Keeping things in check

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC


There will be times in your life in which something happens that causes you to lose control of the situation.   To cite some examples,  someone cutting you off on your way to work, your manager at work criticizing you in front of your colleagues, or no foul was called when you were clearly fouled during a basketball game to name a few.   In the heat of the moment, you went off the deep end and lost it.   As a result, you have said things that you did not mean or made bad decisions that resulted in negative outcomes.

When we act in haste, our mind is not thinking clearly, therefore our decisions are skewed.  We could be consumed by our negative emotions that cloud our mind and prevent us from making sense of the situation.  In the end, someone could be emotionally hurt or, worse yet, physically hurt.   Must we end up in the situation where we regret our actions and how we conduct ourselves in order for us to learn a lesson?

Nobody expects you to be perfect.  However, we are always responsible for our actions whether we like it or not and have to deal with the consequences.   It might be true that the other party was wrong, but your actions may exacerbate the situation.   It is evident that you have no influence on the incident, but you have control of how you react to the situation.

Citing a recent incident that showed that no one is immune to the challenges of daily life, consider Rory McIlroy, the number golfer in the world.   He walked off the course in the second round of the Honda Classic after going 7 over par after ninth hole.  He cited a wisdom tooth problem for pulling out of the tournament.   Some people were suspicious about the reason for pulling out of the tournament.   A few days later, Rory apologized for pulling out of the tournament and explained that he is not in a great place mentally.  Yes, he had a wisdom tooth problem, but he owed it to the fans and tournament organizer to gut it out and play through it.

No one says that we can’t make mistakes.  Often how you react after a bad situation could define who you are as a person.  Rory took the high road and apologized for his mistake.  He understands that as an athlete he needs to set good example because he is a role model and has influence on others, because your follower could act as you do.

Just like a coach, when you display anger at your player, they will in turn do the same.  If you shout at the officials, they will do the same, because they will think it is acceptable behavior.  When you lead others, you are a role model whether you like it or not.  People around you have their eyes on you and observe the way you conduct yourself.  As a coach, you need to keep your emotions in check and take a step back.  Take things in perspective.  Sometimes it is not easy to hold back, but when your players see you, they will know it is correct to hold back and walk away.

The next time you’re faced with a tough situation.  Try the following:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Step back and try to control your emotion
  • Analyze how important it is to react swiftly or if walking away is an option
  • Assess what is at stake
  • In most cases, unless someone intended it to hurt you, it is best to walk away and ignore the incident.
  • When we act while being consumed with negative emotion, we lose our ability to be logical and objective.  So it is best to slow down and take a deep breath.
  • If you made a mistake, make amends and apologize.  Admission and acknowledgement are important ways of showing you sincerely regret your actions.

The purpose of this blog post is not to say that it is incorrect to make a mistake.  But rather the point is to impart knowledge on how to best deal with situation.  In many ways, we are role models and as such people watch and observe our actions.  It is best to set an example and inspire others to do the right thing.   Remember by making mistakes we learn from them and that enables us to grow and develop to be the best person that we can be.

Above all, we can only make an impact on society if we share our knowledge and expertise.  When we succeed in controlling our emotions and hold back, avoiding making decisions when consumed with negative emotion, our struggle will serve as a lesson for those who work with us or follow us.   I’m a firm believer that we almost always have the choice to be angry or just sad.   To hold back or walk away, it is never easy, but in the end, we are always responsible for our actions.  With that said, the next time you’re faced with such a situation, step back and take a deep breath.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s