How To Handle Circumstances And People Who Put You In A Bad Mood

Photo by Fuschia Foot

Getting Grouchy

I have a job that is highly dependent on people and circumstances. And, my job isn’t highly dependent on just any old paid, additional employees, either. I have the wonderful responsibility of leading a group of approximately 35 extremely talented volunteers each week.

The majority of the time, working with volunteers is an incredible, life-changing, rewarding experience. At other times not so much. This usually happens when the circumstances and schedules of my volunteers collide with the organization’s work agenda, especially at the last minute. Then I am pushed to be more resourceful and creative then I really want to be.

I’d much rather be focused on other important aspects of my job than spending a bunch of time trying to find people to cover all the bases on a particular weekend. But, I’m also the type of guy that just pushes through, grumpy or not, and gets the job done.

The part of my job that can lead to becoming grumpy and grouchy is when I have a number of my head volunteers all needing to be out around the same time frame. And then, when some of these head volunteers decide to communicate with me at the last minute, my frustration level begins to rise.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in this very situation with two of my key volunteer leaders and last minute communication. I wasn’t happy with my own response when they told me at the last minute that they needed to be out. This lead to a re-thinking of my entire situation as I lead my group of volunteers. I even had to go back and apologize to these leaders for my initial dumb responses.

4 Thoughts On Handling People And Circumstances

  • Acknowledge That There Will Always Be A Few Challenges. When we deal with people and circumstances, especially in our current busy life culture, then we need to acknowledge that there will be continual challenges. This is the new normal (even though we may not like it. I certainly don’t!). We need to have constant, creative back-up plans always ready to go.
  • Acknowledge That Some People Are More Committed To The Cause Than Others. I know who the people are in my organization who are sold out to the mission. I also have a pretty good idea of those who are mostly in but still part way out, weighing all their options on a given weekend. I can’t hold a gun to the heads of all my volunteers and ask them for the same level of commitment. The best I can do is be an example of commitment to them and encourage a stronger commitment over time.
  • Plan A Positive But Honest Response To Last Minute Communication. Looking back at my two people failures last week, I have a much better idea now of how I should have handled their communication with me. I should have immediately affirmed their circumstances and decision that lead to their needing to be out. And, at the same time, I should have asked for more timely notification in the future.
  • Embrace The Circumstances As An Opportunity To Grow. While we may feel like we have “arrived” in our personal growth in dealing with people and circumstances, there’s always room for improvement. Whatever challenges you may be facing with people and circumstances, seek out new areas of growth.

How Do You Handle Challenging People And Circumstances?

So, do you have some of the same challenges with people and circumstances that I have? How do you handle your challenges? Do you have additional insights that I may have missed?

If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment below.

How To Speak Well And Make An Impact On Others

Photo by GetAmbITion

Don’t Speak Like A Goober

Have you ever been a casual observer of how people speak? Some people use a lot of slang. Some may choose to use curse words. Some use improper verb tenses. A lot of our everyday population plain slaughter the English language.

Others speak just fine, but use way too many words. They wear out their listeners. They haven’t learned the art of focused brevity.

The interesting part of it all, though, is that people don’t realize how much they can come across as ignorant, unlearned, and uncultured.

Some Thoughts On Speaking Well

Here are some thoughts regarding speaking well with others in everyday conversations, especially with professional connections.

  • Don’t curse. You would think this would be common knowledge and obvious. As a professional, make your mark, rise above the rabble, and make a noticeable difference in how you speak.
  • Don’t take God’s name in vain. Related to the first point, as a Christian, I get a little irritated with people who pepper their conversations with “God” and “Jesus Christ” when they’re not even having a spiritual conversation. Hey, you may not be a Christian, but don’t accidentally offend others because of your words. It may cost you a potential job or a great business relationship.
  • Don’t repeat the same point over and over again. There are a few people I have regular, lengthy conversations with who simply repeat their key point over and over again. They probably say it different ways, but at the end of the day, they’re just saying the exact same thing. A 30 minute conversation takes place that could have been a very simple, 5 minute one. Respect people’s time. Get to the point and move on.
  • Be careful of the “um’s” and other repetitious filler sounds. All of us do this to a certain extent. Monitor your usage and eliminate the filler as much as possible.
  • Be careful of clich√©’s. We all like to use them, but after a while we start sounding like our parents or worse – hicks!
  • Be careful of your speaking flow. Some people talk really fast. Others speak slowly. Some speak hesitantly with starts and stops. Try to have a nice, smooth flow to your speaking voice so that you’re not bringing too much attention to yourself and speaking mannerisms.
  • Be aware of your general grammar usage. This is a little more difficult to monitor when speaking extemporaneously, but be careful and try not to break grammar rules on a regular, ongoing basis.
  • Don’t slip into different accents. Do you have one? Do you slip into an accent at different times for various reasons (i.e. Southern, Canadian, etc.)? Try not to do the accent thing if you can avoid it.
  • Maintain a pleasant EQ balance. What I mean is this – you don’t want to speak too high or too low. Ideally, you need to speak pleasantly in the midrange without too much treble or bass in your vocal cord vibration. I realize this is easier said than done with many people.

How Do You Speak?

Have you ever stopped and considered how you sound to other people when you talk to them? Have you ever recorded yourself speaking just to see what you sound like?

Take some time over the next week to take mental observations on how you talk to others. For the areas of speaking that you don’t like, see if you can make some minor or maybe even major improvements if needed. Then, observe how these changes impact your everyday conversations, especially in the area of professional connections. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

3 Ways To Always Be On Top Of Your Game

Photo by Dale Gillard

The President Blows It

Last week, many people were just in plain shock as President Obama got his clock cleaned by Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate. He acted like he wasn’t engaged or even present in the room. Here’s a man who has been elevated to the position of the world’s smartest politician, and he acted as though he didn’t even really want to be there.

After that horrific performance, the excuses started rolling in. “Oh, the President had difficulty because of the elevation of Denver and the thin air.” “He’s been busy doing his job and didn’t have time to prepare properly for the debate.” “Mitt Romney just totally caught Obama off guard and he had a bad night.” And, it actually got worse than this when the President accused his opponent of lying in order to mitigate his horrible performance.

Mr. Obama just needed to “man up” and admit that he had a horrible first debate. But I digress.

Professionals Always Show Up And Perform At A High Level

The more disturbing part of the first presidential debate is that from a professional point of view, the President didn’t even act like a professional politician. He seemed totally unprepared for the first debate.

We expect professionals to show up and perform. We assume those who are in professional positions will do their job. We presume they will work hard at what they do. We anticipate that they will prepare in advance and then do their very best work when it’s “performance time.”

This is who a professional is. This is what a professional does. A professional shows up. He is engaged. He is prepared. He confidently executes his work.

And, the professional not only does this when he’s on top of his game and feeling great, but also when he feels lousy. When he’s under the weather or has a bad day, he can set aside any discomfort or distractions and still perform with excellence.

Suck it up, buddy. Do your best work no matter what. This is the very essence, the very definition of what it means to be a professional.

3 Ways To Always Be On Top Of Your Game

  1. Be Fully Present. In today’s world this is getting more and more difficult. We have so many distractions that surround us. Focus your energy on being fully engaged, fully present in whatever you do. Don’t let the distractions knock you off your game. Shut out all the extra stuff and focus on your very best work.
  2. Be Prepared. Preparation is key. This is the very essence of professionalism. Spend the majority of your time working hard at preparing yourself to be excellent at what you do!
  3. Be Confident.¬†If you show up properly prepared, then you will be confident. These two points go hand in hand. So, if you’ve prepared adequately, then just relax. Be confident that you know what you’re doing. People are attracted to confidence.

As a professional, do your very best work, at a high level, no matter the circumstances.

The Art Of Living And Moving With Confidence

Photo by Michael Ignatieff

People Dig Confidence

People respect other people who are confident. In fact, let me go so far as to say that the greatest achievers on the planet are highly confident people. Life rewards the confident.

Now, I’m not saying that these same people never battle with fear. Every successful person has battled fear. The key with the successful, though, is that they know how to overcome that fear. They push past their fears and are able to move with confidence in the right direction to accomplish their mission.

Model Confidence

Think through some of the images of a person who models confidence. What do they look like? How do they stand? How do they move across the room? How do they sit at their desk?

Confidence definitely has a physical component. If I personally asked you to look and move as though you were living in fear, then I bet you could easily model that for me. My guess is that you would probably hang your head down, and your shoulders would be drooped. You would appear withdrawn.You might even get some nervous shakes. If I asked you to speak, then you probably would not speak very loudly. You might even have a quiver in your voice.

But, if we flipped it around and I asked you to model confidence, then I know you would be able to do that quite easily. You understand it. You’ve seen other people move confidently. You would stand tall and straight. Your shoulders would be back. You would stride across a room. You would speak loud and strong enough so that people could hear and understand you.

We all know how someone living in a fearful state looks and moves. And we also know what confidence looks like.

The interesting thing is we can move back and forth between these states by changing our physiology. We can put ourselves in a fearful state by modeling the attitude and actions above. And, we can model confidence by simply changing how we are standing, walking, and speaking.

The next time you find yourself in a fearful state, force yourself to change into the physiology of the confident. Watch what happens as you quickly move from fear to confidence. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Are You Living And Moving With Confidence?

Life rewards the confident. You may not like that statement, but it’s true. People like people who are secure in themselves. They respect those who are living in a continual state of self-assurance.

Have you ever evaluated how you move and talk? Have you ever taken a video of yourself in a public situation where you may battle fear (such as public speaking)? Have you ever sought out the evaluation of a trusted friend or co-worker about your confidence level?

Starting today, become more aware of your level of confidence. Work on taking it to the next level. Watch what happens as you gain more respect and eventual rewards as a result.