Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Avoiding Issues Only Avoids the Solution: Paul L Guest Post

Are you the type of person who avoids difficult situations or one who takes them head on?  
Knowing which trait represents you can be a very valuable tool in life. There are pros and cons to each trait. Mastering how to meet difficult situations head on and how to overcome the tendency to shy away when the time is needed is also a very valuable tool.
During my enlistment in the U.S. Navy, I was stationed onboard a warship with 400 other men.  We didn’t have room to breathe let alone enjoy some personal space, it just didn’t exist. 

We all faced difficult situations in dealing with the different personalities and cultures of our shipmates as well as the stresses of being deployed to an active war zone. 

One shipmate in particular, I did not get along at all. We did our best to stay out of each other’s way onboard the boat until our Chief Petty Officer put us on the same watch crew. That meant spending at least 12 hours of everyday for a period of 6 months working side by side. The first few days were miserable and things were going in a very bad direction. 

It was then that I decided that this could not go on, one reason was for my sanity and two was for the completion of our mission. To make a long story short, I took action to initiate a conversation between him and I to get all of the nasty things out on the table where we could deal with them. By doing that we moved past the negative feelings we had for each other and talked about getting the job done. We still didn’t like each other but we did have enough respect for one another to do the job that we had to do. We finished our mission successfully and when the ship pulled in to home port, we went our separate ways. No hard feelings, no harm done. I didn’t know it back then but I was practicing one of the skills of Emotional Intelligence. 

Not every difficult situation needs to be met head on. Some can be ignored and they will go away in time, others, like in my situation, surely will not. The longer a difficult situation hangs around the more likely it is to cause turmoil within, creating stress and eventually unhappiness.  At this point a person will enter into denial, saying that the situation isn’t that bad, or that it doesn’t really bother them. That is a self-defense mechanism and can be extremely damaging to one’s self esteem and motivation. At this point you are already on a downward spiral and will quickly find yourself in a desperate situation.

So enough with all the gloom, what do you do when something like this comes up? When a situation is to the point where it is affecting you in the ways described, avoidance is not an option any longer.  It’s time to stand up and fix the issue. Knowing the issues that are affecting you is step number one.  Ask the questions-
What is bothering me, is it work life, is it home life?
Does it involve others?
Is it a direct person or a thing?
Is it an unknown or a known thing?

These questions will set you in the direction of fixing the issue. The last question is essential.  So many people get upset over the unknown, or what they think might happen. Fortunately, this can be fixed with affirmations and positive thoughts. These need to become a way of life and done repetitively on a regular basis. Getting control of your own brain function can do wonders to break down the fear of the unknown.

Once the issue has been identified then it is time to start working on it. Think of the perfect world solution to the issue and how this can be achieved. Since we all know that we don’t live in a perfect world, start working backwards from there. What compromises can be made to come to a more manageable situation. What you discover here is most likely going to be part of the overall fix.  That doesn’t mean that you don’t shoot for the stars and that perfect situation, but be prepared to make some compromises. 

As in my personal example, this may mean confronting someone as part of your issue. Remember this one thing, the other person is either just as uncomfortable confronting you as you are confronting them, or will jump at the opportunity to face the situation and work on things with you.  

Some difficult things may need to be said by both parties during this conversation, I’m not going to lie, things can get unpleasant. However, tensions can be somewhat relieved by going in with the understanding that this is necessary to fix the issue and both parties are willing to work on it.  

Try not to let the emotion take control of your words and actions but instead explain how the emotions are being created by their actions. This leads to better communication, and when communication starts a whole world of possibilities opens up. Things will either go up or down from there. You won’t then be stuck and motionless in the difficult situation any longer.  There will be movement which alone can provide a piece of mind.

You too can practice and increase your emotional intelligence to get through difficult situations. As a Life Coach I will help you discover the ways to strengthen your emotional intelligence. 
Contact me for one-on-one or private sessions.


1 comment:

Michael Patrick said...

Great piece Paul. Love the last question in your set of key questions. "Is it a known or unknown thing". I have personally wasted a good deal of time on the unknown and created some useless hysteria in my head as well.

I have found the more you intentionally put yourself out of your comfort zone and the more you allow the universe to kick your butt, the easier it is to face difficult people and things directly in life.

Nice work here.