Tag Archive | Stress

Close the Stable Door Before the Horse Bolts

Does this sound familiar? You’re having a particularly stressful day and someone does something that you perceive to go against your belief or what you are trying to accomplish. Rather than finding out the facts or taking time to cool off, you immediately pick up the phone and call the person or compose a less than friendly email. Then, minutes after your knee-jerk reaction, you are full of regret and wonder how you are going to rectify the situation.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. In the not too distant past I was probably one of the most impetuous people you will ever meet. I had to address every situation in a flash, usually without much thought to the facts or the consequences. I was an emotionally charged individual.

I like to believe that I am becoming finer with age, just like wine, but the reality is that it took many knock downs for me to finally learn the lesson. Situations don’t have to be addressed immediately. It is OK to take time to review the facts, analyze what happened, and to breathe, calm down and think rationally. No good decision is ever reached during a highly emotional state.

I was recently the recipient of a “fly off the handle without thought” response from a professional associate, and I can tell you, the person that dished it out, not only did not get her point across, but I now perceive her as extremely unprofessional and someone with whom I will have a limited working relationship.

Any impulsive reaction usually, at some point, requires a cleanup action, when you must apologize and try to repair the damage. In some cases, the wounds are too deep.

My advice? Practice patience. Create a plan for these types of situations. Try taking a walk around the block a few times to cool off. Call a friend. Write a note or email and then trash it. Think before you speak. Assess the situation to gain clarity. Get the facts.

It’s not always easy but remember there is no point to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Learn to keep the door shut before the horse gets out; it will lessen the amount of manure that must be cleaned up later.




Pain Is Inevitable But Suffering Is Optional

Do you ever feel like there is no end to the problems that you face? Do your challenges seem too great to overcome? Do you ever ask yourself, “What’s the point?” Do you allow your circumstances to govern your life to the point of making you sad, lonely, and depressed?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, welcome to the majority! Most people, at one time or another, feel the same way.

We tend to look at others and think that they have it made – they have it all figured out. What we don’t realize is that those who appear to have “figured it all out” have the same feelings that we do, however, they have made a conscious decision to turn their adversity into a positive experience.

A wise person once said, “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.”

We all face adversity; it’s what you do with it that matters.

I recently interviewed baseball great, Jim Abbott. Jim pitched a no-hitter with the New York Yankees, won the gold medal game at the 1988 Olympics, entered the starting rotation of the California Angels – without spending one day in the minor leagues, and finished third in voting for the Cy Young Award. Jim was born with one hand.

Jim spent much of his life with his missing hand tucked in his front pocket. Like the rest of us he felt insecure and self-conscious. But he chose a career with a uniform that didn’t have a front pocket. Even when he was standing on the pitcher’s mound making history, his insecurities crept in his thoughts. He never let those insecurities stop him and now he serves as an inspiration to many, children especially, proving that anything in life is possible. His challenge has become a gift.

Will you let your challenge become a gift? Will you look for the lessons in your adversity?

If you’ve lost a job, try to figure out what happened. Is there anything you could have done differently? Is it time for a career change? If you’re facing an illness, look for reasons why it may have happened. Can you change your lifestyle or diet? Can you be an inspiration to someone else? If you have relationship problems, what can you change about the way you interact with others? Is the person an emotional drain in your life? If you’re in debt, can you improve on your budgeting skills or become more financially prudent?

Adversity is guidance. Sometimes it comes into your life to tell you it’s time to change; sometimes to teach you a lesson. Always remember that anything can be overcome with the right attitude. Look to others for strength and inspiration. Rather than getting bogged down with your own problems, pay attention to people who happily survive and even prosper despite all of the odds.

As Jim Abbott said, “When something is taken away once, it is given back twice!” Look for what is given back to you!