Some see retreat as a failure. Others see it as a strategic win. How do you view retreating?
Pulling away from something is not a failure in itself. It can be the best answer to a situation that is not working for you. Some have a hard and fast view of retreating – you can find many quotes that say “never retreat”. What if you realize you are going in a wrong direction? What if you are up against a no-win situation? Are you supposed to keep going until you drop, just for the sake of never giving up?
Not necessarily. You are supposed to make the best of every situation you are in. Sometimes, retreating is the best course. Temporarily retreating allows you to rethink and regroup. Retreating for good lets you put your energies to something that will pay off for you.
Deciding when to retreat is a serious undertaking. It requires your discernment and strategic skill. You do not need a ban on retreating. Instead, you need the ability to perceive when it is the right time to retreat.
photo: Jad Limcaco, stocksnap.io
Have you ever found yourself tightly squeezed by one or more people or situations? Life and work can certainly create such circumstances.
When you find yourself pressed, get yourself fully to the present moment so that you can see what is going on. Then, take a look at what is happening and how it is affecting you. Do you know which way you want to go? Do you see no good way out? When you find yourself squeezed, keep your best interests in the forefront. Do not allow them to be bullied or rerouted by the pressure. Allow yourself to respond, not react. When you react you are rigid, so to speak. When you respond, you are in control.
Actually, being squeezed can bring good results. It can help you change form, move forward or strengthen your resolve. Next time you are squeezed, make the most of it!
photo: gate74, pixabay.com
Sometimes, staying right where you are is the best thing to do. Life and work can keep you moving, extending your reach and setting new goals – endlessly. However, there are times when staying in motion can create problems and, actually, keep you from where you want to go.
Here are some times when staying in place may be to your advantage:
- Your energy is low and you are not functioning at high capacity. You need a rest.
- There are obstacles in the way of getting where you want to be and you are not clear how to overcome them.
- You have other priorities that take precedence.
- You need a strategy to get there successfully and do not have one.
- There are benefits to derive from staying where you are.
Always “going” is not a balanced circumstance. Staying in place, when the time is right, can help get you where you want to be.
photo: DrCartoon, pixabay.com
Always, there are multiple ways to view things. Keep this in mind, when you get into a difficult situation. Take a moment and step away. Identify the lens you are looking through and try out other ways of looking at the situation. Stepping back and identifying multiple ways to view a situation allows you to breathe, to innovate and to find your best path forward.
There’s no question that a precipice is indicative of danger. When you find yourself on a precipice, best to watch out for yourself. It is your decision whether to jump or pull back – you don’t want to stumble. You want to choose your next step.
Organizations and careers are fraught with precipices, some steep and some not. Examples of precipices are: facing a decision whether to take a significant risk, someone having it out for you and setting you up in a lose-lose situation, having to deal with the fallout from a failure or a mistake you made or misjudgment of a situation that brings you to a precipice.
When you are at a precipice, what do you do? You had best be aware of what’s happening, be fully present, look out for your interests, gauge the dynamics of the situation correctly, have a strategy and make a realistic assessment of your options.
Be ready for precipices that are bound to come. You can survive them if you know when they’re coming or that they are already there.
photo: Jonathan Pendleton, stocksnap.io
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy followed the yellow brick road to find the Wizard. Sometimes, when you think there is a yellow brick road before you, you encounter a yellow brick wall.
A yellow brick wall asks you to change direction. Yellow brick walls can be subtle or they can be unmistakable. The hard part is acknowledging the yellow brick wall is there, especially when you’ve set your path and you want to continue in the same direction. It behooves you to acclimate your senses to be able to see a yellow brick wall, when it appears. Doing so will allow you to change to a more productive course, to avoid hitting your head against it, to no avail and to see reality as it truly is.
You are the CEO of your career. If you embrace that, you want to have a strategy. There’s always something you can do to develop your career. A teacher once advised me to live like an arrow, not a target. That is what’s involved here-setting a path and knowing where you are aiming. If your strategy is in your mind, it will positively influence the choices you make and the direction you take.
So, what’s your current strategy? Where are you heading in the next year of your career?
photo: digitalart, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The agendas people have in the work world can undo the best of your intentions. Uncovering an underlying agenda of a colleague is not an easy task. However, one thing you can do is to take off the rose-color glasses and develop your ability to “read” a situation accurately.
In my early career, I had the best of intentions and often gave people the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to get along and be a good team member. After several disappointing wake-up calls, when underlying agendas caused me harm, I worked at getting smart about agendas. I did not want to swing the pendulum to suspicion or cynicism. I wanted to balance the pendulum, by getting wiser about people and being able to spot their agendas.
I started a practice that helped me quite a bit. I first found my neutral gear in assessing people. Instead of seeing what I wanted to see in people and letting that skew my judgment, I let people show me who they were. I reserved judgment until they did. I also, when I encountered a problem with someone, would write a “What I Know” list about him or her. That list had only facts regarding a person’s actions, not opinions or suppositions. I was surprised how much this helped and how much, in actuality, people would reveal their agendas. By taking off my rose color glasses, I was much more able to see a situation clearly and determine my next steps.
photo; holohololand, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Managing is a challenging task. Sometimes, it seems as if it cannot get any more challenging then it already is. Then, one day you find yourself in a panic-you have been given notice and are walked out the door. What do you do?
First priority is to regain your center and accept what has occurred. An event such as this has a mighty force that you need to acknowledge. Give yourself space and time to regroup. Practice internal kindness-you do not have to add blame or self criticism to the mix. What’s needed next is a strategy and sense of place. Take some time to identify your options and challenges now that you are unemployed. Think out a strategy for what has to be handled immediately and what can be handled in the long run.
When you are ready, get back out in the world and get started on your strategy. Build new concepts for balance during this time. Be good to yourself. Change can be hard, but can also bring good things to your life. Be open to what this change can bring. If you are facing the loss of your job, please know that I wish you the very best and many good things to come.
Recently, a client described a business relationship that had a troubled history at his organization. He had inherited both the relationship, and its past, in his new position. After a particularly difficult interaction, he reevaluated his strategy for the relationship. What he came up with was brilliant. In the midst of an exchange, he said to the person, “Can we start over?” Simple, direct and effective. Turned out, that the other person was relieved and more than willing to give it a try. No drama, no games, no complexity; just the expression of a desire to end one energy and create a more productive one.