Have a STAPpy New Year!
I’ve learned a new technique that has helped me at work… I hope it will help YOU.
When I’m stymied by a problem, instead of obsessing (or getting angry), I’m working on being STAPpy.
What does that mean?
Well, when confronted with an insurmountable problem (too much work, work I don’t want to do, people I don’t want to work with, the unsolvable problem!) I follow these three steps.
Stop Thinking: I just stop whatever I am doing. For instance, I made a stupid mistake with the Board. I was angry at myself, I was unsure of how to proceed; I was at my wit’s end. Having just read Change Your Questions, Change Your Life (a book suggested by a brilliant client) I thought I would do something different from my usual melt down.
Instead, I stopped thinking and took a walk in the garden in front of my building. It was one of those gorgeous California days. The sun felt great and I started to breathe again (I guess I had stopped normal breathing during the call!) I felt renewed and able to seek advice on how to put things in perspective.
Ask: So I proceeded to ask as many people as I could to get a sense of perspective… a new perspective on what I should have done differently. AND what to do next. The CFO gave me some great advice (everybody makes mistakes) and the Chief Legal Counsel told me “he would not let me fail.” What a great team to have … and what great insight. I felt relieved (and somewhat relaxed!)
Pivot: I hanged my approach from angry to curious. I began to get curious about the system that had allowed me to fall into making a major mistake. I enlisted help to improve the system. And (although I wish I could say all went wonderfully), the sky did not fall down. I will now have to work to regain the Board’s good graces, but the Chair of the Committee graciously opened the door to moving on.
The end result: I am working on being STAPpy this New Year.
Want to join me in my work? It looks simple, but it is HARD work and I could use some partners by my side to keep me honest! And to stop me from obsessing before I can get a handle on the issue at hand.