A Better Way To Deal With Problems

When we get hit with a problem, it seems like it’s always more than one at a time to add to our already growing list.

That causes stress that can actually force us to make bad decisions and prolong the grief.

But there is a better way:

  1. Don’t try to solve a new problem on the spot, manage it.  Put it on a priority list with everything else. 
  2. Resist the urge to solve the next problem that comes along.
  3. Know the there are three kinds of problems and we would do well to know them inside and out:  the kind that can be solved, the kind that can’t be solved and the ones that for some reason or the other resolve themselves.
  4. Put emotion in its place.  Getting emotional usually makes a problem more important than it may actually be.  Resist that temptation.
  5. My favorite:  every time you chip away at an existing problem, try to see it as making a small payment one installment at a time as opposed to one giant move to make it go away.

“Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things” — Henry Ward Beecher

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Rebounding From Great Disappointment

One of the two teams that play in the Super Bowl has to lose.

At least one person loses each election, beauty contest or for that matter competing for future employment.

Disappointment needs to be owned – not ignored – because disappointment remains one of the most useful tools if we know how to use it.

May I share how I deal with it:

  1. First night, sleep it off.  Don’t ruminate or over evaluate.  Rest first above all.
  2. Be human, allow a chance to feel the disappointment but not for one moment allow that disappointment to be expressed as failure.
  3. Then, focus on the great exhilaration that we are going to feel when we turn the disappointment into success.
  4. Start gathering examples of disappointments that have been worth wading through – a second marriage, the better job you got when your dream job got away, the new friend that came into your life when a trusted friend hurt you.

Life is tough.

No one – not through power or money – can avoid disappointment.

It can be a great gift and very transformational.

The secret to rebounding from great disappointment is to eventually evolve into the positive person it can make us when we feel it, own it and come up with a plan to change it.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”  — Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Premature Loss of a Loved One

My friend and well-known Philadelphia dj Michael Tearson shared both a heart breaking and heart warming story with me about the death of his wife, the love of his life – a person for whom he has found no replacement in the 18 years since she died.

They met, fell in love and married only to find out months later that his new bride, the former Lynne Pedersen discovered that she had advanced breast cancer.  Michael and Lynne lived like there was no tomorrow because there was no tomorrow.

She fought the good fight with her husband by her side but she didn’t lose her battle.  Yes, she lost her life but the two of them had what many people take for granted – a virtual moment in time when two people connect with each other in love and mutual appreciation.

In our world, we are often blessed with the long-term companionship of others.  I think if we thought about the uncertainty of time, we would conclude, as Michael Tearson has, that any time with the right person is better than lots of time with the wrong one.

It doesn’t take a fatal disease to make us appreciate the warmth, friendship and support of others, just the awareness to do so.

Michael Tearson and Lynne Pedersen is a love story – short in years, long on valuing the gift of time.

My thanks to Michael Tearson for allowing me to tell this personal story.

“You get what anyone gets. You get a lifetime” – Neil Gaiman’s character of death in the Sandman Comic Book

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Forgive But Don’t Forget

When we’ve been hurt, it is understandable that it may take some time to put that hurt behind us.

Some people eventually do.

Some don’t.

The ones who don’t turn into the same person who hurt them in the first place when they hang on to the vitriol of being the victim as justified as it may be.

To be sure, we forgive others for our own sake not for the others.

The animosity of a divorce or child custody battle, an insult, a betrayal, a hurtful deed or lie – these things can make us crazy.

Forgiveness for one’s own sake is a freeing thing.

But forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting.  Two benefits of not forgetting are to remember that this person hurt us in some way and the other is to keep in mind what the deed was so we can remain on the lookout for it in others.

Minnesota Wild hockey player Dany Heatley was deemed responsible for a car accident that killed his friend and then former Atlanta Thrasher’s teammate Dan Snyder in 2003.

But Snyder’s family was very supportive of their son’s friend and told prosecutors and the judge that nothing could be gained by putting Heatly in prison.  The judge listened to the family.

If the family of a son with so much promise who was killed in an irresponsible act of driving recklessly can forgive the driver, what’s our problem?

“We are all human beings and we know that humans make mistakes.  We do not lay the blame on Dany Heatley for the accident that took our son from us.  Forgiveness is also a part of being human and we know that there is nothing to gain from harboring resentment and anger toward others” – Graham Snyder

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Best Strategies To Get a Raise

I once saw a radio news director of a Philadelphia radio station get fired and after laying out the company’s case before he was actually fired his boss asked him one question – “Can you tell me why you shouldn’t be dismissed?”

Remarkably, his answer was “No”.

In the converse, I have often thought if we were asked, “Why should you get a raise” that most of the responses would be about longevity, loyalty and time spent working for the company.

What employers want to hear – in any economy – is that our value exceeds what they are paying us.

So an excellent way to set up the pay raise meeting is to ask ourselves to name 5 ways we can be more valuable than we are today.  List them.  Work them.  Achieve them.

Employees know even better than their superiors what it takes to be more valuable than what they are paid.

When that meeting occurs, mention the newly acquired skills and a brief example of each one of them.

Some companies plainly will not offer raises and if that turns out to be true of where you work, you can then list these 5 newly acquired valuable skills with the other advantages of employing you and take them elsewhere.

For 11 more ways to get a raise, click here.

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