Jonathan Buckeley, CEO of "BarnesandNoble.com," recently gave his board of directors a copy of what he called "his favorite business book"- Harold And The Purple Crayon ". The popular children's book has a simple plot. A little bald-headed kid with a purple crayon draws himself into and out of various situations. If he's on a path that's too long, he draws a shortcut If he gets hungry, he draws some pies If he finds himself in deep water, he draws a boat. When he gets lost, he draws a policeman and asks directions. The point is, Harold uses his purple crayon to create the solutions he needs as he proceeds through an uncertain landscape.
The creativity and imagination of children often results in a level of resourcefulness not seen in adults. Somewhere in the process of growing up, we come to realize that it simply isn't possible to create any situation we might hope for. The harsh reality of the marketplace tells us that we won't always get what we want. Unfortunately, as childhood innocence is lost, the pendulum swings so far the other way that we become slaves to limited thinking. We lose the ability to imagine our way out of difficult situations.
Here are two reasons that challenging the situations need not result in anxiety:
- When You Cannot Change The Situation - If you do not have control over a situation, it is not reasonable or rational to worry about it. Why worry over something you cannot change? Some challenges are simply beyond our control or influence. Don't stress yourself out; instead learn to protect yourself as much as possible.
- When You Have The Means To Change The Situation - If you find that you do have control over a situation, it is again unreasonable and irrational to worry about it Why worry about something that you have the power to change? If the matter is within your control or influence -- do something about it.
Remember, workplace stress can be productive if it motivates you to take creative action. As someone once said, "Most people do not change when they see the light, they change when they feel the heat" Let the "uncomfortable" times in life propel you to combine imagination with hard work to find great solutions This positive form of stress results not in anxiety, but dearly productive results. An article in Success magazine notes, "Those who view life as a challenge instead of a threat are not affected by stress in a negative way." Here are a few ideas for taking control of stressful situations:
- Go Back To Your Purpose - Checking your compass will help you stay on course.
- Look For New Options - Carry a "purple crayon." Always remember there are creative options.
- Slow Down Occasionally - Remember to recharge physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Work Your Plan - Take one thing at a time, and refrain from procrastinating.