A bad situation can show up just about anywhere, and it can be just about anything. A job that has you living from paycheque to paycheque. A leak under the kitchen sink. A friendship that makes you feel drained or discouraged. The list of potential situations is endless.
You can’t always prevent a bad situation from arising. But once you're in it, what happens next? Maybe you’re confused or overwhelmed. Maybe you're unclear about what to do. Or perhaps you’re completely clear on what to do, but you're hesitating due to the cost, difficulty, or inconvenience.
Here’s the thing about bad situations: failing to deal with things often leads to the situation getting worse over time. Eventually, things spiral out of control. At that point, you’re left with a situation that’s even more costly, difficult, and inconvenient to clean up.
Here are some practical ways you can get on top of a bad situation before it starts to spiral out of control.
1. Be alert to warning signs.
You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something doesn’t seem quite right. Or maybe it’s perfectly clear to you where things aren’t making sense and the pieces aren’t adding up.
Prior to a situation escalating, there are usually warning signs. Whether those signs are blatantly obvious or subtle and barely perceptible, they’re almost always there. When you notice those warning signs, give them your attention.
You don’t need to overreact or jump to conclusions; simply take some time to explore where those warning signs are coming from. From there, you can assess what the issues are and what your next steps should be.
2. Look ahead and come up with a long-term plan.
There are times when you know you need to get out of a situation, but you can’t get out immediately. That doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to staying in the situation indefinitely, though. When you can’t get out of a situation immediately, look ahead and come up with a long-term plan.
For instance, even if you can't stand your job or work environment, resigning immediately might not be realistic. However, there are steps you can start to implement right away, such as:
Developing a well thought-out, long-term plan lays the groundwork and creates a pathway for you to eventually get out of a bad situation.
3. Identify your strengths and draw on them.
What happens when you find yourself in the middle of a bad situation you’ve never encountered before? What if you find yourself in unfamiliar territory and you’re not sure what to do? This is often when the temptation kicks in to become overwhelmed with doubt or insecurity. Instead, identify your strengths and draw on them.
Do you have great analytical skills? Put those skills to work to gain a better understanding of the situation you’re in. Do you have an awesome social network? Turn to those connections for feedback. Do you have a knack for thinking creatively? Use that creativity to help you view the situation from a different perspective, so you can see alternative paths and options.
Don’t underestimate the special strengths you have and how useful those strengths can be in helping you figure out what to do.
Conclusion: the next time you find yourself in a bad situation, don’t ignore it or merely wish for it to go away. Take a deep breath, and then be proactive in taking steps to turn things around before the situation spirals out of control.
Image Credit: Joggie from Pixabay
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