“Leave your problems at the door.”
How many times have we heard this said? Has anyone ever said it to you?
But who of us can do it? Is it possible to turn your concerns, worries, and fears off in an instant? As if someome were to flip a switch and turn your painful emotions off?
I know I can’t.
Human emotions are powerful, and not easily denied. Even when we stuff them, and convince ourselves they’ve gone away, our innermost feelings wait to jump out and grab us. Sometimes at the most inopportune times.
So when life strikes you where it hurts, what’s the best way to handle it when you cross the threshhold into work?
First, let me say I’m no therapist. For that kind of help see a professional.
But I am a real live person who by this stage of my life has dealt with many personal problems. From financial to relationships, to health, I know what it’s like to want to pull the blankets back over your head, knowing you don’t have the luxury, and must go to work.
I’ve also supervised people with major personal problems. So I’ve learned a few things about how deal with them while there’s still a job to do.
Here’s a few tips I’d offer those who might be struggling right now:
- Don’t try to deal with everything all alone. I often say problems are like magma in a volcano. If there aren’t moments of venting in a safe location, every time a fissure cracks, new magma piles up on the old, until the pressure bulges to a dangerous level. Finally, an unexpected explosion occurs. And if that big bang happens to take place at work, you might have a whole new set of problems. So find a safe person to let steam off with from time to time. Just make sure they’re truly safe. No gossip. No throwing fuel on inflamed emotions. No discouragement.
- Let your bosses know you are dealing with difficulties. It isn’t necessary to share every gory detail, and frankly most supervisors don’t want to hear everything, but at the very least, explain you are not yourself due to some weighty personal problems. Ensure them you will do your very best to work through it as quickly as possible. Then push yourself to do the work. If your reputation is one of integrity, most employers will bend over backwards to help you through a crisis.
- If possible, find productive work that requires the least amount of mental energy possible. Manual tasks like cleaning or organizing are ideal during periods of high-octane stress.
- Choose one focus project at a time, for now, avoid big pictures. Succeeding at one small task can motivate you to do one more thing, and then another, until you make it through an entire day.
- Remind yourself that you will not feel this way forever. When problems arise, it’s easy to fall into a doomsday mentality, but words are powerful motivators, even those we tell ourselves.
This is a short list, but when problems are big, a long list is overwhelming. Don’t fear professional help if you need stronger, in-depth guidance. And remember you are not alone. Every person on the planet will deal with personal problems at some point. There is no such thing as a perfect life. That knowledge alone, may help you deal with your personal problems at work, or anywhere else.
Do you allow others to help you when you are struggling?
Anita Fresh Faith
Romans 13:3 (NLT)
For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, and national speaker. Anita is also the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Lifeway, Christianbook.com, select Walmart’s, plus many fine stores, Christian and otherwise.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, and a client of WordServe Literary Group. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries. Anita co-hosts a weekly podcast, #3 in Christian Leadership on iTunes, Engaging Life and Leadership with Darren Dake, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.
Anita is passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
Her favorite past time is lounging by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with with her husband of thirty years, Ricky.