Oprah Winfrey has a new book out: The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations and it was the topic of conversation on Live with Kelly and Ryan. Ryan Seacrest quoted from the book, saying that one particular shared wisdom was life-altering for him.
In a quote from Devon Franklin, we learn that the two things we have control over in our life are as follows:
- How we prepare for what might happen
- How we respond to what just happened
Through the power of social media we learn that Devon was thrilled to hear his wisdom being shared:
- devonfranklin Whoa! This is surreal! I wake up to @ryanseacrest talking about how my quote changed his life!!! God is so good! Truly humbling!!
It is understandable that this bit of wisdom would be considered worthy of sharing because it applies to all aspects of our life. Certainly, it applies to our home and family but think of how these two controls can impact your career.
How We Prepare for What Might Happen
In our careers, we are in control of what we want to have happen. By that I mean, we are in control of charting a course for the career we want to have. So how do you prepare for that journey? I talk about that in my first book The Working Woman’s GPS. Determining what your career goals are based on what you are good at, what you enjoy and what people seek.
However, there may be other things in your work life that you need to prepare for:
- Asking for a raise
- Seeking additional responsibility
- Looking for opportunities to cross-train or learn new skills
- Building your network
- Finding a suitable mentor/sponsor
- Finding the right non-profit board to join and assist
- Having a conversation with the CEO or another key industry leader
- Attending a seminar
- Leading a workshop
There are any number of projects, tasks, circumstances that we know are in our future that we must be prepared for. The key is to consider the different potential outcomes, roadblocks and unexpected events and prepare for as many eventualities as possible. The more we are prepared, the more able we are to respond appropriately.
How Do You Respond?
Hopefully, your preparation will help how you respond to circumstances, however, there will be curveballs that we just didn’t see coming. For example, how do you respond to negative feedback from your boss?
In an article from Fast Company ANETT GRANT offers some great advice. Imagine you are in a team meeting and you have just shared a status update on a project you are working on and you hear:
“That’s it? I was expecting you to be further along. Don’t you think you could’ve done more if you put some actual effort into your work?”
The first reaction could be defensive and emotional. You know the particulars of the project and what has led you to your current status and it certainly had nothing to do with a lack of effort on your part. So how do you keep from responding in a way that could be detrimental to your relationship with your boss and more importantly, how you are viewed by others on the team?
Grant explains there are four types of hostile questions and the key to responding to them is to take a beat and listen for what the primary issue is.
You could be asked a hostile question for any number of reasons. Maybe the questioner has a hidden agenda. Maybe he or she is just having a bad day. But in terms of your response, it doesn’t really matter why. All that matters in the moment is your reaction. So, distill the question into a cogent issue, focus on that issue, and respond to that issue. Remember: The next time you get blindsided by a verbal jab, don’t get defensive. Don’t get angry, get analytical.
What about that promotion that you have been working for. How do you respond if the promotion goes to someone else? Disappointments will happen in the work world and how we respond will say a lot for how we move forward after.
Raeeka, The Tiny Budda, offers 4 Steps to Dealing with Disappointment and the 4th is key:
Every time I am disappointed, I feel overwhelmed by my emotions. I’m inclined to withdraw and blame others, wanting to wallow in my disappointment. Each time, I have to accept that I will feel these things again.
I have to accept that I will continue to be disappointed—that it is a part of life, part of being human. I also have to accept that I will probably continue to struggle to accept this fact, at various points throughout the rest of my life!
This step is a lifelong challenge and fundamental to dealing with disappointment. I will be disappointed, I will disappoint, you will be disappointed, and you will disappoint. Life will be disappointing—but it will pass.
Practice acceptance and we may suffer less as it is happening and notice the good things in life more. Disappointment is a part of life, but all parts of life can help us grow. We can be present and aware even in the midst of negative emotions and therefore live more fully.
How we respond to what just happened is something we can control. Remember to take a breath, examine the facts, remove the emotion and look for the lesson.
I look forward to reading Oprah’s newest book, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations and hope you will too.
JJ DiGeronimo, a speaker, author and thought-leader for Women in Tech and Girls and STEM, empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract Women in Technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
Check out JJ’s new award winning book Accelerate Your Impact by downloading three free chapters.