In the past three weeks or so, I’ve had a few really difficult situations I’ve had to deal with. We’re talking heart-wrenching, unpleasant stuff. It hasn’t been fun, but it has been enlightening. And it got me thinking about how much “stuff” we have to deal with as direct sellers, moms, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, etc. After the most recent event, I sat in my office, still and quiet, and pondered my response and how I was feeling.
I haven’t always been that reasoned (or reasonable). When I was younger (I still feel younger most of the time, by the way), my first instinct when I was criticized was to get fired up, defensive, and to prove the other person was wrong about me or the situation. I think that’s sort of human nature for most of us. But in the past several years (in all the wisdom that comes with being almost 50), I’ve started looking at challenges in my life in a new light. Now when confronted by a difficult situation or person, more often than not, I tend to stop and ask myself some questions. Even if my first, knee-jerk reaction is impatience or frustration or even defensiveness, once I take a few deep breaths, I’m doing my best to look at what I can learn from the situation.
I came up with the three questions I tend to consider when something awful happens in my life or business. They are:
- What can I learn from this event/situation/conversation/e-mail/personal encounter/etc.? If it were happening to someone else and I were watching as an objective outsider, what would I be hoping she learned from it? (Okay, that’s technically two questions, but they’re really similar so I’m counting them as one).
- What’s a different way to see this situation (as in, can I change my perception and gain a new perspective?)
- How will I choose to let this affect me (because it’s always a choice)?
Every time I take the time to ask myself these questions and truly, honestly answer them, I’m happier with the outcome. It still might feel icky, but at least I feel like some good is coming out of it.
So, the next time you have a party that bombs or one of your great new representatives drops off the face of the earth and won’t return your calls, take a few seconds and ask yourself the three questions above.
And please share your own questions with me in the comment section. I’d love to know what sort of questions you ask yourself in challenging situations.
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Julie Anne Jones is direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific language and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.