3 Simple Strategies for When Things Go Wrong at Work

When things go wrong at work

Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes has a few sideways thrown in too. 

It can be tough to deal with when things go wrong or don’t go as planned, or when something happens to throw us off balance and doubt ourselves. After all, we all want things to go well and to end up as ‘winners.’ 

But life will always throw challenges at us, and we can’t control everything. Nor should we try.

It’s not what happens to you but what you do with what happens to you that makes the difference. 

Here are three strategies to use so that you can always come out on top.

1. Focus on Your Strengths

We’re a bunch of contradictions – sorry to break it to you. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad; sometimes hopeful, sometimes pessimistic; sometimes childish and sometimes mature. Of course, we also have a whole load of strengths and weaknesses that affect what we do and how we do it, but we tend to focus on our weaknesses and not our strengths.

A strength is something that you do consistently well– it’s something you’re just able to do, you’re hard-wired to do it well, and you get an inherent satisfaction from doing it. It could be tackling and solving complex problems, empathizing with people, having a lively imagination, or making the perfect omelet.

Focusing on what you do well rather than what you’re not so good at makes all kinds of sense. When you look at what you’re not good at, you feel bad about yourself and your ability, but when you focus on and play to your strengths, you’re guaranteed to get results and can even eliminate any adverse effect your weaknesses might have.

Introverts have a special set of superpowers that are strengths.  Take some time to think about what yours are, and write them down!

2. Stop Overthinking

If things don’t go well, it’s easy to get stuck replaying the event or over-analyzing what happened.  The drawback?  Hyper focusing on a negative event is the least helpful thing we can do to help ourselves move forward.

So, catch yourself when you go into the thought spin-cycle. 

Once you have negative momentum going for yourself, continuing to go around and around will only keep you in a hole.  It’s also difficult to change your thoughts from negative to positive, especially on the same subject. 

Instead, try to move on to something completely different to start creating a different momentum.  Have a dog or cat that you just love to cuddle?  Daydream about them.  

While you can’t immediately choose to change your thoughts about the negative situation, you can choose to think about something different.

3. Use Intention to Set Things Up Ahead Of Time

Sure, there will be times when you can just head into something, do brilliantly at it, and get the result you were hoping for (generally if you’re playing to your strengths), but other times you might blunder forwards, wing it, and not get the result you wanted. So whatever challenges or opportunities you’re facing, you’ll stand a much better chance of getting a significant impact if you set things up to succeed ahead of time.

So what exactly do you want to happen? What solution, outcome, or result are you targeting? 

Get clear on the outcome you want from what’s facing you and how it would feel to achieve it. Then start breaking it down – ask yourself:

✔️ What can you do to set things up so that your desired result happens? 

✔️ What do you need to put in place to get there? 

✔️ What will help to make what you want to happen, happen? 

✔️ And to ensure the best outcome, what are you willing to do?

There is no such thing as perfect.  You are bound to have days, phone calls, presentations or other work activities that don’t go as planned.  

The good news is that this happens to all of us – it happens in life.  

What is important is how you recover and how you move forward.

We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and tell us if you’ve had a bad day at work and how you overcame it.

P.S. Want more career and mindset insights from The Corporate Introvert delivered directly to your inbox? Join the “Work-It on Wednesday” newsletter!

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