Saturday, February 23, 2008

Expect Problems

In our class today we were detailing all of our fears of being able to do the job once we went out to the production floor. It wasn’t phrased like that, mostly. It was phrased in the ‘what if?’ mode. The biggest ‘what if’ being “What if I don’t know the answer?” Being new and just out of training, not having the answer at our fingertips will be a given. What our practice time will amount to is learning how to find the answers. Most of us have worked on the phones, so taking calls, per se, won’t be the main problem.

The problem is, we will have problems. Life is a series of bumps in our path. Sometimes they are very large obstacles, not just a ‘bump’. My main problem is not the lack of knowledge, the unfamiliarity with the systems or even not particularly liking to deal with people on the phone (hey, you do what you have to do). My biggest problem is when my brain seems to fog up. I personally get nervous and angry when I can’t seem to think straight. This gets me agitated, and when I’m agitated I can’t think straight (see earlier). This is not a positive feedback loop.

Having had this happen (more than) a few times, I have learned to anticipate and plan for the times I become agitated. I have my worry stone and by squeezy ball. I write encouraging sticky notes and post them on my monitor. I take my walk around the building at lunchtime to give my body some physical activity to release the pent up adrenaline. I focus on pine trees and mountain streams in the off moments. And I try to remember to breathe. Breathing is good. It gets rid of carbon dioxide and brings in the vital oxygen. The very act of breathing relaxes the body. And, in my case, helps get rid of the brain fog.

The ‘Question and Answer’ time was good. It got our fears out into the open. More to the point, it got the problems out into the open. When we knew about the problems we could help each other on finding solutions (and not just answering questions). The solution in this case was to ‘Rely on your resources’ to point us in the right direction. Particularly for me, it’s to drill myself on the systems until they are nearly automatic. The scripting comes naturally enough to me that it won’t be a problem (that word again) to pick up. And despite me not particularly liking to talk to people, I do that well enough to get me through.

It all comes down to the ‘how-to’s’. How to do this, how to do that. Once you know how-to, the job is easy. This is called ‘know-how’. Once we know how to do the job, the fear of not being able to goes away, and we’re better able to get the job done.

Our biggest problem, then, is fear. Fear cripples us by making us doubt our abilities. Fear also attacks us by causing us to focus on the consequences of the misstep. How many mountain climbers reached the summit by looking down? Yes, we need to be aware of the consequences of a misstep so we don’t trivialize the consequences. But we focus on the task at hand, looking toward the goal. When we focus on making each step the best step we can, the precipice tends to fade into the background. We never quite forget it’s there, it just doesn’t command our attention.

Again, it all comes down to our focus (see my earlier blog). If we focus on our problems that’s all we’ll see. If we focus on the solutions we will make better headway.

Much has been said about the Law of Attraction. I’m not sure I buy into the ‘create your own universe’ aspect. But I cannot deny the logic of focus: what you focus on, commands your attention, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. What you focus on draws you to it, just like wanting to see more detail in that photograph or painting that catches your eye. Consequently, you tend to move away from other things.

What does this come down to?

Like the title says: expect problems, but don’t let them dominate your thinking.

Expect problems, expect to overcome them.

Yes, you can!

No comments: