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Keeping Things In Perspective

It can be very difficult to keep things in perspective in your business and personal life. It is easy to get caught up in every day situations and get things out of perspective. This isn't helped by the media who seem to exaggerate each news story so much that it is difficult to ascertain the facts.

Here are some ideas that you may want to try when you are struggling to keep things in perspective:

Turn the statistics around. If you have a customer complaining it is easy to think that all your customers are unhappy. However, maybe only 1% of your customers are unhappy, so 99% of your customers are happy. Looking at it this way will enable you to feel much better.

Remind yourself of what is going well. When something is not going well, however small it may be, you can end up being totally distracted by it. Step back from the situation and consider what is going well, what you have achieved and how much you have progressed. This will make the situation seem much less significant.

Consider the best and worse that could happen. Where you are getting things out of proportion think about the worse case scenario and you will find in most cases it is not that bad. Also consider the best case outcome, so you can take action to achieve this.

See every situation as a learning opportunity. Where things have not gone according to plan, see them as learning and use this learning in the future. Also think back to how you dealt with similar situations in the past and use that learning now.

Keep calm. When things are not going well, it is easy to panic, which tends to make everything worse. Take some long slow deep breaths, calm yourself down and relax. This will then enable you to get things into perspective and decide what to do next.

Think rationally. It can be very difficult to decide what to do in a situation that seems overwhelming at the time. Step away from the situation and think rationally about the next steps. It may be helpful to think about the situation as if you were a third party looking in.

Focus on the bigger picture and your longer term goals. Understand what is really important to you and your business. Try not to let small things dominate your thinking, focus on what matters. Remind yourself of the bigger picture and your longer term goals.

Plan what to do next, re-prioritise and take action to move forward. When you are losing perspective, stand back, plan what you need to do, review your overall priorities, re-prioritise your 'to do' list and take action to move forward.

Discuss with others and get their support. Dealing with something that is getting out of perspective is very difficult on your own. Try speaking to your business colleagues, a trusted adviser, a business mentor, a family member or a friend. They will be able to help you see things from a different perspective.

Expect the unexpected. Everybody has good and bad days and we all have to deal with unexpected events and changes in our life. Accepting that change, unexpected events and bad days happen makes them easier to deal with.

Take a break and do something different. When things are getting out of perspective, take a break and do something different e.g. go for a walk, make a drink, move away from the situation you are in. You will then be able to see things more clearly on your return.

Don't see things as insurmountable. You may feel that the current problem or situation is insurmountable, however, it is likely that you have overcome similar things in the past, so you can do so again.

Be positive. It is always helpful to have a positive attitude. This will make it much easier to keep things in perspective because you will see the positive side of each situation.

Think about when you cannot keep things in perspective, what are the common factors, what has helped you in the past and can any of the above ideas help you going forward?

Author: Liz Makin
Published: May 2009

Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.


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