How Will You Respond?

We all know that family member, friend or colleague who seems to always be juggling a string of unfortunate events and challenges. Certainly, in many instances, the misfortune is the result of a poor decision. It is also the case that these events are sometimes brought on by factors outside of the individual's control. 

It's not that misfortune only happens to some people and not others. What does vary is how we behave when misfortune appears. Lisa might be late to work once and decide that going forward she is going to leave ten minutes earlier and find a less congested route. Andrew will be late to work fifteen times and blame the alarm clock or the school bus taking its time getting kids on before it tucks away its most powerful weapon, a stop sign. Robert may forget to pay a bill and then decide to set up automatic payments and set more money aside for emergencies each month. On the other hand, Tracy will come up short on multiple bills each month and be constantly stressed about money but she will continue going to Starbucks every morning and eating out four times per week. 

It is not that some people have lives that are divorced from misfortune and mistakes. It is really that when the mistake is made or the obstacle appears, some of us act as owners of our lives and some of us behave like victims. 

The question is not whether challenges will emerge. The question is how will you respond when they do? 

Who Has Your Ear?

Is it the group of people who always complain? Is it the person on your team who has the unique balance of paranoia and optimism? Is your calendar filled with appointments that will require you to listen to those who come to the table to tell you all of the reasons why you are going to fail even though that's not what the data says? 

There is some truth to the old saying that we were given two ears and one mouth so we should use them proportionally, and we should use both wisely. Who we listen to matters to our ability to stay focused on the cause, to end the day feeling like we made progress, to hear all of the evidence we need to make an informed decision. 

You words are valuable your ears are invaluable. When someone wants to borrow your ear and you know the cost of listening is too much, be bold enough to say "not now," "no thank you."