Merge's Blog

Recovering from workplace setbacks

Usually when I attend conferences, it’s as a speaker.  But last week was different.  Last week I attended a conference where I was an audience member and I got to sit back and listen to a variety of speakers.  I particularly enjoyed Robyn Benincasa’s story.  Robyn is a professional adventure racer, known most for being a two-time world champion of the multi-day expedition-length Eco-Challenge.  One statement in particular that she made about her experiences caught my attention.

Pain is mandatory but suffering is optional.Pain_Suffering

Robyn was of course talking about the numerous setbacks and obstacles her four-person team faced over the course of the grueling 300 mile race.  But I found her message to be even more relevant to the workplace.  Whether it’s on the adventure race course or at work, we all know that stuff happens!  Difficulties, complications, unexpected problems and hurdles — these all can be uncomfortable, bothersome, or even painful.  But it’s how you respond to these setbacks that will set you apart from the rest.  Are you the kind of person who wallows in misery with a “woe upon me” attitude, or are you the person who stands up, dusts yourself off and finds a way to push through the problem?  I know we all want to be the latter, but sometimes, that’s easier said than done!

So what are some of the things that you do in the workplace to stop the suffering?  One thing that I do is permit myself a short “pity party”.  So I give myself 10 minutes, an hour, even a day or two in which I get to feel sorry for myself, and then once the clock is up, I know that it’s time to give myself a shake, get over it, and move on.  Would love to hear your strategies, so please add your thoughts by clicking on the Comment link below.

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