When you get angry...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock If you’re prone to outbursts, learn to recognize the symptoms of your anger. Maybe your heart rate speeds up or your body feels tight. When you sense those signals coming on, pause, take a deep breath (which signals your brain to calm down), and rewind to how you felt before those feelings began. You’ll be able to think more logically about how to react and handle a tricky situation.
When you notice a problem...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock When a problem arises, our instinct is to go into self-defense mode, blaming others to keep face among our peers. But since that’s everyone’s instinct, the result is a whole lot of blame and not enough resolution. Make fixing the problem your first priority, regardless of who or what caused it. Then go back and brainstorm ways to prevent the issue from happening in the future. By not singling anyone out, you’re also building relationships with the other people involved. Only you can control your response to a problem. Make sure it’s a constructive one.
When you get annoyed...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock We all have that one (or more than one) person who has apparently made it his or her life mission to annoy us. (Check out the secrets to dealing with annoying people.) Before you let that frustration grow into a blowup you could regret, say to yourself, “This person is my teacher.” Turn the negative energy into an opportunity to grow. Maybe he’s teaching you to be more patient. She could be teaching you how to improve your communication skills. You two probably won’t become best friends overnight, but your relationship will definitely improve.
When you're giving out assignments...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock Unless you’re an emergency responder or a military officer, you don’t need to command your employees and coworkers to do their jobs. Instead of telling someone, “You need to do this,” ask, “Would you be willing to take this on?” People will be more receptive to what you have to say and may even feel more driven to complete the task because you asked.
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When something goes right...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock Science shows that it pays off to give praise. When we get recognized for our work, the brain releases the hormone dopamine, which makes us feel proud. However, just saying “good work” won’t make the cut. Be specific in what your employees or kids are doing well, and they’ll do it well again.
When you have too much on your plate...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock Being a perfectionist has its perks, but one huge downside is that you can take on too much work because you feel like you’re the only one who can do it right. Here’s a newsflash: You’ve already failed at perfection. Everyone has. Figure out what your strengths are, and delegate everything else. As author M.J. Ryan says, “Your talents, time, and attention are limited resources.” You will invest more time in the work that’s important to you, and the other stuff will still get done.
When you can't see past your problems...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock Worry can cloud your judgment like a nasty fog, especially if you’re worrying about something that doesn’t play up your skills. So outsource; Get someone on your team to brainstorm ways to avoid situations that worry you, like not meeting a deadline or losing a client. They can see the answers more clearly than you.
When you dream big...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock If you’re starting a new business or even a new hobby, the fear of failure may keep you from ever succeeding. Enter this helpful mantra. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson says that attachment is working toward success with pressure not to fail, and aspiration is working with “outer effort and inner peace,” where the journey is its own reward whether you reach your goal or not. Of course, no one wants to fail, but you shouldn’t stress about it to the point where you can’t work. Then nothing gets done.
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When you procrastinate...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock If you write down a task on your to-do list—say, prepare a presentation—you will think of that one “to-do” as completing the whole thing start to finish. That can be pretty daunting. Luckily, you don’t need to do that. Figure out what your “first action” is, the one thing that can get your project rolling, and start there. Tackling baby steps is a lot easier (and less stressful!) than one big project. Check out effortless ways to be more productive.
When something goes wrong...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock This mantra dates all the way back to World War II. Fighter pilots would ask themselves this question to determine if they should eject themselves from the plane or keep flying. If the plane was not hurling toward the ground, they stayed in the plane. Saying this to yourself during a stressful time can put your stress into perspective. Will you be in real danger if you miss that deadline? Probably not. Once you recognize that there’s no immediate threat, you will start to calm down.
When you doubt yourself...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock Self-confidence is an important factor in reaching success. Getting advice from others can only get you so far, and you’ll need to make some important decisions by yourself. Tell yourself to be the boss, and you will become the boss. You are the only one who can control your journey to success.
When you need to take a risk...Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock Routines give us a sense of normalcy, but they can also prevent us from taking risks and trying new things. Stepping outside our comfort zone gives us more opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Try new foods. Take on a project you otherwise wouldn’t. Meet new people. You’ll never know what could happen as a result.
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