A Coaching Power Tool created by Cindy Ma
(Executive Coach, SINGAPORE)
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Canfield, Hansen, & Hewitt, 2000, pg. 272)
The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. Martha Washington
Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. John Maxwell
Ninety-five percent of your emotions are determined by how you interpret events to yourself. -Brian Tracy
What we are as human beings presents itself more fully in times of adversity than at times of ease. Anyone can be positive, polite and kind when things are going well. What distinguishes people with an extraordinary character from the rest of us is how they respond when life send one of its inevitable curves. They don’t crumble or surrender. They reach deeply into themselves and present even more of their highest nature to the world.
What is Circumstance?
An incident or occurrence usually a condition of time, place etc. that accompanies of influences an event or condition.
What is Choice?
The opportunity or power of choosing or selecting; making an option / alternative; that suggests that one has a choice between only two possibilities
Imagine the following situation….
You were in role that you did not enjoy; the job scope did not stretch your capability and you had a manager who micromanaged her team and little professional qualities that make you feel proud of. What kept you in the Company were; you were paid a good salary to support your lifestyle with excess to go to your retirement saving and you did not want to leave a job before completing two years as this would not project you positively on your resume.
After 9 months with the company, going to work turned into a duty of responsibility. You realized that your performance would be further compromised if you continue in the role. At a career development discussion with your manager, both of you acknowledged that the role was not a good alignment with your capability or interest and agreed for you to explore other roles within the same function in the Company. The new possibility boosted your morale and lifted your mood at work.
Two months later, your manager initiated a mutual separation citing that your performance did not measure up to her expectation and you were not a good fit for the organization culture. You were rudely shocked as you had received a successful performance rating six months ago and since then, there was no discussion on your performance. Your manager followed to instil fear to place you on 30 days performance improvement plan if you do not resign and threatened to terminate your employment should you fail to improve to a level that meet her expectation at the end of the 30 days. It was a blatant psychological manipulation for constructive termination which left you no option but to leave the company.
You are angry with your manager’s unethical and unprofessional treatment, saddened and disappointed by the lack of impartial/ neutral support system for workplace grievances. Your self esteem as a seasoned practitioner in your profession is bruised. Your mental and physical state is weakened by fear of not able to find alternative employment at similar level of seniority and possible unemployment without income lasting beyond six months.
What is happening ?
Are you reacting to your CIRCUMSTANCE ?
Are you exercising your right to make a choice, one that serves you to rise above the circumstance or one that makes you crumble ?
Every day of our lives, we are presented with situations, circumstances, events, challenges and conversations which will elicit a reaction from us (one way or the other). For some this will produce an emotional, volatile, irrational, spontaneous or even disastrous response, while for other folks, it will be a more measured, calm, considerate and strategic response to the happenings in their world.
Life is not a bed of roses. Among the roses, there are thorns. Life is a journey of challenges, both large and small. This very minute, somewhere in the world, there are parents dealing with the death of a child, someone has suffered an accident that will devastate their loved ones, human beings dealing with illness in a hospital bed. Sickness, loss and disappointment; no one gets through life without experiencing this stuff. We have the power to choose to rise above our external circumstances, the choice to be strong and positive when things fall apart, the right to use our stumbling blocks as stepping stones to a greater life.
Maintain calm and grace under pressure is a trait that allows us to carve out a spectacular life, one that we will be proud of at the end. What is happening is not the end of the world. Things could have been worse, there is so much to be grateful for.
The sooner we appreciate that not every day is a great day but there is always something good in every day, and realize that we are empowered with CHOICE to make an option to rise above our CIRCUMSTANCE the sooner we will rebound from the fall and take control of our emotions
Emotion is what drives us, but logic and intelligence is what should be steering us. We react against our well being when we know better because in ‘that moment’ our emotions overwhelm us and runs the show. Our response invariably has nothing to do with logic, understanding or intelligence and everything to do with emotion (insecurity, anger, fear, resentment, jealousy). We don’t actually think, consider or plan, we just react.
What we are as human beings present itself more fully in times of adversity than at times of ease. Anyone can be calm, positive, polite and kind when things are going well. What distinguishes people with an extraordinary character from the rest of us is how they respond when life send one of its inevitable curves. They don’t crumble or surrender. They reach deeply into themselves and present even more of their highest nature to the world. The wisest among us have a remarkable ability to maintain grounded when times get tough.