Linda Nash
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Linda Nash

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Controlling the Chaos

As I sit here with bandaged feet propped awkwardly on my desk, trying to maneuver my computer keyboard, I'm reminded about the real cause of stress. Recovering from foot surgery has wrested control from me in so many ways. I can't drive a car, my gait resembles a duck and I spend exhausting hours trying to balance elevated feet with meaningful work. It's frustrating, infuriating, and, if I could drive, I'd find some candy bars to elevate my endorphin level.

Change in our lives creates chaos we didn't anticipate. The domino effect applies. One change causes a disturbing reshuffling leaving us feeling out of control and, at worst, like a victim.

Why do some people, organizations and institutions bounce back and thrive no matter what happens? What is it that makes them so resilient that they can consistently excel while others are left running in place or slipping backward? As I worked with individuals and organizations going through mergers, downsizings and reorganizations, I pondered those questions and kept data. The results were enlightening.

Carol, a clinic director with 12 years experience, raved that she would be bald by age 50 from tearing her hair out over the coverage nightmare of HMOs and PPOs. Tests had always gone to one lab. Now, they had to check each individuals insurance and be certain to send work to the "right" lab or there would be no coverage.

I asked her, "Is there anything you can do to change this situation?" She said, "No." Then I suggested that she stop obsessing and figure out the best way to handle it. We waste so much of our precious time and energy railing about something we can't control.  Value yourself. Work on what you can control and leave the obsessing and wall pounding to the change martyrs.

I remember a story a priest friend told me years ago. He had a flat tire along a busy highway. (This was before cell phones.) There he was, no spare, no gas station in sight, all alone. He felt helpless, like a victim. Eventually someone stopped to help.

He recounted that several years later, a woman who worked in his office came bounding in a bit late and disheveled but smiling. She recounted that her tire had blown out on the freeway. When he commiserated that it must have been an awful experience she said, "not really." " I climbed the fence, walked about a half mile to a phone, and called a service station. While I waited for them I grabbed a bagel and coffee and read the paper. They fixed the tire got me back on the road, and by the way, I got bagels for the whole office."

What a difference in attitude. She had never allowed herself to become a victim. Instead, she took action immediately to correct the situation and even made the waiting pleasurable for herself. Overcoming the obstacle exhilarated her.

How would you have responded to the situations these people faced? What do you do when unexpected changes or setbacks occur?

If you'd like to test your resilience level go to http://www.lindanash.com and click on Resilience to take the free mini Bounce Back Quotient assessment. The entire assessment plus over 100 pages of tips for improvement are in the Bounce Back Quotient book, http://www.lindanash.com/products.html.

Well, it's time for another break from writing. Besides, I've taken control of my inability to drive. A friend is picking me up in her new sports car to take me to a favorite restaurant for lunch. I'm definitely bouncing back. So can you.

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Linda Nash
Linda 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 Linda call
314.872.8787 or e-mail Linda@Lindanash.com

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Linda Nash
1010 Thoreau Court, Suite 310
St. Louis, MO  63146
Ph: 314.872.8787  |  800.701.9782
linda@lindanash.com | www.LindaNash.com 

Copyright 2000 by Linda Nash. All rights reserved. You may not reproduce this material without explicit prior written permission.