10 Strategies for Starting Over
An employee frustrates the heck out of you. Wish you could start over? Your boss drives you crazy. Wouldn’t it be nice to start fresh?
What’s stopping you from starting over? You!
Start over – 5 ways to address the past:
- Identify frustrations and name failures. Ignored frustrations always escalate.
- Accept their weaknesses.
- Take your blame. What role are you playing in the problem? Rest assured you are. Employ honest outside eyes for this exploration. You can’t do it alone.
- Forgive. Act without failure or offences in mind. Forget forgetting, you can’t.
- Believe failure in one area isn’t failure everywhere.
Bonus: Start over by leaving the past in the past, at least for today.
See more key elements to starting over from Facebook contributors.
Starting over – 10 ways to address the present:
- Start with now, not with then.
- Employ forward-facing language. Stop bringing up the past.
- Define success. Undefined wins can’t be won. What does a winning relationship with your boss look like, for example?
- Begin with small wins that energize more wins. Small is the path to big.
- Define what you’ll stop doing.
- Visualize positive behaviors before they’re needed. If this happens, I’ll ______.”
- Practice positive interactions with trusted advisors.
- Ask, “What would I do if my next meeting with ‘Mr. Frustration’ was my first meeting.”
- Focus on behaviors not feelings, at least for today.
- Realize the key to starting over is your attitude and response to failure.
I hear you thinking, “Starting fresh won’t eliminate old frustration.”
A series of small wins may eliminate the need for “perfect” solutions. Additionally, starting over provides positive energy for addressing negative history, when the time is right.
Free yourself from the past, just for today. Turn forward. Stop pushing back, controlling, and fixing. The path to the future begins by starting over.
What prevents leaders from starting over?
What “starting over” tips help you?
Great article. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the transformation of an individual that is allowed to move forward. Elephants never forget. Connect to understand the underlying problem, experience cathartic renewal, forgive and move forward. Results are awesome.
Thank you Pamela. YOu sad tons in a few words. I particularly enjoy, “connect to understand.” Cheers
I like the the concept of defining success. It is starting point of success. If one can not define success, it will be difficult to reach goal easily. I also believe in starting small. Recently when I was worried about how to write my thesis, after two-three days, I realized that I have to start small but in structured way. I started that it really works well. Many times we waste our time on just thinking and not doing. Thinking is very important but how much thinking we need to do matters most. I appreciate your idea that we should start from now. We tend to unlearn past habits and that is the great obstacle. We need to stop somewhere and start from somewhere. And this somewhere plays important role in our success. I feel, when I have appointment with Mr, Frustration, I would ask him to become my friend and will ask when what makes you happy. I would try to follow the advices. I recall leadership tips from Nelson Mandela, that says, Know your enemy — and learn about his favorite sport. So, I will ask Mr, frustration, what is his favorite sport. This will help to know strength and weakness of Mr. Frustration.
Accepting weaknesses and forgiving are the great attitude. This makes person a leader.
Thank you Ajay.
I find your suggestion to ask “Mr. Frustration” what makes him happy most useful. To jump on that train ask:
1. How would you like me to express disagreement?
2. What makes you feel respected?
3. How do you like to receive bad news?
4. What behavior of mine frustrates you?
These are great questions! The one that I find most often overlooked by leaders is understanding what makes people feel respected.
Someone said, about 80% of the way we perceive and experience our lives, work or otherwise, is through emotion. If that much of ourselves is tied into how we feel about things, leaders must take time to consider how they approach others.
Also remember to address issues as soon as possible. Sleeping on an unresolved issue can cause it to fester and grow beyond what it really should.
Easy to theorize, difficult to do when emotions and ego enter the self-conversation.
Once again wisdom from the AA book. “Resentment is our number one offender”.
Pondering the past and dreaming of the future both take me away from the only time that anything is truly happening, NOW. It was a real insightful moment when I discovered resentments are both positive re-sensing as well as positive, both take me out of focusing on right now.
Can’t do anything about the past except learn from it and the future is not here yet. All I can to for the future is be lucky! You know luck is when preparedness meets opportunity. “Oh be prepared, prepared, prepared the motto of a boy scout”! Any else remember that?
If I am in the moment maybe I can be on my toes to properly repsond to the situations and circumstances I run into right in front of me.
Keep teaching myself there is really no such a thing as failure till I quit. The other way of looking at what is happening if something is steering me somewhere else is just that. Not failure just an opportunity to go look for what I want elsewhere.
Thanks Dan, have a great day!
Thank you Scott.
Totally agree with your first sentence. That’s why it’s necessary to focus on behaviors and forget emotions, at least today.
I remember an argument with my wife that ended by focusing on behaviors. We were bantering back and forth. Making typical self-justifying statements and trying to help the other person realize they weren’t so hot, after all. When I said, lets just forget this discussion for a minute. Tell me something you’d like me to do. She thought for a minute and told me something. It was simple and easy. I said, “I can do that.” … End of argument!
Happy to hear that worked out well for u!
As I was reading I kept hearing that song from the Priceline commercial The Negotiator sounding off in my head!!!
Not sure what that means but it was kinda funny.
I wish I could contribute something positive and uplifting to this post. But I’m stuck in the “yeah buts.”
What starting over tips help me? Finding ways to interrupt the negative reel that plays in my head. When someone hurts or betrays me it plays over and over in my mind. It takes a lot of effort to interrupt that constant rewind. I have to redirect my mind quickly every time it happens. Truth is, I’m not always successful at that.
Time and distance help, but that is not always possible.
A sense of perspective helps and a sense of humor does too. Sometimes I just have to compare it to a much bigger issue. I’ve had enough real problems and challenges in my life that I know what is REALLy important.
But the truth is I’m a work-in-progress in this area.
Dauna, you honor us with your story. Thank you.
This post was easy to write, not easy to do. Plus, the ideas don’t apply to every situation. Starting fresh with a back-stabber for example, is an invitation for more blood shed, in my opinion.
You contribution makes me feel like moving forward, even if forward movement is slow. Cheers
Dauna If I am really stubborn a gratitude list helps. My toes, my feet. Keep going up, my family, roof over my head, my doggie, my truck, ect ect ect.
Have not done it in awhile but going to a soup kitchen and feeding folks worse off than me. A hammer to my thumb whatever it takes.
You are not alone and your Humilty rocks!!!! The ones who do realize they are a work in progress are so off in the head even I can’t find the words…..
Because of my son’s illness, we look forward to a “new normal” everyday, and I try to carry that over into my office. Looking forward, being patient, showing my staff how accomplished and successful they can be. I won’t try to pretend I was always like that, but I have been for the past two years and it has made a huge difference in the success of my company and my employees.
Great post to start the week…and the new year.
This post is particularly relevant for my current work situation. Your honesty about the difficulty of doing this makes it that much more honest and helpful. Thanks for all that you do to help make us all better leaders in life.
Great post Dan, and from the comments a sensitive area both in business as well as personally. What you have described is very possible – in my experience some people can let go of the past to move on and others can’t. They seem to view all current and future work through the lens of the offense.
Thank you for your work and your thoughts,
Carl , my experience it is not some can and some can’t but, some do and some don’t.
Good news is when the pain of holding on hurts more than letting go, people let go.
I am going to side with Dauna on this one Dan. ‘Yeah. but’ is all the water really under the bridge, let bygones be bygones, can people (leaders) truly ‘let go’ of past inconsistencies, inequities, inaction, injustices, etc? Should they?
The caution might be that starting over may lead to the assumption that errors and omissions are okay and we accept our losses and just move on. I guess am concretely sort of stuck on the ‘start over’ wording without the learning piece. Otherwise, I hear a Santayana-ish voice saying, ‘those who cannot remember (learn) from the past, are condemned to repeat it.’ I could go with ‘time out’ or ‘take five and reconnoiter’ or identify it as a performance improvement opportunity. And while it certainly may be a failing that Mr. Frustration has, also was/is a failing of leadership to not learn from it.
I think that the metaphor of “water under the dam” or “water over the bridge” is also applicable. Yeah, one might think that I screwed that up, but the reframe was intentional. Water under / over dam / bridge does cause damage that is hard to sometimes ignore.
But one can also “step back from the wagon” and dissociate to make the situation a bit less emotional. Most of us look at things from an “associated” viewpoint: through our own eyes. It is more effective to look at difficult situational things from the perspective of watching it as a dissociated party, since many things are clearer that way.
Yes, the damage caused will need to be addresses, either shored up in some way or repaired in general. But the damage to the structure is different from the damage to the working relationship. Focusing on what needs to be changed and improved can help BOTH parties “get over it” and move forward.
Feelings are hard to deal with for all of us. But focusing on the work at hand and the goals for the future are one way to decrease the emotionality and focus more on the objectivity of things.
Yesterday is today tomorrow. You can create a positive history of past successes if you start today and then look at today tomorrow to see what positives have been accomplished. Step by step. Inch by inch.
Just hope that the journey is a downhill one, that you can reach mutually acceptable goals and results, and that there is not too much mud on the trail.
Lastly, have FUN out there!
Dan, inspirational post at the beginning of a new year! Thanks for posting!
Dan, good information. I find that leaders get very invested in what they HAVE done, right or wrong, so sometimes they have a difficult time starting over. Some of the best successes I’ve had are out of exasperation or frustration, often with myself. I find that owning that, “I really feel like I haven’t this situation(s) or you as well as I could have. I’d like to start over and clear the air. Is that something you would like?”
Often, this lowers the tension, encourages the other person to own more of what they can do differently, identify what I can stop, and create some common ground to doing things differently. It doesn’t always help, but at the very least I have learned to be a little less invested in MY solutions/approach and be more open.
My personal fav is focusing on behavior not feelings. this allways does the job for me. i love the simplicity of how you expose the starting fresh concept, but being honest with ourselves: is this allways that easy?
One of the hardest things I ever did was start over. I had made a bad decision, took on something that made me unhappy. After admitting this to myself I went to my boss and told her. They were so relieved! They had seen it but didn’t know what to do. We now have reached a solution that works for both of us. Your posts often help me remember that what I did was not a failure, carrying on would have been.
Thanks for this great post. Over the years, I have recommended to at least one hundred people that they try to “start over” when working on a difficult work-related relationship. It is really hard! I know, in my line of work I occassionally need to take my own advice. I doesn’t always work, but I feel better for trying. I am going to use the recommendations!
Reblogged this on WERC News and commented:
Over the years, I have recommended to at least one hundred people that they try to “start over” when working on a difficult work-related relationship. It is really hard! I know, in my line of work I occasionally need to take my own advice. It doesn’t always work, but I feel better for trying. I am going to share these elements with clients!