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Bouncing Back from Chaos - Creating Your Own "Rock"
It seemed that my daughters dragged out every toy until they sat in the middle of random piles always concentrating their energy on their current plaything. The room may have been in chaos, but the children weren't.
Chaos originally meant infinite space or formless mass. Today it's more like being in a Mixmaster with the switch on high. The floaty sounding infinite is OK, but formless we don't like. Our struggle and cause of unrelenting stress, is to find form and order. It's getting that elusive "foot on a rock" feeling. You won't find order but you can create it.
Order wasn't on the children's mind. They had all the order they needed sitting in the "eye of the storm" unstressed and focused on their play. That's what most of us want to be in the middle of the chaos without being part of it.
Managing a workforce of increasing diversity and communicating across cultural lines and language barriers has added new dimensions. Yes, it's difficult. Different skills are required. The focus must shift. And as the Pointer Sisters might say, you need a "new attitude."
Look again at the children. Beyond their innocence, what is key? They were focused. Multitasking creates mediocrity. Focus drives excellence.
As Tiger Woods approached the clubhouse after a rough first day of tournament play, a reporter asked, "How does a bad day impact your ability to concentrate?" He responded quickly, "it doesn't." He explained that he plays one stroke at a time. There is no thought of the previous stroke or the next one. His laser focus allows him to bring all his skill and energy to that single success. Then, it's on to the next stroke.
Pick that one thing where you need to focus all your skills, ideas and energy at this moment -- no worrying about the last task or the next, no interruptions. The economy in time and excellence of results may amaze you. Phones ring, people intrude, you'll be tempted to keep juggling. Give yourself just two minutes. Set a timer. Working intensely, see how much you can accomplish. Surprised?
Concentrated effort is key. You can't obsess about what's not done or how much there is to do, what will happen tomorrow or the security of your position. Focus brings control. Extend to five minutes. Live on the edge -- try 30 minutes.
Rather than doing the unimportant and mentally agonizing over a major task, give yourself a specific time limit. One hour, maybe less. In that time work as intensely and quickly as possible. It may take many more hours, but you have a great start. One step at a time may be cliche but it works especially with focus.
Then, what can you delegate? Provide the opportunity for others to display their skills and learn. Don't make it an "I gotcha" trap. Micromanaging is self-defeating. You accomplish less, feel overwhelmed, and coworkers secretly hate you. Instead, build a resilient and cohesive group with trust and mutual respect.
Avoid getting caught in the formlessness and whirlwind of chaos. Opportunities abound. Be flexible. Keep your eye on the ball and focus on the "stroke" at hand. You'll have less stress, more fun, and bounce back to a higher level than before.
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Nash is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker and author in the
areas of change and resilience. To receive her free E-zine Bouncing Back go to
www.Lindanash.com To contact
314.872.8787 or e-mail
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