What Four Brave Men And Women Told Me This Week- Could You Do It?
Three men. One woman. Separately. Talking to me over coffee tables. Each did something inspiring. Surprising. Their actions oozed courage. And epitomize a habit critical to coping in tough times, at work and in life. Are you up for it?
Four conversations. Four very different relationships. In each, something rare happened. You see, each told me of something causing them sadness, pain, anxiety, stress, fear. I was privileged. They exposed vulnerability. And, I know, felt better and stronger for having taken that step, and for talking about it. And here’s the point- it’s about something I am getting better at doing, and encourage anyone who will listen to do so as well. Do you do this?
It’s constructive to reflect on what makes us anxious and sad- to dwell in it for a while, understand it, respect it, adapt with it.
One conversation was with a longtime business associate and friend. He got teary, and told me he was struggling. He was saddened, hurt and confused by changes affecting his job and life. I listened. Counseled as best I could and suggested others more qualified to help. He needed counsel from me less than an ear to hear his story. And having got it out into the open, felt refreshed, recharged, lighter. He later told me that he had moved forward from that conversation with a sense of energy and optimism.
Here’s the point- and my view only from my experience- sometimes it is constructive to sit a while in the melancholy we might feel. It can be counter-productive keeping ourselves so incredibly busy that we avoid recognizing, respecting, and having the courage to connect in with the anxiety or sadness that might be within us. Also then to think about how small steps of progress can be made with that. It’s also really powerful to TALK TO OTHERS about what is hurting you- to have the courage to share your feelings.
Business IS tough. Our roles ARE getting harder. Pressure DOES keep rising. Demands ARE accelerating. We have a responsibility to acknowledge this, and help ourselves and our colleagues cope. One reminded me: “Business is getting tougher – and this is why the our commitment to providing training on personal resilience and wellbeing is an outstanding initiative.” I don’t share that to pump the company’s tyres. I share it because it’s true, and our commitment to arming our people with tools and techniques to manage stress and build resilience is simple good practice, and is the right thing to do. It’s part of our duty of care.
Accept pressure ‘gets us down.’ We can’t be ‘up’ all the time.
Recognize and respect your anxiety and sadness when it bubbles within you. Don’t bottle it up. Have the courage to talk about it with someone you trust.
I find this approach really helps to reboot my energy and optimism- at work and in life-and is an important ingredient to resilience, and pushing through to the next challenge and next step.
I was quite taken by this comment by former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, but do recognize it has dangers within it. “There is a place for sadness and melancholy in life. We don’t always want to be sparkling and happy all the time. You need the inner life. The inner sadness which rounds you out.” I get that. I empathize. I want that as part of me. But it needs a very careful watch-out. I have found talking to others about that inner sadness and anxiety really helps, and keeps me on track. How about you? (If you don’t know that right person to speak with, or have a serious issue to discuss and want help, don’t forget www.beyondblue.org.au).