What do you do when something happens ‘out of the blue’ like the other day when my landlord announced they were going to either increase the rent by a whopping 32% or sell the property. Not that this is the worse thing that can happen to a person, but just the same a significant happening and a major disruption as it means moving not only my business but also my personal life since I operate my business out of my home. This announcement also came with the landlord in tears on my doorstep as this decision was the consequent of difficult times for them as well. At the same time I received an email from an acquaintance that was facing possible redundancy and in quite a distressed state and another acquaintance that had just been made redundant and was worried about finding a new position so that they could meet their financial obligations. It seems no matter where you turn these days people are going through difficult times and having to deal with unexpected ‘out of the blue’ situations. For many they are stressed to the max and finding it quite difficult to cope with the changes at hand. This got me wondering whether or not people have a plan, a process, or a procedure that they follow in these circumstances or do they find themselves totally at the whim of their emotions? It would seem the latter for some. These people often end up distraught, confused, and drained of energy and find themselves making poor decisions that can have repercussions down the track. Below is a strategy that I’ve used when helping clients deal with the unexpected or in situations where I, myself, have had to deal with the unexpected. You might find it of value too.
- CALM DOWN. Breathe deeply. Long, slow deep breaths will help you to relax.
- Delay making any immediate decisions. Seldom is a decision required on the spot. A delay gives you valuable time that can be used to your advantage. It gives you time to settle down and think things through to ensure a good decision is made.
- Deal with your emotions. We are emotional beings so a reaction on this level is normal but it is the emotions that get in the way of clear thinking and good decision making so don’t ignore them. Give yourself the time required to come to terms with the situation on an emotional level.
- Ensure you get all the facts in the situation. When we first read or hear about something unexpected our emotions can interfere with our interpretation of the situation. Once we have calmed down from our initial reaction it is wise to go back and re-read or clarify what was said to ensure we have interpreted the situation correctly.
- Be solution focused. This requires you to move beyond your emotions and out of victim consciousness. It means taking responsibility and moving forward rather than sitting in a state of blame, ‘poor me’, hopelessness or any other form of negative emotions.
- Take time to reflect on the facts and to come up with a range of options. Be resourceful, flexible and creative in determining your options. Do think outside the square. Don’t rush this part of the process for it is in our reflection time that we access the more creative aspects of our minds.
- Take time to reflect and consider the pros and cons of each option and any additional consequences. Imagine what it would be like if you selected a particular option – live it and breathe it in your mind as if it were actually happening. Do this for each option so that you can really feel what it would be like if you chose to implement that option. Notice any consequences that you hadn’t as yet thought about.
- Pay attention to your feelings. They will provide you with additional information to consider prior to making your decision. Notice where in your body you feel your feelings and consider what they might mean. If you dream a lot pay attention to these as well. From my experience, dreams don’t lie; although they may require some skill in interpreting them correctly.
- Seek further advice, information and coaching or counseling as required. This includes assistance to extend the range of your options if you have only come up with a few possibilities. If you are stuck in your emotions, find someone who can help you in this regard so that you can move forward with a clear mind.
Remember, successful people seek help
when it is required.
Seeking help is not a sign of weakness;
it is a sign of wiseness.
- Make an informed decision. TRUST your decision will work out for you and proceed with confidence. Things are more likely to work out for you the first time round having following a well thought out plan as described above.
Keep in mind, if things don’t quite work out as expected you will have the benefit of the learning and growth that comes from that. Seeing things from this perspective allows you to have a positive result regardless of the outcome. Unexpected things can and do happen. We can’t eliminate these from our life or predict the outcome 100%; however, by following these ideas we can minimize the risk of a poor decision in these situations. Remember, too, there is always help available. All we need do is ask for it.
Lynda Moe is a Business Strategist, Process Based Facilitator, Executive & Leadership Coach & Motivational Speaker who is passionate about collaboratively creating high performing and resilient individuals, teams and organizations. She helps her clients to solve problems, shift mindsets, enhance their performance, resiliency and agility (change, thinking, communication & leadership) in order for them to unleash their positive potential. Contact her here or email lynda@ if you would like to request a complementary no-obligation meeting with Lynda to discuss your business, team, coaching or facilitation requirements or for her to speak at your next event.