Sunday, December 6, 2009

Keep the Bar High When Your Spirits Aren't

We all have times when we don't feel like we can maintain our positive outlook. An unexpected setback, an unkind remark, a missed opportunity, the loss of a friend—maybe all in the same morning—and your resolve to be positive goes right out the window. Sometimes a job demands that we do something really unpleasant, and it takes time to recover from the negative impact on us.

When this happens, it's easy to forget how important our own mental well-being is. We can't function up to our best potential, we can't deal with problems effectively, and we have trouble prioritizing work. Probably the best thing any of us can do when we experience this is to take a little time off. We need to step away from the day-to-day and regain our focus and the positive attitude that got us where we are.

Unfortunately, it's not always possible to step away from the work. Even when we're away from the workplace, we are connected through our smartphones or laptops, and it's easy to bring all the internal turmoil home.

When this happens, the most important thing is to remember that the quality of the work you and your team are doing should not suffer. That's why we have teams. Think back to a time when one of your team members suffered a setback. Didn't you step in and pick up some of the work, or make the appropriate adjustment so that they could recover and pick up the load again? Is there someone on your team you know you can depend on to do the same for you? The team should be strong enough to absorb at least some of the extra work.

In this excellent article on the importance focusing on our mental health, St. John Health System enumerates ways to overcome the loss of positive outlook. I suggest at least a quick look at some of the bullet points there. Add some of them to your personal arsenal of capabilities.

Give it some thought.

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