Resetting Your SPARK
Patrick Nelson, December 10, 2018
“We’ve decided to go with someone else.”
Being on the receiving end of that message can cause a visceral reaction that makes us question our value. I can still remember a time in my young career when I didn’t get an internship in college – that news hung over me like a dark cloud and followed me around for weeks. At some points in our career, we’ve all been on the receiving end of difficult news that sets us back, and shakes our confidence:
- We felt you weren’t ready for the promotion.
- We’re reorganizing and your job is being eliminated.
- We didn’t get budget-approved for your project and we can’t move forward.
- You’re not ready for the responsibility.
While our friends and family surround us and try to cheer us up with platitudes (when life throws you lemons … when one door closes …), their good intentions and well-meaning phrases can’t reignite our Spark. That responsibility lies with us.
What’s a Spark? Simply put, a Spark is a leader. They influence outcomes and inspire others by demonstrating key leadership behaviors. They understand that leadership is not about control and that you don’t need to be in charge of people to lead. However, even people who are Sparks can succumb to doldrums after receiving bad news, effectively extinguishing their Spark.
I’ve learned many valuable lessons, often times through failures, that have helped me reignite my Spark in the face of adversity. Here are some tips to help you do the same:
- Slow down and take a pause. Use a more thoughtful response instead of that instant, emotional reaction. A sudden defeat can cause us to make rash decisions without fully thinking about the consequences.
- Pay attention to what you are telling yourself. Left unchecked, our thoughts can demoralize us. Remind yourself how you’ve overcome adversity previously. Write it down if you need to, or repeat it to yourself.
- Work to forgive. Are you upset at your boss for promoting someone else? Forgiveness is a process and is a lot easier said than done; however, start by seeking to learn why the decision was made and what you can do better. Holding it against someone will only make the matter worse. Forgiving someone can be very freeing and empowering.
- Account and assess. What can you learn from this experience? What can you apply going forward? If you didn’t get the sale, perhaps there’s something wrong with your process.
- Keep it in perspective. The vast majority of times when these situations of bad news arise, everything will be okay. Take stock and be grateful for what you have and where you are. Think if a friend or colleague came to you with the same problem, what would you tell them?
- Take care of yourself. It is a well-known fact that being physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy improves our disposition and outlook. Grow and nurture your relationships with others, exercise, and spend time in reflection.
Don’t let disappointment put out your Spark. Practice these tips in difficult moments to continue to influence and inspire.