A Sixty-Word SZEN Story:
The night was absolutely pitch black. Not a star or any ambient light to be found. Paul fumbled in darkness until he guided the key into the lock and opened the door. He felt for the switch, but nothing happened – No light, no power. “What now?” he thought. Suddenly a scream, and his phone’s soft glow revealed the source.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a new place or situation we’re not familiar with. And yet we’re expected to proceed as if we know the lay of the land. Could be a new promotion or job or environment where we feel alone and like Paul we don’t have all of the illumination we need to navigate with confidence. Usually it’s because we’re dealing with new people and personalities and their fears are just like ours. When we’re in the dark about what to do, everything slows except our imagination. And in that world of doubt, the imagination can spin some pretty scary scenarios. So much so that we may fail to act at all and try to pretend that everything is okay. But non-action is an action and just like any other decision it sets things in motion and by opting out of the decision making process we’re left with “whatever happens, happens.”
Well we could get lucky and things could just work out fine but why chance it? Here are a couple of ideas on how to navigate uncharted waters:
– Just because it’s new to us, doesn’t mean it’s new to everyone. Find a guide, a mentor, a friend, someone that can shed some light on those “screams” we hear in the dark.
– If you can, stop, listen and then ask. Really listen to what others in your new environment are saying, watch what they are doing and ask questions. New people in new situations are simply that, they are “new” to you. Don’t assume anything about them or how they will react to you. Ask and you’ll be surprised at how far a little knowledge and some simple interaction can go to create a new relationship.
– Remember that you are new to them too. They might be having the same fears as you, especially if your new position is to join them. As a team player they will want to know that they can trust you. If your new position is to lead them, then trust is still at the core of any progress you might make.
– Last but not least, try to put yourself in their shoes. Empathy is a great tool and helps us appreciate what those around us are feeling. Or like our story above, it’s why they scream when they hear somebody new enter their life.
Szenippet: Move with caution in uncharted waters but move with faith. It’s our internal compass for navigating life.