the stress of emergenciesI sit in meetings, facilitate training, and walk through public places, and it is all the same.  The minute someone’s phone beeps or vibrates with a text or email notification, they seem compelled to check and see what is going on. This compulsion leads to a lack of focus and productivity, and well, it makes me think of today’s quotation.

“Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.”
– Natalie Goldberg, writer and artist

Questions to Ponder

  1. How often do you find yourself in emergencies?
  2. How often, in retrospect, do you treat things as emergencies when they aren’t?
  3. Is it really an emergency?

Action Steps

  1. Take a deep breath and repeat this quotation.
  2. Make sure the situation really requires your immediate response.
  3. If it does, the deep breath will have helped.
  4. If it doesn’t, give yourself time to respond more effectively and at the appropriate time.

My Thoughts

We all need to get over ourselves.

A client told me this week that his grandmother used to tell him that “no one leaves a hole in the water when they get out of the bathtub.”  If you think you are constantly needed, you are not.  If you truly believe that you are, think about the last well-regarded person who left your organization.  The organization went on didn’t it? Problems got resolved, product got shipped, the show went on.  In fact, it isn’t long before people almost forget the person who was so important.

You are that person too.

As a leader, we must realize that our role is to prepare people to replace us, and if we treat everything as an emergency, that we must immediately attend to, we will never get to that level of development in others.

The list of true emergencies in life is small.

The next time you think you have an emergency, think again before you react.

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  1. says

    Thank you for this compassionate reminder. I find myself being triggered when with people that think they HAVE to answer a phone call, text or email when they are with me. Observing my own reactions in these situations helps me to remember that there is a difference between times when my presence is needed, and times when I need to be present.


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