Manage your emotions

Our family has just undergone some surgery. Without going into details specially as the operation was a success and we are on the up, I will say that it was a serious one.

There are many things I draw from experiences such as this but from this specific one, it has been the realisation that the tricks I use to manage difficult situations at work can also be used in a more personal context.

People tend to think that, because of the emotions involved, familiar situations are unlike those we face daily at work. It s my opinion however, that in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed in times of crisis, one can always apply the same logic to any difficult situation.

My personal Top 3 Tips to manage problems are:

1. Ask yourself: What is the problem? and, can I solve it?

Remember that we are allowed to not have all the answers. We do not know everything and more so, we will never do.

You have to accept this and surround yourself with the right team that complement you and trust them to do their bit. If you are not the patient type, keep busy doing things that matter whilst you wait.

2. What’s the worst that could happen? Be as rational as you can and ask yourself;

How likely it is for it to happen?
Is it in my power to stop this from happening?
If it is not, how can I manage the consequences?

Bear in mind that life is short therefore any time you waste worrying will never be available to you again.

3. Keep perspective .

Remember that you (or I ) are not the centre of the universe but pieces of a larger puzzle to which many contribute. All we can do is “our best”.

In the example I am trying to illustrate ….

I knew the problem and through research I learnt about the process that laid ahead. I soon realised that one of the things that I had to consider was the worst case scenario. Not in a dramatic way, but to evaluate my options and be prepared. Once I visualised my “worst case scenario” and considered various strategies to manage it, I stopped thinking about it and moved on.

Was I careless ? No but there was nothing I could do to help , I am an architect not a doctor, and worrying about something that is not real would have put my body and mind through such a state that I would be of no use to my family who I needed to support.

In addition to this, at the hospital, the doctors are experienced as this operation is performed on near enough to weekly basis. There was no reason to believe that they did not know what to do and although everyone is human and can make mistakes, there is nothing that one can do to help that.

All I could do was be there and help with the tasks that followed the operation and that I did to the best of my ability.

On my birthday, sitting on the bedside of my dad, mom realised that 41 years ago the three of us were at another hospital celebrating my birth. This time, we celebrated the success of his operation.

Text by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Photography by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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