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When you have an issue at work – maybe an implementation didn’t go as planned, or a new system recently implemented isn’t as used or accepted as you originally hoped, or problem after problem keeps continuously seems to arise – it may be hard to have a positive view about yourself, your team, your job, and/or your contribution. When everybody is complaining about something your team is responsible for, and things just aren’t looking hopeful, it’s harder to stay motivated. In your eyes, it may feel like you have let people down, or have failed. 

When I was 17 weeks pregnant with my first child, we went to the doctor to find out the gender. Instead, we left being told that our child’s leg was deformed. Throughout the course of my pregnancy we saw a specialist, who continuously did ultra sounds. Each time we hoped her leg looked better, but each time we were told the same thing – “her foot is turned inward, and her leg is short”. We were not given a name, so we didn’t quite know what to expect. We hoped for the best, but when she was born, we realized it was a pretty serious issue. We saw multiple doctors who all told us to amputate the leg, as it was too deformed to use. As new parents, with a tiny newborn, those words were hard to hear. It was hard to grasp what exactly we were dealing with. Fast forward 18 months, and we ended up finding a doctor who specializes in saving limbs like our daughter’s, and he told us there was no need to amputate. As we spent a lot of time in the doctor’s office and the hospital over the next 2 1/2 years, we started to realize that our daughter’s condition wasn’t that bad! Although it occurs in approximately 1 in every 1 million live births, we came to meet a lot of people that had the same or similar condition, some even more severe than our daughters. Our daughter was born missing part of her tibia bone, causing deformity in the lower half of her leg. However, we came to meet people who had the same condition in both legs, or the same condition but no bone at all, causing more complications. Additionally, there are children out there with life threatening illnesses, and issues with vital organs. All the sudden our perspective changed. We went from thinking her leg deformity was this terrible thing to being thankful for it. We were thankful that it wasn’t as severe as it could be. We were thankful that she was otherwise healthy, and this was just 1 minor issue. Of course we still had to deal with the issue, and we continue to go through treatments and surgeries and extra things due to this issue, but in retrospect, it’s not that bad. 

The same is probably true for issues you may have at work. Yes, it may seem like everybody is pointing fingers at you, and that your issues are major. However, I can almost guarantee that if you start talking to other schools, and start hearing about issues they have, you may start to realize your troubles aren’t as bad. Communicating and collaborating with other schools can provide multiple benefits, including:

1. When you start to realize how other schools are having the same, or even bigger issues than you, it sheds a whole new light on your issues. All the sudden, you may think that the issues you’re having aren’t as bad. The benefit of this, is when your issues seem smaller, you feel like there’s more hope to fix it. As the size of the issue shrinks, it appears more realistic to address. When your issues don’t seem as big as they once did, you start to feel better, think more positively, and in turn, become more productive and motivated.

2. Collaborating can help you solve your issues. When you build a network of other schools, you may begin to realize that they have a solution for your issue, and maybe you have a solution for some of their issues. Working together can benefit everybody involved. 

Issues happen. Challenges are inevitable. Everybody goes through difficult situations. However, when you change your perspective, you learn to address the issue rather than fixate on the problem, and continue to move on. When you fail to change your perspective and are completely focused on that one issue – nothing else seems as important, and you fail to tackle the issue at hand and move forward. 

“If you can’t change the circumstances, change your perspective.” – Unknown

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