I love the work that I do – I truly do. Time flies when I am working with a client or focussing on my social media or studying to develop my skills and knowledge for the women I support. Even when it all goes wrong … I still love what I do.
The fact that I am so passionate about my work and that I am working very much to my true purpose, I find that when it does all go wrong, I am SO much more relaxed and chilled about it.
When you are planning and hosting a three week ‘live’ online conference, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.
I have had to rearrange a few of the interviews because of a family bereavement. A few months ago, still wearing my corporate hat, my stress levels would have been much higher as a result. However since giving myself permission to enjoy and embrace the flexibility of running my own business, and stop worrying about schedules quite so much, the rearranging has been simple. The speakers have been gracious, flexible and understanding. To accommodate, I do have some days where there are three live interviews in one day which is quite full on, but it’s been ok.
The biggest opportunity for things to go wrong is the technology. After a long career in technology in the professional services sector, the technology itself is not scary or worrying. I have been using GoToWebinar to facilitate online learning or run virtual meetings for many years. I had no choice when my staff were scattered all over the globe.
Even though the technology I use is robust, and I have backup systems in place, sometimes ‘it’ just doesn’t work. Which is incredibly frustrating and sometimes very annoying. For example the recording didn’t work for one interview. On another interview, the phone went dead for the person I was interviewing and then she was unable to get her Skype (my 3rd backup) to stay connected. At the beginning of the week, I found a little bug in my email system and it was overwriting the interview links.
However what I have noticed in the last couple of weeks is that while some others might lose their cool when it all goes wrong, I am able to maintain my calm. Why is that? What has changed about my coping mechanisms?
How to stay calm when it all goes wrong
Here are my top tips on how stay calm when it all goes wrong …
Fix the things you can and accept what you can’t
I know that whatever I do, whatever I say, however cross I get, if it’s not working, it’s not working. As a former technologist, yes I have some specialist knowledge. I know more tricks than many business women. I can think creatively from a troubleshooting perspective. I am comfortable with technology and know what is worth trying and what is probably a waste of time of to try. I know when it makes sense to call in expert help. I know that if my stress and panic levels rise, I am less likely to think clearly and to make intelligent decisions.
Yes I fix the things I can but otherwise I simply accept what I can’t fix. There’s no need to waste energy fretting or worrying about something that I can’t fix.
Don’t listen to negative self-talk
Thousands of thoughts flit through our heads every day. Many of these thoughts are so fleeting that we’re unaware that we even thought them. It could be easy to listen to the negative thoughts and engage with the negative self-talk. “Will anybody sign up to the conference?” “Will the interviewees forget the interview?” “It’s all going to go wrong on the day.” “My computer is going to crash.” “Who’s even going to find this topic interesting.” “I asked the wrong questions.” “The interviewee doesn’t like me.” “Am I good enough?”
But I don’t listen to any of that. I focus on what an incredible event I am organising. I accept and acknowledge the positive feedback I receive. I remind myself that if I saw another person organising this event, I would be impressed. I recall my positive mantras for example “I can, I am, I will”. I tell myself every day that I am amazing and that I am inspiring 100s of women to take action.
Treat others the way you would like to be treated
When things do go wrong, behave like a professional. This is much easier when you accept what you can’t fix and focus on the positive self-talk. Things do go wrong sometimes and I make mistakes. However being professional and having integrity are core values for me. Therefore when things do go wrong, I am able to handle the situation calmly and confidently.
I want my conference to be inspirational for women who want something else; who want more; who want to be inspired; who don’t know what they want; who are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. I want to be of service to women in the best way possible. I want to provide interesting interviews; where you can discover something new; not interviews which are short on content and long on sales pitch.
To my mind, this is all part of being professional. And because I know intrinsically that I am professional in the way I behave and talk and act, I do not get flustered when things go wrong. I can remain objective, notice what feelings or emotions I am experiencing and deal with those appropriately. If I am angry or upset or excited, I can accept those individual emotions and not let them take over my response; which gives me confidence in my decision-making. Letting go of perfectionism has helped enormously too!
Learn from your mistakes
Finally I find it helps to I admit that I have made a mistake. Rather than fuss and fight about who or what to blame. Accept and acknowledge your mistakes and say “I’m sorry, I made a mistake”. There’s always something positive or something to be learned when you treat mistakes as learning opportunities rather than as something to beat yourself up over.
In summary, when it all goes wrong …
Believe me, there will be times when it all goes wrong and you will need to roll with the punches. In those times, remember these four keys. Focus on fixing what you can and accepting what you can’t. Don’t beat yourself up trying to fix something that is impossible to resolve. Don’t listen to negative self-talk instead use positive mantras and remind yourself of your strengths. Always treat others with professionalism and integrity. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. And if you have made mistakes, be authentic and own up to them. Accepting mistakes means that you are always able to learn from them.
What do you think is key to staying calm when it all goes wrong?