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‘Tis the Season: Try Not to Sweat the Small Stuff

By Erica Whyman

Well, as the song goes, “’Tis the Season to be Jolly…” but during this season there are so many reasons to feel overwhelmed and stressed, that Jolly often seems like the emotion we may have when it is all over, mid-January over.

So, as I sat down to write my pre-planned article on the Impact of Algorithms on Management Functionality, I decided to eliminate that stress for myself, and you by the way, and Dog Ear that one for 2018. (or maybe not) Who needs to read about algorithms at a time like this?

Instead, as I thought about another topic on the eve of the due date, I happened upon the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. This book takes residence in random places throughout our home, often moved to its new location as someone pages through it. Perfect, I thought, I will write a light hearted SHORT article on some reminders to not let the small stuff drive you crazy this year-end, holiday season.

Perspective.

This is one thing I would preach as a manager of highly stressed consultants, especially during tense times such as holidays, I mean year-end. I had a saying, which is probably not very PC, but it was, “This is not oil gushing into the ocean bad day at work.” I basically was trying to relay to my team, that this problem was not theirs to shoulder, that while it seemed bad, we did not have small animals covered in oil, and we can solve this. We can and we will. Yes, I do see now that there was perhaps a better way to communicate this.

Outside PEO, this season can test your perspective. Take a recent trip to Trader Joe’s during snow bird season in South Florida. Yes, it is exactly as you are imagining it. The woman who cut me off in her large Cadillac after I had been waiting for a parking spot, certainly aggravated me, but if I were to have applied the logic of this book, I would say to myself, “what is the reality that I am going to be upset over this tomorrow?” Slim. Have perspective and don’t let it impact your life so much. PS: I will apply this next time this happens.

Give Others a Break, Especially When They Don’t Deserve It.

This should speak to so many of us in PEO. Hey Sales, do you hear me? Hey Operations, do you hear me? If we can have perspective on what year end will be, not create drama, and give the people we are working with a break, a little compassion, we could probably get through this - TOGETHER.

Operations: Sales people will bring in last minute clients at year end. Do not spend your time rushing from office to office to whoever will listen about the audacity the sales person had in not adhering to the agreed upon timelines. Restrain from firing off emails and copying everyone you can think of, just to then receive responses from everyone you copied. You are the one putting yourself in emergency mode, and probably putting sales on the defense.

Sales: Your lack of planning and communicating has real world impacts for people working in operations. Family dinners missed, trips not taken, Christmas Eve’s worked and/or thinking about what they left behind in the office. Have perspective and give someone a break.

This is not small stuff but if we concentrate on the big stuff and do not let the small stuff clutter the landscape, you can work together to make things happen.

Make Peace With Imperfection?

I will be the first to admit that I have at times unwrapped a present to re-wrap it because it was not perfect. Now remember, this is paper that the recipient will literally rip apart. I had to re-wrap though, because perfection was the goal. We drive ourselves with perfection, inside and outside of PEO.

Carlson points out that inner peace and perfection are actually in direct conflict, so you will never achieve both. Perfectionist are not seeking perfection, even though they may believe they are. Instead they are focusing on what is wrong in a situation, what still needs to be fixed, zeroing in on the negative.

Don’t sweat the stuff that you know is “normal and customary” for this time of year. Maybe adapt new timelines, new rules for yourself.

“We overreact, blow things out of proportion, hold on too tightly, and focus on the negative aspects of life. When we become immobilized by the little things – when we are irritated, annoyed and easily bothered - our (over-) reaction not only make us frustrated but actually get in the way of getting what we want. We lose sight of the bigger picture, focus on the negative and annoy the people that otherwise may help us.”

Wave the person into your spot at Trader Joe with a smile, sit down and congratulate the sales person who is bringing in a last minute deal, which may make a big difference in their families’ future, and sales, pitch in and help bring the deal across the line in an impactful way, and not in a, “hey let me know how I can help,” way.

We all know what we need to do, let’s do it for each other, haven’t we all earned a little peace after this year.

XOXO
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Peace to the World.

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About the Author

Erica Whyman is the Director of Human Capital Strategies at McHenry Consulting, Inc. and an authority on the delivery of high impact HR services as well as the development, and talent management of human capital within the professional employer industry (PEO).

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