Merge's Blog

A mental approach to coping with irritants

Our work lives are filled with irritants – demanding or difficult people, unreasonable deadlines, overwhelming workloads – and it’s exactly these moments when we have to reach deep within ourselves to find ways to cope with these aggravations.  At times like these, it’s worth thinking about how a pearl is formed.

A pearl begins life as an irritant that lodges inside an oyster’s shell.  This foreign object – whether a parasite, a small grain of grit, or something else – gets caught in the oyster’s soft inner body, and to ease the irritation and frustration, the oyster begins to take defensive action.  It secretes a smooth, hard nacre around the foreign object in order to protect itself and reduce the irritation.  As long as the irritant remains within its shell, the oyster continues to secrete nacre, layer upon layer, until finally the source of frustration is completely coated and no longer aggravating.  And the bonus final result – a silky crystalline shimmering pearl!

The truth is that dealing with a multitude of irritants is a reality of every leader’s workday.  But it’s how leaders cope with these frustrations that separates the average from the exceptional.  What if you were to view these daily irritants as future pearls?  What if you could find ways to create your own nacre – mental approaches to coat these frustrations so that they are no longer aggravating?  Could your change in method and attitude create pearls – more positive outcomes for yourself, and your team?  Do you have ideas or tips about mental approaches to create your own nacre?  Please share them by adding to the Comments below.

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