I find myself in many situations. Exciting, confusing, enjoyable or disconcerting situations. Fortunately I am seldom in any sort of threatening situation. Worrying or frustrating is as bad as it gets. Good news of course. And lots of time I find myself in good situations. Even better news.
Sometimes I can influence a specific scenario. More often than not I can’t. And even when I believe I have influence, or – dare I say it control – I am only ever kidding myself. Stuff happens. Stuff happens to us, around us, or even because of us. Stuff happens…it’s how we handle it that makes a difference.
Based on this then, there are two scenarios I find most significant…or at least where I find it most important to stop and think. Actually that’s it really. Stop and think. That would probably be my simplest and most significant action in most situations.
The first situation – good, bad or anywhere in between – is that situation where things just doesn’t make sense. Where we can’t understand how it happened; how we found ourselves here. When something makes no sense…my first thought has to be that I am missing something. Something else is going on that I do not understand, cannot see, or have not been told.
This scenario is very common. There is much I do not understand, and it is fair enough that I am not told everything about every situation I find myself in. It could be that the information I am missing is confidential…or else it could simply be that no-one had chance or opportunity to tell me.
The ‘cannot see’ could be aspects that are just obvious to everyone else – something they are aware of that I am missing – or could be hidden from my view. Either way I am missing a crucial factor that would help explain what is going on.
The next step though becomes clear. I have to try to find out what I am missing. I ask questions. Of anyone and everyone. Specific questions – why is this happening? Have you seen this before? Or more general – what am I missing? What does this mean? My goal is always the same – to increase my understanding (to fill in gaps over what I am missing as much as I can) before I decide what I will do next, or suggest what we could do next.
The second situation is when I find myself absolutely certain that I know what is happening, what it means and what we need to do next. Again, these scenarios could be good, bad, or middling. It doesn’t matter. Whenever I find myself feeling that sure…that confident…I always stop and think before I act.
This scenario is based on experience and self-analysis. I find myself in many situations – the likelihood that I will be that certain about what is going in many (or any) is just low. Most situations we experience have many factors and components. Some we see and some we miss. So I stop and I think.
I look around. I ask questions. I check in with people. Friends, family, colleagues – I people I trust. What am I missing? Do you see this the same as me. Maybe not as many people or as much questioning. But enough. Enough to confirm (or deny). Occasionally I am right. Sometimes I am right to an extent. And often I am just wrong.
Situations that make no sense…or situations that make too much sense. They are my watch out moments. Moments to step back, pause, breathe deeply, and consider. Moments to ask for help and support before I act.