My granddad once said to me when I was younger, “When faced with a challenge, don’t ask, “Why me?” instead ask, “Why not me? What can I do better?”
Hot blooded and young as I was, I still chose to whine as it was easier to focus on what’s not okay and play it huge in the mind! I still recall my granddad chiding me about it and yet I got away being his favourite…
As I grew up and I transcended into a life that worked and breathed impacting people everyday as a Life Coach, it started to dawn on me that what I indeed went completely ‘hyper’ about was actually something that I could learn from…After all, that’s what we did in all the coaching sessions, ‘Draw perspectives from situations as you look at life from an observer’s point of view!’
So, what I did was pick on a situation that I found myself irked about on a daily basis and decided to work on it! The traffic situation in Bangalore can be a living nightmare and that day I had to cross miles of concrete road before I headed into an important meeting that was technically an hour’s drive but would translate into a three hour painful journey. So instead of hyper-ventilating as I normally would have, I decided to pull out a paper and a pen that I carry with me always and jot down exactly what I was thinking and feeling! Here they are and what they meant and felt…
- I can’t be late as it would mean disrespecting someone else’s time (I value time and I respect it and also it meant that no one could make me wait) I felt anxious
- I will be looked upon as someone who is irresponsible and can’t plan well (I value my work so much that it meant all my actions would be linked to it) I felt embarrassed
- I can’t make an impact at the meeting as a business owner when I am hassled (I value my image and position that it meant being perfect all the time) I felt fear
Ahaaaa, there it all was staring back at me like it was telling me something…The message was loud and clear; I was just reacting in the past due to the above thoughts and feelings. The ‘Why me?’ syndrome kept repeating itself on the assumption that I might be late.
Now something like traffic is never going to be within my control and there was no point hyperventilating 5-6 times a month…
The ‘Why not me? What can I do better?’ space brought these thoughts to the fore…
What if I saw this challenge a little differently and maybe it would actually help?
- Is it worth feeling anxious despite the fact that I start home early and yet have no control over the traffic?
- Is it worth feeling embarrassed based on an assumption that a person who doesn’t know me might make about me?
- Is it worth feeling fearful about something that I have begun to assume that another person might look down on me?
I felt better and in fact, reached the meeting 10 minutes late, apologized not from the space of fear or guilt but from a space of a knowing understanding that ‘I am human and I am not perfect!’
The person smiled and said, ‘Bangalore traffic and only 10 mins late? There are others who might come in later!”
Phew, having narrated this, it’s not to say that we can make up excuses for any situation but simply to think differently to have useful responses to a unfavorable situation….
So, ‘CHALLENGES precede CHANGE’
It felt like leaves shedding in autumn only to come up with fresh new leaves in the next season! My granddad must be happy now :)
Image Credit : www.freeimages.com/Kinsey
The above blog is by Anu Krishna originally published on her LinkedIn page.