“When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes” ~Anon
‘I think I’ll just have a sit down.’ I said to myself whilst waiting for my next client. ‘Put my feet up for five with a cuppa.’
Best laid plans and all that …
No sooner had the kettle boiled than the phone rang. It was one of my clients and she was in a right two and eight: she’d messed up at work and was at panic stations because she’d made a big mistake. The world was about to end.
We’ve all been there, right?
We’ve all made a mistake/forgotten something important/made a prat of ourselves and before we know what’s hit us we’ve catastrophized our way to Armageddon by teatime and our lives as we fondly know them are over. (And have you noticed it always happens on a Friday so we have all weekend to ruminate?)
It’s human nature to do this. Naturally, we’re never going to jump for joy when we mess up because well, it feels darn crappy. But however bad it feels at the time, what it comes down to is perspective: looking at the ‘bigger picture’, and realising that actually, is it really as bad as we’re telling ourselves?
The trouble is at the time, mid-crisis, we can’t see the wood for the proverbial trees. Why bother thinking about things turning out OK if we can torture ourselves nine ways ‘til Sunday thinking about the worst possible world-ending, nail-biting scenario. We like to be in control of our lives because it makes us feel safe. When something happens that we feel is out of our control, we don’t feel safe anymore.
That’s why perspective is everything. So this is what I said to my client:
“You’re not Ban Ki-Moon.”
‘I’m not who? Banksy Moon? The graffiti bloke?’
‘Errr, not quite.’
Ban Ki-Moon (not to be confused with the Bristolian graffiti fella Bansky), is the head of the UN – probably one of the toughest, scariest and most uber-responsible jobs on planet earth and not one that I would apply for in a hurry.
So why did I stop her in her tracks and tell her she wasn’t the head of the UN, which to be fair, she would already more than likely be aware of? Because it helped her to see that what had happened to her that day wasn’t as bad as she thought:
Are countries likely to go to war because of her mistake? No. Will millions of people be affected by the decision she made? No. Is anyone about to die? No. In a year’s time might it more than likely be forgotten? Yes. When she’s in her twilight years will she even remember it? No.
So, to deal with a crisis, your first step is to put some perspective on it. When you’re having a paddy because of something you have said/done and wished you hadn’t, take a few deep breaths and tell yourself this:
‘I AM NOT BANKSY MOON!’
and I promise that you will feel a whole lot better.