We CAN Do Hard Things

Here are a few pieces of advice to help you ride it out when you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to make decisions or put things back into perspective during today’s complex times.

Family and friends. 24-hour news cycles. Extreme weather. Social media tsunamis. Radical rhetoric and ideologies. Personal choices. Personal preferences. Pronouns. Living in one’s own truth.

Both inside and outside the workplace, a lot is happening. Taking a step back for a broader view, it is likely there has always been a lot happening. But much of what’s happening today may feel emotionally charged and may touch your heart and feel far closer to home—for you or someone you know— than what you’re accustomed to.

Sometimes, it feels like life is just one set of VUCAladen conjoined circles, doesn’t it? (VUCA=Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity)


Here are a few pieces of advice to help you ride it out when you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to make decisions or put things back into perspective. Keep them handy and available at the point of need:

  • Hone your critical thinking skills. At all times. In all things. Take the time to look beyond the hype, the headlines, television chyrons, memes, gifs, etc.
  • Do your own research through credible and reliable sources and resources. It is best not to rely on others’ claims or their so-called research.
  • Ask yourself: Is it urgent? Or a real emergency? If it is an emergency, act. If it is urgent, take a beat. Breathe. Examine the facts for yourself. Consult with a few in your close circle of trusted colleagues—but not too many of them. Then make the decision you need to make from a calm and informed position.
  • Honor and respect others’ preferences. You don’t have to agree with them. But you do have to get along and possibly work together. Do whatever it takes to keep the channels of communication open.
  • Strive to resolve conflicts. It is best to do so sooner than later. However, don’t act out of anger or confusion. Take a beat. Breathe. Check the facts and examine your own truths and opinions, then seek to find a place of compromise between you and the other person(s).
  • Apologize when the circumstances require it. Even if you think you’re right, apologize anyway.
  • Act with integrity. At all times. In all things.
  • Assume positive intent. At all times. In all things.

How do you feel now? You’ve got this!

Dawn J Mahoney, CPTD
Dawn J. Mahoney, CPTD, is the program content manager for Training magazine. She also owns Learning in The White Space LLC, a freelance talent development (“training”) and instructional design consultancy. She is passionate about developing people through better training, better instructional design, and better dialog. E-mail her at: dawn@trainingmag.com.