Ever had a revelation that affected you so much that afterwards, your life was never the same? I have. Not as many as I ‘d like, but when I did experience them, my life radically changed for the better. I call them “A Ha” moments because they always made me stop and think. Sometimes I felt stupid that I didn’t discover them sooner, but I tell myself that at least I figured it out now. One of my favorite sayings is, “How do you know what you don’t know, if you don’t know it?” I was thinking about all the negativity at my job and had an epiphany. After I share this with you, I hope it will radically improve your work life as I expect it will mine.
Before I tell you what my discovery was, let me give you some background information. If you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality types, you will understand when I tell you I am more of a feeler than a thinker. When I approach a problem at work, I prefer to look first at how the solution will affect the people involved. Thinkers would rather be logical and consistent. They may not consider the effect their decision will have on people. Seventy one percent of managers, supervisors and administrators are thinkers (http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/type-tables.asp) In nursing, as I work with patients, families and nursing staff, the ability to empathize serves me well. It is one of my best strengths. It is also one of my greatest weaknesses. I become upset easily. Through experience and time, I’ve learned to temper this and not bring patient’s problems home with me. I am able most of the time to leave work at work.
What I still struggled with is how to accept the way the administrators treated me and my staff. Decisions were often made by administrators with lack of understanding of what the situation really was and how the solution would affect the work and attitude of the people performing it. Staff grew angry. They constantly criticized the administrators. The atmosphere at work became so negative, I hated walking in the door every morning. At first, I didn’t join in. But as the years passed and nothing changed, I gave up and gave in to peer pressure. I left several jobs because of this problem. I don’t want you to think I didn’t try. Just look at my articles about handling criticism at work and leaving work at work. One suggestion I followed myself was to develop something to look forward to other than work.
My discovery takes that statement one step further. And here it is: Figure out what you want to do and do it. Do not focus on others and what they are doing or not doing or how they are treating you. Don’t try to figure out why they did this or decided that. No longer complain. Accept that they are going to do exactly the opposite of what you think is right for the situation. Then when they do what you expect, you will be able to say, “I told you so.” You can let go of it because you are focused on what you want to do. This idea runs contrary to what we are usually told, to focus on others rather than ourselves. When you take that focus off you and onto them, they have your full attention. They don’t even know they did something wrong and if they did, it would not bother them. So why do it? Let it go. Another thing you can say to yourself is, “They are doing the best they can. If they knew better, they would do better.” Don’t take it personally. Don’t let it affect your life negatively. You can still have a great attitude and do your job well. Stop saying, ” I wouldn’t have done it that way.” or “I would make a different decision” or “That’s not going to work.” You are not the boss. They will have to live with the detrimental consequences. They made the decision. Let them learn for themselves.
If you have found yourself struggling with challenges that you can’t fix, decisions making you angry, circumstances you can’t change, accept them and move on. Take the focus off them and put it back on you. What do you want to do in your work, in your life? What are your goals? Then go for it. Don’t let the negativity or decisions of others hold you back. I hope you just said, “A Ha!”