Expect difficulty in coping with change unless you accept the power to acknowledge weaknesses and endure trials. Sometimes it is thrust upon you by external sources out of your control and occasionally you must surrender to change from an internal perspective. You may be faced with the loss of a job or the loss of a loved one; in most cases you may be powerless over the outcome. This type of struggle requires energy. It requires you to be proactive, to get out of bed in the morning. Even reliance on a benevolent power requires determination. One can’t simply wish on a star and hope for a fairy godmother to make everything right.
I was deeply moved by a friend who positively and openly managed a disease that ultimately claimed his life. He and his wonderful family remained upbeat despite his grim prognosis. He once shared in a public forum that his disease had afforded him a long goodbye; time to put affairs in order and focus on loved ones. I don’t doubt that his struggle to remain upbeat was grievous, but I admire his resolve to try.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I do not cope well with change or trials in my life. My wife lovingly refers to me as, “The Worst Case Scenario Guy.” I’m beginning to comprehend why she calls me that. It’s unfortunate that not too long ago I was the guy who would have said something like, “It’s not so bad,” or, “It could have been worse.” What has happened to that guy?
I’ll share an experience that happened to me one afternoon when I stayed late at the office to finish some administrative work that generally gets neglected due to our daily autopsy caseload. (Autopsies take first priority in my schedule.) I visited with one of our night shift morgue clerks to ensure that she was current on protocol and was aware of any recent changes to processes. As a side note, we call this particular morgue clerk, Atari, because when she was first hired and was introduced to the group someone didn’t hear her name correctly as it was announced and asked, “Did you say Atari?” That nickname has stuck whether she likes it or not.
I had made some comment about increased workload and burnout. Her response was, “Mr. Pessimist, when did you become so cynical?”
That comment struck me hard at first and I wanted to respond with a comment to justify my sour demeanor, but I stopped myself. I thought, “What nerve. She hasn’t known me long enough to make such a statement.” I sat back in my chair and looked straight at Atari. She beamed back with pearly white teeth and dark chocolate eyes. Her simple act of grinning melted my frigid heart and caused me to smile back. It also caused me to think, “When DID I become so cynical?”
I can’t identify the exact moment when I decided to see the glass half empty, but I can tell you that I will remember the moment when I decided to start seeing the world again in a better light. Thank you Atari.
No matter how long the work day or how difficult the struggle, I’ve resolved to handle one thing at a time instead of trying to take on the world. Trying to do too much too quickly can only set one up to fail. Strategic planning and careful prioritization is essential to gaining success. Most importantly remaining positive and accepting challenges that are presented to you will empower you and lead to further success.
Happy Friday the 13th everybody!