Years ago when Sister Pat and I lived in the same town, we would get together nearly every Wednesday evening for dinner at her house.
When we feel like whining, we can choose instead to get together with a friend and talk out what we’re really feeling.
She’d cook and I’d bring a bottle of wine. We gave each other the gift of unconditional listening as we’d discuss whatever was troubling us. There was no shortage of topics. She was recently divorced with a grown child, and I had divorced several years earlier and was raising two teenagers. Sometimes, we needed to solve problems, and sometimes, we just needed to vent. Misery loves miserable company.
We called those evenings our time for ‘wine and whine.’
At the end of the evening, we both felt better for having expressed ourselves in a safe venue. Sometimes we learned to look at our situations differently. Sometimes action was possible. Sometimes, we simply had to accept things as they were. Continue reading
Chances are better than average that at some point in your life you’ve had to deal with a true crisis outside of death of a loved one or divorce. It might be a health issue, a financial issue, a house fire, a broken engagement. Whatever it might have been, it was unexpected, the situation was out of your control, and it left you mired in uncertainty for a period of time.
By changing our perspective, we can see that obstacles don’t have to be barriers to a good life.
Fortunately, that kind of situation does not occur often in our lives, but when it does, we’re surprisingly well-equipped to deal with it.
Why then do we sometimes find it so much harder to deal with life’s minor irritations? I’m talking about events that certainly can’t be called a crisis, and yet cause us to feel anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness or other emotions that are out of proportion to the event. Continue reading
A former boss of mine used to listen to our inputs, and then at some point, she’d make a decision. “This is what I want you to do,” she’d say. When the choice was not clear cut, she might say, “Let’s try it and see what happens. We won’t know if it will work or not unless we try.”
Whether your goal is as high as the moon or something you can accomplish before lunch, you will only reach it by pleasing yourself.
She wasn’t afraid to make a decision, or to change her decision when additional facts came to light. Her decisions were pragmatic, efficient and clear. Even if they were not always right.
What she did not do was expect us to vote or to debate until consensus was reached. Voting would have only served to create a win/lose scenario and give those on the losing side the opportunity to walk away from any commitment to implement the actions necessary for success. Too often consensus deteriorates into a process of making sure everyone gets a little of what they want, without regard to whether the actions will at all address the problem they were intended to address or whether the results are likely to yield the desired outcome. (If you want proof of this, look no farther than the U.S. Congress.)
We can’t run our business or lead our team by consensus. It doesn’t work. We also can’t live our life by consensus, by doing whatever the people near us tell us to do about how to live our life. Continue reading