Solution Saturday: Winning in No-Win Situations

Bill (Not his real name) manages several franchise locations. He finds himself in a no-win situation. Budget and personnel cuts by the mother organization make it impossible for him to fulfill his responsibilities to franchise owners.

If he doesn’t deliver results for competing parties, he feels he will lose his job. He’s looking for a new position.

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Dear Bill,

Feeling you can’t win is like being caught on a hamster wheel.

Running faster doesn’t help. 

Success on the hamster wheel:

  1. Congratulations for looking for a new job. If you aren’t independently wealthy, be discreet.
  2. Run toward – not away. What career might you run toward? Beware of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
  3. Get a picture of what you want for yourself.
    • Anger tells us what we don’t want.
    • Keep asking, “What do I want,” over and over.
    • Talk about what you want with family, friends, and mentors. 
  4. Seize what you can control; let go what you can’t.
    • Feeling helpless drains energy.
    • You can’t control other people. Forget about it.
    • Hot emotion indicates a desire to control something out of your control. Monitor hot emotion.
    • You can control your behaviors.
    • You may be able to minimize negative emotion. (Consider the previous ideas.)
  5. Reflect on your journey.
    • What do you love?
    • Who do you want to be? If you were that person now, what would you do?
    • What does your frustration tell you about your values?
    • How can you stand for your beliefs?
    • What valuable lessons or skills is this situation teaching you? (How are you better?)
    • What advice would you give someone in your situation?

Tip: Be as demanding and compassionate with yourself as you would be with others. Clarify what you expect from yourself. 

What suggestions might you offer people who are in no-win situations?