Thursday, Jul 9, 2020
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How to make negative situations work for you

Events in our lives are just that – events. We give those events meaning and decide how we will be affected. I had a coaching client who felt his manager was always picking on him. When it was time to assign challenging tasks, his manager would require him to do the work. In his mind, his colleagues were coasting and he was being treated unfairly. Over time, my client became agitated and annoyed. Finally, he asked his boss why he was always tasked with the challenging projects while his colleagues ran free, he lamented it just was not fair.
His manager replied, “Because I see potential in you. I do not see in the others. I am grooming you for a higher position”. My client beamed with pride. From that point on, he saw the requests differently. He rose to the challenges and focused on delivering at the highest level. The boss he once resented was now placed on a pedestal and highly regarded as a mentor and coach.
When my client changed the meaning behind what he felt was unfair treatment, he was empowered and responded in a way that served him.
The truth of the matter is nothing has meaning until we give it meaning. Therefore, we can assign meaning to every event in our lives to empower ourselves. We can choose to believe life is working for us or against us. Either choice will shape the way we feel and in turn, the way we communicate.
Some people are masters at assigning meanings that work in their favor. If for some reason they do not get what they really want, they will press forward with the assumption they will get something better. They view what others label failure as a learning experience. When a customer or client logs a complaint, they see it as an opportunity for improvement.
Human beings often underestimate their own power. We have the power to assign meaning and reframe the events of our lives to make us better, wiser and stronger. So, if you have a boss or colleague who seems to be unfairly giving you flack, you have two choices. You can become agitated, fight back and dread going to work, or you can give it a new meaning.
Suppose you choose to see it as a test and commit to winning the challenge? How would you act toward this person if you knew they were just a secret shopper, simply pushing your buttons to see how you will respond? This type of reframing can benefit you both. You can choose to become the consummate professional. The negative feelings you have toward this person will begin to dissipate, because you have decided this is only a test. You will feel lighter and this will help to dissolve the resistance that has constructed a wall between you because there is no more fighting fire with fire. You can tell yourself, if you can win this secret shopper over, you can do anything.
The meaning you decide to give this situation can derail you or empower you. In most cases, once you change your response, your nemesis will begin to respond to you differently. Remember, your emotions are yours to control. No one can make you mad or cause you to act regrettably unless you let them. Never give another your power. Assign meaning and reframe to win.
If you would like to enhance your ability to communicate for career and business success, call or email to find out about one-on-one coaching.

• Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: [email protected] or call 242-225-9013.

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