December 16 2013

Very rarely do I feel absolutely dispirited. I did today. Driving to a meeting today listening to the midday news, I heard

  • The ongoing economic effective of the Holden shutdown (and its flow on effects)
  • The expected “budget blowout”,
  • Brindabella airlines being put  into receivership and the effect that will have on our regional clients,
  • The slowdown in the construction stage in the mining sector and the effect that will have on employment opportunities in that sector…

Thank goodness the cricket came on!

So given our focus on individual, family, team, organisational and community resilience and the work we do in wellness, what advice can I give people in terms of their strategies?

These include;

Accept what is going to happen. It may not be pretty or appealing but at least we know what it is. In some cases we know the time line. In the case of Holden workers we know it will be four years. In the other cases, who knows??– but we know what the outcome will be;  so to some degree it doesn’t matter what the time line is. However, we have to accept it is going to happen, not stick our head in the sand. We need to develop strategies to deal with it.

Don’t panic: You are going to survive this – somehow! Breathe – focus and start to develop a plan. We need to move our brain into problem solving mode – not flight of fight. It’s really important that we don’t panic and make decisions without seeking advice, talking through it with trusted advisors or thinking through the consequences. Sometimes doing nothing is the right thing to do – until you have a plan!

Listen to your self-talk: What is going inside your head right now! Is your self-talk all doom and gloom or is it balanced. I heard a comment from an Adelaide interview of one of the Holden people something like “I have worked in this place for 14 years – what am I going to do?” You can change your self talk! 14 years!! You have skills, a track record of stability, demonstrated stickability etc. Then do a skills and attributes audit on yourself. Ask a mate, work colleague or mentor to review or help you put your audit together. Many times another people in our life can see strengths in us that we cannot always see ourselves. Yes things are difficult, options may be limited but don’t hinder your progress by negative self-talk.

Its ok to be angry: On the weekend I saw an excerpt from a Christmas movie titled Philomena. I think the context that one of the main actors is made redundant. There is a scene where the gentleman is being asked by a counsellor as to how he is feeling – he responses ‘Depressed.” Her response is that the redundancy is not his fault and he shouldn’t blame himself etc. His response is ‘That’s why I am depressed!!” Classic. Don’t let yourself or other people around tell you that you should feel – how you feel is how you feel.! It you are angry – you are angry – If you are worried – you are worried- if you want to punch someone – well think about that  and go for a long walk or run instead!

Monitor what you read – Bad news sells newspapers – not good news. Rarely will you see a “good news” story – monitor what you read to ensure you get a balanced view of what’s happening in your world.

Create a positive environment outside work – what’s your environment like when you leave work. If you are surrounded by not so positive things at work, ensure your private space is positive – make sure its uncluttered, have some upbeat music, empowering mantras, gratitude boards etc. Also, who are you interacting with – are they positive? Are they good for you or are you been dragged down? Create a positive environment!

Have a plan – movement creates positive energy. Develop a plan as to how you are going to deal with these challenging situations. What can you do? Who do you need to talk to? Bank manager, financial counsellor? Are you prepared to relocate to other places for work? How will the family deal with this? What work is available – nationally – internationally? What are you skills? What development strategy can you adopt to enhance your skills/ keep you skills current?

Accept help.  Governments at both Federal and state levels will offer assistance in some form – be it in terms of financial/job retraining/job search activities. Accept it. It is there to assist you and if it is going to help, use it to your advantage.

Watch your kids. We know through change- especially at the family level – most of the stress is retained by the children. Parents try and be stoic and don’t want to “worry the kids” The way you handle this challenge in your life will shape how your children will handle similar tough time what they go through them. Be open, transparent and demonstrate feeling.

Look after yourself. Monitor your sleep, diet, alcohol intake. Keep your physical activity up.

Keep connected with your community. Interact, be involved, speak to people who you haven’t contacted for a while. Keep checking in and checking up!.

You get yourself in tough times in life – we all do. Tough times don’t last but tough or resilient people do! All this will pass and your challenge is to make sure you come out of the process well at the other end. Things will be different, but most likely better.

Lessons Learnt Consulting operates in the niche of personal and organisational resilience and wellness. We focus on developing with people, holistic strategies around (1) A strength based perspective, (2) Emotional resilience (3) Career wellness, (4) Physical wellness (5) Financial wellness (6) Relationship wellness, and (7) Spiritual Wellness. For more information on these strategies and our services, please contact us on www.lessonslearntconsulting.com or 1300 365 119.