Interpersonal EDGE: 13-10
Sunday, June 1, 2014

By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services

  We wouldn't be human if we didn't spend a certain amount of time bemoaning bad luck and feeling sorry for ourselves. No matter how smart you are, I promise that you will have unfair, unpredictable and highly upsetting reversals of fortune. Give yourself the luxury of intense negative emotions when you discover your next problem.

  Now attempt not to say or do anything. Most of what we say when we are upset will give us a long-term workplace hangover. Do whatever you need to do to avoid reacting at the moment.

  Wait until you are alone, and then go ahead and give into your feelings privately. Feeling scared, betrayed or furious never hurt anyone. What we may do when we feel these feelings is the problem, not the inner experience of emotion.

  Now find someone outside your workplace to say everything immature, petty and insecure that is on your mind. Get it out and don't worry if you sound like a 2-year-old.

  Now, and only now, figure out what goal you have in your current circumstance. Ask yourself what you can do and say to make that outcome happen.

  You will have to deny yourself the delicious experience of venting and dumping on people you believe to be the cause of your suffering. Making them feel bad won't help you one bit.

  We've all heard that misery loves company, and now would be an opportune time to get company. Read biographies, watch the History Channel, and see how many tough problems people you admire experienced.

  When you find out that someone like John D. Rockefeller had a rotten childhood, missed his train for a meeting with the guy who would make him rich, and faced hundreds of rather unsolvable problems, you won't feel so alone. When you learn that the outcome of Rockefeller missing that train was that he narrowly missed a fatal train crash, you might feel even better. Sometimes the things we believe are bad luck turn out to be good fortune.

  What keeps us from being creative on our own behalf is that we tend to get stuck in being really upset. Then we get stuck in being upset about being upset. No breakthrough problem solving can occur in this state of mind.

  You never have to like the "now" that is going on in your workplace. If you like yourself, you do have to accept the now because the now is the only location from which you can change the future.

The last word(s)

  Q. Is it my imagination or has American business become the home of the entitled and ungrateful? Is there any way to not get my day repeatedly ruined by the self-absorption of others?

  A. Yes, lower the bar on your expectations, and no, it is not your imagination. When you expect entitlement you'll act in ways that make it harder to take advantage of you.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.



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