By Jonathan Desaussure
Warrior or a whiner, the choice is yours.
When you wake up in the morning and crawl out of bed, did you know that you are stepping into a dual arena of war. Yes, this war has two fronts, internal confrontations, and external influences. Whether you are aware of it or not, the two are connected, and how you manage these events will make all the difference in how your day goes, and how your overall success turns out long-term. We are most likely to become more aware of the workings of these conflicts when we press in and pursue any good and worthy goal. It doesn’t matter if the goal is weight loss, a great marriage, a job promotion, or growing a business; the struggle causes pressure, and this pressure causes the and anxiety to rise. Let’s face it. Fear and anxiety has the ability to turn a warrior into a whiner. Let’s look at how subtle an attitude may change with an imaginary character pursuing a job promotion. Let’s call our character, Jennifer.
Jennifer gets up in the morning and hurries to the bathroom. She grabs her toothbrush and thinks, I really hope I get this promotion today. I’ve have wonderful people skills. I connect Mrs. James with more clients than anybody else in the office. This promotion is mine.
Jennifer steps back, spits into the sink, and places her toothbrush back into its holder. She takes her index fingers from both hands, sticks them in the corner of her mouth, and pulls her jaws open so wide, she can see her tonsils. After looking in her mouth, she removes her hands, cups her right hand, puts it next to her mouth, and exhales into her palm. Humm, minty fresh, she thinks, and then she looks down at her waste line. I’ve got to wear my hip-killers, she thinks. My ass looks too big for the dress that’s going to get me the job today. She turns off the lights, leaves the bathroom, and enters her bedroom. The sliding closet door sounds like thunder as she opens it and stares at her winning outfit. Jennifer is confident and in love with herself.
Later in the morning, Jennifer walks into the office. Her stride has confidence. She’s looking fine, crisp, and very corporate. There is low-tone chatter among the fellow employees. She can’t make out what they are saying. Some of them give her eye contact as she walks by, and other won’t look her in the face. Diana, a fellow employee, shoots Jennifer an evil eye as she passes by her desk. I wonder what her problem is, Jennifer thinks. The stare from Diana has shaken Jennifer’s tree. Jennifer arrives at her desk and places her purse on the corner. Just as she sits, she overhears one fellow employee telling another that she thinks Diana is the most likely candidate for the new public liaison position. Jennifer reaches into her purse, pulls out her mirror, and admires her make-up job. I hope they are wrong, thinks Jennifer. Just as Jennifer puts her mirror back into her purse, a middle-aged woman, wearing old-lady conservative business clothing, struts into the office. It’s Mrs. James. The office chatter dies to silence. They all inconspicuously watch Mrs. James as she walk by them and into her office.
Minutes later, Mrs. James’ voice radiates out of her office door.
“Diana! Kindly step into my office.”
It is as if a lion just roared. All employees are suddenly uneasy. Diana stands. All eyes fall on her. She walks into Mrs. James office. The door closes slowly behind her. Low-tone chatter fires up and spreads across the office again.
Jennifer looks up at the clock: 8:01 A.M. Nothing against Diana, but I hope I get the job, she thinks. She can’t sit still. She looks up at the clock again: 8:07. Only six minutes have gone by, Jennifer thinks. She plays with the Rolodex on her desk. I’ll contact Aztec Incorporated for Mrs. James. Yeah, that’s a good thing to do. It’ll keep my mind off things and I’ll score some brownie points.
Eight-thirty, Diana walks out. Mrs. James calls Jennifer into her office. Jennifer stands to her feet. All eyes fall on her. She glances at the clock: 9:00 A.M. As she’s walking along, she feels as if the distance from her desk to Mrs. James’ office has increased three-fold. Finally, she steps inside Mrs. James office. The door slowly closes behind her.
Jennifer looks around at Mrs. James’ office. It’s bigger than the employee workspace outside the office door. Suddenly, she feels small. The wall behind her desk is the office window. Mrs. James is standing on the side of her desk, pointing to an empty leather chair with her hand. Jennifer sits and crosses her legs. She twiddles her thumbs as Mrs. James walks behind her. Jennifer stares out the window at the skyscraper across the street.
“Jennifer, you have been working for our company for five years now,” says Mrs. James.
“Yes ma’am,” says Jennifer.
“You like it?”
“Yes, ma’am. I do.”
“Glad to hear that, because I’ve thought long and hard about what I’m about to do,” says Mrs. James, still prancing around behind Jennifer.
“What’s that ma’am?” asks Jennifer. She uncrosses her legs, turns to face Mrs. James and smiles.
“I’m going to give the position to Diana.”
The smile on Jennifer face disappears. Her mouth opens, her hands start sweating, and she can feel her heart beating. She’s thinking she can hear herself say, looser, on every exhale of her breath. She looks up at Mrs. James and asks,
“What did you say?”
“I’m giving the job to Diana.”
“Why would you do that?” says Diana.
“Because she is who I want for the job.”
“You can’t. You promised. It’s not fair.”
Diana’s hurt, disappointed, doubting herself, and whining. Her attitude subtly digressed from positive to negative. The change was due to both internal and external influences. We’ve all been there because we’ve been conditioned by those around us who don’t know any better to whine over the disappointments of life. As a child, we learned that a whine at the appropriate time to the appropriate parent would get us the attention we sought, and sometimes what we were after in the first place.
That’s not for us anymore. LIFE IS A MEAN AND TOUGH OPPONENT AND YOU HAVE TO BE TOUGHER. So how do we do that?
- Decide to be tougher. Do you remember the bullies in school? Some of them were so tough that if you crashed a brick over their heads, they would take what’s left over and eat it. They got that way because they fought a lot and decided to become tough. That’s what you have to do. Don’t let things rock your boat. Keep moving toward your goals.
Allow yourself to accept that you may not win everything today. It’s part of life. Do you remember the movie, The Terminator? Arnold had a line. “I’ll be back.” I love that. If you can get that attitude, that means you realize that, no, today, or no, right now, doesn’t mean, no, tomorrow.
Don’t choose to whine; choose to win. Whining takes your personal power away. You can always choose how to respond to a situation. A lot of times, you’ll have no idea what’s coming at you. I’ve been in situations in the past where I had to take the day hour by hour. I wouldn’t have chosen to do that if I were planning to quit. I could have thought, man, why does this crap always happen to me. Instead, I learned to think, I’ll figure it out, and I’ll get it. Do you see the difference? One of the statements is complaining, and it is wrapped up in victim mentality. The other statement empowers you, helping you to endure and think.
Trust in yourself. No one does anything exactly right when he or she is doing it for the first time. Go ahead. Look stupid, learn, fail, but keep moving. One day, you’ll have what you intended to have. Henry Ford said, “Too many men are afraid of being fools.” That short statement touched me the day I heard it. I was afraid of looking like a fool. I meditated on that until I wasn’t afraid to try. Do you know what I found out? If I intended to get better at a thing, I got better at it. The ones who were negative and laughing weren’t laughing when I achieved what I set out to do.
You can do it too. I know you can. Let me prove it to you. How many bumps and scrapes did you get when you were learning to ride a bike? I mean a two-wheeler now, not a tricycle. I have scars on my legs now from my childhood bicycle accidents. The attitude is the same; the only difference is the process of doing what you want to do. Go get it. Talk with you next time.
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