Some days, things can just go wrong. I am really big on motivation, but in times like this all the warm and fuzzy talk doesn't really help. Here are five things you can do that will actually help.
1. Take a moment to breathe.
This is one of the most important things you can do, because not only will it relax you, it will likely stop you from doing something you regret out of anger. I mentioned this in last week's article '5 Ways to Deal With Conflict' and it's just as relevant here. It's important to recognise when you are not in your natural state of mind. When things go really wrong, this can be very hard to do, which makes it a really good exercise. If you can control your emotions and especially if you can control anger, you become a very powerful person.
2. Don't worry about things you can't control.
This is a major piece of advice for life in general, not just for when things go wrong. However it's particularly important in times of hardship, mostly because the worry is much more stressful. If something bad has happened it can be easy to dwell on it and pull your hair. If there is something you can act upon now to fix the situation, then do it. But if you cannot change it, do not waste energy worrying about it, even if it sucks.
This week I released some updates for my app AroundAbout. We just spent months making some major changes and (as with almost any tech company), things take longer than you anticipate. I had to push back an event because we were behind, and then once it finally got approved by Apple, as soon as you updated the app it crashed! WHAT!I felt like throwing my phone out the window and ripping the engineer's head off. However after I completed step one (which required 10 minutes of meditation) I became more calm knowing that my anger or concern will not change the outcome of this situation. There's definitely a word to be had to the development team, but until the situation is fixed there is nothing I can do on my end. Learn to relax when you cannot alter the outcome.
3. Understand that pain is temporary.
Whatever it is you are dealing with, I promise it will pass. It might feel impossible to comprehend this in the moment, but you must understand this. If your business is in trouble, if you lost money, if a relationship has been ruined, if you are feeling overwhelmed, just know that this too shall pass. Below is a quote from one of my favourite speakers:
4. Imagine the worst case scenario.
This is a tweak of something I read in the Four Hour Work Week. For this I want you to imagine the worst version of what could possibly happen. Imagine your nightmare. It's not nice to think about, but just think about it or write it down. Now, think about how you can overcome that if in the rare scenario that this actually happened. What steps would you take to get back to normal?
First of all, you will most likely be able to bounce back from anything with not that much damage. So even if somehow that did actually end up happening (which is rare), you have a plan to resolve it. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that it's very unlikely that's going to become a reality, and even if it does you have a game plan. This is huge!
5. Learn from it!
You live and you learn! Learn what you can take from this situation, what could you have done differently? How will you adjust for next time? If it was totally out of your control and nothing to do with you, what is the universe trying to teach you? Patience? Gratitude? There is always something to learn.
One of my favourite sayings of all time is 'Failing is never a loss, only a lesson'. This is so incredibly true, in life you only do one of two things, you win or you learn. It's so important I made a view about it (below)
There is another fantastic theory called 'The Five Whys' that allows you to get down the core of the problem. It is remarkably simple: when a problem occurs, you uncover its nature and source by asking "why" no fewer than five times. Here it is in action:
BONUS: Watch something uplifting.
I did say at the start that sometimes the warm and fuzzies don't help your situation, however once your emotional wave has passed it does help to watch something motivational or uplifting. There are stacks of videos on YouTube, just type in 'motivational video' and you'll have a huge selection to choose from.
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With these five tips you can learn to control your emotions and deal with the tough times, which I hope don't come around too often for you! Good luck!
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