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Overcome Office Setbacks with SIYLI

Once a month, SIYLI wants to help you use mindful methods to get out of typical office situations. It’s our goal to make your day better with a few helpful tips and tricks so that you can meet every work challenge with confidence and calm.

This month, let’s examine how to overcome an office setback. In the New Year, many offices are evaluating employee performance. We all want the superlative review, but what should you do if a monthly evaluation is below your expectations.

It can be jarring to receive negative feedback when you feel you’re doing your best, but instead of getting upset, get SIYLI.

Setbacks only seem insurmountable

First, take a moment to acknowledge your emotions. Think about what you’re feeling, be it anxiety, sadness or anger. It is important not to let your emotions color what you read in the evaluation. By recognizing your emotions, you can more easily navigate them. Once you’ve connected with your emotions, you can decide whether or not they will be useful to you in reading your evaluation.

Once you’ve chosen to label your unproductive emotions, it’s time to breathe. We know you’re breathing anyway (at least we hope so!), but now it’s time to use that breath to create a mindful state. Use your mindful minute skills to create a sense of calm and focus.

When you’re ready, look at the evaluation again. What was your boss really trying to say? When our emotions take over, it’s easy to see any criticism as unfair or mean-spirited. Chances are, she didn’t write “I don’t like you’re face” on your evaluation (if she did, stop reading the blog and go to H.R. now). Once you’re in a mindful place, you can read the evaluation not as a criticism, but as a helpful advice.

It’s pretty likely that your boss isn’t out to get you, but wants you to develop your skills because it’s good for you and the company. When you approach the evaluation through that lens, you might be more open to the suggestions you’ll find.

Now, it’s time to really flex your SIYLI muscles. Use your self-awareness skills to evaluate the criticism. If it’s accurate, accept that feedback. Know that now that you are aware of the feedback, you can work to overcome it.

But you can overcome any obstacle.

That’s good news! You now have a clear idea of what you need to improve upon. This might seem daunting, but having a clear goal (ie: stop holding dance parties in your office) will help you improve your performance. Use your motivation skills to get yourself excited to make this change. To do this, take a moment to examine what really motivates you:

Knowing you are working to your ability?

Working to get a promotion?

Helping move the company forward?

Developing your capacity to listen?

To lead with compassion?

After you get clear about what motivates you and what you want to develop, you’ll enjoy better evaluations, and your boss will enjoy your improved attitude and productivity. When she asks for your secret, be sure to tell her “it’s SIYLI!”

SIYLI Suggestion: Do you have a question on how to handle an office situation mindfully? Ask us and we’ll try to help!

Learning to Let Go from Eisenhower

General Dwight Eisenhower taught me to let go.

Well, General Eisenhower didn’t personally teach me, but I learned an important lesson about letting go while watching a documentary on the Invasion of Normandy.  After the good general gave the order to invade on June 6, 1944, he realized that the success of the mission was no longer in his own hands.  It was now in the hands of thousands of individual platoon commanders and their troops.  Eisenhower had done all that he could to create the conditions for success, now all he could do was to allow those conditions to come to fruition on their own terms.  From the moment he gave the order, he had no choice but to let go of outcome.

Eisenhower’s insight is one that I hear over and over from many very successful people.  The insight is that success is not often within our own control, especially success on a grand scale.  What is entirely within our own control, however, is creating the conditions for success, and then allowing those conditions to come to fruition on their own terms.  For example, I cannot make people like me, but I can create the conditions favorable for people to like me, by for example, being kind and sincere to people and helping them when I can.  Another example, I cannot make customers buy my products, but I can create the conditions favorable for making sales, by paying attention to my customers’ needs and creating an awesome product to serve them.  In both cases, I cannot create success, but I can create the conditions favorable for success and then allow those conditions to come to fruition as and when they want to.

Hence, the key lesson is:  Focus on the effort, but let go of outcome.  This is a combination of two seemingly contradictory mindsets: pro-active optimism and letting go.  We can practice them both at the same time, and it turns out to be an optimal strategy.

And that is true even for a great military leader.

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