Navigating Through Uncertain Times: Choosing Your Behavior
Wednesday, April 12, 2017 9:00 AM
It is no secret that our country is undergoing a period of change and uncertainty, the likes of which many have not seen in our lifetime. Times like these can be difficult, causing divisiveness and discord, and bringing on a tremendous spectrum of emotions. But, at the end of the day, you do have control over one thing — your behavior.
It is easy for all of us to get caught up in turbulent times and lead with emotion and reactivity — it is a natural tendency. I am the first to admit I’ve done my fair share of that in my lifetime! Choosing my behaviors, although it may not change the outcome, at least gives me control over something, which helps me feel more secure. None of us like feeling out of control or feeling as though we have no power to impact change, so why not at least control what you can?
As I reflect on behaviors that help me during uncertain or challenging times, there are a few that I find most helpful. They are:
- Learn the other side: As with any topic, there are usually multiple sides to an issue. Learn them, even if they don’t support your stance on the topic. Learning all the sides to an issue will help you understand where others may be coming from and give you a big-picture perspective.
- Listen with purpose: Be open to others’ opinions, regardless of your own. When I listen intently, I typically learn something, and in many cases, my own beliefs may be impacted. At the very least, it demonstrates respect to the other person.
- Speak maturely: Enter discussions with the stance that your comments will be mature and thoughtful. Making emotional or reactive statements generally get you nowhere. If your conversation sounds like a discussion with a child, you may want to rethink your strategy.
- Show kindness and respect: There is no extra work involved in showing kindness and respect to others, regardless of whether you disagree with them. I can have a very spirited discussion, expressing my dissent, but I do it in a way that does not come across as mean or disrespectful.
- Stay up to date: During times of upheaval, things can change in an instance — more information can be released, an issue can be resolved, a new issue can emerge. By staying abreast of the situations around you, you will be better informed and can behave and act accordingly.
Life will throw all sorts of challenges your way, be it on a large, national scale or at the everyday level of a work setting. How each of us chooses to behave in these situations is the one thing within our control. I know what choice I’ve made to help navigate through uncertainty. What choice will you make?
YOUR TURN: What do you do to stay grounded during uncertain times? Please leave your response in the comment section below. Thank you.