John has the corporate world at his feet. He is at the centre of all activity within his company and has access to projects around the globe. But deep down, John is full of angst and disappointment: he feels his company’s budgets are constantly reducing and doesn’t find it right. Over time, John has become overwhelmed by this perception of injustice. He has lost hope and perspective, to the point that it threatens to jeopardize his whole career.
Does John remind you of someone you know? And even if he doesn’t, do you see a way for him to get out of this downward spiral so he could thrive in his job again? When we feel like there is an injustice or that we are victimized by the system, it can be challenging to see what options we have to move forward – whether we’re talking about work or life in general. Yet the key to getting unstuck lies within the ability to truly assess our perception and further develop our capacity for resilience.
Whenever we are unwilling to challenge our world-view in the face of problems, solutions stay out of our reach. The main issue is that when we perceive others as separate from ourselves, in an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality, problems become all about the other side and nothing about us. But as you might already know from personal experience or from observing people like John, expecting the other side to bring all the change to the problems we perceive is a pretty hopeless place to be in. What’s more, the attitude “it’s you and not me” is deeply toxic; it blocks any real opportunity for growth, learning and collaboration.
Therefore, if you are finding yourself in a place of frustration or emotional turmoil and it doesn’t seem like you have any control over it, remember that you can still make a number of choices regarding the situation.
Successful problem solvers know that every issue they face requires them to take their share of responsibility, first and foremost. Here are some tips on how to do exactly that, along with a few coping strategies.
Cultivating optimism isn’t about seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses; instead, it is about viewing difficult times as temporary.
How do you know that you aren’t seeing things worse than they actually are? After all, that work-related frustration and despair have probably been a part of your experience for a while. An effective way to assess where you stand is to look at the language you use: do you tend to use words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ (as in: “they always expect me to be available” or “he never considers my points”)?
Instead of focusing on those inner narratives, try to shift your focus. Attempt to acknowledge things that are going well, no matter how small they are. Are you having a good day today, or do you love the view from your office? The point is to notice the good while acknowledging where you are.
This point is closely related to the former as it helps you cultivate optimism further.
For the next few weeks, take a bit of time each day to write down 3-5 things that went well on that particular day. Again, it doesn’t matter how small these instances seem; the point of this exercise is to practice gratitude and return to the present moment. Perhaps your chair is really comfortable, or a complete stranger wished you a great day? Come back to the experience each particular moment gives you.
Every morning, take 20-30 minutes to write down some of your deepest feelings and thoughts in a diary-like form. No one has to see them, in fact, after pondering them for a few days you can destroy these diaries. But while you are writing, invite yourself to explore the most challenging thoughts and emotions that show up. Ask yourself questions like ‘what upsets me so much in this situation?’ and ‘what can I do to feel better?’.
To learn how positive emotions make a physiological impact on your life and career plus additional coping strategies, watch Dr Darlene Mininni’s video.
For more ‘survival strategies’ go to our site’s Audio Books as further reference.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a hard time seeing the wood for the trees in the face of corporate injustice? Can you observe how shifting focus and learning new coping strategies pulls your thinking out of its negative patterns? Whatever your situation, comment and let us know – we are listening and happy to offer our expertise!
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Meet Bob, a corporate executive, one who feels a little stuck, not sure what the next step is, and feeling like a victim of circumstance.
Meet Joe who is your archetypical corporate mentor, wise, experienced yet a little on the quirky side.
Now that you are all acquainted, let's get moving together...
Wouldn't that be a great place to be! Our 'Corporate Survival Tips' aim to provide short, sharp, fortnightly nourishment that aims to get you 'over the line' when making your job work for you.