Responding To The Heat

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Recently my wife and I have been in a small group learning how the “HEAT” can really impact all of us when it occurs. This was the first time I heard the word “HEAT” being used to categorize the stress and uncomfortableness moments that happen in life. It is when the pressure makes us feel squeezed in life. Steve Scherer, IOL Podcast Host & VP, has described it as getting bumped when holding a cup. What comes out of your cup when you get bumped? How can we handle the uncomfortable, difficult, and awkward moments in life/work when it happens? I have four words that I am hoping can help all us.

 

Assess.

Attitude.

Actions.

Accountability.

 

Assess

This can be really hard to do when the uncomfortable moments happen because often, we feel like the victim. It could be an employee who is not trying hard in their job or making lots of mistakes. It could be a bad boss who is attacking your character as an employee. It could be a teenager who doesn’t want a relationship with you as a parent or always argues with you. It could be a health/financial issue or a broken marriage that is suffocating you because of the emotional weight. Whatever “HEAT” that is pouring onto you is real and I’m sorry you are having to go through it. I often ask, “WHY?! Why is this happening to me?!” It’s a valid question to ask. I’m thankful to have people in my life who have helped encourage me to love on me during these difficult times. They also have given me great insights on how I can use this uncomfortable circumstance to help encourage others that will face the same situation at another time. I also want to be sure I can keep my focus on controlling what I can. If I wake up, it’s a new day to try my best to fight through the hardships. It’s an opportunity to grow by learning how to work through the difficult situation. I am not at all saying it is easy or pleasant. I believe everything happens for a reason even when it’s not your fault. I can’t see the big picture on why the “HEAT” is happening. All I can do is try to not lose who I am during it. I still want to be someone that can smile, laugh and encourage others even when I’m struggling. The only way I can do this is by knowing there is a bigger plan for life that is out of my control.

 

Attitude

It’s my confession time to tell you that I really struggle with this one. It’s so hard to stay positive when the “HEAT” is burning me up. I literally get super cranky when it’s hot outside. I can say honestly that I also get cranky when the emotional heat turns up on me. Over the years I have had several friends in business help show me how to handle the stress with a positive attitude. There is a movie called Remember The Titans with Denzel Washington. It is a football movie that brings White and African American players as the first racially integrated team in the in 1970’s of Virginia. It was difficult time for the coaches and players to come together and respect each other. There is a scene where two captains must work together. They are challenging each other about effort. It comes out that some of the other players aren’t blocking because they don’t want to see players of opposite color being successful. No one is holding the team accountable, so players are looking out for themselves. One captain challenge that kind of attitude and the response is piercing when he says, “Attitude reflects leadership, Captain.” What does this mean? A leader holds others accountable even during difficult times. You find a way to rise above the situation. Others are watching and their attitude will follow the attitude of a leader. When the “HEAT” is being poured out, be sure you keep your attitude positive so you can help others get through it with you.

 

Actions

This is not easy as I have already confessed my own struggles. Here are some suggestions to help you stay positive…

  1. Surround yourself with positive people
  2. Fill your mind with positive thoughts (songs, podcasts, sermons, books, scripture, etc.)
  3. Control your language
  4. Show kindness to others
  5. Thank someone and watch them light up
  6. See the beauty in life and focus on the good
  7. Write positive notes that you can see daily
  8. Make your bed and know you accomplished something

 

Why is surrounding yourself with positive people important? The advice you are getting told can truly impact your attitude. It’s good to have people that protect your thoughts. It’s easy to be emotional but you need people who will help you process the situation with logic. Be sure you have the right people who can help you see the big picture not just the moment. They are people who have seen you overcome other obstacles in life. They know how to encourage you to not quit but find a solution to the problem.

 

Filling your mind with positive thoughts can come from many things like songs, podcasts, sermons, books, scriptures, etc. I am a person who loves listening to music and watching movies when I am struggling. It fills my mind with encouragement and positive thoughts. My wife loves sermons and her quiet time in the scriptures. I have friends who listen to podcasts to learn from others which lifts their minds to a positive place. Be sure you find the right content to fill your mind with positive thoughts so you can conquer the problems with strength. I am not saying your problems will go away. All I am saying is that I would rather go through the problems with some positive thoughts, so I am not drowning with heaviness of the issues.

 

Controlling your language is not just about avoiding curse words. It’s about not having negative words come out of your mouth that can make the difficult situation even worse. Words are like toothpaste, once it comes out, you aren’t getting it back into the tube. Our words can destroy and lift others up. Please be careful with how you use your words especially when the “HEAT” is being turned up on you. I know venting can be a way to process as I do it often. Be sure to attack the problem not the people around you. I’ve been guilty of doing this wrong so many times. My goal is help you be better than me!

 

Taking time to smile at someone or show them kindness is a wonderful gift. Feed someone’s soul with positive words and watch them bloom in the moment. Sometimes you will heal by watching someone else win and you can help influence that moment to happen. We all have bad days and hardships, but don’t that stop you from being a positive influence for someone. Say the words “Good Morning! Thank you! I appreciate you!” to someone in the store and watch what happens. Let your positive light shine for the world to see!

 

Take a walk in the woods, by the lake or in your neighborhood. Take time to inhale the outdoor air and fill your lungs. You are living and it’s a gift. Life is so short, and I know it’s hard to take time to slow down. Try to find a moment outside, listen to the birds chirping and let the air fill your soul. Take a moment to not focus on the negative but all the good in the world that we often miss. I love watching my dog ride with me as her head is out the window. She is enjoying the moment with pure joy. Can I find a moment in my life with pure joy? Take the noise away and try to find a quiet moment to take in the beauty of the world.

 

Taking time to write positive words and notes for you is so important. It can help you focus on the right words instead of letting the negative moment take over. I have two pictures in my office that I chose to put around me so I can find encouragement in the hard moments. The first picture is behind my desk. It is the quote from Rocky V…

             

  “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

 

The other picture is across my desk with the quotes from Winston Churchill…

               “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

               “Never, never, never give up.”

               “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

               “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

 

I put words of encouragement in my dad’s room as he recovers from his spinal cord injury. The two phrases he loves is “I AM Willing!” and “I Can Do It!” Whatever your words, phrases or quotes are that help you stay positive, put them around you so they are front of mind. Don’t let the negative thoughts take over. Fight back with positive thoughts!

 

You might find this last one silly, but I find it helpful to me. Make your bed and be happy you got something accomplished. It’s a great way to start and end your day. By doing this one simple intentional act will give you confidence that you can control your day. You had a goal and accomplished it. When you come home at night you are reminded of what you accomplished today. You can find encouragement before you end your day knowing that “ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!”

 

Accountability

Having someone or a group to talk about your problems is so important. It gives you a place to speak freely and help express the “HEAT” with someone else. Keeping inside and alone can be destructive. I have found over the years that many struggle with the same things, but I had no idea. I say this with my heart “You are a fighter! You can do it! Don’t give up!” We are doing this leadership thing together because we all need support and encouragement. I know life is hard and the “HEAT” is hot. It’s smothering and overwhelming at times. Please reach out to us or someone so you can go through the trials with a partner. We were created to help support and love each other.

 

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