Another way I think of principles – they’re my pre-loads. They’re what I’m deciding ahead of time before the challenging moment arises. What I will and won’t do when I’m faced with difficult or frustrating obstacles.
I’ve got a client that has a difficult boss. He’s disorganized, distant, and defensive. She loves her job and the people she works with, but at one point was frequently thrown off course when her boss said or did something that would derail her or the full team’s progress and efforts. So we spent some good time here. She wrote a lot. Figured out where she needed to be more self-controlling. AND she came up with a mantra that’s rooted in her principles. FEI. Frickin Expect It (the G-rated version of course, for this family blog). When he’s non-responsive on an urgent item? FEI. When he passes her or an associate in the hall and doesn’t acknowledge them? FEI.
It was a reminder to herself to control her controllables. She stopped worrying about if he would be a better boss. That makes no sense, he’s shown consistently who he is. She began to focus where she could make progress – on herself. And now? She WON’T be derailed by someone else’s lack of competence or care. She WILL stay focused on what she can control and influence. Frustrating behavior from another human? She WILL laugh internally, FEI and get back to work. AND someday the work may lead to a job change. Either way, she’s no longer wasting energy on something she has no control over.
Where are you get easily derailed? Or perhaps back down from a challenge too quickly? What’s an irritant in your life that consistently gets under your skin, riles you up? Sit down and write out a few principles. How do you want to respond? What will and won’t you do with your next opportunity? Get after it.