A few days ago, I ran up to the store to pick up a few items for homemade chili, a personal favorite. I had my list with me and I was on a mission to be “in and out” so I could get home and begin cooking. One problem… when I came out of the store, I forgot where I had parked. Has that ever happened to you?
At first, I went to my regular spot, only to discover my car was not there. I started walking around, bag of groceries in hand, wandering helplessly. Finally, a man commented that I looked lost and I told him that I couldn't remember where I had parked. “Oh no! You stupid,” he replied. I had to laugh. “Yes I am,” I said as I half-smiled. After a few more torturous minutes, I found my car.
Question, do you ever feel stupid? Do you wish, at times, you could start over again?
Sometimes, as personal leaders, I think we put too much pressure on ourselves. We need to put temporary setbacks and losses in perspective. Next time, in business or your personal life, when you have a bad experience, allow it to help you do the following:
1. Give yourself grace, whether it's a matter out of your control or because you made a mistake.
You are only human and you are not designed to be perfect. Cut yourself some slack!
2. Learn to laugh at yourself, and life in general.
President, Abraham Lincoln led the United States through it's darkest hour. He was known for finding ways to laugh at himself and the difficult situations he faced. Sometimes laughing releases the tension of perfectionism.
3. Don't dwell on pity parties.
Like most athletic coaches who face difficult loses, they have a “24-hour rule” to grieve their loss, get ticked off, process failure, and then, move past the pity party. Let's learn, grow, and get back to business!
4. Don't give up.
I watched the winter olympics in wonder as Simen Hegstad Krueger led a Norwegian sweep and won the 30-kilometer cross-country skiathlon, despite crashing on the first lap. He went from last place and fought all the way to first in order to win the gold metal!
Even if you feel or look stupid, don't give up! And, smile, you are not stupid!
Emotional intelligence can provide you with resilience and stress-armor to recover quickly.