Earlier this week, I was in Chicago leading a Bud to Boss Workshop. During the workshop, I told a story I often tell about a situation in my life where, as a leader of a team, I was confronted with large scale changes that impacted me in ways that I could not change or control.
Without going into all the details here, the main point of the story came from a decision I made and I encouraged the other members of my team to make. The decision was to do a “cost-benefit analysis” of our new situation.
Did it offer us more positive or more negative?
If it was more positive, we needed to go forward without complaining about the negative because we had chosen to accept it into our lives for the moment.
If it was more negative, we needed to develop a plan to leave the situation. And, having made the decision to leave, we needed to quit complaining because we were taking action to fix our frustration.
In my case, I chose to stay. I decided to fix what I could. Attempt to exert positive influence on those things that I couldn’t directly change. And to forget about the rest.
Another person asked for my help in finding another job. I did that, and he was happy.
After telling the story, one of the workshop participants shared a variation of the thought that she had read elsewhere. If I knew the original source, I would give credit. Since I don’t, I will simply acknowledge that this terminology didn’t come from me even though I really like the simplicity of it.
Here’s the thought.
When confronted with a frustrating situation (job change, buy-out, merger, etc.), do your “cost-benefit analysis” and choose one of these options:
Accept the change with all of its good and bad components, and realize that it is your choice to stay.
If the negative outweighs the positive for you, get out. Life is too short to stay (for very long) in a situation you hate.
Take action to fix the things that you can fix or change. Do everything in your power to make the situation better while recognizing the difference between those things that you can control, the people that you can influence, and everything else that you can neither control nor influence.
After you make your choice, quit complaining about it.
My experience with this approach has taught me this: I still might not like parts of the environment, but the choice to take responsibility for being there rather than blaming others for my situation greatly reduces the daily stress and frustration I might feel from being in the environment.