Some issues just never seem to go away do they?
There are some things that you know that you should do to make life easier.
But how often do you forget to do them?
Though I’ve done a huge amount of work confronting demons from my past, the issue of “unacceptable” hit me hard last week.
Several weeks ago I got a part-time job at a local answering service company that does business with doctor’s offices, funeral homes, property management companies, a variety of service businesses, and more!
The only thing consistent about answering calls for all of these different kinds of companies is that they ALL have different ways that they want you to handle their messages and what you do with them after you take them!
After a couple of weeks training during the day, I was ready to take on working second shift!
Did I Fall Down the Rabbit Hole?
The only similarity between working first and second shift was the process of answering the phones!
That’s because the second shift handles the closing of all the offices which means dealing with a whole set of NEW instructions for how the calls were to be handled.
And the people I was working with were different – very different from those working first shift.
They were louder and talked over one another constantly! When I asked a question of one person, three of them would jump in with the answer!
In between phone calls, one woman on the other side of the small room preached endlessly to me about what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to do it. She repeated herself continuously even though I told her I understood what she was saying.
When I asked for a particular book so I could note a change I was making to the on-call instructions, someone handed it to me and just as quickly someone else took it away from me.
Then they proceeded to do exactly what I was going to do all the while telling me how I was supposed to make the change . . . even though I told them I knew how to do it.
It was a constant bombardment of noise and phone calls as the hours of 4 PM to 6 PM are the busiest of the day.
The only people who listened to me were the ones on the opposite end of the phone line.
Rational Thinking Only Works When You’re Awake
By the time I made it home, I was physically exhausted and emotionally battered.
My self-esteem was in the toilet, and I wondered how I’d ever survive working second shift.
Logically I knew things would calm down.
Rationally I knew the overall situation was shockingly reminiscent of the environment in which I had grown up.
Realistically I knew I was no longer a child at the mercy of self-centered adults.
I knew what I had to do to be more comfortable going forward.
I knew what actions I’d have to take to stop multiple people from talking to me at the same time.
I knew I could handle my second night a lot better than the first because I knew what to expect.
As I addressed what had happened and planned for how to better manage my interactions with people, my self-esteem recovered.
Sleep came quickly that night.
So too did the anxiety attack that came on so fast that I was disoriented and not sure where I was or what was happening.
Though everything I had told myself before going to bed helped me feel better at that time, I hadn’t addressed how I felt about what had happened that day.
I hadn’t dealt with how I had handled everything that had gone on while at work.
My reactions to the situation had been those of the child I had once been: polite and submissive and all the while scared about what these people would do to me if I said no to how they were treating me.
As I was working, I remember thinking that I had to be more assertive, but I just couldn’t make it happen.
Fears from the past had been in control – not me!
Because I didn’t acknowledge those fears and just focused on what I would do the next day, those fears set off my anxiety attack.
Fortunately it was one of those attacks that I was able to counter by creating a to-do list of all the positive actions I was going to take the next day.
If Only I Had Asked Myself This One Question
How many things do you know something about yourself that doesn’t prompt you to take actions that serve you?
I know I don’t deal well with unknowns.
Yet, I walked into that situation without any plan in mind.
There were many things I could have done to plan for the evening. but one there was one primary thing I had not asked myself.
Had I asked myself this one simple question, then the outcome of that evening would have been much different!
In order for me to do my job successfully this evening, what are the top 3 things I need to know?
Asking myself that question would have given me something to focus on that evening.
It would have reminded me to ask other people that question.
It would have set me up to take control of what I needed to know and how I got that information.
Though I didn’t ask myself that question that evening, I did remember to do so when I had to work for the first time on a Saturday morning a few days later.
Good thing I asked because I learned one very important piece of information that was not listed anywhere!
Putting Your Focus in the Right Place
Though I don’t like asking for help, I realize that in order to get what I need, and what I specifically need to know, then I have to ask for help.
When you ask them, most people are willing to help you.
The question is: Are you getting the right kind of help that YOU require?
When you ask someone, “Can you help me?”, it’s a very general question that leaves you open to getting a wide variety of responses.
My friend Mike likes helping me, but his way of doing so causes me more work. That’s because instead of answering my question, his way of helping is to give me books to read.
If you’re too specific about the type of information you want to know, then you can have difficulty in finding someone who can supply the answer you need.
I can’t remember where I got the idea for asking about how to successfully accomplish something specific.
What I can tell you is that when I use that question, I get answers that are helpful.
Not only that, but after I ask one person that question, I can then ask other people if they have anything to add.
Because I’m solely doing information gathering, I can better control how I get the information.
That means if two people are talking at once, I can ask them to speak one at a time.
Are you someone who has been conditioned to live up or down to other peoples’ expectations?
Or like me can past fears take control of your behavior even though you want to behave differently?
In any situation, changing what you focus on can make a big difference in reducing anxiety and even preventing it from showing up after the fact.
When you focus on successfully doing something, you not only can ask people to help you get the result you want, but you also trigger your mind to help answer the question as well.
Practice asking the “What do I need to know, or to do, in order to XYZ successfully?”
Try it out for anything you want to accomplish such as homework – or conducting a meeting – or even cooking a great meal.
Hopefully you’ll find out as I did that focusing on being successful at creating something also means being less stressed and anxious in the process of doing so.
For help in successfully reducing anxiety and stress, check out my Anxiety and Stress Reduction Guide for Sale at Short Legged Dog by clicking here.