Ready or Not, Today is Here
Are you prepared for today? Maybe you are and maybe you’re not. Maybe you had much more planned for the weekend and didn’t get nearly enough of it done. Maybe your inbox is still overflowing, or maybe today you will have to deal with a situation that fills you with dread. Whether it is your own personal tribulations, or the crazy toxicity of the past year (think insurrection, mad fires, an ocean on fire, murder hornets… MURDER HORNETS!) we all have to deal with what life throws at us.
The reality is that even under the best of circumstances, the most prepared of us will not be fully prepared for what life throws at us. Of course we should still strive to be prepared for contingencies, but we should also be prepared for the unexpected and the hard to handle. We should prepare our minds to handle difficult things without becoming disheartened.
We can choose to look at difficult things as attacks that weaken us and sap our strength. Or, we can look at them as training. When you have a personal trainer, they make your life difficult — adding extra weight, adding the complexity of asymmetry to a movement, increasing intensity. These added difficulties make you stronger, despite the short term pain. When you encounter difficult things, it is your opportunity to become stronger.
For every difficult thing you encounter, consider how working through it will help you become a stronger person. Imagine yourself coming out on the other side of that trial and what you will have had to do, in order to do so successfully. Then attack this difficulty with that new strength as an objective.
One difficult thing that many of us struggle with is the difficult conversation at work. Whether it is having to fire someone, give them unpleasant feedback, or maybe informing our supervisor that we made a mistake. Regardless, research and our own experience tells us that people prefer to avoid these difficult interactions. But you know that avoiding them only serves to make you weaker at them. Embrace the challenge as an opportunity to grow and develop in that arena.
The next time you have to have a difficult conversation, write down what you wish you were better at in that type of conversation — what skill would you need to feel more confident entering that interaction. Next, write down three things that you will commit to doing in the conversation that will help you develop that skill. Then go into your conversation with those things foremost in your mind. Your first attempt will not be perfect. That’s OK. It’s expected. But keep trying and with practice, comes improvement and confidence.
The difficult conversations are coming, whether you are ready for them or not. You might as well look at them as an opportunity to improve yourself. Consider them a gift.
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.
– Winston Churchill