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Don't Believe All You Think

Don't Waste Energy on Workplace What-Ifs

Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper, April 23, 2012   


Written by Arlene Hisiger 

"Don’t believe everything you think” read the bumper sticker on the car in front of me — sage advice for life and particularly sage advice for the workplace.

The bumper sticker’s message brought to mind the old tale about a driver who finds himself stranded on a lonesome road. Confident of his ability to repair his car if only he could borrow someone’s flashlight, he sets out in search of someone to ask. Since he had broken down in a fairly desolate area he had a ways to walk before finding a house.

On the way there, he chided himself for not being sufficiently organized to have kept a flashlight in his car. His anger soon turned to embarrassment. “Whoever answers the door will probably be contemptuous of me and think that I’m a fool for being so poorly equipped.”

“Still,” his inner debate continued, “I must have a flashlight in order to attempt any repairs to my car.” With great trepidation he approached the house he had seen from the road. An elderly gentleman opened the door and was startled to hear a perfect stranger blurt out: “Never mind, I don’t need your flashlight anyway!”

How often do we find ourselves caught up in scenarios of our own making?

How much energy have we expended on imagined conversations, scenarios, showdowns, conspiracies, etc.?

To avoid unnecessary drain on yourself and your co-workers’ physical and mental health, take a moment to reflect and explore these alternative approaches to difficult workplace situations.

Attempt to dilute the impact of your emotions by jotting down a facts-only summation of the situation.

Review the situation with a trusted colleague or supervisor.

Ask for objective feedback.

Consider the long-term impact of negative interaction with your co-workers.

Contact Arlene at 585-442-6108 or wordtailor@aol.com
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