By Fred Kofman
Philosopher and Vice President at Linkedin
One of the most frequently asked questions posed by the members of the Conscious Business Friends Group during our live teleclasses is, “How can I be responsible when things are out of control?”
Being a player does not mean at all that you are not frustrated or hurt. You can be a player and fail, and that can make you very sad or scared. All the feelings that accompany this are totally compatible with being a player. Being a player is not being Superman – where you always get what you want and when you do not, it doesn’t matter because you’re so tough that it doesn’t hurt you. It is possible to be a player and be tender and vulnerable. In fact, we are all subject to forces out of our control. So being a player does not mean you avoid all external effects. It’s impossible – that’s not human. Being a player means in addition to the things you cannot control, you are paying attention to some things you can influence, and some things that you can do to respond to the things that are out of your control.
For example, the economy could be bad, and you may not meet your sales quota – yes, that sucks. But that is the way it is. Being a player is not going to change that. But one difference is that when you are a player, you do not say “I failed because of external circumstances.” It’s a small change that makes a huge difference to say “I failed because I was not able to respond to the external circumstances.”
Failure is always a combination of a challenge and the ability to respond. If I can’t lift a weight, I can say “The weight is too heavy.” Or I can say “My muscles are not strong enough to lift the weight.” It is true that I cannot lift the weight because it’s too heavy. But the heaviness is relative to my muscular strength. If I was stronger, then I could lift this weight. But my mind will go immediately to blaming the weight for being too heavy. Being a player does not mean that the weight stops being heavy, or that I can lift anything. Being a player means I need to train, because the challenges I have in front of me are surpassing my ability to handle them now. And it’s possible for me to develop a higher level of ability, or find a way to live at peace with the difficulty.
Ultimately, the response of the player is not about success. The ultimate response of the player is about integrity. Integrity does not mean that you are never sad, frustrated, or scared. Integrity means that beyond the frustration, fear and sorrow, there is peace. And there is peace of mind of acting in absolute integrity, doing the best thing you could have done in the face of circumstances. And if circumstances overwhelm you, then you need to learn something, or you need to find some alternative where you are subject to less external circumstances.
But being in sales, it is very challenging with many things out of your control, and that is why I consider it heroic to step into this environment with so many things beyond me and see what the best is that one can do to serve their customers, and make them more successful through one’s products and services.
Below I have shared these thoughts:
Find more exercises related to mindfulness at work here.
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