By Sunny Simon
Ever watch two kids get in a tussle and be given a time out? I witnessed this occurrence recently. Sentenced to separate spaces two little boys tearfully dragged their tiny feet to the appointed corner to wait out the clock. What happened next can only be attributed to the blissful innocence of childhood. Thirty seconds into the time out Little Boy A became totally entranced in the scurrying of a large ant as the insect traversed the wall. Meanwhile, Little Boy B found his neon green shoelace an interesting object to remove from his shoe and twirl around his fingers. What was supposed to be a quiet time of reflection and repentance was quickly converted into exploring other options.
When the bell went off signaling punishment was over, both boys were told to apologize and shake hands. They did so grinning and giggling probably not even remembering or caring about the earlier disagreement. It never occurred to them to hold a grudge or debate who was in the wrong.
Children have the innate ability to quickly move on. No muss, no fuss, no hard feelings. They simply resume fun and frolic. Not always the case with adults. We sometimes dwell on frustrating situations long past the event. Ever catch yourself replaying an incident over and over in your head like a bad dream? Complaining about the injustice to anyone who will listen? How about the inability to quickly rebound from making a mistake, losing a sale or missing an important deadline?
Whether it’s mentally beating yourself up for a blunder, or clinging tightly to the memory of an unfair situation, it’s time wasted! You can get from stomach-in-knots anxiety to peaceful calm in two steps. First, reframe the situation by examining it objectively from 30,000 feet. If you lost the big sale, list the reasons your customer said no. Perhaps there were things you could have done differently. Make note of those actions and consider it a lesson learned. Next, remind yourself the past cannot be changed. It’s over, time to move on.
Still feeling a high level of anxiety? I recommend invoking the 24-hour rule. If you must ruminate on a situation, time it out. Then, like the little tykes, when the bell rings signaling you’ve spent an entire day and night fretting and employing negative self-talk, stop the nonsense and come out smiling. Let your negative thoughts evaporate into the dawn of a new day. Focus on the positive and go do something that makes your heart sing.
Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at www.raisethebarhigh.com