As I lay under the chestnut tree with the sun streaming through I noticed how quickly we have fallen into autumn in the UK, the leaves are changing, the sun is not quite so warm and there is a bed of leaves underneath me.
This got me thinking about my last week and how so many clients, colleagues and friends including me have very quickly fallen into dramas this week. We tend to associate drama with the usual BBC dramas throughout the autumn and the winter season but we often overlook the daily dramas of life or business.
I remember well from my private equity days the drama of closing a deal, the due diligence not quite completed, the lawyers chasing documents, the re-negotiation of the business that we were buying and the anxiety among the team about getting the deal completed and people working all-nighters. I often used to wonder how much of this drama was necessary.
"If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."
This last week it has been people starting new jobs and dealing with a new environment, or the project that was meant to start on Monday and was cancelled last Friday, the person who just lost a chunk of money on an investment and is now in a complete mode of panic, the person who has been promoted a month ago and still hasn't got the paperwork from HR, the neighbour who had to call the ambulance as her husband collapsed, the person who said what is my life really about or my own little drama of a property sale not fitting into the timelines agreed.
Each and every one of these dramas serve a purpose but what if we looked at it from a different angle and allowed ourselves to observe the drama rather than buy into the emotion of it, can you imagine what a wonderful mindset that would be to have?
As I walked back home I picked up my first chestnut of the season and decided it could act as a reminder for me and it also might be helpful to help you plant a different seed for your life and your business.
Here are some thoughts on how you might address your dramas in life or business differently.
- Allow yourself to observe the situation before responding, be proactive not reactive
- Count to 100 if necessary
- Observe the other person's body language and see if they are being defensive, then allow yourself to be inclusive with your stance not defensive too
- Detach your emotions from the situation
- Look at it from their perspective (step into their shoes)
- Go for a walk in nature (reconnect with what is so much bigger than you), a clearer mind will present a different perspective
- Practise listening without making judgements
- Let go of expectations
- Accept people and life as they are, what is - is
- Ask yourself what if (explore the option if it plays out - what then)
- Learn from it (understand the lesson it teaches you)
- Focus on the present - stop worrying
- Visualise a positive outcome
- Remind yourself if this was your last day of life, what is it that is really important
Some of these are challenging thoughts to have but once we allow ourselves to step out of the drama and really observe it we can see it for what it really is - another opportunity to learn, to be more mindful of life and to be grateful of what we already have.
All the dramas mentioned above shifted in a matter of hours for some people and others a matter of days and the stark face of reality was about tapping into their emotional intelligence (me included) to recognise how to take a grassroots approach.
If you want to be a great person, business leader or a company that excels it is imperative to recognise that the heart and soul of the company's culture is how the business will support and promote emotional intelligence but that means you too.
"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself."
Be personable, lead from your heart but bring your brain with you to the business meetings, the playground, the board table, the next client you meet or indeed the next person you meet, this will help you rise up, become an exceptional person and leader, someone people will trust and really resonate with and you will also feel so much more positive about life too.
So the next time a drama appears to present itself in your life allow yourself to take a moment and just observe.
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."