Sunday, April 10, 2011

Don't like it? Change it!

I had an inspiring conversation with a friend this week. In the last year, she has beaten cancer.

Facing her mortality changed her perspective for the better. The disease taught her lessons that she's glad to have learnt now, before she hits her 40s, rather than in mid-life or beyond.

She can't agonise over trivial things any more. At work, while other people are stuck in 'drama', she's calmly looking for a way around the problem. It's only work.

If someone is unhappy in a job or relationship, she tells them to get out. Change it. Do something. You're not stuck.

She's also changed the way she parents her children. She's more relaxed. She's deeply thankful for what she has.

She appreciates everything - large and small - much more than she used to.

Start today

Sometimes the people with the best attitude and the best balance in their lives are those who've had a big wake-up call. They give us proof that we can choose to change our circumstances and our attitudes, to improve the quality of our lives.

The key message I think my friend would want to convey to us is this: WAKE UP. Time is the most precious thing we have.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Calm under fire when dealing with difficult people

An exchange between a would-be author and a book reviewer on the reviewer's blog went viral recently, as an example of how NOT to handle yourself in the face of criticism. After reading the review, the author flew off the handle. Embarrassingly. Completely. She was profane, insulting and wildly in the wrong and it makes sad and cringe-worthy reading.
While this provides an example of how not to behave professionally (the author has probably destroyed her writing career by her actions), the reviewer's response is inspiring. Throughout what became an increasingly fiery and personally-insulting exchange, he was unwaveringly professional and calm. He takes 'not sinking to another's level' to new heights.

The author eventually burnt herself out in the face of his failure to engage heatedly and we can learn a lot from his approach about the value of maintaining a professional state of calm.

Start today

When you're dealing with a highly-emotional or difficult person, remember this reviewer's approach. Set your own standard for the exchange and maintain it.