what they can actually influence or fix
“Interesting. So I wonder what gets in the way of the team having
These two questions were soon a facilitated discussion that led to an
incredible team building process. The questions were: Why do team
members put energy into what is not within their direct control and?
And what is it that we can actually control or influence, and could we
explore putting our energy there instead? As the team explored looking
through a different set of eyes, they discovered that when they focused
only on the negative or what seemed broken the situation was far worse
than it was in reality. When the team focused on what was in their
control, they looked at that same event very differently, and focused
Excerpt from Charmaine Hammond’s Bounce Forward Book.
To read more about this topic, follow the blog, or you can order a copy of
Bounce Forward (the book or the soon to be released audio book) by
emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for your signed copy.